Generally, performance was quite smooth throughout Adobe Photoshop Touch. The only times when we experienced serious problems is when we tried to apply effects to large areas of an image, or when we used huge brushes. Both are rare enough scenarios, but sometimes really brought our Tegra 2 tablet to a grinding halt – the only possible justification we can see for the app’s 1,600 x 1,600 pixel limitation.
However, with tablets already an order of magnitude more powerful thanks to Nvidia’s Tegra 3, Qualcomm’s ‘Krait’ S4 and others, we would much prefer that Adobe left the option of whether to exceed those limits up to the user, with perhaps an appropriate warning for owners of older/slower tablets.
The mainly thumb-oriented PS Touch interface generally works beautifully on a decent tablet. Icons are just the right sizes while transitions are smooth and logically layered. Using a stylus definitely helps, even if it’s a generic capacitive model (as would need to be used with the new iPad) rather than a proper pressure-sensitive digitizer model (as found on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1).
We also appreciate some of the unique features Adobe obviously designed with fingers in mind, such as the ingenious Scribble Selection Tool which lets you draw lines to either side of a complex outline you wish to select. Our only complaints regarding usability are the lack of interface customisation and the lack of importable brushes or textures.
Obviously there’s not as much power here as in Adobe’s full-blown Photoshop CS or even Elements, but then we are talking about a £6.99 app rather than a piece of software that will set you back hundreds or tens of pounds. What is amazing is just how many features Adobe was able to cram into its tablet app. We think it’s safe to say that many users of Elements, for example, will find they can achieve the same or similar results using Touch.
This makes Photoshop Touch a proper mobile digital photography app for both regular users and professionals – or at least it would, if it weren’t for that annoying maximum pixel barrier and the lack of RAW support, which other image editing applications don’t suffer from. PS Touch ‘only’ supports JPG, PNG, GIF, PSD and PDF, with flattening on import for the latter two. Worse yet, though images automatically get rescaled the quality of the original is not maintained, so ideally you’ll want to import an image that’s already within the 1,600 x 1,600 pixel ‘frame’.
Until these barriers are overcome, we wouldn’t recommend Touch for serious photographers or professional artists. However, for everyone else it’s an intuitive, fun and powerful application that’s good value.
It’s amazing how much of the power and features of its full-blown Photoshop desktop experience Adobe has managed to shrink into its Photoshop Touch tablet app, all while maintaining a finger-friendly and intuitive interface. However, the lack of RAW support and more especially the limitation of 1,600 x 1,600 pixels are potentially crippling, especially for those looking to their tablet as an in-the-field editing device for their photos. If these were remedied, PS Touch would be one of the best mobile image editing solutions currently on the iOS and Android market, but as is it won’t be for everyone.