Adobe has begun testing a free-to-use version of Photoshop on the web and plans to open the service to everyone as a way to introduce the app to more users.
The company is now testing the free version in Canada, where users can access Photoshop on the web with a free Adobe account. Adobe describes the service as “freemium” and plans to eventually retire some features that will be exclusive to paying subscribers. Sufficient tools will be freely available to perform what Adobe considers essential Photoshop functions.
“We want to make [Photoshop] “It’s easily accessible and makes it easier for more people to try and experience the product,” says Maria Yap, vice president of digital imaging at Adobe.
Adobe first released a file Web version of Photoshop In October, they introduced a simplified version of the app that can be used to handle basic modifications. Layers and basic editing tools have made the leap, but the service is nowhere near including the full range of app features. Instead, Adobe basically framed it as a collaboration tool — a way for an artist to share an image with others and have them jump in on it, leave some annotations and make some small edits, then put it back in again.
In the ensuing months, Adobe made quite a few updates to the service, and also began opening it outside of collaboration use cases. Before, someone had to share a document on the web from a desktop app, but now, any Photoshop subscriber can do it sign in And start a new document right from the web.
Adobe’s goal is to use the web version of Photoshop to make the application more accessible and connected to users who will want to pay for the full version in the future. The company has gone down a similar path with a number of its mobile apps, including Fresco and Express. The web version of Photoshop is a particularly important offering because it unlocks one of the company’s most powerful tools even Chromebooks, which are widely used in schools.
“I want to see Photoshop meet users wherever they are right now,” says Yap. “You don’t need a high-end machine to get into Photoshop.”
Adobe has not provided a timeline on when the freemium version will be released more widely. In the meantime, the company continues to update Photoshop for the web with more tools, including optimizing edges, curves, duplicating and cloning tools, and the ability to transform Smart Objects. The web version also gets mobile support for reviewing and commenting on images.
Adobe also previewed a new AI-powered neural filter today that’s rightfully coming to Photoshop. The new Restore Photo filter can take a dull yellow photo, automatically clean up scratches, and restore some of its color. When combined with Adobe’s existing colorize filter to add color to black and white photos, the filters can quickly bring an old photo to life, even if the end result looks a bit cartoonish.