Adobe Pho­to­shop on the iPad? This artist is ready

Vis­ual devel­op­ment artist Lizzie Ni­chols has never taken the iPad se­ri­ously un­til now, finds Leif John­son

iPad&iPhone user - - CONTENTS -

Lizzie Ni­chols tells me she’s mildly in­sulted that paint­ing pro­grams like Pro­cre­ate get stuffed un­der ‘En­ter­tain­ment’ on the iPad App Store. I can’t say I blame her. Ni­chols is one of the vis­ual devel­op­ment artists for Sony Pic­tures An­i­ma­tion’s Ho­tel Tran­syl­va­nia 3: Sum­mer Va­ca­tion, which hit cin­e­mas in July and has con­sis­tently racked up praise for its

art and an­i­ma­tion (if not its crass hu­mour). Art is her busi­ness – specif­i­cally, the paint­ing of en­vi­ron­ments and props that in­form 3D de­sign­ers how a pro­duc­tion should look, along with the paint­ing of char­ac­ters – and she does it well. She worked on the pre­vi­ous Ho­tel Tran­syl­va­nia film, and her long list of cred­its in­clude The Emo­jiMovie, Sm urfs: The Lost Vil­lage, Fu­tu­rama, along with free­lance work for the likes of Dis­ney Tele­vi­sion and Car­toon Net­work. And she does al­most all of it with Adobe Pho­to­shop on a Mac Pro with an at­tached Wa­com Cin­tiq Com­pan­ion dis­play.

But that may soon change. Around the same time that Ho­tel Tran­syl­va­nia 3 first started light­ing up sil­ver screens, Adobe con­firmed re­ports that it would fi­nally bring a full ver­sion of Pho­to­shop to the iPad next year. And now, for the first time, Ni­chols is con­sid­er­ing mak­ing the iPad Pro an es­sen­tial part of her work­flow.

“If the iPad was able to faith­fully repli­cate what it’s like to use Pho­to­shop on my Mac with a Cin­tiq,” she says, “then I would most likely use the iPad much more than my Cin­tiq Com­pan­ion.”

When Ni­chols says “faith­fully repli­cate”, she means ev­ery­thing. Any­thing less would be in­ad­e­quate.

“Pho­to­shop is the main way I get all of my art­work done, so the more ways I can ac­cess it, the bet­ter,” she adds. “The ideal thing would be to be able to take Pho­to­shop out into the world with my iPad and be able to work away from my of­fice or home stu­dio, with­out los­ing the func­tion­al­ity of Pho­to­shop on my desk­top setup.”

That means that Adobe even needs to make sure that its key­board short­cuts make the tran­si­tion in­tact,

as Ni­chols finds they help keep her work­flow “fast and ef­fi­cient”. Along with Ap­ple’s Fin­der, they are also a big part of why she prefers Ap­ple’s ecosys­tem over Win­dows, as she finds the lat­ter ru­ins her groove by sug­gest­ing tools when­ever she hits the Alt key.

The ab­sence of Pho­to­shop is also what’s kept her from tak­ing the iPad se­ri­ously. She’s had an iPad Pro since 2016, but has found it “geared more toward the hob­by­ist”. Ni­chols never har­boured any il­lu­sions that it would re­place her desk­top setup or at least pro­vide an al­ter­na­tive. Again, Ap­ple’s in­clu­sion of Pro­cre­ate un­der ‘En­ter­tain­ment’ did lit­tle to shat­ter that per­cep­tion.

So here we have a bona fide Ap­ple-lov­ing pro­fes­sional – one who could eas­ily be the star of one of those ‘Be­hind the Mac’ com­mer­cials Ap­ple is air­ing now – and she clearly doesn’t be­lieve the iPad Pro de­serves its name. That’s a prob­lem.

“I saw it as a fancy toy with some po­ten­tially fun paint­ing apps on it, with which I could maybe get some dig­i­tal plein air paint­ing done,” she adds.

A decade in the mak­ing

But let’s back up. How on earth are we hav­ing this con­ver­sa­tion in 2018? It’s clearly not about the power: We’ve known iPad Pros are more pow­er­ful than many lap­tops for years now. It’s surely not some Google-like slug­gish­ness to de­velop for Ap­ple: Pho­to­shop has been a Mac sta­ple since its 1990 re­lease. I know some peo­ple who even think Ap­ple makes it.

Maybe it’s no mis­take that Adobe’s news dropped mere days af­ter a mul­ti­tude of out­lets – Mac­world in­cluded – waxed po­etic about how the App Store changed out lives 10 years ago, in part by bring­ing apps that were for­merly chained to desk­tops into the palms of our hands.

It re­minds us that this rev­o­lu­tion hap­pened in part be­cause of the en­thu­si­as­tic em­brace of the iPhone and iPad by third-party apps. Adobe Pho­to­shop, no­tably, was never one of those. Sure, you could find the watered-down Adobe Pho­to­shop Ex­press and Adobe Pho­to­shop Mix, but to any­one fa­mil­iar with the real thing, us­ing them felt like lis­ten­ing to some­one ar­gue that vis­it­ing the Statue of Lib­erty on the Strip in Ve­gas stood in for see­ing the real thing.

It’s time. It’s been time. It’ll es­pe­cially be time when the new iPad Pros come out, as they’re vir­tu­ally guar­an­teed to have stronger chips. As much dig­i­tal ink was spilled on this topic over the week­end, I still don’t think peo­ple com­pletely com­pre­hend how

revo­lu­tion­ary a full ver­sion of Pho­to­shop on the iPad Pro could be. With apps such as Pho­to­shop avail­able, mak­ing do with only an iPad seems even more ap­peal­ing than it al­ready is.

A Pen­cil for your thoughts

Back to Lizzie. She’s a pro­fes­sional, and for all my huff about rev­o­lu­tion, she knows bet­ter than to ex­pect an en­tirely seam­less tran­si­tion. It’s a wise at­ti­tude, con­sid­er­ing that I my­self have found the iPad Pro lack­ing with some of the sim­plest pro­fes­sional tasks.

For one, she’s con­cerned that the Ap­ple Pen­cil – for all she ad­mires about its weight and gen­eral de­sign – may fall short of Wa­com’s sty­lus.

“It would be fantastic if the Ap­ple Pen­cil had some kind of click­able but­ton on it – like the Wa­com sty­lus – that I could set to what­ever func­tion I wanted,” she en­thuses. “I al­ways have my Wa­com sty­lus but­tons set to Op­tion and Right Click. This saves me tons of time on my Cin­tiq and cur­rently there isn’t re­ally a way to do that with the Ap­ple Pen­cil.”

She also isn’t too hot on the iPad Pro’s slick and glassy sur­face, re­gard­less of whether it’s lam­i­nated or not. “It’s not a huge is­sue,” she says, “but when I go from sketch­ing on my iPad back to my Cin­tiq, I can re­ally feel the slight tooth of the Cin­tiq screen and it makes a dif­fer­ence.”

But Ap­ple’s an­nounce­ment makes a dif­fer­ence, too. She tells me that if she’d been on the fence about get­ting an iPad Pro be­fore, Adobe’s an­nounce­ment would “def­i­nitely” con­vince her to get one. Judg­ing from the re­cep­tion I’ve seen on so­cial me­dia over the

past cou­ple of days, she’s far from the only one. Ap­ple spends a lot of time play­ing up how won­der­ful its prod­ucts are for cre­ative types, but in the case of an iPad, thus far it’s only been an ideal to strive toward. As a re­al­ity, it’s been im­per­fect at best. But Pho­to­shop on the iPad? And maybe Il­lus­tra­tor later? It’s enough to make any cre­ative ex­cited about the iPad again.

For Lizzie, it’s a sign that the proper par­ties are once again lis­ten­ing to cre­ative pro­fes­sion­als.

“I think it’s ex­cit­ing to hear that both Adobe and Ap­ple are lis­ten­ing to the peo­ple that use their prod­ucts to make a liv­ing,” Ni­chols ex­plains, “so I’m cau­tiously op­ti­mistic that Adobe and Ap­ple will get this right.”

An ex­am­ple of how Lizzie ex­plains to 3D mod­ellers how spe­cific set­tings should look

Ni­chols’ con­cept art for the un­der­sea sec­tions of Ho­tel Tran­syl­va­nia 3

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.