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Adobe Photoshop Express (Beta) Software

At a Glance
  • Adobe Photoshop Express (beta)

    PCWorld Rating

You can get image editing and free, Web-based photo storage under Adobe's Photoshop moniker. Photoshop Express--now in public beta--offers more than the imprimatur of its heritage, though: It makes image editing available wherever you have a Web connection. But this early version has some annoyances and omissions.

Adobe assumes that you'll use the free Photoshop Express service to upload, edit, organize, store, share, and showcase your images. At launch, the company offers 2GB of free storage per user. Adobe says the service will always have a free component, but the plan is to offer more storage, offline editing, and additional editing options. Adobe hasn't yet said when these extra-cost features will be available.

Upload times vary, but it was a bit slow at uploading 8-megapixel pictures. Adobe notes that high demand on the system and on the two data centers dedicated to Photoshop Express may affect upload times. The service, designed using Flash, currently limits the maximum image size to 4000 by 4000 pixels, or 10MB.

Still, Flash adds some of the best features to Photoshop Express: Select an action (crop and rotate, auto correct, exposure, red-eye removal, touch-up, saturation, white balance, highlight, fill light, sharpen, soft focus, or an image effect), and see a preview of the results in a thumbnail image. This approach simplifies editing, without resort to histograms and imaging complexities. The program uses your PC's processing power to render thumbnails in real time, and it works quickly.

The app currently lacks a feature for saving your edited image as a local file that you can use outside Photoshop Express, but Adobe says a fix is in the works. It also lacks a layered undo feature, but you can undo edits if you remember what you did; edits that you make in Photoshop Express don't alter the original image.

The application has drag-and-drop image organizing among folders, image captions, and image ratings. Albums and slide shows can be shared via the Web. A community component lets you browse other people's galleries and integrates with Facebook, Photobucket, and Picasa (you can log in to any of those accounts from within Photoshop Express).

The free Photoshop Express provides great value and easy usability, despite its current limitations. Adobe says that it expects to fix most of the flaws I found; and when it does, I will rate the service. It will undoubtedly be a formidable competitor to sites like Picnik. Nevertheless, advanced users who don't need the visual hand-holding that Photoshop Express provides may prefer free imaging applications like Paint.net.

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Offers an easy way for inexperienced users to edit and share their photos.

    Pros

    • Visually based image editing helps newbies
    • Easy to use

    Cons

    • Uploads limited by file size and dimensions
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