Photoshop for iPad – Good or Bad

In General Stuffby Patrick

Photoshop for iPad was hailed as the most important mobile application for Adobe since the release of Lightroom. In Adobe’s words PS for the iPad is “The world’s best imaging and graphic design software is at the core of just about every creative project from photo editing and compositing to digital painting, animation, and graphic design. And now you can harness the power of Photoshop on your iPad to create anything you can imagine, wherever you’re inspired.

I, like many others have found the application to be lacking many of the features that I have come to expect in Photoshop. In addition to the missing features, or purposeful omitted ones, the app has a rather annoying lag when loading and working on projects. Now, in Adobe’s defense, they claim that it utilizes the same core programming that is found on the desktop version so incorporating this in a mobile version is massive undertaking. Adobe’s also notes that in there first version there plane is as follows:

This first version focuses on core compositing and retouching tools designed to work best on the iPad with Apple Pencil and touch. And we’re just getting started. For future versions, we’re looking at enhancing our tools used for brushes, masks, refining edges, and selecting smart subjects. Plus, we want to make it easier to access your brushes and fonts in Creative Cloud.

Like any first run, issues are bound to arise and I have full confidence that Adobe will improve this experience over time. They note in the app store that they are already planning to enhance our tools used for brushes, masks, refining edges, and selecting smart subjects. Plus, make it easier to integrate fonts, brushes and projects via the Creative Cloud.

All this is well and good, but other apps with similar capabilities like Affinity and Procreate are quite capable and have a devoted following. It seems to me that Adobe rushed this out hoping that it could rely on the Photoshop faithful to defend it. This was confirmed by comments from their chief product officer:

Scott Belsky offered a small explanation, suggesting that Adobe didn’t manage expectations properly, and stating in a tweet that “you must ship and get fellow passionate travelers on board.” Others would argue that if a product isn’t ready, it shouldn’t go to market, and that the goodwill of users and “fellow passionate travelers” can be achieved by involving users more closely in the beta testing process.”

Couple the confusion of the app along with the subscription process and you have a recipe for discontent, especially among first time users. I have no doubt that Adobe will figure this out and make the application a better user experience in the future, but perhaps for now a beta release would have been the better option, to refine and get feedback.

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