Adobe Launches Photoshop Touch SDK for Mobile and Tablets

Adobe delivers a new Photoshop Touch software development kit for developers to create interactive apps for mobile and tablet devices using Adobe's core creative technology.

Hoping to better enable developers to build applications for tablet devices, Adobe Systems has announced the Photoshop Touch Software Development Kit.

The new Touch SDK enables developers to create mobile and tablet applications that interact with Adobe Photoshop CS5 and Photoshop CS5 Extended software, uniting the fun and interactive experience of touch devices with the power and precision of Photoshop.

On April 11, Adobe announced the Photoshop Touch SDK and a new scripting engine in Photoshop CS5, which now opens the door for Android, BlackBerry Tablet OS and iOS apps to drive and interact with Photoshop on the desktop. Adobe also launched Creative Suite 5.5, a significant midcycle release to the industry-leading design and development software for virtually every creative workflow across print, video, mobile and online media.

Using the Touch SDK, Adobe has developed three initial Photoshop CS5 companion apps for Apple iPad: Adobe Color Lava for Photoshop, Adobe Eazel for Photoshop and Adobe Nav for Photoshop. The apps are designed to enable users to create custom color swatches, paint and drive popular Photoshop tools from tablet devices.

"Our research shows that creatives are adopting tablets faster than any other group, and we heard loud and clear that they want to use their devices to interact with Photoshop, the tool they depend on most of all," said John Loiacono, senior vice president and general manager of Digital Media Solutions at Adobe, in a statement. "The apps that we announced today show some of the creative ways tablets can work with Photoshop, and over the next few months Photoshop's vibrant developer community is going to dazzle us with innovative apps that further integrate tablet devices into creative workflows."

"There are many other fun things in this new release, but this caught my eye: Photoshop Touch SDK," said Al Hilwa, an analyst with IDC. "Will this turn tablets into artist devices in a really creative way? Can you imagine scenarios or whole new genres of art where artists author on the move? What I find interesting is that here the palette is the canvas!"

As stated, Adobe has developed three initial Photoshop Touch apps: Adobe Color Lava, Adobe Eazel and Adobe Nav. Adobe Color Lava, allows creative professionals to use their fingertips to mix colors on the iPad, creating custom color swatches and themes to transfer back into Photoshop, Adobe said.

Adobe Eazel, which takes advantage of the latest painting technology, enables digital artists to create rich realistic paintings with their fingertips and introduces a new kind of interaction between "wet" and "dry" paints. These paintings can then be sent directly to Photoshop CS5 for compositing or for taking the artwork further.

And Adobe Nav increases workflow efficiency by enabling users to select and control Photoshop tools using the iPad as the input surface, customize the toolbar, browse and zoom in on up to 200 open Photoshop files, and easily create new files.

All three applications take advantage of the iPad tablet's touch screen for a truly immersive, tactile, on-the-go experience. While the first applications available are for the Apple iPad and the iOS, the Photoshop Touch SDK makes development possible on other devices, including Android and BlackBerry PlayBook.

Utilizing the Touch SDK, developers will have wide access to Photoshop functionality with the freedom to innovate and create new apps or add capabilities to existing ones. Adobe has already engaged with a number of developers across the industry to incorporate tablets and other devices into creative workflows that empower Photoshop users in new and groundbreaking ways.

In an April 10 blog post on the news, Russell Brady, Adobe's director of public relations, said:

"Holy tablet-revolution Batman! Today also sees Adobe extend the creative process beyond the desktop by helping integrate tablet devices into creative workflows. The new Adobe Photoshop Touch Software Development Kit (SDK) enables developers to build tablet applications that interact with Photoshop from Android, BlackBerry PlayBook and iOS devices. Adobe also announced three new iPad applications that demonstrate the creative possibilities of using tablets to drive common Photoshop workflows-Adobe Color Lava for Photoshop, Adobe Eazel for Photoshop and Adobe Nav for Photoshop. Letting a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend is our policy to turbo-charge Photoshop's integration into the tablet revolution, comrades. Unlike some companies we think tablets are here to stay and creatives want to use them for their work."

Developers can access the free Adobe Photoshop Touch SDK today for Windows and Mac OS platforms on the Adobe Application Manager at Current Photoshop CS5 customers can experience the value of the connection to devices by downloading and installing a free patch available on or via the Adobe Application Manager, beginning May 3, 2011. The Adobe Color Lava, Adobe Eazel and Adobe Nav applications for Photoshop are also expected to be available in early May 2011, ranging in price from $1.99 to $4.99, on the iTunes App Store. For more information or to sign up to be notified when the apps become available for purchase, visit

Adobe Photoshop CS5 and CS5 Extended are available through Adobe Authorized Resellers, the Adobe Store and Adobe direct sales. Estimated street price for Adobe Photoshop CS5 is $699, and $999 for Photoshop CS5 Extended.

With the April 11 launch of the Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 product family, Adobe also announced a new flexible subscription-based pricing plan. With subscription pricing, customers can use Adobe Photoshop for as little as $35 per month.