Adobe Photoshop Touch for iPad is here – Quick Review

I hinted over the weekend that Adobe Photoshop Touch for iPad was coming on Monday and it was out even a little earlier on Sunday night. You can check some cool videos that Adobe had released last year here if you want to see it in action: Adobe Photoshop Touch for iPad. This app is pretty powerful and gives you much more than the standard image editor does for the iPad. There is a lot to cover here but today I’m just going to start with a quick run through of the app and my initial thoughts. I’ll follow this up with some more in depth analysis once I have a lot more time to spend with the app. If you want to keep up to date with our articles sign up for one of our newsletters here: 3 ways to keep in touch with Digital Photo Buzz.

First when you launch the app they give you the option to check out some tutorials or start a new image. I was going to jump right into it but wanted to see what the tutorials were all about so tried a few of those first. I was happy that I did, the tutorials are all very quick and only a handful of steps to go through but it lets you learn the navigation of the app quickly. The difficult part of the app is that a touch device is so different from a computer they couldn’t just take parts of Photoshop and move it over. And Photoshop Touch for iPad does take a lot of getting used to so taking the tutorials will help you get up to speed quick.

Photoshop touch iPad app review

The Layout of the App

Overall the layout of the app has a similar feel compared to the desktop app. On the very left hand side you have your list of tools. For tools you have all of the following options available:

– Marquee selection tool and circle selection
– Lasso selection tool and Polygon selection tool
– Magic Wand tool, scribble selection tool and brush selection tool
– Paint tool and brush tool
– Clone stamp and healing brush tool
– Eraser
– Blur tool and smudge tool

On the tools menu if you tap on a specific tool it will change to give you some tool settings so for example click on the Marquee tool and you will see a button to add a selection, remove from a selection, have rounded corners and anti-alias the selection. Tap on the very top of the tool to go back to the main tool menu. You can also hold down on the main tools menu any item that has a triangle at the bottom right corner to expand and see the other similar tools. If you hold down on the Magic Wand tool you will see it expand with the options for the scribble selection tool and brush selection tool.

Photoshop touch iPad app review

At the top you have some of your other menus like Adjustments, special effects, cropping, gradients and many more items. And then to the right of the screen you have your layers.

Photoshop touch iPad app review

Back to the top menu and i’ll start at the left and move over pointing out some of the highlights. There isn’t really a save button, but if you click on the arrow at the top left it will return you to the main screen and give you the option to save the file then. If you need to add a new photo just click on the next icon (with a landscape and + button) This will allow you to add another image as a new layer in this scene. Next with the little pencil icon you have a short menu with some options that the Edit menu in Photoshop has. Here you can Copy, Paste, Extract and even have it show you a pointer if you wanted to have the feel of being on a desktop. Personally I don’t see the point in having this pointer at all and with it on see it as very distracting. Maybe Adobe just has to hang onto a few desktop elements but creating stuff in a touch environment I think should have a new way of thinking out UI.

Next you have the selection tools and in here it gives you some nice options like Inverse, Feather, Refine Edge. You actually have a lot of freedom in making selections and even though you are creating selections with your fingers I did a few really detailed selections and was able to make them accurately and very quickly!

And then you move over to to right side where most of the image adjustment menus are. The first is just a standard move button where you will be able to drag the current active layer around the screen. Next you have your image adjustments. Here you pretty much have the standard image adjustments that Photshop is known for:

– Black and White
– Saturatin
– Auto Fix
– Brightness/Contrast
– Temperature
– Replace Color
– Shadows/Highlights
– Color Balance
– Reduce Noise
– Invert
– Levels
– Curves

They also have a effects menu which definitely doesn’t give you the full range of effects that Photoshop has but still a nice collection of some of the top effects. When you go to apply an effect there are a few sliders that you can adjust to fine tune the image which gives you a decent amount of control over the effect.


The final menu on the top will give you tools like adding a gradient or fade and some of the items that would be under the Image menu in Photoshop.

Overall this app does a lot of really cool stuff. It’s much more than just the standard editing app out there. The main negative is really in the interface, it takes a lot of getting used to and doesn’t feel natural. It feels like Photoshop from my desktop, paired down for the iPad, which I think is kind of a disservice to what mobile tablets can bring to the table. I love to see people really clean up the interface of a mobile app and give it a more natural and fluid feel to using it. Photoshop touch doesn’t do this but it also is in part due to how advanced the app is. There are lots of buttons and menus because there are a lot of tools in here.

Stay tuned for a real demo of how to use Photoshop touch to create a composite coming up soon! Also head on over to our Facebook page if you already have the app and let everyone know what you think.

The app is available for $9.99 in the iTunes store here:

Adobe Photoshop Touch - Adobe Systems Incorporated

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Author: Mark

Mark is a fine art wedding and portrait photographer from Northern California. He has been passionate about photography since childhood and started his studio 12 years ago to bring a fresh style of photography to the wedding and portrait world.

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  1. Good Article… The thought of the app does sound great, not sure of the practicality, editing my raw files to maintain quality is going to stay on my Mac for the time being until I can find a quick way to access and edit my files from an external device so I don’t have to upload/download constantly between devices…

    Not sure I’ll invest, though maybe once the iPad3 is out, I’ll reconsider 😀

  2. Yep and the size is limited now to 1600×1600 but with the iPad 3 that could get much bigger 🙂


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