*UPDATE* I got this email from an Adobe employee today. Sorry – but all those looking for drama here will have to move on…”ORIGINAL POST Photoshop Express is an online photo editing, sorting and sharing solution targeted at consumers or the casual, novice photographer.There’s no software to buy or download. It’s currently a free, Web-based solution, offering a complete photo experience including upload, storage edit sharing. In an online press conference held last week, Adobe executives said they were aiming for a complete, “end to end experience.”Adobe made this move based on research that shows more and more people spend their time online. They want to appeal to the 24/7 online user, and at the same time, attract new users not familiar with or part of the Adobe family.In a press preview last week, I got to watch the program in action. While it’s still in BETA, it appears to have all the functionality a novice would require.The product is impressive enough in one sense, i.e., it’s built in Flex and Flash and the user experience is pretty amazing, assuming the user has DSL or Cable access.Adobe’s business model is built around a platform based – hosted services approach, featuring future additional products – subscription service and free service. No doubt some users will be concerned about putting their catalogs online and into a free service, worrying that at some point, Adobe will drop the hammer and ask for money. According to the executives speaking at the press conference, that won’t happen. While fee for service models will be introduced, they will be for additional features and functionality. The basic feature set has been promised free.One of the strengths of this model is that it is completely cross platform. Whether you’re on a PC, MAC, or LINUX machine, running any major browser, you can access your photos.During the sneak peak, we saw the launch version. Photoshop Express opens to a home page with several views of the images including the ability to rate and caption all photos. My initial impression was that it looks a little like LightRoom.Everything is very easy to use, and even beginners will be able to figure out the workflow easily. Things like plain english tool tips and well-organized contextual menus help.There are a total of 17 editing tools that Photoshop Express users can utilize to improve their photos:Crop & RotateAuto Correct with variationsExposureRed Eye RemovalTouchupSaturationWhite BalanceHighlightFill LightSharpenSoft FocusPop ColorHueB&WTintSketchDistortAll changes to images in Photoshop Express are non-destrutive and non linear. Once the images have been edited, they can be shared either one at a time or as a group of image.To organize and share images you can create albums and then drag and drop files wherever you want them to go. When it comes time to share the pictures, you can build sldeshows with prebuilt layouts. Galleries can be restricted or public.The application really shines when it comes to accessing your existing online galleries. You can actually log into other photo sharing and social networking sites (like Facebook) and see your photo content via Photoshop Express. There are only a few such alliances ready to go at launch but, Adobe said that compatibility with Flickr would be added soon and presumably, other such sites not currently on the list. What’s really interesting about this is that you can even edit images stored on social networks and other sharing sites, right from Photoshop Express.As far as the service itself goes – Adobe is touting that as a web-based application, it’s always upgraded automatically – no updates to install. Two Gigs of free storage are provided with each account and while no pricing has been set, Adobe said more would be available for purchase.There are 10 meg file size image limits – no raw upload available at launch, only JPEG, owing to the consumer focus of the application.This is a US English only launch but eventually, Adobe says the product will be globalized.There’s no doubt that this is exciting news. I don’t necessarily see myself using this service because it’s not aimed at people in my situation. But what excites me is that this is possibly just the beginning. We may see more and more from Adobe along these lines, including more professional features like RAW-support, larger file sizes, more storage, and greater flexibility.Since Photoshop Express is free to everyone, play around with it and let us know what you think.
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