photoshop goes online
I’ve tested and compared a few online photo editor options in the past. Within 5 minutes of receiving a friend’s email with a news article link announcing Adobe’s new online photo editor, Photoshop Express, I registered and was dying to try it out. My quick and dirty response is,
“Photoshop Exprss is the first that integrates online photo editing and sharing into one. However, I would not change what I use currently, namely Picnik.com in combination with Flickr, for both online photo editing and sharing.”
And here is the long version. Photoshop Express, hailed as free photoshop online, at first glance, combines a small set of functionalities from two Adobe’s desktop applications LightRoom, Photoshop, or in other words, an online version of Adobe Element. It has three parts, My Photos, My Gallery, and Browse. My photo allows users to organize photos by uploading them from local desktop (2GB max), or direct access from facebook, photobucket, and picasa. It provides a small but more than enough set of photo editing tools (see my screenshot above). And lastly, My gallery allows users to publish photos to their personal domain on photoshop.com such as lightpress.photoshop.com. Public users can browse each others’ photos in Browse. Photoshop Express tries to do it all: editing and sharing online. Unfortunately, PE just doesn’t measure up to to their biggest competitors teamed up by Flickr and Picnik.
In terms of photo editing, Picnik offers a much more robust set of tools and faster online editor. That’s a disappointment because photo editing is what photoshop is famous for. One major problem with PE is how sluggish some of the tools are (and I don’t have a slow internet connection). It also doesn’t offer as many tools as Picnik although that might change in the future. One biggest advantage that PE has done right is it makes the edit history visible to the users. See the bottom banner of snapshots in the screen capture above. I can click on any one of the past history and jump back directly.(On a side note, I’m curious if they will allow users to store that as a recipe for later or batch editing.) This is super cool but unfortunately, PE botched a very important step. If I can edit a photo, keep track of its history, that means I can edit a photo in multiple ways. PE doesn’t allow me to save the photo as a new file. (oops…)
Picnik has in the past wisely distinguished itself as an online photo editor. It allows users to directly fetch pictures from desktop or many other online photo sharing sites like Flickr, Photobucket, Picasa, Facebook, etc. Basically, it’s saying, flickr is already a giant as a photo social network, I will be its best friend instead of competing with it. Within last year, they have officially teamed up such that you can go from Flickr to directly edit photos in Picnik.
Photoshop express doesn’t have a link to flickr but I thought, maybe I can use flickr’s email upload feature. So I ask PE to email my new picture (show above) to my Flickr. It never made it to Flickr. Ah… PE and Flickr are obviously at odds with each other. Aside from not playing nice with the other social photo sharing network, PE’s photo sharing isn’t very interesting. Its photo browsing isn’t sexy nor does it allow people to comment on each other’s photos. Why share the photo if you don’t get a sense of community or feedback?!
My conclusion is that Adobe Photoshop Express may have the potential to be more backed by a great company that has developed many great professional photo/graphic tools. But right now, it runs short of being impressive.