I just signed up for Adobe’s newest gizmo. It’s an online, Flash based, digital photo storage and basic manipulation program called “photoshop express“and my first impression is pretty favorable.
Right off the bat, I am impressed with the layout. Since I use Photoshop and have used other photo manipulation programs from Adobe like Lightroom I was put right at ease with the layout. Things like bulk upload and creating albums were simple and intuitive. For bulk upload you open a folder and use [Shift] or [Ctrl] to select the images you want. To create an album you can either drag a photo/group of photos from your browser and drop them onto the + sign next to the album list or you can click on the plus sign and create a new album with no content.
Manipulating photos is also a breeze, just click on a picture and you’re presented with several options like crop, saturation, hue, and so on. No, you old photoshop dogs, you can’t mess with the curves or change the levels. Sorry, this is for beginners.
And that’s the idea behind the program: get beginners hooked on photoshop. If you take the program for what it sets out to do then it’s doing an outstanding job. If you’re expecting more, you may be disappointed, but then you’re probably the kind of person who’s disappointed when he hears that there’s free ice cream, but it’s only Chocolate ice-cream.
One of the other interesting features is that there are api’s for Facebook, Photobucket, and Picasa. You click on the link, put in your username and password and the application downloads your images. What a neat idea. Let’s put aside the security concerns (you’re passing your username and password through another system…) and just deal with the functionality. In a single interface I can download, manipulate, and upload a photo from another photo storage site. That’s pretty darned cool.
Unfortunately, they only have Facebook, Photobucket, and Picasa right now. I would expect to see MySpace, flickr, and others populating soon.
The other cool thing the system does is it uploads the EXIF data. Right now it only makes use of the date portion (as far as I can tell) but there might be more functionality coming on line for that feature as well.
It’s not all strawberries and rhubarb though. The beta launched today and so a bit of slowness is to be expected, but there were times when I wanted to rip my hair out. Uploads were slow, manipulations are slow, and in more than one instance the whole application just froze up. I also found that it runs better in Internet Explorer than it does in Firefox, which I don’t like. In fact, Firefox crashed twice during my testing. Again, this is stuff that will get worked out over time, but it’s a bit frustrating now (it’s a Beta test! calm down!)
The UI was also a bit frustrating, every time you delete a picture, it jumps you back to the top of your photo list. With the time delays as it reloaded the whole gallery after every delete and then jumped you back to the top I was cringing.
The other odd thing was I must have spent a half an hour looking for the place to set my profile image. In most of these social networking types of sites it’s in your profile. But here you have to click on the photo you want to use and select the option from a long list. They’ll fix this I’m sure.
But other than that, it’s a darned cool program. It lets me set metadata, sort, organize, do basic manipulation, pull photos from other storage sites, and present my pictures in a little gallery.
Not bad for free.
Go check it out.
(My gallery is at http://bostelle.photoshop.com)