I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz recently for Adobe’s Photoshop Touch for the iPad. I’ve taken a look at the features and really can’t understand where the buzz is coming from. It’s an okay app and the UI is solid but it doesn’t bring anything new or different to the table. It’s not the first with layers and, due to physical limitations defined by iOS, using layers severely compromises image resolution. Is it just because photographers like to name-drop recognized brand names?
I’m here to introduce an app with tools that are actually useful to the mobile professional and has been evolving over the past couple of years to meet their needs: Photogene. Specifically, I will be referring to the “Pro features” version of the app, available via in-app purchase for eight bucks.
This is actually where I spend most of my time for the same reason that I use Lightroom more often than Photoshop on my desktop. It’s all about workflow and the ability to automate and apply-in-batch repetitive tasks. The thumbnail display in Photogene mirrors the whatever folder structure you have set up in the iOS photo browser. One of the most powerful tools in the thumbnail view is metadata manipulation. Not only can you view EXIF data for individual images, but you can also rate them.
Even more impressive is the ability to edit IPTC data, including pasting in any of an infinite number of sets that you can predefine. And don’t think you have to do tha for every single image. Once you’ve set one image’s IPTC metadata, you can copy and paste in into as many images you want to in one go. Simply “check” the images you want and touch “Paste IPTC” at the top of the screen. This is an extremely useful feature when reviewing a large number of photos taken at a single, specific event or place.
Finally, the thumbnail view allows you to batch upload your selection of images to any of a dozen targets, including Picasa, Flickr, Dropbox, email, and even FTP. You can preserve the original image filenames or set a “base name” to be auto-incrimented. You can also set the resoltion of the images to be uploaded, up to the physical limit of the iPad hardware (7.5MP for the iPad 1 and 22MP for the iPad 2. I’m not sure about the new iPad). If you’re paranoid about pirates, you can also place a graphic watermark on the images as part of the export process. The next version of Photogene will also include text watermarking.
The Image Editor
Photogene includes everything you would expect in an image editing app. In fact, the only thing it lacks are layers, but considering their limitations as I described them in the opening of this article, it’s not something that I would really use. My most-used editing tools are probably dodge & bur masks, applied by painting with your finger.
There are also color-tweaking tools to mess around with, such as RGB sliders and histogram, as well as sharpening and de-noise tools.
There are also the typical filter presets, none of which are special. I’ll get more into a better app choice for filters in a future blog.
Finally, there are the same export options as can be found in the thumbnail view.
If you want to get Photoshop Touch, wait until it matures a little more before you drop the money. Otherwise, get an app that’s already mature like Photogene.