Last year’s release of Photoshop Touch for the iPad brought iOS image editing to a new level. However, the camera in recent iPhone models are superior to those in the iPad, and iPhones are the tools most commonly in-hand for photography. So, lacking a phone version of Photoshop Touch meant being marginalized as a mobile editing tool.
Now Adobe has remedied that situation with new releases of PS Touch specifically for the iPhone and Android. The iPhone version of the app clearly uses the same engine and tools as the iPad version, with new palettes and organization to fit the reduced format of the iPhone screen. This provides a level of control, including powerhouse features such as selections, layers, and warp controls, that have not been available in most iPhone editing tools to-date.
But are these tools what users need for the types of editing most likely to be done on a phone? Yes, and no. Yes, there are certainly times when nothing but powerful tools and localized edits will do the job. But no, these are not the features most often used for phone photo editing.
Phone editing, for the advanced user, has always been a game of hop-scotch, moving from app to app for special features or unique filters. Adding Photoshop Touch to the mix simply adds new, and often familiar, tools to the toolbox, without replacing the apps already used for other types of work.
The image below is a night shot of a tree against a dark sky; difficult territory for the iPhone, with its small sensor, and weak low light capabilities. Here the noise in the sky has been used as a feature instead of a flaw, by enhancing it though a series of edits in NIK Software’s Snapseed app, a leading iPhone and Android image editor.
Below is a version edited with the same intent in PS Touch. Touch allowed some amazing capabilities, including inverting the image for some adjustments, then reinverting afterwards. However, while the image retained more detail, the process was slower and more complex, and the artistic intent was not quite as well served. The lack of border effects in PS Touch also meant that the image would need to be saved and opened in another app, such as Snapseed, for bordering, if that was a desired effect.
Overall PS Touch is a welcome, and affordable, addition to the phone editing toolbox; if not a complete toolbox unto itself. With any iOS image editing, remember to check the image in Datacolor’s color managed SpyderGallery app before publishing, to be sure the color is as you intended it to be.