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Adobe Photoshop Touch Review - Tutorials, Interface, Tools Palette Review


The tutorials Photoshop Touch provides are, in a word, great. Whether you’re new to Photoshop or a long-term desktop user trying to get to grips with the completely redesigned interface, they’re an easy way in, with step by step instructions on a variety of photo manipulations: from creating virtual frames, cleaning up backgrounds or adding antique effects, to replacing colours, making photos look like paintings, or adding and manipulating text.

You might have noticed a trend here, and that’s that PS Touch is heavily focused on the photography rather than art crowd. But then, the photography side of it obviously has more mainstream appeal. Still, with more and more pressure-sensitive ‘penabled’ tablets coming onto the market – like the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet and Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 to name but two (the HTC Flyer doesn’t qualify as its screen resolution is too low) – it’s a shame there isn’t more support for sketching and drawing at a tutorial level. Actually, we’re hoping that Adobe will just add more tutorials in general.

But enough of the prologue, let’s get down to the meat of the app. Though the interface has been reworked for touch, it’ll still look at least somewhat familiar to regular Photoshop or Elements users. The bottom of the screen remains filled with Android OS controls, so the sides and top are left for Photoshop Touch’s use. All menu bars can be hidden and recalled with a single tap.

In its traditional location to the left you’ll find the tools palette with finger-tip-sized icons. The ones with a small arrow in the bottom corner expand to show a second, related icon if you hover on them. From top to bottom (naming the primary and any secondary tools) we have Marque and Circle selection; Lasso and Polygon selection; Scribble, Magic Wand and Brush selection; Paint (brush) and Spray; Clone Stamp and Healing Brush; the Eraser tool which gets an icon to itself; and Blur plus Smudge. The top icon is reserved for whatever tool was last selected.  

If you’re thinking there are quite a few missing entries here, worry not. Tools like the Gradient Fill, Colour Picker and Type/Text Tool are still present, they’re just in other locations. This makes sense considering everything is controlled by fingers or a stylus. Certainly the tools palette is perfectly-sized and contains the most common tools in a handy array.

Switching to any tool opens up a new set of sub-icons in the Tools Palette. For example, under Paint you’ll find the Brush tool, which lets you set the Size, Hardness, Flow and Opacity of your pointer; Mode, which switches between regular and effect painting and Color, which brings up an advanced colour palette. Here you can use the colour picker or determine Hue, Saturation, Brightness, HSB/RGB and more for each individual colour. You can also switch Edge Aware on or off. This is also where you’ll find dynamic Step Forward and Back buttons.

For Selections, you’ll find Add To and Subtract From options and Anti-Aliasing, along with other context-sensitive settings. The majority of selection-related options are found in the top menu though, which we’ll get to in a bit. Suffice to say you can refine selections to your heart’s content.

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