How cool would it be to have Photoshop on your iPhone? Well, it’s not the $700 granddaddy application, Photoshop CS4, but it is called Photoshop Mobile App for iPhone and it’s a freeware image editor for iPhone camera photos, or any images housed in your camera library. A similar version of the application is also available for other mobile phones.
After downloading the app from the iTunes Store, you can set up a free account on Photoshop.com to upload, save, and share photos processed in the mobile app. You can also save your photos back to your camera’s photo library.
Photoshop Mobile includes what you would expect from an Adobe image processing application: exposure, saturation, and tinting adjustment capabilities, a black-and-white conversion tool, plus eight different filters (Vibrant, Pop, Border, Vignette Blur, Warm Vintage, Rainbow, White Glow, and Soft Black and White) for enhancement or creative image effects. It also includes a tool for cropping, rotating, and flipping images.
Using The Photoshop Mobile
Selecting the exposure or saturation tool, for example, involves sliding your finger across the screen a little to get the desired results, while other tools, such the black-and-white conversion or the filter applications entail simply clicking the tool to apply the effect.
The exposure adjustment works well as expected, further exposing and underexposing an image as needed. However, I was surprised to see that there’s no dedicated contrast or sharpening tool in the mix. The black-and-white conversion is straightforward and similar to how you use the black-and-white adjustment tool in a desktop version of Photoshop. But before making a monochrome conversion, you’ll want to make some exposure adjustments and maybe apply an appropriate filter, such the Vibrant setting, to improve contrast as much as possible.
As for the filters, the Vibrant effect works well, boosting the overall color saturation. However, filters like the Soft Focus and Vignette Blur lack the ability to control the direction or intensity of the effect, thus their application will be pretty much hit-and-miss depending on the photo you’re applying the filters to. Also, on the iPhone you need to turn the display into landscape mode in order to see two other filters, White Glow and Soft Black and White, that are hidden when viewing a photo in portrait mode. The app includes both a preview of the effect and an undo button to change back to the original photo.
You can click the red x button on the bottom left side of the application’s interface to undo all the adjustments you made, but once you save your adjustments you can’t undo them. It’s great, however, that when you select a photo from your photo library on your phone, Photoshop Mobile does not change the original; instead, it creates and saves a copy with all your applied adjustments.
A few missing features that could be added to Photoshop Mobile is the ability to copy and apply adjustments you make to one photo and apply them to one or more others, as you can in say Adobe Lightroom, or in another iPhone camera application called Best Camera. Also, if possible, being able to have control over the effects of filters would make them more useful.
While Photoshop Mobile won’t replace the counterpart Photoshop desktop applications, it does help to enhance camera images by adding some often needed contrast, vibrancy, and color saturation. Saving the photos to your Photoshop.com account is a quick easy way to archive them for safe keeping. So all this makes the mobile app a nice addition to a growing repertoire of iPhone camera applications.
If you’re an avid iPhone camera user, let us know what you think of this freeware image editor application.