It's a far cry from the desktop version, but Adobe Photoshop Express for Android and iOS offers image editing, enhancement and filtering capabilities well beyond those included with most devices. This free app is well worth the 95 MB of device storage it occupies. Typical of Adobe apps, PSX is front-ended with an intuitive UI that's finger-friendly, fast and flexible. A recent update automatically removes blemishes and other unwanted spots, reduces fog and haze from shots, and improves image intensity and support for RAW files.
On launch, PSX displays a prompt to open an image already on the device, create a new one using the device's camera or access one through Adobe's Revel cloud storage service.
We'd prefer direct access to third-party services, too, of course, but Adobe adds login connectors for Google+ and Facebook to ease the burden. The app supports JPG and PNG file formats along with RAW image formats from all major players, including Canon, Fuji, Kodak, Konica, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, Samsung and Sony.
Once a file is open, a scrollable row of thumbnails (a la Instagram) appears along the bottom of the screen, representing effects filters. Tapping on one of several dozen filters included with the app applies that filter. About two dozen more are available for in-app purchase (including the fog and noise filters), which are tools for setting levels, adding borders, removing red-eye and blemishes, and for cropping. The cropping function overlays a grid and presents a slider for rotation, as well as buttons for 90-degree rotation, horizontal and vertical flipping and forced constraint to about a dozen aspect ratios.
We tested a few of Adobe's automatic image-editing features, and found that some worked better than others. We were happy with the one-touch adjustments to contrast and exposure, but found that the sharpen and highlights enhancements just made things worse. The effects filters, which Adobe calls "looks," are great for quickly snazzing up and sharing an image on social networks (with direct sharing through MMS, email Facebook, Instagram and others). For example, the image shown here was enhanced with a look called Contrastpunch.
Adobe Photoshop Express is a solid app that adds enough value to make it a keeper.
PUBLISHED JAN. 8, 2015