Adobe continues to release M1-native versions of its Creative Cloud apps, announcing today that native Apple silicon versions of Illustrator, InDesign, and Lightroom Classic are all available now. The company also revealed several features coming to its other desktop and mobile apps and published a benchmark analysis that it commissioned from Andreas Pfeiffer of Pfeiffer Consulting, showing that, on average, Creative Cloud apps run 80% faster on M1 Macs compared to comparable Intel systems.
Posts tagged with "photoshop"
Today marks the start of Adobe MAX, Adobe’s annual conference for creative professionals. Every year, MAX is jam-packed with announcements about Adobe’s many products.
If you’ve been following along the past few years, the rise of the company’s mobile apps has been an unmistakable trend at MAX. Adobe has made apps for the iPhone and iPad for years, but with the launch of Photoshop for iPad in late 2019, it became clear that the company intends to play as big a role on the iPhone and iPad as it has for decades on the Mac. Instead of building companion apps for its powerful desktop apps, Adobe seems intent on building apps that let creative professionals move seamlessly from the desktop to the iPad and iPhone and back again.
Given the complexity of Adobe’s desktop apps, building something comparable on the iPad or iPhone is a tall order that takes time. Photoshop for iPad didn’t start out with nearly all the features users rely on when they use the desktop version, but with a monthly release cycle, Adobe has chipped away at the pain points, bringing the two apps closer together over time. The same goes for apps like Lightroom, which photographers rely on for editing images they take. The iPad versions of Adobe’s apps haven’t reached feature parity with the desktop, but the gap is closing, enabling users to work in new ways and in a wider variety of contexts.
This year the announcements at MAX are no different. I’ve tried all of the apps discussed below that Adobe is releasing or updating for the iPad and iPhone this year to one degree or another, including spending the past few weeks using the beta version of Adobe’s latest pro iPad app, Illustrator. My artistic skills don’t do Illustrator justice, but from what I’ve seen from my testing the past few weeks and demos by Adobe, Illustrator is a remarkably powerful vector drawing app that takes a truly innovative approach to the app that should still be familiar to desktop users, but is designed first and foremost around touch interactions. Adobe has also released Fresco for the iPhone and some substantial new features to both Photoshop and Lightroom.
Let’s take a look at what’s coming for the iPad and iPhone at Adobe MAX.
Illustrator for iPad
Illustrator on the iPad is Adobe’s popular desktop vector drawing app reimagined for the iPad and Apple Pencil. The app integrates with Adobe’s Creative Cloud service, allowing users to do their work from any device.
Adobe has created a context-aware interaction model that, coupled with the same touch shortcut UI first seen in Photoshop for iPad with the Apple Pencil, provides a rich and flexible set of tools for illustrators. The breadth and depth of tools and options Adobe offers comes with an initial learning curve. However, Adobe has wisely provided a set of tutorials and ways to learn from others that make it easy to learn the basics, so you can start experimenting on your own.
Adobe’s Lightroom and Photoshop are complementary tools that a lot of creative professionals use together on the desktop, moving images back and forth. Until now, however, that wasn’t possible on the iPad, which has made it a frequently-requested feature ever since Photoshop debuted on the iPad late last year.
With today’s update to Lightroom, there’s a new option in the share menu called ‘Edit in Photoshop.’ When you select that option, Lightroom converts your image for Photoshop and uploads it to Adobe’s cloud service. As soon as that process is complete, Lightroom automatically launches Photoshop and loads the image. When you’re finished making edits, tap the big, blue button at the top of the screen that says ‘Send to Lightroom,’ and a PSD version of the image is returned to Lightroom where you’ll also find the original image you sent to Photoshop. Alternatively, you can save the PSD file as a cloud-based document without sending it back to Lightroom.
Adobe debuted several other updates to Lightroom on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac too. The company is expanding the learning experiences available in the app with more guided tutorials and interactive edits that demonstrate the steps needed to achieve certain results. Lightroom also includes a new versioning system that permits users to experiment by applying different edits to the same image as different versions and compare them without creating multiple files. All users can also add watermarks to images now, which are synced across devices.
Users who upgrade to Lightroom’s premium service get several other features as well. Hues can be adjusted locally, allowing users to change hues in one area of an image without affecting other parts of it. Premium users can also share edits in the app’s Discover section, a community for sharing images, drawing inspiration, and learning.
With every major update of Adobe’s flagship apps on the iPad, I’m impressed by the progress that has been made. Lightroom is a terrific photo editor that’s made all the more powerful by the additional option of exporting images into Photoshop for iPad, which has been advancing itself quickly. Adobe announced updates to many of its desktop apps today too, but what’s striking about the announcements is just how quickly its mobile apps have begun playing a central role in Adobe’s pro product lineup.
Not many apps can say they’ve been around for 30 years, but that’s how long it’s been since Photoshop 1.0 launched. To coincide with the milestone, Adobe has released updates to Photoshop for the iPad and the Mac. We haven’t tried either update yet, but from the press demo I received, the updates to both versions of Photoshop appear substantial and promise to improve the experience of using the app significantly.
On the iPad, Photoshop already has a Subject Selection tool that lets users quickly select the primary subject of an image, but now, it also has a new Object Selection tool that works a little differently. Object Selection works best when there are multiple subjects in an image, and you want to select just one. After tapping the Object Selection tool, you trace an outline around the object you want to select. Then, Photoshop uses some software magic to figure out what you want and snaps the selection to the object. Finally, you can clean up the selection, adding and subtracting parts using Photoshop’s Touch Shortcut UI. It’s fantastic to see this tool, which just came to the Mac a few months ago at Adobe MAX, already part of the iPad app.
The other headlining feature on the iPad is better typography settings. There are now type layer, character, and options properties that include tracking, leading, scaling, and other adjustments that can be made to text. It’s not quite the complete set of tools available on the desktop, but it appears to be a substantial improvement over the previous version of the iPad app.
The Mac version of Photoshop has also been updated too. Lens Blur has been moved from the CPU to the GPU for better performance. The app can also read the depth map from images taken with an iPhone and other smartphones, which can be edited in Photoshop to get the exact focal point and look that you want.
The Content-Aware Fill workspace has been improved too. Now, you can make multiple selections and apply multiple fills in the workspace, whereas before users had to leave the workspace and reenter it between selections.
Photoshop for iPad was released in early November 2019 with the promise of frequent updates to fill the gaps between it and its desktop sibling. So far, Adobe has lived up to that commitment with substantial updates last December and today. Another indication that Adobe is serious about mobile is evident from the Photoshop webpage, which prominently features the app.
Still, there is still plenty of work to be done before Photoshop for iPad rivals the desktop Photoshop experience. In addition to features that haven’t migrated from the desktop to the iPad yet, I’d like to see Adobe implement iPadOS system features like drag and drop, so I can drag images from Lightroom or other photo editors into Photoshop, context menus, which seem like a natural fit for an app with so many settings, options, and actions, and multiwindowing. My hope is that new functionality like keyboard event detection and whatever Apple has in store for iPadOS 14 will make it easier for Adobe to refine Photoshop further and continue to implement the most powerful desktop features on the iPad too.
The long-anticipated release of Photoshop for iPad was met with disappointment by many users who felt that significant functionality was missing. Although Adobe explained at the time that version 1.0 was a foundation upon which it intended to build rapidly, the length of time it took to create that foundation left many people skeptical. Today, to try to dispel some of the doubts surrounding Photoshop for iPad, the company published a blog post previewing some of the features coming later this year and in the first half of 2020.
Before the end of 2019, Adobe says it will ship the ‘Select Subject’ feature that it showed off at the Adobe MAX Conference earlier this month. The feature takes advantage of the company’s Sensei AI machine learning technology to facilitate complex subject selection. Adobe also says that cloud PSD files will upload and download faster in December after it makes changes to its systems.
Selection tools will get another boost in the first half of 2020 with Refine Edge allowing for soft edge selections. Curves for tonal adjustments and new adjustment layer options will be available too. Adobe also plans to bring features over from apps like Fresco, including brush sensitivity and canvas rotation. Finally, Adobe says it will integrate Photoshop with Lightroom for iPad, so you can process RAW images in Lightroom and use them in compositing projects in Photoshop.
With the reaction at Photoshop for iPad’s launch, I’m glad Adobe chose to showcase these new features in advance. It makes competitive sense too, given that alternative iPad apps that compete with at least some aspects of Photoshop continue to move forward rapidly. It’s that sort of competition that I expect will make pro iPad apps interesting to watch in 2020.
Adobe MAX begins today in Los Angeles and runs through November 6th. As in past years, the three-day conference is an opportunity for Adobe to announce new products and updates to existing ones.
Last year, Adobe previewed Photoshop for iPad and Aero, an iOS AR creation tool. Today, those apps are finally out of beta and are available to everyone in the App Store. In fact, both Photoshop and Aero showed up on the App Store the evening before the start of MAX, providing me with a little hands-on time with them in advance of their official release.
Adobe has also previewed an iPad version of Illustrator, another of its core Creative Suite apps, which the company says will be available sometime in 2020.
Adobe’s announcements are packed with updates to a wide range of its products, but there’s a clear focus this year on mobile apps. In addition to Photoshop, Aero, and Illustrator, the company also announced updates to Lightroom for iOS and iPadOS and its Rush video creation app.
However, the centerpiece of Adobe’s mobile announcements is Photoshop, the company’s iconic professional design app relied upon by creative professionals worldwide. Ever since word of Photoshop for iPad was leaked to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman in July 2018, the idea of ‘full’ or ‘real’ Photoshop on the iPad has captured imaginations. That initial leak, combined with Adobe’s early marketing efforts, led to outsized expectations for the first version of the app.
Instead of the full-featured, desktop-replacement app that some people were expecting, Adobe says that it has built a foundation with its new cloud-based PSD files and Photoshop’s desktop engine, upon which it will evolve with the guidance of users. Based on what I’ve heard from Adobe and seen from my limited use of the app, I believe the company truly is committed to building a more fully-featured version of Photoshop for the iPad; however, it doesn’t appear that users will be able to abandon their desktops anytime soon.