Photoshop Mobile

Photoshop Mobile

Photoshop.com Mobile (Version 1.1.0.21)

Released in late 2009 the Official Adobe Photoshop Application is downloadable for free.  While it obviously can’t provide all the functionality of Photoshop itself, it does allow the Iphone user to make basic image manipulations.

The Screen shows four key menus for altering images, with functions placed in a logical order so that it makes sense to work left to right.

The first menu helps tweak composition, with Crop, Straighten, Rotate and Flip tools.  The crop tool unsurprisingly creates a box, the corners of which can be dragged to position where the image will be cropped.  The Straighten tool creates a grid marking over the image, which can then be rotated by dragging a finger up or down either side of the screen.  Compared to the user interface for straightening found in photogene v2.5, this is far easier to control, and the grid lines make it simple to line up a horizon horizontally, or a building vertically.  To keep things simple, there is also a rotate tool which works in the same way but without the gridlines, so an image can be turned in 90 degree steps.  Finally in this section, there is a flip tool.  Using the Iphones facility to interpret swipes of a finger, to flip the image vertically an up/down swipe is needed, and for a mirror image a left right swipe is used.

Composition Tools

Composition Tools

After the composition is completed, the user moved onto the next set of tools, which we can call colour.  The first tool here is Exposure to brighten or darken an image.  Again this tool, as do most others, allow the user to swipe left to right to increase exposure (brighten), or right to left to decrease exposure (darken the image), in total there appear to be steps of +/- 64 settings for exposure, which should allow accurate adjustments.  Saturation (how vivid the colours appear) and Contrast (darkens darks, lightens lights) works in exactly the same manner as the exposure control, by swiping either left to right to increase Saturation or Contrast, and right to left to decrease.

The final two options under the colour menu are black and white, which converts an image to greyscale, and Tint.  By swiping left/right on the screen tint converts the image so that it uses varying brightness of the same colour.

After the colour menu we move onto a filter menu, with three options: Sketch, Soft Focus and Sharpen.  Sketch appears to apply a posterising effect, reducing the number of colours used in an image.  Swiping left to right changes the strength of this effect (number of colours used).

Soft Focus appears to reduce the contrast of an image, which would perhaps be a nice effect on a close up portrait to give a flattering skin effect.  On my Iphone I found the controls for this tool slightly unwieldy, but with trial and error it is possible to apply a subtle effect.  While the application has an indicator to show how the strength of the soft focus effect which indicates that there are 254 different strength steps, in reality it appears there are about five.

Sharpening allows the user to increase definition of an image, which is important on all digital images and should be the last step of manipulation.  On an Iphone this is a particularly important tool due to the relatively low quality of lens and tiny sensor.  The tool seems to work well and allows fine tuning of sharpening so an appropriate amount can be set.

In the final menu, there are two tools.  Firstly Effects offers a selection of 7 presents is varying usefulness.  Vibrant appears to boost saturation, contrast and sharpening, so is a simple way of making an image appear clear and attractive.  ‘Pop’ applied an Andy Warhol type effect, replicating the image 4 times in a square with different tints. Vignette Blur applies a blur effect to the edges of an image; this can be effective in giving a narrow depth of field effect, so that for example a person is a portrait is separated from a complex background. Warm vignette appears to soften an increase the colour an image; I can barely detect a vignette being applied. Rainbow gives an alternative set of tinted stripes. White glow brightens and image and reduces contrast and finally black and white reduced contrast and creates a grey scale image.  While Vibrant, and vignette blur may be useful timesavers, I see the other effects and gimmicks that I doubt will be used very often.

Prior to saving the photo, it may be nice to add a frame.  As mentioned in my Photogene 2.5 review, a thin black frame helps define the edges of pale images on a white background, so is useful for Flickr and Facebook. The Borders tool offers eight present frames, with white rectangle, rounded rectangle and oval, a faded rectangle, rounded rectangle and oval, a film emulsion effect and an effect called halftone (shown below).  It is not possible to edit these borders.

Emulsion Frame

Emulsion Frame

Halftone Border

Halftone Border

To finish the image can be saved, and uploaded to Photoshop.com.

Verdict: Nice range of tools, although lacking the precise control given by Photogene, Photoshop Mobile has a slicker user interface.

Price: £Free!

Pros: Interface, Price

Cons: Has a tendancy to crash on my 3G Iphone, no custom borders/levels controls.

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