Last month, Adobe announced that it would allow developers to plug their mobile apps into some of Photoshop’s most popular features. Today, Adobe Labs (the experimental arm of Adobe) gives us our first taste of what that looks like with two new iPhone apps: Twixt and Fixel. They're not actually using the Creative Cloud, but they incorporate Photoshop technology to show what it could feel like*.
Twixt is a social-focused app that allows you to cut pieces out of your photos, then paste them on funny backgrounds. You run your finger over a subject, and Adobe attempts to spot the edges. Then you cut and paste the face, figure, or scene onto something else. I’d give the tool a B- in my testing, as the app’s general experience—from the UX, to the not-quite-zany-enough backgrounds—never elicits the feeling of fun. Cutting and pasting images from other images needs to feel surprising to get a giggle. (If the app were all about putting your head on strange other bodies, for instance, that would be delightful.)
While Twixt is a meme-y novelty, Fixel could be very powerful and handy. It's an easy way to clean up your photos. It uses Content Aware Fill to essentially erase content you don’t like and fill in those gaps with whatever textures are nearby. You draw your finger over whatever you want eliminated, then you hit the processing button and, like magic, the photo is fixed. The core interaction here is quick and easy, and it feels perfectly logical. It can erase objects from a background like grass. It even managed to somewhat believably replace full stands in a baseball stadium I’d photographed with empty ones.
Adobe is calling the apps "experiments"—more proofs-of-concept than consumer products. Even still, I could imagine using Fixel as an extension inside a larger app like Instagram. Photoshop could find its way into apps without us even ever realizing it.
Correction: The original version of this article stated that these apps were the first apps connected to the Adobe Cloud and Photoshop, which was incorrect, as the apps don't connect to the cloud.