POLL: Do You Approve of Adobe’s Choice to Focus on Mobile? Let Them Know!

POLL: Do You Approve of Adobe’s Choice to Focus on Mobile? Let Them Know!

Though it’s easy to think Adobe, being the giant company that they are, doesn’t pay attention to the opinions of the average layperson, it has been my experience that the opposite is true. At the very least, the developers and project managers at Adobe indeed read Fstoppers, so this is your chance to tell them: is their direction the right one for photographers and filmmakers?

Before you cast your vote, I want to clarify that this poll is not asking if you think that CC is or is or is not a good idea. That ship has sailed. Rather, it is a chance for you to tell them if you think their idea of catering to the “mobile creative” is a sound one.

Adobe openly focused this year's Adobe MAX on their mobile strategy, making a clear statment that this is where they plan to take their business for at least the next year. They spent virtually no time discussing the desktop applications, unless they were running on a Microsoft Surface (which is still part of their mobile push).

According to their own independent research, many creatives long for the ability to work on their mobile devices as seamlessly as they do on their main workstations. The limitations of mobile hardware and limited accessibility/usability have made this difficult, but Adobe is investing heavily in making that dream a reality. To get around software issues, Adobe has put a lot of mobile computing in the cloud, the first real tangible taste of what the Creative Cloud is capable of and why you might want it. The idea of taking care of the hardcore, intensive processing in the cloud is brilliant, and actually works quite well. But all that said, there are still significant limitations to the mobile workflow, leading some to wonder if it’s worth it. 

There is no room for an “undecided” vote here. You know what they have, and you can infer where they are headed. Does it work for photographers and filmmakers?

In the comments below, tell us why you voted the way you did. If you agree with their roadmap, start the comment with:

I approve of Adobe’s roadmap.

If you do not like where Adobe is putting their resources, start your comment with:

I do not approve of Adobe’s roadmap.

We look forward to your responses. We encourage you to present solid arguments or statements for why you have arrived at your decision. 

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32 Comments

Jennifer Kelley's picture

Well my reasons for voting that I don't agree with the mobile push are completely my own. I don't really want to work on a mobile device. I like to keep things simple and adding another piece of technology to the mix is more of an annoyance than anything. No, I don't have to add it, but people look at you like there is something wrong if you don't. And I prefer to work exclusively on my desktop due to repetitive motion injuries in my hands that flare up with the use of too much mobile device useage.

My other reason for voting no is I don't want more accessibility on mobile because I don't want clients breathing down my neck as I'm working. If everything can come with us, that will increase the number of people I work with who try to micromanage my editing. I prefer to edit at night in small increments, maybe eating some cookies, listening to whatever music I want, and basically getting lost in what I'm doing. There is nothing worse than "but can you do this, or turn that up a little" while you're trying to work. That is going to make for a lot of frustration if you're working with a client and tell them you can't do it on mobile, either due to hardware or because the tool isn't available on mobile.

They are better off expanding on what they already have. Or developing mobile tools for the consumer market rather than the pro market.

Anthony Tripoli's picture

Not acknowledging mobile is the way of the future is like those who shot film that fought tooth and nail against digital... Is film still a viable alternative to digital? Sure it is, but is it the industry standard now? Nope not at all. As time progresses and technology gets better, the line between a computer and a mobile device will blur even more. IMO Adobe is being pretty smart with their decision to stay ahead of the curve and focus on mobile development even more.

With that being said, I often shoot snapshots for my blog/IG and a lot of the snapshots I shoot get transferred via Eye-Fi card to my iPhone, processed on my iPhone (utilizing simple apps like VSCO Cam), and sent to the web/social media for immediate sharing. It's just a workflow I enjoy, although I would never use it for my professional/paying work because I am not afforded a lot of the retouching options that Photoshop affords me, and on such a small screen it isn't also very feasible... I have yet to mess around with it on a larger screen like an iPad or an iPhone 6/6+ though.

Regardless, the writings are on the wall, mobile and desktop computing are slowly merging more and more into each other. Steve Jobs said years before he died that someday there wouldn't be a Mac OS and an iOS, but just one uniform OS for all of Apple, once the hardware of mobile devices could handle it. With each new OS and iOS they integrate the two more and more together. So I applaud Adobe for staying ahead of the curve... How much more do I honestly need Photoshop to do now? I would say that for my workflow I probably could have stopped upgrading Photoshop at CS5 or CS6 haha.

Anthony Tripoli's picture

With all this being said though, there is going to need to be an easy way to color calibrate mobile device screens in the future or else all of this is kind of futile.

Anthony Tripoli's picture

Also I didn't really speak much to the Android/Windows market in my comments, because to be quite frank, I know nothing about them and they aren't involved in any of my day-to-day workflow.

David Ritter's picture

This.

Even if mobile doesn't take off with pros right away, they do not want to get left blindsided. Gradually bringing tools into the fold and seeing what sticks is a relatively smart strategy.

If anyone remembers desktop publishing in the late 1990s, QuarkXPress was the 1000 lb gorilla. When Apple released Mac OS X, it took Quark years to release a compatible version. Meanwhile, InDesign gradually ate Quark's lunch and marketshare. Quark is still around but they're struggling to say relevant in most DTP circles. As someone who cut his teeth on Quark, I haven't touched it in years. This industry changes so fast.

Let's not forget that a lot of Adobe's customers are bigger corporations with collaborative workflow. Just because you're out in the field shooting it doesn't mean you're going to be the person editing.

Just one example: I can see some of this apps being useful for event photographers/videographers. We live in a generation now of instant gratification. For example, let's take a wedding. Brides and grooms don't want to wait 3 weeks to see what you got. So take a few of your best shots, line 'em up on your iPad while on in the field, and setup a slideshow for the reception. Nobody is expecting hollywood quality and pixel perfect blemish free edits. That comes later.

People slate Adobe for moving too slow and I'm sure that's partially the incentive that made them want to move to the subscription model in the first place. At least you have income coming in every month instead of every 18 months/2 years or whenever the "upgrade" cycle is. And everyone's running (or should be running) the latest tools. Nothing is more frustrating to a developer than having to support different codebases.

Mujtaba Sayed's picture

While I can see the merit in having your editing software available on mobile devices, I can't see myself using it for anything other than a quick edit to get an idea of the finished product, I need the size of my desktop monitor and my editing tablet for any serious editing.

Jimmy Schaefer's picture

If I had only an hour out of my day to make a good photo I would chose to do it on a PC/Mac with a lot of screen real-estate and full functioning keyboard and mouse, or use the precision of a pen tablet. I'm not going to create something on my phone or ipad, those are used for watching netflix.

Anonymous's picture

I realize that the future is in mobile devices. But with that said when I think Adobe I think PS or Lightroom and detailed editing. For quick mobile editing I stick with VSCO.

james johnson's picture

Slightly off subject: I love the emotionally weighted words in the "yes" vote question, especially compared to the blunt/vague "no" vote question.

Ha!

Jaron Schneider's picture

Haha I didn't even realize I did that until you commented. I was trying to mimic the language of both sides.

Anonymous's picture

I do not approve of Adobe's roadmap. I would love to see performance increases more than anything. Especially in After Effects--right now, the program is terrifically slow. Motion is nearly realtime, and After Effects struggles to keep up even on my machine with 32 GB of RAM and a 2 GB video card. The raytracing engine is cool, but dear god, it's so slow that I actively avoid it unless I absolutely have to use extrusions. The Premiere team is doing fantastic work--the performance of that software is killer. Mobile is simply not the platform to develop productivity apps for. You can't do a detailed edit of a photo, LET ALONE video, on a 4-5 inch screen, no matter how good the software is.

Louis Leblanc's picture

I can't say I'm really interested in Adobe's mobile apps. For one, I don't have an iPad or an iPhone. But I'm really curious about the Microsoft Surface, especially after yesterday's demo. I'm not really sure who'd use the mobile apps. Drawing on the iPad isn't great with fingers, pen and paper are already pretty mobile. I can see a point to photo management but I'd still rather do it on my computer that can hold all my library. Video editing seem like a pain on such a slow device. I do like the capture apps though. If I can capture tidbits while on the go with my phone and bring this in to my production then it's something useful. I also see the point to apps like Nav which gives you some cool control while working on the desktop.

With that being said. I don't think Adobe spent a lot of resources creating those apps. They probably just took bits of the existing Mac apps, created a touch UI for them and called it a day. This is probably the reason these apps aren't available on Android, they'd have to rewrite the whole thing.

Michael Rapp's picture

I do not approve of Adobe’s roadmap.
Having your stuff available online all the time is only half of the bill - but has anybody considered bandwidth?
A regular 18MB Raw, in PS with, say, a dozen layers on top can easily top half a Gig of disk space.
Now try downloading this to your tablet on a regular phone connection. And that's just one pic.
The technology just isn't there yet, and I don't see the dire need to open up my actual psd images on the plane. Not considering how cheap usb hard drives are right now, the size of a cigarette pack for a TB.

Sharing, distributing and selling your stuff online through an Adobe platform makes more sense.

Where the cc could make a lot more sense is you get to assemble your own version of photoshop ("double on color grading, yes to Nik plugins, hold the 3d, please!". That way, you'd get a PS or Lightroom tailored to your need, and no more excess baggage.
And now you should be able to download "your" PS with "your" settings on any PC or Mac with an internet connection and be able to start work within a matter of minutes.
Now *this* would be the ultimate floating licence!
Or, grab a colleague's workstation, log on under your name, wait a few secs and off you go.
Cars have features like this, where they remember your seat and mirror positions and adjust them accordingly whoever takes the driver's seat.
And on a side note: It would suit me wonderfully if Adobe wouldn't pack *more* gizmos into their software and instead focus on finetuning and sharpening what's already there. Also, pump up the performance of the calculating algorithms, not everyone can afford to set up a new workstation every other year to support software gadgets he/she really doesn't need in the first place.

Robert Mack's picture

Although many people will not like this. If you have a web site, you should check the type of device people are accessing your site with. The number of people using smartphones to surf the net has gone through the roof. Between 50 and 60% of visitors to my site use mobile devices.
This is bad for photographers selling photos on-line.

jason inman's picture

I do not approve of Adobe’s roadmap. I don't think mobile devices are there yet. Coming up with new ways of processing images using less computing horsepower is a good idea... but only if it can apply to laptops. The screen size would severely limit the usefulness of a phone for editing work, and if I have room for a tablet I have room for a laptop... and I will go with the option with more computing power and more storage and backup options every time. The only way I see tablets being really useful is if you integrate them with other computing options... for example, using a tablet as an interface combined with a laptop... the two working together using bluetooth. For serious editing you need the computing hardware to support multiple layers, and an interface using a stylus of some sort. If you don't need large numbers of layers, you don't need photoshop. A mobile version of elements would make more sense... or lightroom.

ron fya's picture

I do not approve of Adobe’s roadmap.

My point of view is simple.

For pro work, since it needs to be as flawless as possible, you want all the power, ease and resources you get from a real computer.

For drafting new ideas or creating self-promotion work to post on the go, you don't need all the fancy stuff complexifying your workflow and train of thought. You just need apps that are quick and easy: efficient no brainers. So much of them already exist or emerge each day from 3rd parties.

There are less sources of desktop pro software than of mobile software. Skills and resources required to create the former are very high, and lower for the latter. Therefore Adobe's work effort makes more sense to me to focus on desktop pro apps.

Spy Black's picture

What's really going on here is not Adobe trying to create mobile apps, it's them trying to capitalize on profits by trying to force you to (eventually) work with their Creative Suite off their servers, whether you're on on mobile device or your home workstation. This is merely a way to eliminate the pirating of apps. While this is understandable, it will eventually mean that everything you do has to go through the web.

There are a few problems I see with this, the biggest of course is what happens when their servers go down, which they inevitably will. Already there have been problems with the existing rent-an-app setup with people's accounts rendered inactive, the clients told they haven't paid, or need to pay. There was an article here a while back on this very topic.

If the servers do go down, there's the question about what happens to your work-in-progress. You may lose all your work. You may lose your images. Shìt happens, and it will probably happen on that one critical job you're working on that can make or break an account.

Also, when your work is splattered all over the internet, there will also be issues with security, which become more important when working on NDA projects.

When Adobe finally moves the Creative Suite completely to the cloud, if we're not given an option to have a functional Suite on our local computers, it may be time to start investing with/donating to programmers to bring up open source applications like Gimp, Inkscape, Scribus, etc. up to fully professional levels so we have true professional production alternatives. We are already enslaved to Adobe, this move by them will merely lock the cell door and throw away the key.

Allan Zeiba's picture

I approve of Adobe’s roadmap

First I don't see the big division,it is not like adobe is going to stop developing upgrades of their desktop apps, but that aside I think that it is the right move, first of all it is the future, simple as that. If you look at all the development and investment of others companies cloud storage and processing is in their main projects: HP the machine, Lenovo server acquisition, Google apps and the game industry are some examples of what is going to be the norm in the future, fast servers, cheep storage in cloud and cloud processing power. At some point probably the desktop machines, laptops and consoles are going to be a thing of the past, and all we are going to need is a "screen" to access our data and apps

So considering that part is great to see that adobe is already looking ahead, but also what they are showing in the MAX is simply great, the mobile app's are not here to substitute the desktop programs, but more to enhance them, they are closing the gap between the "real" and "virtual" worlds and also start to free us from the "chain" of the desktop

What I do see is that most of the improvements are not really photography oriented more like design, web, video and illustration, but in no way I see this as a problem or a lack for the photography community

David Weibel's picture

As long as they don't ignore their desktop apps- I'm kind of excited to see what they can do with mobile. If the could get a functional version of lightroom on an ipad or even those microsoft tabs then it would make the perfect choice for studio shooting. I'm not gonna sit there and edit on my phone... but it would be stupid for them to just ignore the mobile world altogether.

Thomas Elkin's picture

I'm conflicted in my voting. I hate doing any digital/graphic work on mobile devices and I will refuse to do it as long as possible. I love my large workspace that the desktop offers. I hate working in "cramped quarters". But on the other hand, I love the idea of the libraries aspect of the recent update. The ability to work on a project from one system to another either in the next room or in another state is a great idea. Granted we have various other cloud services for that purpose, but a dedicated one to our project files is nice too.

Marius Budu's picture

It would be near-suicide for Adobe not to start focusing on mobile apps since computing power in mobile devices is increasing exponentially and the market is blowing up. All the nay-sayers just don't see far enough ahead of themselves, it's that simple. Remember when phone cameras came out and everyone laughed and laughed, guess what is the most used camera in the world? The iPhone camera - so-much-so that some pros even use it (mostly as a gimmick, but use it nonetheless) for commercial work.

I personally do all my editing on my beast of a workstation for obvious reasons, BUT I do quick edits on Photoshop express on almost all photos I take with my phone and post to social media. And I have been considering a tablet/laptop hybrid for some time which would give me the portability and touch functionality to do heavier editing tasks on-the-go. These apps sure would augment that workflow quite nicely, and I'm all for it.

Don't think Adobe should spend time increasing their mobile app efforts? Please go over to the corner of the room where all the dinosaurs "still shooting film because everything was better back then" are standing giving each other sad hugs and reminiscing about the good ol' days ;)

John Deir's picture

If they really want to get serious about mobile applications, then they should get into the mix and make a dedicated pad designed to hardwire and/or wifi/bluetooth to every camera made. This would be like a drawing tab with the light LR/PS editing capabilities and the download/upload to servers/usb drives. If Amazon can get into it, why don't they. That way the hardware is designed strictly for the tasks needed. Hello ADOBE...are you listening?

Jason Autry's picture

Rather than make dozens of apps that are just ok, why not spend the time to make a few really good ones. Adobe seems to have spread themselves so thin these days. There product lineup is beyond confusing, I've stopped paying attention long ago. A really good desktop application, a really good mobile app is all I really need.

Luis Aguirre's picture

I think Adobe is reading the writing on the wall. I imagine we're not too far from mobile devices taking over laptops like mobile phones took over the point and shoot camera market. Analysts are already predicting that mobile device sales will surpass desktop computing as soon as next year.

Also, Adobe doesn't cater exclusively to the photography community. Professional Graphic designers, artists, illustrators, etc. make up a bigger number of their users. The number of photographers I know that use Photoshop doesn't come close to the number of graphic/industrial designers or ad agencies I know using it. And of the Professional creatives using Adobe, most of them use more than one Adobe product. I think this alone is reason enough for them to focus on mobile and why few Creative professionals made a stink about their cloud services. To them it makes more sense. It's also why they include upgrades with their font handling, artist brushes and 3D.

Of their whole mobile lineup there was only one app that was strictly related to photography: Lightroom Mobile. The balance of apps cater to artists, designers, illustrators, creative agencies, etc. Considering this, I'm not sure this poll would be wholly accurate here. I think the "Creative Pro" demographic is why the Creative Cloud was such a success for them. Creative pros use several of the Adobe products. I had no qualms and still don't paying them $49 a month for use of all their apps because I use most of them constantly: Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, Lightroom, Premier, After Effects. $49 a month is a steal for this much firepower and saves me the headache of upgrade costs.

I spent years working as an illustrator and designer and I love that I can create vector drawings on my tablet via Adobe Ideas (now Adobe Draw) and seamlessly import them into Adobe Illustrator. Now with adobe Sketch and Photoshop, I can do the same for more traditional illustrations. Drawing on my tablet is far superior to drawing on my Wacom and it's far cheaper than investing in a Cintiq. I think this is the market they have their eye on with these add ons, not photographers.

Claude Lee Sadik's picture

I approve of Adobe’s roadmap

Right now mobile means your phone. And indeed, editing on a phone is not practical. But your phone or tablet is also a touchscreen interface. And to me, that's the important factor to take into account. We are working with mouse and keyboard because we are used to it. But they weren't meant for video/photo editing. Ask someone using a Wacom tablet to go back to a mouse. No way. And that's because this input device is thought for that specific use.

Your tablet might not be powerful enough yet. But a few years ago, working with a laptop was a NO-NO as well... So why not? It's also becoming easier and easier to plug devices to monitors as big as you need them to be.

Between motion tracking, voice recognition, touch interfaces, we're moving toward input devices that in the long run will be much more adapted to the work we do.

And how many professionals are now flying from place to place for work? Country borders are not a limitation anymore. Why should your workstation be stationary when you are already constantly moving?

Jon Sparks's picture

Obviously they need to develop the mobile apps, but also need to recognise that serious photographers still need to work on desktop/laptop systems (and I'm sure the same is true of most other creatives too). They can't put all their eggs in either basket. If they don't strike a balance I might have to start looking at alternatives to CC.

david jones's picture

I approve of Adobe's roadmap. I see many comments about Pros do this and pros do that. Well, the vast majority of people are not professional and having a mobile solution does not supersede the professional tools they have for proper computers. Furthermore, computers and mobile devices are starting to merge, and there will not be a difference in the not to distant future. I do not need full on editing, but something that can edit RAW files, minor edits for video, and blend with the Adobe ecosystem is a good thing. If Adobe doesn't do it, someone will. Radio didn't die with the TV, film is not dead from digital (yet), computer applications are not going to die from mobile applications, and it is quite likely they will be mutually beneficial.

Overall I get a feeling of jealousy among long time shooters when newer tech comes around and allows newer shooters to get shot almost as good, if not better. This seems to fall into that category as well.

Chris Blair's picture

I approve of Adobe’s roadmap. You either adopt or get left behind. The world is going mobile and if we don't have a proper process of editing footage and images on our mobile devices, then that will force us to wait until we get back to the studio/house/wherever. For some workflows, this will be great, for others, it will not work at all. The writings on the wall for me. I don't even own a desktop any more, everything is on laptops for me and I would love to switch to a powerful tablet if that was a viable option. I saw someone else bring up a great issue...bandwidth. Video files get pretty large and if everything is on the cloud...I'm guessing everything would have to be proxies or something else light enough to flow well. I'm not sure how it would all work, but if it worked well, I would be all in. The idea of editing footage anywhere sounds great, but it has to work obviously.

Dave P's picture

Lots of reasons NOT and very few for IMO. I have multiple none adobe requirements in my workflow like 3rd party apps that are desktop only such as some pano tools and proofing tools I use, graphics tablet support, need for good ips panels and colour managed workflows esp ones needing 10bit editing from end to end (eizo don't make mobile screens) are a few that instantly come to mind.

Even just within adobe only workflow the processing time alone for video takes long enough on my main rig which is i7 4970K (pushing to 4.8GHz when needed) and offloading onto higher end GPU when supported and more ram than most mobile devices will support.

Plus multitasking for photo and design work means photoshop, indesign, illustrator all at once is necessity for me, or premier pro, aftereffects and speedgrade / davinci resolve and encoder running all at once for video. No way laptops handle that well for long period unless running on wall power in which case I get more from my primary editing rig (a desktop) which also has a ton of extra drives / backup solutions etc. Mobile is only good for the general low power users who really need little more than lightroom.

Chris Blair's picture

I see your point Dave. I don’t think mobile would work out for you or a lot of other pros. I used to be in the same boat you’re in. I used to max out my desktop workstation with programs and render sequences that would take weeks to render, I had everything maxed out and would have to jump on a laptop just to get more work done. I do a lot of CGI stuff and although I can do it on a laptop, it is not as comfortable. For all my video and photo needs, my laptop is fine. It’s not a great solution for everyone, just for me. I think most on this forum are not behind the new direction and I think Adobe will take that into consideration. I would assume that they would have both mobile and desktop versions in the future, but I could be wrong.

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