Photoshop doesn’t need an introduction.
Over the past few decades, it has become synonymous with photo editing to such an extent that ‘photoshopping’ has entered the collective lexicon. While being a great asset to professionals, it’s a bit costly for hobbyists who plan to edit their images from their desktops.
Now that a huge amount of image capturing is done by smartphones (or a device thats runs on a smartphone OS platform), it makes perfect sense to develop image editing apps for that very purpose. Today let’s take Adobe Photoshop Express for a spin.
Photoshop Express opens to beautiful nothingness. The simplistic user interface has just a row of icons at the bottom and a couple at the top. Combine this minimalistic design with a blue textured background, and you’ve got a pleasant looking app.
Ease of Use
With almost no frills at all, the app is very intuitive to use. All icons carry a label for easy access and there is even a dedicated icon labelled New for, you guessed it right, keeping you on top of the app updates (this icon can be removed from Settings). While this serves for shameful self promotion, it is way better than a nag screen.
You can add images for editing either from the photo gallery or by taking a picture using the camera app. To start editing existing images, use the Edit icon. Tap on the grid to bring up the screen listing the albums at your disposal. After selecting the album, choose the image you would like to be manipulated.
The image editor layout is pleasant and pretty simple. Complex editing options are tucked into their respective categories to avoid confusion. I first tried one of the basic steps of image manipulation – rotating the image. As soon as I selected Rotate, a notification window popped up instructing me to use my fingers to rotate the image to 90 degrees.
I did and was thoroughly delighted by the responsiveness of the app. Notifications of this sort could put off some users, which is why Adobe has included an option to turn them off right from the message window.
Advanced Editing Options
Under the Crop icon, other basic image manipulation options like flip and straighten can be found. Cropping takes advantage of the large touch screen space and you can use your fingers to clearly chart out the area that needs to be cropped. If you are a stickler to dimensions and proportions, consider using the crop presets and once you are done – use the lock icon to protect the selection.
Another common task – adjusting the Contrast – is implemented neatly as well. Just slide your finger from left to right to change the contrast until you are satisfied with the results. Tint, Saturation, and Exposure of the image can be altered in the same manner too.
The left to right swipe motion is the universal control mechanism for a lot of other effects like adjusting the Sharpness, softening the focus, and the Sketch effect.
If you are a fan of filters and templates, you will love the Effects and Borders features. By taking advantage of the Effects feature and the bunch of cool filters that come preloaded, you can go nuts adding an Instagram feel to your images.
Similarly, the Borders feature offers a number of templates for those who hate the typical rectangular shaped images.
For those who don’t have an album, try taking a photo using the Camera app. You can zoom in and out before snapping the image. While icons for Noise Reduction and a Timer are displayed, these are premium features and to gain access to them you will have to buy the Adobe Camera Pack as an in-app purchase.
I am no expert on image manipulation or Photoshop, but even with my untrained eye, I could see that the effects were applied nicely – if you’re not impressed with the results of a particular action, you can simply go back and forth with the umpteen Undo and Redo options.
One of the coolest features of the app is its tight integration with Photoshop online. Thanks to this feature, you can either use the images you have already uploaded to the service for editing on your iPad, or upload the manipulated image without leaving the app. And, if you don’t already have an account, you can sign up instantly from within the app itself.
Besides that, you can also share the images directly to your Facebook account. Head over to the Settings icon to add the login credentials for both these services for instant access.
Photoshop Express is totally clutter free. That’s a good thing, especially when you are designing a simple, but effective, photo editor. In comparison to leading image editing apps like PhotoForge and Filterstorm, Adobe’s sweet little app pales in comparison to their feature set. If you’re looking for a more serious processing app then definitely check out the above.
Another thing I couldn’t stand was the number of times the Adobe Camera Pack (which costs $1.99) is promoted. Dear Adobe, just because you add cute little plus signs next to the icons doesn’t mean they are less irritating.
Despite these flaws, Photoshop Express is, in my opinion, a very handy app for image editing on the fly. If you are someone who loves to manipulate images while relaxing from the couch, the online Photoshop account integration will make your life easy. Simply put, since the app is free, it doesn’t hurt to have it installed!