Brian's Photo Blog — Article 70
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iPad Photo Editing, Part One
Tuesday 3 April 2012   —   Category: iPad Workflows
As I wrote in an article a few days ago, I’m really enjoying my subscription to Photography Monthly magazine. As an extra benefit, as part of my subscription I also have access to the current and previous issues online.

When trying to access the online edition on the iPad with my favorite iOS Web browser — Atomic Web — I got an error message saying that I needed to install the Adobe Flash Player, which, famously (or infamously!), does not run on Apple’s iOS devices. Drat! Foiled again! Lack of Flash support is one of the major negative aspects of the iPad.

I contacted the magazine about my inability to access the online version with my iPad, and they replied that I should be able to, because they have developed an HTML 5 version specifically to support the iPad. But when I had accessed that page, the Flash version came up instead of the HTML 5 version. Hmmmmm.

The idea came to me to check the identity I was running my browser under. The Atomic Web browser, like a number of other browsers, can “masquerade” its identity when it reports to a Web server which Web browser it is. For example, Atomic Web can tell a Web server that it is actually a number of different versions of Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Safari. This can help with compatibility issues when viewing certain Web pages.

So when I check which identity I had Atomic Web set for, I found it was “Safari Desktop.” This explained why I was getting the Flash version of the online magazine, because Mac computers support Flash, and Atomic Web was “masquerading” as the Mac version of Safari. When I switched the identity to “Mobile Safari - iPad,” and then went back to the same page, lo and behold, the HTML 5 version loaded instead! Problem solved!

As I was flipping through the pages of the March 2012 edition on my iPad, the idea came to me to copy one of the photos from the magazine, and then see if I could tidy it up on the iPad, just as I would using Photoshop on the Mac. To do so, I fired up the new version of Photoshop for the iPad: Adobe Photoshop Touch.

Back in the Web browser, I found a magazine page containing a photo I wanted to copy, then simultaneously pressed the power and home buttons on the iPad in order to take a screenshot, which iOS saves in the built-in Photos app. Then I switched to the Photoshop Touch app.

I had played around with Photoshop Touch a couple of times before, but I wasn’t really familiar with how the tools and commands worked. However, with a bit of experimentation, I eventually figured it out. Above to the right, you can see what the original screenshot looked like.

Obviously, the first task at hand was to crop the image to get rid of everything around the photo, so that only the photo of the bird remained. After many unsuccessful attempts, I finally figured out the right command — once I knew the correct technique, it was very easy! So far, so good.

The next task was to get rid of the two graphics in the upper and lower corners of the right side of the photo. The smaller, blue graphic in the upper-right corner was easily removed with the Healing Brush tool. Erasing the graphic overlaying part of the bird was not going to be so trivial!

At first I started using the Clone Stamp tool to copy the feathers around the graphic in an attempt to cover it, but there were not enough surrounding feathers available. And I couldn’t clone the feathers on the left side of the bird because those feathers are angled down to the left, while the feathers on the right side of the bird are angled down to the right.

But I was still able to make use of the feathers on the left side of the bird using a different technique. I selected a large section of the left-side feathers, copied the selection, and then pasted the selection as a new layer. Next, I flipped the layer horizontally, so that the feathers were now angling down towards the right. I moved the layer into position over the graphic I was trying to get rid of, and then used a semi-transparent, semi-hard eraser tool to blend the edges of the new layer into the underlying bird layer. Things were now starting to look pretty good!

After making a final adjustment by cropping a bit more off the right side of the photo, my transformation of the image was complete. It’s not perfect, but for my first major Photoshop edit of a photo on the iPad, I’m really happy with how it turned out. I've put the original here again, along with the finished product, so you can more easily see the difference between the before and after images.

I have to say that I’m pretty impressed and amazed by the power and capability of Photoshop Touch. Of course, it’s not as full-featured as Photoshop on a PC, but then again at only $10, it’s 70 times cheaper than regular Photoshop! I've tried some of the other highly-rated photo editors for the iPad, but as things stand now, I don’t think they even come close to the depth of features offered in Photoshop Touch. In future articles I plan on examining this app — as well as the other photo-editing apps I own — in more detail.

In keeping with this blog entry being about content creation on the iPad, I've gone the extra mile by creating all aspects of this article entirely on my iPad — the pictures, the text, FTP upload to the Web server, and article database management. I’m wanting to get the process all worked out while still at home, so I can potentially post articles while I’m on a photo outing later this month (IF there’s a cell connection where I’ll be exploring!).

Stayed tuned, because there will be many more articles about how I’m using the iPad in my photographic workflow. I don’t think I've yet realized the full potential of this amazing tablet computer!

I talk more about photo editing with Photoshop Touch in iPad Photo Editing, Part Two.
Brian's Photo Blog — Article 70
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