Adobe announces six Touch tablet apps

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In conjunction with its new Creative Cloud initiative, Adobe has announced six mobile apps designed to make it easier for artists and designers to create and share their work. Files created with the apps—Photoshop Touch, Collage, Debut, Ideas, Kuler, and Proto—can be shared, viewed across devices, and transferred into Adobe Creative Suite CS5.5 for further refinement.

The apps are devoted to several areas of the creative process such as image editing, ideation, sketching, mood boards, website and mobile app prototyping, and presentation.

Not coincidentally, this announcement comes some six months after the debut of the Photoshop Touch SDK which, paired with a new scripting engine in Photoshop CS5, was designed to pave the way for iOS apps and other platform apps to drive and interact with Photoshop on the desktop.

According to Adobe, with the introduction of the new Photoshop Touch app, the existing Eazel, Nav, and Color Lava, as well as other apps that interact with Photoshop CS5 software using the Adobe Photoshop Touch SDK, are now called companion apps rather than Photoshop Touch apps. And the Photoshop Touch SDK has been rolled into the Photoshop SDK as a connection API.

Designed and focused on tablets, at least initially, the Touch app interface is driven by onscreen gestures. Some tools, like Kuler and Ideas are already familiar either from Photoshop or the iOS. Others are brand new. All interoperate with each other via cloud-based computing. All are designed for fingertip and stylus input.

Adobe Creative Cloud will power the viewing, sharing, and syncing of files created by Adobe Creative Suite and Adobe Touch apps alongside 20GB of cloud storage. By syncing though the new Creative Cloud, users can bring their work to the desktop for further refinement or other kinds of sharing and collaboration.

iOS users are in for a wait, however. While Adobe Touch apps will be available for Android devices in November, Adobe doesn’t plan to announce iOS availability until early 2012. Introductory pricing is $10 for each app. Access to the file viewing, sharing, and transfer functionality of the Creative Cloud is included in the price of each Adobe Touch App.

Adobe will provide details on pricing for the Adobe Creative Cloud and its expanded capabilities concerning applications, services, and community in November.

For now, here are additional details about each of the new Touch apps.

Photoshop Touch

This app lets users transform existing images and combine serveral images into a new layered image. Using simple finger gestures, users can move, scale, transform, rearrange, and otherwise place a series of images into a single document.

The app provides access to tools derived from Adobe Photoshop such as brushes, clone, eraser, text, and gradients in addition to layers, blend modes, and Photoshop's Refine Edge feature. A new tool called scribble lets you make basic selections of foreground and background to ease compositing. You can create masks or extract selections and place an object on a new background—all with finger gestures.


The service that was introduced in Photoshop CS4 is now a Touch app. Kuler is designed for graphic artists whose work relies heavily on color coordination and theme creation; it lets users create and share themes via their tablet and the cloud.

Kuler retains much of the same emphasis on the tablet as it did within the desktop Photoshop program—that is, to create, explore, and share color schemes and find harmonizing colors. You can extract color themes from photos, generate new themes, or adapt themes that have already been shared via the online Kuler community.


Capturing the emotional spirit of an image is the idea behind Collage. This composition tool lets you import several images onto a canvas, letting you choose among photos, drawings, and color themes from Kuler, letting you position them to create "mood boards." The app includes four customizable pen types for drawing, adding text, or applying color themes. An unconstrained canvas expands to accommodate more elements. Files can be shared or transferred for access in Photoshop.


This vector drawing app is already on the iPad. Because it now operates with the other new tools, you can now use it to layer image files and color themes, in addition to drawing with a finger or stylus.


This app acts as an interactive communication and demonstration device for designers to present and collaborate on their work. Debut can open tablet-compatible versions of Creative Suite files including Photoshop layers and Illustrator art boards.

A markup pen tool lets users annotate their work, indicate the need for changes, and otherwise communicate on a visual piece.


This new wireframing app lets you quickly create website and mobile app prototypes wherein fingertp gestures automatically translate into interactive functionality.The app recognizes elements that you draw on screen and translates them into HTML, designating website structure, page elements, or intereactivity. For example, a rectangle is a Div tag; an X is a placed image; a scribble is text.

Adobe's new Touch apps build on the launch of Carousel, the cloud-based photography app that provides access to your entire photo library across tablets, smartphones and desktops without storage or manual syncing issues.

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At a Glance
  • Pros

    • 64-bit enabled.
    • Helpful Refine Edge feature.
    • Easier merging of HDR images.
    • Many community-driven improvements.
    • Lens Correction filter uses camera/lens profiles.
    • Better noise reduction in Camera Raw.
    • Convenient Content-Aware Fill feature.


    • Many plug-ins/filters work only in 32-bit mode.
    • App generally does not feel much faster.
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