Adobe brings a simplified Photoshop to the web

Adobe is bringing Photoshop and Illustrator to the web, letting you make changes to documents hosted in the cloud without having to download them and open up the app.

It’s a fascinating step forward for these two programs, but it’s also a very small one for now: these are not fully featured versions of Photoshop and Illustrator — or anywhere close to it. You can navigate layers, leave annotations and comments, and make basic edits using tools like the eraser, spot healing brush, and selection lasso. But you’ll still have to open the app for any substantial changes.

“We’re not bringing all the features on day one, but we really want to unlock all those basic edits that are just best done now in the browser with whoever you’re working with,” Scott Belsky, Adobe’s chief product officer, said on our podcast Decoder. Belsky describes the web version of Photoshop as offering a “light level of editing” that works with “real PSD” files.

The features play into one of the big themes of Adobe’s announcements today: making it easier for people to collaborate across its Creative Cloud services. The goal with Photoshop and Illustrator on the web is to make it easier for people you’re sharing files with for review — a client, an editor, a friend — to work with you on adjustments. Previously, they’d be able to make annotations and comments on the document. But now, if they’re given permission, they’ll also be able to jump in and make some basic changes, too.

Adobe is also adding a panel to desktop Photoshop to review comments that people have left. And it’s adding a new hub on its website to let teams organize assets and create collaborative mood boards.

You’ll have to be a Creative Cloud subscriber to use Photoshop on the web, which will be available as a beta starting today. Illustrator for web is launching as an invite-only beta, accepting signups starting today.

A handful of other new features are coming to Photoshop, too. The app’s object selection tool is getting even more powerful, showing exactly what it can automatically highlight as you hover over objects within your scene. There are also new neural filters: a landscape mixer lets you remix your scene with a different setting or season; and new color transfer and harmonization filters let you apply the look of one image or layer to another. Adobe also says it’s improved last year’s Depth Blur filter (basically Photoshop’s version of portrait modes) to create a “more natural blurred background.”

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