Adobe MAX 2019: Photoshop For iPad v1.0 Is Just The Starting Line – Monthly Feature Updates Are Expected

It’s a designer’s dream – or nightmare, depending on how one looks at it – come true, as Adobe Photoshop has now landed on the iPad. First announced at Adobe MAX 2018, the industry giant has finally delivered its promise to subscribers after about one year of silence, in the form of Version 1.0.

Photoshop for iPad v1.0.

Placing a heavy focus on compositing and retouching tools, such as masking, selections, and adjustment layers, the app is not the full-blown port that one may expect – yet. Not everyone’s favourite desktop feature is there, especially where the pen tool or animation timeline is concerned, and early testers have expressed their disappointment with the software in its early stages. It’s too early to write this first version off, however, as Adobe is looking to introduce and integrate more Photoshop tools in time to come.

“On the design front, our challenge was to optimize the experience for the iPad. It’s a smaller screen, it’s touch, and it’s our opportunity to really rethink the whole experience, We didn’t want to just take 30 years of features and port them over. We’ve been solving customer problems over the last 30 years, and we wanted to make sure we don’t just copy and paste it all over. Instead, we want to sold the problems from now, into the next 30 years and so that means being very intentional with the features that we put in”, shares Jenny Lyell, Senior Product Manager for Photoshop.

Files synced across the cloud across desktop and mobile.

Version 1.0 serves as a stepping stone to the future of Adobe’s cloud technology, as well as their new generation of tablet apps. What this translates to is the handy ability to sync edits across the tablet and desktop seamlessly, such that users are able to access their saved work even while on different platforms, anytime, anywhere.

No internet? No problem. In the case of offline usage, Photoshop will save any changes to the device’s cache until an internet connection becomes available again.

With support for a new platform also comes the call for a new file format (somewhat). When a Photoshop working file heads into the cloud, its extension automatically switches to PSDC instead of the traditional PSD, in which ‘C’ stands for the cloud system. According to Lyell, PSDC and PSD are essentially the same file format, with no loss in any data between the two. The key difference is, once the file is synced onto the cloud for the first time, any subsequent changes made to the file on the iPad will only have that change saved. For example, one layer is shifted one pixel to the left, only that change will be saved to the file. This means faster saves (yay!), and gone are the days when you have to wait for the entire file to re-save and could potentially eat up a chunk of your precious time.

On its own, Photoshop For iPad should actually prove sufficient for basic editing. Apart from a toolbar that boasts the brush, type, clone stamp, healing brush, and lasso, layer panels and photo-editing tools like brightness, contrast, hue, saturation, and levels are available as well. Add a touch of layer masks, gradients, and blend modes, and users are all set.

Object Selection tool introduced in the updated desktop version of Photoshop 2020.

Adobe has already lined up its plans for the future, with Adobe Sensei (Adobe’s machine learning A.I.) powered functions such as Content-Aware Fill, Refine Edge, Object Selection, and even additional brush options are already set to arrive on the app in the coming months.

The team, however, seeks the patience and understanding of subscribers on this front, because the latter’s nature as a mobile app means there will always be limitations to the implementation process.

Lyell also shares that users will be expecting monthly software updates to the app from now on, so it looks like we won’t have to wait too long for feature updates. Gone are the days of annual software update cycles with the desktop versions.

Time, as such, plays a critical role in pushing Version 1.0 to greater heights. Photoshop on the iPad may not be the full-fledged Photoshop now, but it will become one – eventually. Or it may even evolve into a different beast altogether, for the better.