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Photoshop Express Online - its here!

Written by on March 27, 2008

About a year ago I was told that Adobe was going to create an online version of Photoshop - and that was big news. It is relatively easy to create an online mail application (it is just text), but an online version of Photoshop? That would be a spectacular example of advanced application design.

I have been following the development of "Adobe Photoshop Express" (indirectly) and today they finally released it to the public. So the big question is... Is it an online version of Photoshop?

Well... no - it's not. Not even close actually. Not even "kind of the same thing". Adobe "Photoshop" Express is not an image editor, in any way. It is solely an image adjustment tool - like Google Picassa, Apple iPhoto, ACDSee or Windows Photo Album.

You cannot control part of an image - e.g. select something and adjust only that. You cannot control image levels, or the saturation of each color. You cannot clone part of an image, you cannot mix elements, you cannot flip it, you have no brushes, you cannot paint anything, and you cannot add text.

In short - you cannot do any of the things you would expect from a "Photoshop" application.

This is what you can do...

You can see you images, create albums and view them as slideshows:

You can do basic full image adjustements like changing the exposure, remove red eyes, sharpen it etc.

You can add a few selected effects, like making it black & white, boost hues or turn it into a sketch.

I must admit that I am hugely disappointed. This is nothing like Photoshop. It's pretty much the same as Picknik. And this is from THE "image editing company" - the big guys of the graphic industry.

The question now is, of course, is it at all possible to create advanced image editing on the web? The answer is yes and no. Splashup is close to the desktop version of Photoshop - it even looks like it. But, it is still not very advanced.

Splashup is more like Photoshop version 3 from 1994 - not Photoshop CS3 from 2007. It's cool, but it does not, in any way, allow you to do professional work.

Advanced web applications design are still a thing "yet to come...". We can do amazing things with text and boxes, but when it comes to graphics or anything visual the desktop still rules the game.

BTW: I know that my expectations was "a bit too high". But then again, they did call it "Photoshop" - didn't they?


A side note: Scrapblog, an extremely cool web application, also includes "basic image editing" as of yesterday.

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Thomas Baekdal

Thomas Baekdal

Founder of Baekdal, author, writer, strategic consultant, and new media advocate.


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