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Adobe Photoshop Touch

An Android Experience By Ko Maruyama
Adobe Photoshop Touch
An Android Experience

Adobe recently released a set of tablet applications dubbed their Touch Apps.  The applications allow you to design on the go, taking your tablet and your creativity anywhere you want.  The workflow presented is actually two-fold.  The first is on the mobile device, allowing you to rough out concepts on your tablet, then refine and finish your work on a desktop machine.

The six new applications work in conjunction with your Adobe Creative Suite of software, through the Creative Cloud.  The Creative Cloud is Adobe's service for hosting and transferring materials from your tablet.  Initially, the applications are available on the Android Market, with a few of them on Apple's iOS as well.




The initial applications include Photoshop Touch, Debut, Proto, Collage Ideas, and Kuler.  


Photoshop Touch for your Android tablet is unlike Adobe's Photoshop Express application.  The new Photoshop Touch app gives you the opportunity to create and edit layers of photos, with access to some advanced tools that you'd expect from an image editor.

While there are other Android applications that are similar, with photo editing capabilities, Photoshop Touch is unique because it provides a file that can be utilized directly in an Adobe Photoshop pipeline.

In Photoshop touch, there are several editorial tools that we've come to expect from even the most basic image editors.  Cut/Copy/Paste/Extract/Crop - these are things that you'd need to edit layers of images.  To edit subsets of pixels on each of those layers, we also expect to have a set of tools that will allow us to address specific pixels.  Photoshop Touch contains both the standard selection tools and a few tools to help you refine that selection.




As a  matter of fact, there are several different tools that regular Photoshop users are familiar with.  Selections, brushes, stamps, erasers, smudges...  In order to begin the creative process of modifying images, Adobe has introduced all of these and more.



To help modify the photo without making permanent changes to the original pixels, Photoshop has had Adjustment Layers - layers which change the appearance of pixels by means of simple slider modifications.  Photoshop Touch borrows from that same idea, allowing users to introduce adjustments to control pixel values with simple check boxes, sliders and (my favorite) curves.



When you have access to the Creative Cloud, these changes should be able to be available to you in the Photoshop Creative Suite after you've transfered your files.



Some of the features in Photoshop Touch seem to have been put there for fun or to be used as conceptual placeholders.  The idea of "Effects" in Photoshop CS are really powerful because of the ability to build layers of stylized looks on each other quite easily, while maintaining a non-destructive effect (Smart Layers).  Some of the Effects found in the Photoshop Touch app require a great deal of "do / undo" in order dial them in.    But they're fun add-ons: especially when used on duplicate layers.

Duplicate layers - Multiple layers are the strength to any compositing program.  It's essential to have multiple layers. Photoshop Touch has several layers for your photo comp.   Even more critical to creative control between layers than simple transparency (opacity) control, is the ability to use Transfer (aka Blending) Modes.



One of Photoshop Touch's strengths, perhaps one of the most versatile features is the ability for users to employ transfer modes from layer to layer.  Moreover, these modes will translate into your Photoshop CS project on your bigger machine.

How do you get this out to other people? How do you get it out in order to continue working on it?   Of course, there is Adobe's Creative Cloud,   You can also save photos back to your Camera Roll (which will allow you to copy the JPG image via your tablet's connections (wire or bluetooth)), share through Facebook, or Email the JPG image using your Android's mail application.   The ability to email the results of your Touch application currently isn't an option available on all of the Android Touch Apps.   So the fact that it is available on Photoshop Touch is notable.

Another "fun" feature in Photoshop touch is the ability to see the layers of pixels in 3D.  I don't know if this will ever have any kind of impact on the creative workflow - but, like Photoshop Touch's other tools, it's engaging.



I also noticed that there is an option to accept stylus pressure in one of the paint tools.  Unfortunately, the Galaxy Tab did not recognize any pressure sensitivity from my stylus - but it's possible that the generic stylus that I was using didn't offer the proper feedback.  It's also possible that it isn't an available option on the Galaxy Tab - or even the version of Android the demo unit was running.  But the fact that it was listed as an option is an encouraging sign that there may be other Touch Apps that utilize pressure sensitivity in their tools.



If you want to find out more about the Adobe Touch Apps - or about the Adobe Creative Cloud itself, check out the forum that Adobe has set up on their website.

Currently, Photoshop Touch is available on specific Android tablets only, but there's no doubt that Adobe will be working to get the iOS version ready for us Mac Heads soon.


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Ko Maruyama is a freelance animator in Los Angeles.  In addition to working on film and broadcast animations, Ko teaches at Pasadena's Art Center College of Design - focusing on motion design.  When working, writing or testing software allows, you can find him lending a hand in the After Effects board and lurking among the Cinema4D, Visual Effects and Photoshop posts within the DMNForums.
Related Keywords:adobe photoshop, adobe touch, android tablet, galaxy tab, tablet, ipad2


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