Entries in adobe (8)
We went in-depth in our review of Photosmith when it was released last year (be sure to read that review to find out more about what Photosmith does).
Version 2 brings with it a raft of new features including a re-designed UI and under-the-hood programming feats that make this app an absolute necessity if you use Lightroom and an iPad.
More about those new features in a moment, but first take a look at the new promo video below:
After being on the beta program for the first version of Photosmith last year we were very happy to be invited onto the beta program this time around too and we have to say this update is just what the (Lightroom) Doctor ordered.
Here's a rundown of those new features, many of which have been requested by users of Photosmith V1 (links in this list go to articles about that feature on the Photosmith website - well worth reading):
- Batch Tagging
- Batch Keywording (Yay!)
- Smart Groups
- Two-way sync with Lightroom!
- Choose which iPad albums to import
- Corrupt Image Protection
- Re-worked UI
- Sharing and Cloud storage enhancements including Facebook, Flickr, Dropbox and e-mail
- Native support for Export and Publish Services functions in Lightroom
- Direct integration (receiving photos) from Eye-Fi cards
- (and a new icon)
Photosmith 2 also has many speed enhancements and optimisations, which should be welcome news for any users of the 'original iPad' out there.
If you are at all interested in Photosmith, we would encourage you to follow the links in the list above and explore the website to read more about the new features and how the app works.
We will repeat what we said in our review of the original release of Photosmith just over a year ago, only with even more conviction this time:
"If you use Adobe Lightroom you need this app on your iPad. It's that simple."
To further whet your appetite for this app, we thought you might like to see some screenshots of Photosmith V2 in action.
Win a copy of Photosmith 2
Photosmith usually retails for $19.99 and we think that is a fair price for the functionality and workflow enhancement it offers Lightroom using Photographers.
But you can win one of 3 copies of Photosmith 2 in our upcoming giveaway. Check out this post for details of how to win.
To help Photographers see why they need this app on their iPads the guys at Photosmith have created this swanky new video (there will be more soon) which we think nails it. Enjoy - and check out Photosmith on the App Store.
We briefly covered the upcoming companion apps for Adobe's Photoshop recently and they are now available for download in the App Store.
You will need Photoshop 5.5 (Version 12.0.4) for them to work with your iPad.
The final prices, App Store links and Promo videos are below, be sure to let us know what you think of them in the comments:
Adobe Color Lava $2.99 (£1.79)
Adobe Nav $1.99 (£1.19)
Adobe Eazel $4.99 (£2.99)
If you use Adobe Lightroom you need this app on your iPad. It's that simple. We have been involved in beta-testing this app and we tell you why you should run and get it when it is released on Tuesday.
Every now and then an app comes along that solves a problem you have struggled with for a while. Photosmith is one of those apps.
What is Photosmith?
Photosmith's Developers have this to say about the purpose of their app [bold text ours]:
Photosmith brings the ability to manage photos using collections, keywords, tagging, ratings, EXIF, and IPTC metadata. Photographers no longer need to wait until they get back to their main computer or drag a laptop to sort through photos or show clients their latest results.
With Photosmith, photographers can load their photos directly on the iPad, filter, sort, rate, and keyword while in the field/studio. When they get back to Adobe Lightroom on their Mac or PC they can sync all photos from the iPad to Lightroom and all of their tagging and rating will also transfer with no need to duplicate effort.
As we have already said, this app is ideal for any Lightroom user but especially those who want to start their photo management workflow when on the move. That sounds a bit grandiose, but it applies to the holiday snapper on a day out as much as it does the Commercial Pro photographer doing a fashion shoot on the other side of the world.
Photosmith also enables a photographer to travel light, leaving the often heavy laptop at home, taking the far more svelte iPad instead with all of its multi-functional goodness included.
When would I use it?
Let's imagine you have just finished a day's shooting away from your main base (home or studio). You have gone ahead and loaded all your photos onto your iPad (you now have a backup too).
On your return train, car or plane journey, where you may have found it awkward to get a laptop out before, you can just fire up Photosmith on your iPad and start reviewing your shots.
By the time you get back home, or to the studio, you have already begun (and maybe even finished) the often painful process of making selects and adding metadata to your shots, meaning you can get on with editing and the rest of your workflow as soon as you get back in, no time wasted!
What's the process?
Here is a typical photographer-on-the-go workflow for Photosmith:
- After shooting, import photos to the Photos app on your iPad via CCK as normal, photos are placed into the Photos app album.
- Start up the Photosmith app. Photosmith will process the new photos it finds in the Photos app (including Saved Photos and Camera Roll on iPad 2), generate thumbnails/full 1:1 previews and extract the EXIF data.
- Wherever you are, you view, assess, rate, tag, keyword or reject your photos and add any meta data such as IPTC title you wish.
- When you are back at your main machine, start Photosmith on your iPad, then start up Lightroom on your Mac/PC
- Open the Photosmith plugin in Lightroom, wait for it to detect your iPad running Photosmith and hit Sync. All your photos plus any metadata you added in Photosmith will be transferred to your Lightroom library.
Ok, I want it, what's it like to use?
We have been using Photosmith for a few months now, being fortunate (foolish?) enough to be part of the Beta-testing program. The app has really matured over that time and in this release version (1.02) we find a highly useful, carefully programmed and lovingly designed app that will definitely enhance a Lightroom using photographer's workflow.
There is a lot to this app, but let's take a quick look at the main features.
The User Interface (UI)
Any user of Lightroom will feel right at home with Photosmith's user interface (UI). It doesn't copy but echoes the feel of Lightroom so that the controls make sense to the Photographer used to reviewing photos in Adobe's desktop app.
A lot of careful thought has gone into the UI of the app, especially by the designer and it has been interesting to see how it has evolved over the Beta period.
There are three main views to the app:
- Grid view - see thumbnails and select and organise your shots into collections
- Loupe view - (pictured above) gives a 'film strip' along the bottom and metadata/info on right
- Full Screen view - (pictured below) Focus on the images, interface elements are minimised with slide outs for colour, rating and reject selections, but touching the screen anywhere else will bring up the usual UI elements like the filmstrip and title bar, as in Apple's built-in Photos app.
Reviewing and Updating
Once the previews have been built, we found Photosmith surprisingly quick at running through the images, even on the original iPad. If you have hundreds (or worst-case thousands) of shots to work through quickly and find the 'keepers' then there is a very handy Auto advance option (as in Lightroom) which moves onto the next image automatically once a rating, colour tag or 'Reject' setting has been added to an image.
The iPad screen size seems just about perfect for this process and by double-tapping anywhere on the image you can zoom in to a full 1:1 view of your image, even on massive 20+ megapixel RAW files!
This really helps you check the detail and sharpness of an image and interestingly is better, or closer, than the full zoom on the Apple Photos app (for more on this see the Photosmith Grand Tour page).
You no doubt know how powerful collections can be in Lightroom. Photosmith supports creation, editing and organising of collections that are then synced to your Lightroom library. You can select an image or a number of images using the multiple image selection technique described here. Alternatively, use two fingers to tap an image and toggle its selection.
There are a few Smart (or Special) collections automatically generated for you such as Last Import, Rejected Photos and the extremely useful Unmarked Photos so you can see which shots you still have to edit.
When this feature went fully live during the Beta we were so pleased. Like most photo management apps you can use these options to filter by colour and rating and the great thing is that the filter setting is retained as you switch between view mode so that you don't need to keep reselecting your options. You just have to remember that you are filtering your photos or you could panic that photos have disappeared (or maybe that's just us!).
A big part of any photographer's library management is Keywording. Photosmith allows a pretty much unlimited number of keywords (they tested up to 10,000 with some Beta testers) and around 2000 keywords per image being theoretically possible before slowing things down.
Adding a keyword is a simple case of selecting the keyword box which brings up the Keyword selector. From here you can select a keyword to add it (or if it is already applied deselect it to remove), do a search if you have lots of keywords or add a new one. You do this by typing it in to the search box and, because Photosmith recognises it as a new keyword, it will highlight it in green text and put a + sign to the left. Selecting the green text adds the keyword to the photo and keyword database.
We would dearly love to have the ability to add keywords to more than one image, but in this first version of Photosmith that is not included. However, the feature request has appeared on the new Support forum for the app, so we are hopeful this feature will be added in a future version. It is a bit of a bind adding the same keywords over and over again, especially if you have a lot of photos to edit.
Syncing to Lightroom
New keywords, along with any other updated information you enter against your photos is sent over to your Adobe Lightroom library when you Sync with Photosmith. Rejected photos are not synced but left on your iPad.
Syncing has been one of the main things that changed with nearly every Beta release and we know that the Developers have done a lot of work on this as there are so many variables. On the whole, it seems to work well in this release and in our last test we had a no problems at all.
A nice touch is that you can even choose where you are syncing to (Destination Directory), how the photos are organised and the Date Format, so you can match up with your Lightroom library and also choose to have the photos synced from Photosmith placed in another folder by checking the 'Into subdirectory' option, although we chose not to.
Once these selections are made, you hit Sync and leave Photosmith running so that it can transfer your photos and metadata via WiFi.
Advanced Syncing - For When You Have Lots of Photos
If you have got hundreds or even thousands of photos to sync to Lightroom you may find WiFi too slow. In this case you can import your photos directly into Lightroom via USB connection (like you normally would with a Camera/Card as a source). Once that import has finished then connect Photosmith to Lightroom via WiFi and only the edited metadata is transferred to your library.
The Photosmith plugin and sync function is clever enough to match up your photos with their amended metadata coming in from your iPad.
This way, no photos are sent from Photosmith, as they are already there.
If you always have a lot of photos to import after a shoot or holiday, then this may be your preferred way of syncing.
Although Photosmith is not an image editor, if you are skilled enough to get a good enough image straight from the camera, or you want to send your images off to an online backup site, you can still share photos from the app to usual suspects such as Facebook, Flickr, Dropbox and via email.
You have a few options such as image size and destination for most of these sharing options. It is not something we have used really with Photosmith, but it is useful to have these sharing options if and when we need them, pre-editing.
Will Photosmith work with my camera?
Most digital cameras will work fine with Photosmith, especially if you only use JPEG files. Even RAW shooters shouldn't have many issues, but due to the odd variations with file formatting in RAW images, there are a few cameras that have been identified as problematic during Photosmith's beta testing.
This affects things like rendering previews and interperting EXIF data in the RAW files of those cameras (JPGs shot with these cameras should be fine though).
Photosmith and Adobe
Although Photosmith is not an official Adobe app, there has been some input and assistance from Adobe's technical team. After tweeting about some of the difficulties they had with the Adobe's plugin SDK, Tom Hogarty (Lightroom Production Manager) replied on Twitter and put the Photosmith team in touch with one of his Developers who has helped the team out a great deal.
The experience of developing functionality to work with an Adobe desktop app seems to have been overwhelmingly positive, Chris Morse told us:
"Adobe is clearly interested in supporting the 3rd party developer community and Photosmith has been no exception."
"One amazing thing about the contact we've had with Adobe, even though they are a large company they are as approachable as a small one. Senior managers are visible, and responsive, right on Twitter."
We would unreservedly recommend Photosmith and in our opinion any Adobe Lightroom user will find it indefinitely useful. Its appeal and functionality will meet the needs of snapshooters through to professionals running big commercial studios. It should be on the home screen of every iPad owning Lightroom user.
We would like to congratulate the Development team on bringing this project to fruition, we have only seen a small part of the hard work and extraordinary effort that has gone into getting Photosmith this far, and we know there are big plans to continue to develop the app in the future.
Photosmith will be launched on the App Store on Tuesday 26th April, at 12:01 EDT. The app will be $17.99 (£10.99), pricing for other countries can be found here.
Photosmith has now been released and is available for purchase in the App Store.
When we saw the videos following Adobe's iPad app announcement last week we were excited. It is obviously not just about the iPad, but what other tablet is currently out there in the hands of millions of users?
Three New Apps
Adobe Eazel looks nice with some innovative multi-touch UI design, including using all 5 digits at once, but what got us most excited is the use of the iPad as an extension to your Desktop working space with Adobe's Color Lava and Nav apps. None of these apps are released yet but pre-release copies have been reviewed already and you can see them in action in the video above.
A New SDK
The new apps use the Adobe Photoshop Touch SDK to enable direct interaction with Photoshop CS5 (newest update required). This SDK is already available to Developers so we can hope to see a whole little industry open up around tablet integration with Photoshop and we will be keeping an eye on this area in future.
What Do You Think?
We will no doubt have more to say about each of these apps as they are released, but for now we want to know what you think? Are you a Photoshop user? Can you see these apps fitting into your creative workflow? Or is it all a fuss about nothing? Let us know in the comments.
We mentioned Sort Shots a few months ago when discussing the absence of professional level photo management software like Photo Mechanic on the iPad.
At the time the big issue was that Sort Shots could not pass any Tags or Rating metadata added in the app, back to your computer, or even import what you had already added in say Lightroom or Aperture. This meant you had to double-up on your Tags and Keyword entries.
With the release of Sort Shots 2.0 the developers have gone some way towards addressing the issues around adding and editing EXIF data to images using the iPad.
Sort Shots have added Metadata import from and export to some of the major image processing apps, although only Adobe Bridge and Lightroom get full import and export at the moment.
Here is a summary from the Press Release:
Metadata keywords can be read by various software packages including:
* Adobe Bridge and Lightroom (import and export keywords and ratings)
* Apple iPhoto and Aperture (import keywords)
* Microsoft Photo Gallery(R) (import keywords and ratings)
* Nikon Capture NX2 (import keywords)
For Aperture users export of Keywords and Ratings back to your Mac is being developed and will no doubt be available in a future update.
If you have imported Photos directly onto your iPad from a camera or iPhone, you cannot edit their metadata while they are in your Photo Library. You must import the photos that you want to work with into Sort Shots first.
You can import photos either from the Photo Library on your iPad or from your computer via the iTunes File Sharing interface. The video below shows how to do this. It is not as integrated as we would like, but probably the best workaround that Developers can offer at the moment due to Apple's restrictions on iOS access.
Full Res or Optimised?
Another key feature is export of full resolution images back to your computer, although they do say this will slow the process down, so there is an option to export optimised versions of your photos if that is acceptable. We think that it is worth taking the 20% hit in performance to stick with full res images but it is nice to have the option to speed things up when the Web might be the final destination for the images and full res is not necessary.
Remember, Sort Shots is not writing anything back to the originals in your Photo Library, so you have to manually move the edited versions back onto your computer using the iTunes File Sharing function and drag and drop back to a folder as explained in the video below.
An important thing to note is that Sort Shots does not work with RAW images, so it will be your JPEGs that are being edited.
The new features in Sort Shots make it worth another look for those who need to Tag, Rate and edit EXIF data in their images whilst on the move or away from home. Whilst the import/export functionality is a workaround, we still think it is very useful when you need it.
We have mentioned Sort Shots' new features here, but it is worth checking out all of the additional ones on their features page. You may also want to take a look at the video below which explains the new import/export features and how to use iTunes to get the photos into Sort Shots.
Sort Shots 2.0 is available now in the app store at £2.99 ($4.99).
We will come back later with our initial thoughts on the iPhone 4 and iOS 4 and what it means for iPad owners, but in the meantime here is a quick recap of some of the iPad related announcements from last night's WWDC keynote address.
Steve Jobs presented a video reel featuring news clips from America, parts of Europe and Japan. Most of the clips were from the launch of the iPad in each territory with lots of smiling faces and excited punters. People really do love the iPad it seems.
Steve then mentioned some quite astonishing figures. 1 iPad sold every 3 seconds on average, 17 apps per iPad downloaded, 5 million eBooks downloaded via the iBooks store, many of which were probably free, 22% of all eBook sales are purchased on the iPad. That's some impressive stats.
Steve didn't dwell on the iPad too much, this event was focusing squarely on the new iPhone. However, he did have one piece of important iPad news, something which will please anyone who like us have been itching for Apple to open up iBooks to include more published material.
The next version of iBooks, due at any time, includes full support for the popular PDF format. It's too early to tell just how well iBooks will display complex PDF files, but if the experience when viewing PDFs is similar to when viewing ePUB files, this could be quite a game changer.
The ePUB format is limited in scope by its basic nature. Font formatting, for example, is very limited. The PDF format supports just about every typographic and image control available. In short, it forms the basis of almost all printed publications in existence.
We can't wait to see how this develops.
With the US launch of the iPad now less than a week away, we take a look at some of the apps we know are coming to the iPad, or that we really want to see hit the platform when it launches.
Some of this is wishful thinking, some of it is just us getting excited about the ways we can hopefully use our iPads. Between now and launch day we will post one app from each core area of the creative sphere. Part 3 of 5 is...
Photography: Photoshop Mobile App
Admittedly, with regard to photography, we could have picked any number of photo apps currently available for the iPhone. To varying degrees, they all allow manipulation and enhancement of your photos. So it was very difficult to decide on just one.
Really, this is a representative pick, but the Photoshop Mobile app is one that we have used a lot on our iPhones and we would love to see a killer version created for the iPad, taking into account the screen size and extra processing power Adobe could use.
We are all fairly keen amateur photographers here and so we are eagerly looking forward to getting our hands on the iPad and putting it through its paces with photo editing and processing. But what would be really nice is an app that can handle some sort of RAW image processing. The desktop version of Photoshop can obviously handle RAW files, but with the camera connector kit and the capability of pulling images off of a memory card, the iPad completely trumps anything the iPhone can do.
And it would seem a real shame to see the iPad used as just a portable disk drive, without any ability to edit the photos once they are on there. With the latest update to Apple's desktop photo processing software, Aperture 3.0.2, comes iPad support. Initially it looks like it is just syncing with the iPad and recognising it as a photo storage device that is supported.
But imagine if there was a mini-Aperture (or even iPhoto) in the pipeline for the iPad, then things could get really interesting, and for Mac users, the editing and syncing experience could be seamless, with edits made on the iPad carried across and remaining editable back on your Mac. Bliss!
As it stands at the moment though, Photoshop Mobile has fairly basic, but effective and easy to use editing functions and its clean interface and speed on the iPhone has impressed us so far. We can only hope that Adobe are prepping an iPad native re-design of the app as we speak.
It may not happen on launch day but we expect someone, if not Adobe, to come forward fairly soon with photo-editing software on the iPad that will blow us away.
Don't forget to check back tomorrow for Part 4 of our Top 5 apps we cannot wait to see on the iPad. If you haven't already, make sure you don't miss it by subscribing to our RSS feed or follow us on Twitter.