Imagine you are on location brainstorming ideas with a client. Suddenly you see an object that inspires an idea. You take a quick picture with your smartphone. You try to convey your idea verbally and by showing the picture as-is, but ultimately you go back to your office to download and edit the image on your laptop.
Wouldn't it be great to have the core features of Photoshop at your fingertips without being tethered to your laptop? Well Adobe has the answer: Adobe Photoshop Touch for phone.
With the latest release of Photoshop Touch, you can capture the moment and immediately edit, right on your phone, using Photoshop. You can also sync via Creative Cloud to your computer for more in-depth editing. The choice is yours.
While reviewing this product, I kept thinking of a quote from the 1992 movie "Aladdin" when the genie talks about the magic lamp: "Phenomenal cosmic powers, itty-bitty living space." The same holds true for Photoshop Touch on a smartphone. You have amazing editing abilities that are familiar to experienced Photoshop professionals yet simple enough for beginners to understand.
Photoshop Touch on a phone just makes sense. Photoshop Touch for tablet has been available for more than a year now and is convenient as long as I remember to bring my tablet with me. While I am one of the few people who normally travels with my tablet attached to my hip, I do sometimes leave it at home. Now I can use Photoshop Touch anywhere I have my phone — without restrictions.
At first glance, the phone edition looks like a smaller version of the tablet app. However, I found that Adobe added some gems that make the phone edition a more robust experience. This edition also includes many of the updates that have been released for the tablet version, including Retina display support and new OS-supported social sharing options.
You can use Photoshop Touch on your phone in either portrait (vertical) or landscape (horizontal) orientation (see Figure 1). This really gives you a better workspace depending on the image orientation.
The phone edition of Photoshop Touch includes Adobe Creative Cloud integration and syncing so you can instantly access and upload images via Wi-Fi (or a data network). The sync feature enables you to share files between your phone and laptop without transferring files through a third-party solution (see Figure 2). You can simply create and edit images on your phone when you're out and about, and when you return to your tablet or computer, they will be waiting for you in the Creative Cloud folder.
Another convenient option is the ability to save your work in PNG, PSDX (Photoshop Touch format), or native unflattened PSD formats (see Figure 3). You can also save photos as JPEG files directly to your phone's image gallery, which makes them accessible to share via social media apps.
At a recent conference, I took a great picture of Adobe Senior Creative Director Russell Brown as the mad scientist. It was a moment on the show floor that I wouldn't have been able to capture if I hadn't had my iPhone handy. I used Photoshop Touch to edit and enhance the image and create a piece of art without going anywhere or using any other device besides my iPhone.
With Photoshop Touch, you can use familiar image adjustments like Levels, Curves, Saturation, and more. Filters such as Basic, Stylize, Artistic, and Photo (which includes my favorite filter, Sleepy Hollow) enhance your creativity (see Figure 4). The Photoshop Touch phone app includes the latest Photoshop Touch updates with new filters such as Lens Flare and Stamp Pattern.
I used the Sleepy Hollow and Lens Flare filters for my image of Russell Brown. To achieve this look, I used great techniques that I would typically use in Photoshop: layers and blending modes.
Layers enable you to work nondestructively. You can duplicate existing layers or import additional images from various sources onto new layers without changing your original image. You can also use several blending modes to enhance your layers (see Figure 5).
A useful feature with the phone edition of Photoshop Touch is the Camera Fill option. You can use your built-in camera to fill an existing layer. You can even preview your image live using layer blending modes to evaluate your shot before taking it.
A variety of tools — including the exclusive-to-Photoshop Touch Scribble Selection tool, which allows you to make selections by simply drawing to indicate the area you want to keep and the area you want to remove — make editing portions of your image easier than ever. Imagine using the retouching capabilities of the Healing Brush or the Clone Stamp tool to remove dust from your image or eliminate pesky photo-bombers before you post your image to social media or share with a client using only your phone (see Figure 6).
The only drawback I see with the phone version of Photoshop Touch is the form factor itself — the screen is small. I find myself reaching for a stylus when doing any sort of painting. A finger is fine for navigation and other tasks, but my fat fingers get in the way of any detail work. However, this is a small tradeoff for having all this creativity and freedom to edit images right in the palm of my hand.
If you are new to Photoshop Touch, don't worry. The interface is very intuitive. There are hints to help get you started with your first project (see Figure 7). Plus Adobe included a built-in tutorial section to help you get up to speed. To view the tutorials, just tap the gears icon and then tap Help.
With Photoshop Touch for phone, you can bring your digital creativity with you anywhere. You can be inspired, capture the moment, edit, enhance, share, and sync your images all from your phone.
Photoshop Touch is available as a separate purchase for iPhone 4S or later, iPod touch (5th generation), and Android devices running Android 4.0 or later. The app is available in English, French, German, and Japanese.
Kevin Stohlmeyer is an Adobe Certified Instructor, user group manager, and Adobe Community Professional based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He has been teaching Adobe products since 2000, both in higher education and at C2 Graphics Productivity Solutions. He has been featured in Photoshop User Magazine and is a NAPP member. You can find Kevin on Twitter @kstohl or on Facebook at facebook.com/kevin-stohlmeyer.