Adobe Photoshop Express Mini-Review: Can It Rival Picnik?

touch-up-1.jpgThe online photo editing space is getting as crowded as an Irish pub on a Thursday night at happy hour. Joining Web sites like Picnik and Snipshot, Adobe today launched Photoshop Express (www.photoshop.com/express). The makers of the advanced photo-editing program, Photoshop, are taking their expertise and bringing it to the novice photo editor with a new browser-based service. What will Adobe’s new (and free!) online photo-editing service bring to the table that others like it haven’t? If you ask Adobe, they’ll tell you: ease of use and simple photo tweaks. We’ve spent the last few days playing around with the service and couldn’t help but compare it directly with Picnik, a leader in the online photo-editing space. Interface Adobe Photoshop Express has a clean and simple interface. Taking a detour from Picnik’s green-grass-and-blue-sky look, the site has a dark gray background, and the editing tools are colorfully decorated to stand out. All the tools are easy to find and are vertically displayed on the screen’s right side. Finding the location of tools in Photoshop Express took a few minutes, but once I was up and running, I had no problems. I do have to admit, though, I prefer working in Picnik’s colorful interface. The two interfaces are shown below, with Photoshop Express at left and Picnik at right.

interface.jpginterfacepic.jpg

uploading.jpgUploading Picnik isn’t the place to store your pictures and edit them—Photoshop Express is. The service offers 2GB of storage space, so you can upload pictures and store the edited versions online. Even better, you can upload multiple pictures at a time. I also like being able to upload pictures into albums and organize them by name. Photoshop Express, like Picnik, supports bringing in pictures from social-networking and photo-storage sites such as Facebook, Picasa, and Photobucket. I had no problem bringing in Facebook pictures and editing them in Express. Adobe plans to add support for Flickr within the next few weeks. Editing The editing tools in Photoshop Express are broken down into three categories.

  • The Basics section includes cropping and red-eye tools.
  • Tuning includes tweaks for adjusting white balance and sharpening areas of the image.
  • Effects has a pop-color tool that can change the color of a specific object in an image.

The editing tools were on a par with Picnik’s. The blemish tool worked really well and was able to hide zits and misplaced hairs. Once again, however, I prefer Picnik’s red-eye tool; it better pinpointed the pupil area and has a specific setting for removing red eyes in photos of animals.

editingpe.jpgeditingpic.jpg

sketc2h.jpgEditing Extras Currently Photoshop Express lacks the editing extras I love so much in Picnik. You can simply change the basic look of a picture, such as with the sketch tool (see image to the right). But it cannot compare to Picnik’s fun and lively tools, which let you do everything from change the image to a night-vision look, place text on top of it, or add neat-looking clip art. Photoshop Express: Early Verdict Photoshop Express is a simple and very easy-to-use online photo-editing tool. My favorite thing about it is the 2GB of storage space and easy upload methods. Its editing tools are basic, but that really could be enough for the novice user. However, in comparison to a fully baked online editing suite like Picnik, Photoshop Express just doesn’t have all the bells and whistles I enjoy. Adobe will, of course, be rolling out more tools over the next few months as the software is currently in an early public beta. Head on over to Photoshop Express and let us know what you like and don’t like about it. Stay tuned for our full review.

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  1. michael soriano Says:

    It can rival Picnik for sure – but can it win? Both have a long way to go to be an alternative to desktop image editors – but if one was to edit something online – it’s Picnik hands down. I also did a similar review re Photoshop Express: http://main.fearlessflyer.com/2008/05/15/photoshop-express-not-too-exciting/

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