Demo: Adobe Nav for iPad for Photoshop CS5

Having devised Adobe Configurator, I’m clearly a fan of tailoring large, complex apps to be more “everything you want, nothing you don’t.” The newly announced Adobe Nav fits in that vein, enabling use of a customizable toolbar on a tablet. Designer Geoff Dowd offers a quick tour:

I’m expecting apps like this to work best for people who have a hardware dock (e.g. the little keyboard one can get for an iPad) at their main work areas. A dock lets you can plug in the tablet, then forget about battery drain or propping it up yourself.

34 thoughts on “Demo: Adobe Nav for iPad for Photoshop CS5

  1. Great idea.
    This would be great if you could use the iPad as the input for the mouse pad too, so you wouldn’t need to keep using the mouse pad. in a similar way to a Wacom Tablet, but with your finger.
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. This is just me, but in 15 years, I’ve never once thought “Gee, I could be so much more productive if I could just hide those darn Dodge and Burn tools”. I use the keyboard shortcuts to get to the tools I want, even when the tool palette is tabbed off. For viewing multiple documents, I just turn off the “Open Documents as Tabs” preference and then swipe to use Expose’s “All Windows” function (I realize that wouldn’t be an option on MS Windows). Now I just need to figure out what to do with the money I just saved from not having to buy a $499 dongle to do the same thing.
    Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like Adobe is smitten with the iPad and spending a lot of time and effort conjuring up reasons to play with it. Is it that Photoshop is so perfect that there are no serious issues to address anymore?

  3. This seems really impractical. Why would I want to be using my iPad and my Mac at the same time / want to pick up my iPad to change tools. Has no one ever heard of keyboard shortcuts?
    Seems like a nice proof of concept but fairly pointless.
    Nice just the same to see Adobe working so hard on innovating with the iPad, but I’d rather bigger more powerful tools that are easy to use than silly accessories.

    1. I’m really excited for this tool. If you think about it a keyboard is really impracticle as an input device for photoshot. Why should we have to learn complicated and confusing keyboard shortcuts.
      I’m excited to push my keyboard off to the side and replace it with my ipad when I’m using photoshop, and I am even more excited to other software tools find creative ways to use the ipad as a input device for my desktop…

      1. Personally I find choosing a tool by clicking a single key anything but confusing. And very importantly, you get tactile feedback with a physical keyboard which means you can use it without looking at it. And an iPad will quickly get cluttered if you wan to replace all the huge variety of functionality a keyboard is currently used for.
        Replacing a £20 item with a £500 item doesn’t exactly make much sense to me either.
        As an adjunct to a keyboard, pen and mouse a tablet may add a few tricks that may be of real benefit to some people. I’d like to be able to use it as somewhere to put panels when using a laptop for example. The toolbar tweaking is of almost zero importance to me as I so very rarely use it, all because I use the simple keyboard shortcuts. ;-p

        1. Buttons/Keys are what keyboards do best. Instead of trying to replicate the keyboard’s functions, I’d rather see stuff that the keyboard can’t do as easily, such as sliders, or some multi-touch functions (finger puppet warp! hahahaha…)
          Of course, these are the kind of things that might not work as well with whatever interface developers get to Photoshop.

  4. It’s a bit gymmicky, but I am sure I am going to use it.
    Ps has so many available keyboard shortcuts, I know I’ll never learn to use them all and for some strange reason I always had a hard time remembering the ones for the tools.
    My old brain will feel relieved using the Nav.
    Maybe there should be a way to make the Nav buttons a bit smaller to fit more tools on the screen.
    Love Ps and my iPad.

    1. Most tools shortcuts are first letter of tool’s name.Though there are some inevitable overlaps, for example the moVe tool uses the sound of the v in the name instead and the eyedropper uses the i for eye, so to speak.
      The j for spot removal tool is one I admittedly fail to remember, but then as I so very rarely use it, that’s not that surprising.

  5. I’d love to check out the video demonstrating iPad functionality, but it doesn’t work on my iPad which I’m using to browse at the moment 😉
    Absurdities like this are wasted on Adobe who are hoping Steve will relent any day now.
    [No, they’re not. Like everyone else, we’ll dutifully bend over backwards to work around iOS limitations. The problem with viewing embedded Adobe TV video here is temporary (and admittedly annoying). –J.]

  6. I’m pretty excited about it. But then I’m using only two monitors at work, and the toolbar is so small in all that real estate. I’m sure it will be more useful once people actually give it a whack.
    Of course the iPad hate is still out there, with claims of it being a toy and not for anything but consumption of media. And of course, proof to the contrary over the past year doesn’t matter. I’m appreciative of Adobe that they are taking the high road on this subject regardless of the naysayers.

  7. It’s this kind of development that’s really exciting to see; geez who knows what we’ll be doing and what we’ll be doing it with in the future.
    Exciting times! Thanks for sharing John.

  8. I’m with Glyn on tbis one, the future is looking really interesting at the moment. All methods of user input are open to change and these apps are a step along the way.

  9. This would be really useful if an iPAD was strapped to my CS5.5 upgrade. I think the innovation is amazing, but I do hate the fact that it is platform dependent. I am not an Apple hater, just not an Apple user. Why not just put this feature in the software much like the variable workspaces? If you linked the two together it would be even more helpful (change workspace = change in layout, panels and tool set).
    [That’s exactly what the aforelinked Configurator lets you do (and has supported since CS4). –J.]

  10. I would rather see a Lightroom App that interacts with my Lightroom on my laptop so I can have galleries sorted etc… Right now I have to export photos in Lightroom just to export them from iTunes to the iPad. An LR app would make that much more sense!

  11. Adobe is 20 years behind as far as interface design. If they got a little bit more creative they would pop thumbnails strait from the window menu instead of having to use an iPad!!! Actually they need to get more involved with contextual menus and new interface ideas instead of the old toolbox, millions on menus. The time for menu bars is over. When you actually play with an iPad you realize that Apple is innovative and found a new way of working without all these menus, and that’s why the Windows tablet never took off before and after the iPad. It’s time to change century Adobe!
    [You’re right: Apple apps don’t use menu bars at all, and the iPad is a suitable full-featured machine on which everyone is doing all their real production work. –J.]

  12. Nav is one of the most exciting of our three new applications IF you think beyond Nav itself. We’re showcasing one of the most powerful pieces of the new Photoshop SDK – the ability to drive Photoshop from a device; the device in this case is an iPad, but other developers can take advantage of sample code and technology in the SDK to develop for Android, iOS…anything with a wi-fi connection, even another application. So, while having the iPad as an alternate input device and a container to browse up to 200! open documents in Photoshop is really powerful…imagine a few of the following scenarios:
    -an ebook that drives Photoshop (tools in the article driving tools in Photoshop; menus and commands called by the tutorial itself; your OWN images populating the tutorial; values in the book entering values in Photoshop – magic)
    -a camera (with wi-fi) talking to Photoshop
    -any one of the thousands of imaging apps tossing files to Photoshop and requesting millions of operations upon hand-off
    The possibilities are limitless.
    Think of Nav as a showcase for the technology with some wonderful added benefits that satisfy common requests (as mentioned towards the end of that video, being able to take anything on Photoshop’s screen down the hall for review…even break the connection; then re-establish it upon returning to PS, is a very powerful way to easily share anything open in PS on a device that excels at displaying
    I can tell you that we’re most excited about what our developers will produce with the new Photoshop SDK, but having said that…Nav is a great way to review comps in Photoshop away from one’s desk.
    Thanks for your input.
    -Bryan O’Neil Hughes
    Senior Product Manager, Photoshop

  13. Bryan,
    Does this new SDK permit round-tripping between the device app and Photoshop? eg: a device sends a file to Photoshop with a series of edit instructions, upon completion PS sends it back to the device, and so on. You could potentially have a ‘Photoshop server’ that enables any app on a mobile device to access all of Photoshop’s power.
    And in fact, why stop there? Imagine the entire Creative Suite having such a feature: I could create motion designs ‘offline’ with proxies in a tablet edition of AE, and send it off to the ‘AE Server’ for full rendering!
    So all this is currently limited to a local WiFi network… will it ever be able to work over the internet?

    1. Hi Andrew, Yes! The SDK permits (and the Nav app enables) sending imagery both to and from Photoshop – as you mention, many possibilities here!
      At this time we operate over a password-protected, LOCAL, wi-fi connection. Your suggestion for a broader, “headless” support of Photoshop is heard though – thank you.
      -Bryan O’Neil Hughes

  14. Making interface friendly and usefull is part of the programmer work, not of the user. When i saw “Ipad” and “Photoshop CS5”, i’ve found it pretty exciting ! I imagined myself retouching picture in my sofa or or creating website template in the subway… But here, it’s just a useless remote control ? Hoping for improvement !

  15. I’m not sure using an app to change the tool used is very useful, although some might see it as a specialized keyboard. I probably wouln’t use it.
    As for using an app to directly do stuff to the picture à la Wacom Cintiq, no thanks.
    BUT: what no one has raised until now (at least I haven’t seen it commented anywhere, and being in China, I can’t see the video either) is the possibility to see a full screen view of the layers (and add some), like for example see a full ipad screen view for fine tuning a levels adjustment, or get the separate RGB channels of a curves layer on the same screen and change it with your finger, or easily access the layer styles… NOW THAT would change my life in photoshop.

    1. +1
      if it work on Iphone with its more than 300dpi screen or ipad 3(HD screen ???) !!
      A 100% filter preview windows on the iphone !
      So one can preview sharpen for print at 300dpi
      Great feature it would be

  16. I did not know about Adobe Nav until now, but this is very inspiring. Rather to use tablet to replace PC, using it to extend it is just genius.
    However, i cannot find Adobe Nav in the app store? Did I miss something?
    [The app isn’t released yet, but it will be soon. Glad you like what you’ve seen so far. –J.]

  17. Adobe is really taking the high road here, and we all benefit. The spate of tools they’re previewing for use with the iPad is just the beginning, and it really does assure me that Adobe’s dev teams are as innovative as they’ve ever been.
    That said, I suppose I should take my gripes about Adobe’s Air development elsewhere — Photoshop’s UI reeks of “port,” and I can’t even double-click a window’s toolbar to send it to the dock. Cross-platform development is a scourge. (Oops, I didn’t take my gripes elsewhere after all!)

  18. Wow, this SDK should mean that Lightroom can be very closely integrated with Photoshop. So I guess you will be able to get hold ALL the tools within Photoshop and apply them from within Lightroom? So the start of pixel manipulation from within Lightroom. It is very exciting to see where this will take us!

  19. Open documents is something I recall asking for in Mini bridge in last cycle. As that would be an ideal way of navigating multiple open files and you wouldn’t an expensive tablet to do so either.
    Though obviously being able to do so on a tablet gives other options as mentioned in video.

  20. Is Adobe Nav implemented in Adobe AIR and recompiled as an iPad app? If not, please comment on why? I think it’s a great concept, and I certainly hope Adobe eat their own dog food and write the app in Actionscript.
    [Unfortunately at the time this app started development, Apple was still disallowing apps written using ActionScript, AIR, and similar technologies. Had it been done using AIR, Nav could be running right away on Android. –J.]

  21. I love the images view part. The tools part looks still very simple and i will go one using my keyboard.
    I can see a wonderfull potential for my training job!
    What i would really love would be the ability to connect several computers at the same time , sending one pic from my pad to all of them in one operation.
    I am doing Photoshop training and it would be a great tool to send pics to a whole room of students (customers) computers for exercising (demonstrating), as well i would be able to show/see every pictures of every computers from the room direct from my Pad by sweeping with three fingers for exemple passing from one computers to another! would be amazing to me.
    Great tool for training/demonstrating
    Not even thinking of replacing the word “room” by the world “Internet” for remote training/demonstrating with an easy routing solution provided by Adobe…!!
    Think production, great for your present! Think education, even better for your future !
    Thanks for listening

  22. there is actually a controller out there (like a video game controller) that you can easily program to work with almost any program. I have one to work with Digital Photo Profession. I have one key programmed to be alt-1, another to be alt-2 and two for forward and back. this is my editing tool. i’m sure that it would work for this as well.

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