Adobe PS Touch now Available for iPad: And Why Pro Photographers NEED it!

Monday Adobe announced the availability of it’s  Photoshop Touch App for iPad!

Adobe’s marketing materials state: “The new Adobe® Photoshop® Touch app lets you quickly combine images, apply professional effects, share the results with friends and family through social networking sites like Facebook, and more — all from the convenience of your iPad or Android tablet.”

And clearly all this is true, however when I tried the app out for the first time in October I couldn’t quite wrap my head around the question of what would I use it for? Who is the intended audience? Does it offer something to users who already have Photoshop CS5 on their desktops? I.e What can this do for ME and other Pro Photographers?

Obviously there are portability advantages to being able to “play” with images on the go on  your mobile devices – but given that it’s a pixel based program (unlike Adobe ideas which is vector and scalable) and the max resolution is 1600×1600 I just couldn’t see myself devoting time to editing something and then having to do it all over again in Photoshop if I needed it high res or larger which I always do. PLUS, my workflow usually starts at my home computer anyway, so myopically perhaps I just wasn’t sure in what capacity I would find myself using it.

And then I found out that it supports transparent PNG layers and in a lightbulb moment I realized just how AWESOMELY powerful this tool can be for the professional photographer!

I probably lost you there, so let me explain:

By supporting both layers and transparencies, virtually ANY Photoshop template can be converted to be easily used within PS touch making it a portable drag and drop presentation tool for you to show your clients their images in any template design!

Obviously my first thought was that this would work so well with my Wall Guides– and it DOES. All I needed to do was flatten the layers, “Cut out” the image openings and save as a transparent png and then from within PS Touch I can drag and drop my clients images (that I stored in my creative cloud, more on that later!) behind that png layer:

You can see how I have my layers arranged in PS touch, the top layer is the PNG with the room background and the cut outs where whatever images I put beneath the room background png will show through – I just touch the layer of the image I want to put in there and use the move tool to drag it in the opening where I want it!

Now I know that not everyone reading this has or wants my wall guides, so lets use the example of a birth announcement and I’ll walk you through step-by-step on how to prepare the file and use it to insert images of your clients on your iPad within minutes.

Step 1: Open the PSD template file and flatten it.

Step 2: Go to your layer panel and right click on the Background layer and choose “Layer from Background.” PS will automatically rename your background layer to “Layer 0”.

Step 3: Create a new blank layer and drag it beneath your Layer 0. Your layer panel should now look like this:

Step 4:  Make your background (Layer 0) your active layer and then use your magic wand tool to select the areas of your template where images will be showing through. This is a simple template so I only need to click into the large grey area above the blue rectangle. If you have more than one image on your template, you can hold down the shift key to select multiple areas and then when you are finished, click Delete to “cut” these areas out of this image layer.

Step 5: Resize to max of 72dpi and 1600 pixels on the longest side (remember PS touch only supports images 1600×1600 max)

Step 6: Go to “File > Save for web” and choose “PNG 24″ and make sure that ” transparency” is checked off!  Remember where you saved your file because you will need to upload that to your creative cloud files in the next step!

Step 7: You are now ready to upload any flattened template images like this one that you may have created for use from within the PS touch app, as well as any client images that you want to have access to. You can also use images from your iPad’s camera roll, so you can always navigate via safari to your own website and save them from there or FB and access your client images that way too.  To upload to your creative cloud files, you must have an adobe ID and have signed up for it from within one of your Adobe Mobile Apps. Once you have done that, you will have access to your files from within any Adobe touch app as well as from your desktop by signing in here:

I signed in and uploaded my template by clicking on the little upload icon that I circled in red below:

I am now ready to use this birth announcement template on my iPad!

Step 8: Launch the Photoshop Touch App on your iPad or Android device. Click on “create new project”

When it asks you what size canvas you want, enter the same pixel dimensions as the PNG template you saved in step 6.  Mine was 1600h by 1159 w, so my new blank canvas looks like this, the same dimensions as my vertical birth announcement:

Step 8: Click on the + icon in the layers area to insert a new layer, then choose “Photo Layer” from the Add layer dialogue.  This will now prompt you to choose the source and then the photo for this new layer. Notice that you can choose creative cloud (where we uploaded our template) but you may also choose Facebook, take a new picture with your camera, your local photos from your iPad camera roll or Google.

Obviously I choose creative cloud as the source (note that if you are not signed in to your creative cloud account you will have to first) and then the template that we created before and clicked “Add”

Now repeat step 8, the process of creating a new photo layer for any client images you want to put into the template.

For the template image, you can ignore the “move and scale” dialogue that comes up when you add any photo layer, but for you client images, you may want to make use of it. Just be aware that PS touch does crop out any excess image that goes beyond the borders of the canvas (kind of a bummer) so that can make recropping tougher later.  Here is what that dialogue box looks like:

Once you are happy with the placement click “done” and you will see it added to your project!

Note that I dragged the client image below the template layer which “hides” any part of the image that is outside of what was my photo mask in my original template.

Now, if you were to load in other image options to show your client you could load in a few images and just deactivate the layer of the images you DON’T want showing, OR you can just drag the image you want to show to the position just beneath the template layer because only the top layer will show anyway.

Here it is with another image I loaded, in this example I deactivated the first image layer which is why it has no white circle next to it’s thumnail in the layer area:

Lastly, you can save your entire project to use again at will, deleting old client image layers and adding new ones!

I know I’ve made this seem way more complicated than it is, If I knew how to do a screencapture video of me using my iPad you would see that immediately. Hopefully I’ve at least enticed you to try it out for yourself!

There are so many other features included with PS Touch including really easy “scribble” selections, image effects and so much more that I encourage you to read more about it on the Adobe website or just buy it and play with it yourself!

But I think what I’ve tried to “touch” on here (pun intended!) is that for professional photographers, PS Touch can be so much more than that – essentially it can turn any of your design templates into something useable via a touch interface which opens up a whole new world of possibilities!

Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments section and I’ll try my best to answer or get you an answer :)

Now go forth and dazzle your clients!!

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Wall Display Templates for Photographers

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Kymberly Boswell says:

I figured it out. :)

Kymberly Boswell says:

For some reason I cannot get the transparency to work. I am checking the box but once it’s saved there is no longer a transparent layer. I must be doing something wrong. :/

Janaina says:

I don´t know if it really works, but the Reflection app ( ) can airplay mirror the iPad to your mac, and then you can screencapture a video.
ps: sorry for the english, i´m brazilian and not at all good at this ;)

Nina says:

Thanks for the walk through! My husband is super excited about this as well. :)