VERDICT: Adobe introduced Photoshop for iPad not so long ago, but there are already thousands of disappointed users, who have tested the app. The first version was oriented on the key features of composition and photo retouching on iPad using finger touches and the Apple Pencil. It also supports cloud PSD format, work with layers, an extended toolset for image retouching and synchronization with cloud storage.
Many users complain about Photoshop iPad because the application’s toolset is rather limited and key features embedded in the desktop version are simply absent. Another problem concerns the overall operation, which is frequently laggy.
All these minuses caused lots of negative reviews on the App Store. Developers promise to extend the functionality of iPad Photoshop, add new brushes, masks, smart selection and more.
Adobe Photoshop for iPad has the same code bases as its “bigger brother” and boasts a range of standard features. However, retouchers, who are interested in the creative aspect of photo editing, claim that the app is highly-hyped, but it can’t fully satisfy their needs.
The thing is that Adobe promised to create a top-notch application, but the result is rather the opposite. The biggest issue is probably the lack of many important features that are already available in other apps for iPad. But what is Adobe Photoshop iPad capable of?
Cloud PSD format was developed to provide convenient work with visual content in new tablet applications, such as Fresco and Aero. Once you send a PSD file to the cloud, its extension will be converted to PSDC with the last letter indicating the cloud nature.
These files are auto-saved while being edited and you can also save them in many other cloud-based locations in addition to the regular Creative Cloud. People can use Photoshop on iPad or PCs offline, with the edited files being kept on the device. Once you connect to the net, you can continue editing them.
All tools in Photoshop for iPad Pro are arranged in a convenient and quite familiar manner. There is a toolbar on the left, where you can find such tools as Clone Stamp, Brush, Lasso, Healing Brush, and Type.
The right part of the workspace is occupied by the Layer panel and the instruments for image editing (hue, brightness, levels, contrast, and saturation). There are also panels housing additional tools for photo adjustments such as layer masks, blend modes and gradients.
Similar to desktop Adobe Photoshop, the version for iPad allows users to reorder, move, rename, resize and transform layers. You can also alter the opacity and blending modes, with the latter featuring a popup menu that contains preview thumbnails.
This is a sure advantage of Photoshop for iPad that is missing in the “full program”. If needed, you can reduce the size of the layers panel, so that it doesn’t occupy a large part of the window, featuring only tiny thumbnails without layers’ name.
Even in such a compact mode, you still get access to lots of basic features via gestures. Unfortunately, there aren’t Smart Filters and Layer Effects, though there is still something resembling these tools in the UI. Actually, you can find a placeholder text indicating that they will be soon added.
Using the Apple Pencil you can quickly perform local adjustments, e.g. basic sketching. In the desktop version, you need to move a mouse cursor around the screen while retouching skin, and with Adobe Photoshop for iPad Pro, you can perform the same operation just tapping the screen and using the Healing Brush.
This seems more convenient. The same goes for the Brush Tool, which allows making smooth and accurate changes with the help of touch control. No need to constantly customize the brush flow to get a natural result.
Photoshop iPad version supports bitmap masking, while absolutely excluding the possibility to work with vector masks. However, the app allows clipping layers to other layers and groups.
In other words, iPad Photoshop contains frequently-used techniques for image retouching and illustration but you need to devote some time to find them.
Adjustment Layers are aimed at performing manipulations with color such as changing the contrast and color balance, making images brighter or darker, etc. Though there are lots of adjustment layers included in the full version, developers did their best to select the most commonly-used types and integrated them into Photoshop for iPad.
Thanks to the upgraded font management system in iPadOS, you have more freedom while working with text in Photoshop for iPad Pro. It is possible to change the color and draw linear gradients, using the available background and foreground colors. However, the app lacks gradient types and editable stops.
Jenny Lyell, Photoshop product manager, says that the company plans to release new versions of Photoshop for iPad with improved/added features and fixed bugs more often than with the desktop software, since the highly-competitive apps market requires a more aggressive pace. The team expects constant users’ feedback, which will serve as their guidance while they are preparing a new release.
You can download Photoshop on iPad and use it for free for 30 days, but after the trial period expires, you need to get the Creative Cloud subscription. However, if you already have officially bought desktop Photoshop, then Photoshop for iPad is already included in the package and you only need to log in the account that is attributed to the "big" program.
The minuses of Photoshop for iPad have become especially evident because of a tight competition on the market of mobile applications. Adobe wasn’t so quick while creating this app, so similar products have already gained wide recognition thanks to interesting features they can boast of.
For example, Procreate, a digital illustration app with the pricetag of $10, has been upgraded with animation features, which are missing in iPad Photoshop, and text tools. Besides, the next version of the application will be extended with PSD brush compatibility.
Another software developer, Serif, has attracted the attention of the community with its handy apps called Affinity Photo and Designer (total cost is $20), that are called budget-friendly replacements for Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.