Photoshop for iPad gets one-tap selections, takes baby step toward desktop power

Photoshop for iPad has a ways to go before the mobile version is as robust as the desktop software — but that’s not stopping the new app from making a few firsts along the way. On Monday, December 16, Adobe launched Select Subject on Photoshop for iPad. Adobe says that the tool is a first for any iPad app, with no other apps offering a selection tool that’s simultaneously as powerful and simple.

Like the desktop tool, Select Subject uses machine learning to analyze the image and make a selection around the subject. The tool uses multiple algorithms to create the finished selection, including one to actually find the subject and one to create a sharp edge with minimal artifacts. While using multiple algorithms, the tool works in one tap.

Like on the desktop, Select Subject won’t perfectly outline every subject (even Adobe admits this), but it works for many types of images where the subject is easily recognizable. Adobe says the tool will continue to get refined — including improvements to selections around hair and fur.

Some improvements have already launched. Adobe says the tool now makes even cleaner edge selections than when the option was first launched for desktop users last year.

Along with the addition of the Select Subject option, Cloud documents see a performance boost in the update. Adobe says users can see up to 90% faster uploads and downloads, though speeds vary based on connection speed and the file size. The update is live for PSD files that are 75 MB and larger, with a similar update for smaller sizes on the way.

The update also brings a few interface improvements, including changes to make the app more consistent with the desktop experience, adjustments to layer controls and layer adjustment controls, and improvements to adding text.

The heavily anticipated Photoshop for iPad launched earlier this year to a mixed response. While Adobe has always said the iPad app would build towards a full Photoshop experience, many users were disappointed by the lack of features. The first version focuses on the tools that users tend to use most, including tools for making selections and working with layers.

The latest Photoshop for iPad update is rolling out to users beginning today.

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