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Photoshop and Illustrator Apps for iPad

After Photoshop was created for the iPad in 2019, Adobe also launched Illustrator for the iPad in 2020. Both programs have been a gold standard for desktop image editing, while the new versions for iPad have come to fulfill their own niche. Both apps require an Adobe license for access. Pitt faculty and students can register to license Adobe Software through Pitt IT. This perk is available at no cost for students’ coursework or for personal use by faculty.

Both the Photoshop app and Illustrator app are compatible with iPads that use iPadOS 13.1 and later. You can open PSD or AI files through Adobe cloud storage and continue working on your projects like you would using a computer. Both applications use the same tools (with some limitations) as their desktop counterparts.

Photoshop for iPad uses layers, standard retouching tools, masking, and various brushes for drawing and painting. It does not have the 3D capabilities of the desktop version and has more of a Photoshop Elements feel to the software. It is a great place to start an illustration for publication because of the many brush options and ability to combine multiple images. Such techniques can be used for medical or magazine illustrations.

Illustrator for iPad has amazing drawing capabilities and precision with the Apple Pencil. It also has a more user-friendly interface than the desktop version. Although it still has the same typography advantages as desktop, text input will be more tedious without using an external keyboard for iPad. However, thanks to being able to save your work to the cloud, it is possible to make the vector drawings on the iPad and add text later with a computer. Illustrator is an excellent tool for researchers with drawing experience, creating projects such as this musculoskeletal system.

These programs are great for working on-the-go or starting a project as they avoid being confined to a desktop. Both apps are designed to use pencil and touch controls. Drawing and digital painting have a much nicer flow using the touch features, and I personally love the precision with the Apple Pencil. Using text-heavy documents may be difficult without a keyboard compatible with the iPad or pose an issue if you frequently use keyboard shortcuts.

HSLS offers classes, consultations, and assistance to Photoshop and Illustrator users. Look for an upcoming class, such as Scientific Drawing with Illustrator, or contact HSLS Technology Services for assistance.

~Arlie Chipps