Upon running the app, we were greeted by a screen that allowed us to either enter the tutorial mode or go straight to a new project. The tutorials built into the app are very well designed and allowed us to familiarize ourselves with all the features and options of the software.
Photoshop Touch allows a project to be commenced in two ways; either as a blank canvas or by opening an existing image and working on it. Unfortunately, Photoshop Touch limits the size of all images to 1600 pixels on the longer side, regardless of the original resolution of the image.
We edited a few our images from a recent excursion and the process was surprisingly easy. Photoshop Touch clubs all the common options from its desktop counterpart into three bars located on the left, top and right sides of the screens. The tools present in these bars correspond directly with the tools present in the desktop version. This move on the part of the Adobe, we felt, was a good one as it drastically reduces the time needed by a user to familiarize themselves with the options and their placement.
One of the best features of Photoshop Touch is the ability to create and manipulate layers, one of the most powerful features of Photoshop itself. The layers palette is located to the right of the screen and the top is occupied by various image adjustment options taken straight out of the desktop version such as Curves, Highlight and Shadow Recovery, Brightness/Contrast adjustment etc.
Tools offered by Photoshop Touch are very well optimized for the tablet experience. None of the tools have had their functionality dumbed down, as we experienced. For example, the 'Curves' tool allowed us to manipulate the curve levels at multiple points, just like one would on the desktop version of the software.
The filters offered by Photoshop Touch are broken down into four categories; Basic, Stylize, Artistic and Photo. These are the same categories one would find on the desktop version of the app, along with many others. The filter suite on Photoshop Touch is rather basic and just does not compare to the versatility offered by the full version of Photoshop.
While editing images was a rather pleasurable experience, we feel that having the image size be limited to just 1600 pixels on the long edge was sort of a let down. Precise selection was another area of concern, leading us to believe that while Photoshop touch is great for global editing of an image, but when it comes to editing that requires very precise selections; you might be better off using the full-fledged version.
Two essential features from the desktop version that did not make it into the app are the options for using Masks and creating Adjustment Layers. The lack of these two features sets Photoshop Touch in a lower rung as compared to the fully loaded desktop version; at least as far as editing capabilities go. Most photographers use masking and adjustment layers as a staple in their editing technique as it allows for non-destructive and rather creative ways of adding flair to the images. With these features missing, we would conclude that Photoshop Touch is meant for casual image editing, and not for use as a professional editing solution.
Photoshop Touch offers the ability to export final images as either jpg or png files. These can either be exported to the camera roll, Facebook, E-mail or sent to a printer over Wi-Fi. The app also saves editable files as PSDx files that are stored within the app. The app allows the PSDx files to be uploaded to Adobe's Creative Cloud service so that they can be downloaded to a desktop and edited on the desktop (compatible only with Adobe Photoshop CS5 and requires a plug-in to be installed).
Unfortunately, if you emailed the PSDx file to yourself and tried to open it through the mail app on the iPad, the file would not open. The only way to keep PSDx files synchronized over the desktop and the iPad is to use Adobe's Creative Cloud service, that offers 2GB of free space upon sign-up.
All in all, Photoshop Touch is an excellent app with a lot of functionality of the desktop version being ported to the tablet. While the app offers powerful tools to edit images on the go, we feel that it does not function as a replacement for the desktop version of Photoshop in ways more than one.