New Adobe Touch Apps Include Sketching and Prototyping Tools

Adobe Systems on Tuesday released Adobe Touch Apps, a set of six creative tools for Android tablets. The star of the bunch is Adobe Ideas, a sketching app that produces vector illustrations that can be exported to Illustrator or Photoshop.

It’s a natural for tablets, because you can draw on the screen using your finger or stylus. You can also import photos into a separate layer and trace on top of them. The Ideas page includes a video in which St. Louis artist Brian Yap discusses his work with the product. You can also learn more on the Adobe Ideas blog.

Adobe Ideas is available for both iOS and Android, but other apps are currently available only for Android tablets. Adobe expects to offer iOS versions early next year.

Another app, Photoshop Touch, functions like a “light” version of Photoshop, allowing you to apply filters, image adjustments, gradient effects and other operations to artwork. One interesting feature is Scribble Select, a masking tool that makes it easy to knock out backgrounds for compositing. As with Ideas, you can export the images to Photoshop with a plug-in.

Images are limited to 16 layers and 1600×1600 pixels, and all layers are rasterized. So it wouldn’t be a good starting point for a photo-correction workflow but could be useful for compositing work or design concepts. At a press event Monday, Adobe product manager David Macy said current tablets aren’t powerful enough to handle features such as Camera Raw or non-destructive layer effects. But he expects that as they evolve, tablets will eventually be able to handle a more-robust set of imaging tools.

Also of note is Proto, an app for website prototyping—you can sketch wireframes with your finger. One cool feature is the ability to use simple finger gestures to add HTML elements. For example, you can draw a box (even a rough one) and it appears in the layout as a div element. An “X” becomes an image container. A triangle becomes a movie container. Drawing zig-zags (horizontally or vertically) generates lorem ipsum text. It also has tools for adding elements such as text, buttons, navbars, drop-down menus, accordion menus and check boxes. Once they’re placed on the layout, you can use finger gestures to resize or reposition them.

More new Touch Apps include Kuler, an app version of Adobe’s color-harmonizing tool; Collage for creating design concepts; and Debut for making client presentations.

Priced at $9.99 each, the apps run on tablets with Android 3.1 or newer and a minimum screen size of 8.9 inches. The iOS version of Adobe Ideas costs $5.99 and runs on any Apple device using iOS 3.1 or higher. All of these apps work in conjunction with Adobe’s recently announced Creative Cloud online service, which is currently in a beta preview. Projects created in these apps and uploaded to the Creative Cloud can then be imported into Creative Suite applications.