Adobe Photoshop Touch Apps for iPad in Review

September 11, 2011 10:41 pm

Tags: Adobe, Apple, iPad, Photoshop

Product Review: Adobe Touch Apps for iPad

Adobe's foray into the mobile/tablet market had started initially with Photoshop Express and Adobe Ideas. Then, early this summer, along with Adobe's CS5.5 release, Adobe also announced the availability of the Adobe Photoshop Touch SDK, which would give developers the ability to create apps to communicate with Photoshop, through Android, BlackBerry PlayBook and iOS devices. To demonstrate the possibilities, Adobe also released 3 apps of their own to coincide with the release of the Photoshop Touch SDK. These are: Adobe Nav, Adobe Color Lava, and Adobe Eazel, and are available for the iPad. I had the opportunity to try out these 3 Adobe Touch apps for Photoshop and the iPad. From workflow practicality, to downright fun, this is a great set of apps at a great price. These are all available, of course, through iTunes.

First things first, though - you must have Adobe Photoshop CS5, updated to 12.0.4 or higher for Mac OS or Windows® and an Apple iPad. The update is free, and you can also grab it with the Adobe Application Manager. Also, in order to link Photoshop with your iPad, go to Edit > Remote Connections, and you'll get the following dialogue:


Adobe Nav

$1.99 in the App Store

First, there is Adobe Nav, which falls more into the workflow-practical kind of app. This essentially extends your Photoshop workspace, giving you the power to set up your own palette of most-used tools off-screen, which not only saves you the screen real estate, but gives you quick touch control while working in Photoshop.

With Adobe Nav, you have 16 tool placeholders in which to set up your tool palette. With a scroll-through of the tool list on the right side of the iPad screen, you can drag your tool choice to the palette and arrange as you'd like.


But, that's not all. With Adobe Nav, you also can make nice use of the iPad to share work-in-progress with others, which is especially nice in an office setting. Just grab your iPad and pass it around to the rest of your team.

So, basically, any file you have open in Photoshop, will also be available to scroll through on the iPad. Swipe-scrolling and pinch-zoom works great. You can quickly bring any of the files to the forefront in Photoshop, just by touching it on the iPad, and you can also see the file metadata by double-tapping.


Adobe Color Lava

$2.99 in the App Store

Adobe Color Lava is just cool fun to play with, and definitely my favorite of the 3 apps. Seriously, who doesn't enjoy finger-painting? It's a really cool way to put together color schemes. Just pick colors from the wheel and blend them on the palette until you find something you like. The simulated water well is pretty neat, too!


Save 5 colors in a swatch, name it as you wish, and save it, or export directly to Photoshop.


Adobe Eazel

$2.99 in the App Store

Adobe Eazel is a fun app as well, and has a unique touch selection of the available tools (adjusting brush size, color, opacity, and other settings). Just touch the screen with thumb and all fingers, then lift off all but the one that is displaying what you want to use. There is a little bit more to it, and it does take some getting used to, but very smart, one-handed operation once you get the hang of it.


Once finished with your painting, you have the option to save your work, or transmit it directly to Photoshop for further work.


And so it goes...


I really liked the control, once I got used to it, but I think there is still room for improvement on Adobe Eazel. More functions, more tools. But, even as is, it is still a great app for sketching out ideas on-the-go.

End Notes

Adobe Nav
Adobe Color Lava
Adobe Eazel

Adobe Nav, Adobe Color Lava, and Adobe Eazel are all available through the Apple App Store (click on the icons above). The current price of these apps is: $2.99 for Adobe Eazel, $2.99 for Adobe Color Lava and $1.99 for Adobe Nav.

I really enjoyed all 3 apps, and see just how well they help in bringing ideas to reality in a fun and intuitive way. Though I think Adobe Eazel could use some improvements, it is still quite useful. But, of course, with the Adobe Touch SDK readily available, I also think it will be quite interesting to see what other developers come up with, too.

Just the fact that Adobe is fully exploring this area is fantastic. But, so much more is yet on the horizon as Adobe recently announced 6 new Adobe Touch Apps will be available soon, as well as the exciting Adobe Creative Cloud. Adobe once again shows they are still a true leader in developing new tools and technology to enhance and encourage creativity.

For more info on Adobe Touch apps, be sure to visit

Be sure to also check out the Renderosity Adobe Photoshop Forum!

Nick C. Sorbin is a digital artist, sculptor, writer, and Managing Editor for Renderosity's Front Page News.
Renderosity Homepage


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