Adobe is already on the iPad with Adobe Photoshop Express. It’s a decent app, especially considering it’s free, but it’s mainly good for performing basic edits and applying common filters to photos. Adobe Ideas serves an entirely different function; allowing you to capture inspiration as it happens and get it ready for some serious Photoshop or Illustrator work when you get home.
What is it?
Adobe calls Adobe Ideas a “digital sketchbook,” and that’s pretty accurate. It’s not a full-fledged drawing app, but rather a way to quickly document and share your ideas. You can use the basic drawing tools to create rough sketches, for example. If you’re hit with an idea while cycling through your photos, or just happen upon a color scheme you like, you can open the photo in Adobe Ideas to draw out ideas or write down notes on the image, or to sample the colors.
Images can be saved back to your camera roll or e-mailed for outside work.
How does it work?
To make the best use of Adobe Ideas, you should have two things: 1.) a stylus and 2.) the iPad Camera Connection Kit. The stylus will allow you to be much more precise with your drawing and note taking. The camera connection kit is for getting photos from your camera to your iPad while you’re out and about. Of course, the camera(s) on the rumored iPad 2 will address this issue. But until that comes to pass, be prepared.
Once you’ve got your photo on the iPad, opening it with Adobe Ideas immediately presents a basic starter screen from which you can open a photo on your iPad or create an image from scratch. No matter which you selection, you’ll then see a clean but basic toolset interface. Along the left or right (your choice) are tools for drawing, erasing, selecting your brush size, adjusting opacity, selecting your color and selecting your color theme (custom and provided).
Creating a new color theme is fantastic. You simply open a photo and Adobe Ideas samples five colors from it. You can move the sample points around to adjust them, then save.
When you next open a photo, you’ll see your theme(s) when you tap “Themes” in the toolbar.
The drawing tools are vector based, so the lines remain smooth even when zoomed in. The brush size tool supports multitouch, so you can adjust brush size while applying color to your image.
Now, the main source of complaint in the user comments for Adobe Ideas is that layers aren’t free. The app supports up to 10, but only after you’ve purchased layer support for $4.99 in-app. Many users feel layers should have been rolled into the app, considering it’s so important to the image alteration process. That’s probably true, but it doesn’t alter the fact that Adobe Ideas with layer support is worth $4.99 either up front or via an in-app purchase, so, no harm, no foul.
Is it contagious?
That depends entirely upon how serious you are about image creation and manipulation. Having these tools available to you with the convenience of the iPad is great, especially for free. However, you’ll need to spend some money in order to truly make Adobe Ideas useful. You’ll definitely want to drop $4.99 on layer support. The Camera Connection Kit is also a must for capturing images as you find them, and a stylus is suggested for the type of drawing precision you get from your mouse or tablet pen back on your computer.
Put all this together, though, and you’re set for productive bursts of creativity whenever inspiration strikes.