Fun With Photoshop.com Editing

I tried an experiment uploading a picture I took in Bangkok today and using photoshop.com’s editing tools.

The tools work well. They are well designed and give you a lot of visual feedback about what a change will do. Changes seem to be completely reversible like Lightoom. But see later for how I lost my work …

The cropping comes from the old Photoshop school – you move the cropping frame ‘over’ the picture. In Lightroom you move the picture ‘under’ the frame you have drawn. I am sure there’s deep significance to that.

I had a number of problems uploading and downloading the JPG files. I think that may be due to the fact I have a slow internet connection in Thailand.

I am guessing here but in order to give good, predictable editing performance the Flash app that is the editing module of photoshop.com probably downloaded the file to your PC and uploads the changes when you’re done. That’s fine on a fast reliable connection but in a lot of the world our internet connections are neither.

Photoshop.com gave me some ‘interesting’ error messages. Also some of the terminology they use is far from clear to the intended audience.

Example 1

My first upload failed. This is the error dialog box I got:

Upload Error

Upload Error

‘Unknown reason or network error – you may want to try again.’ That’s hardly helpful. And no it isn’t OK. In English ‘OK’ has a positive connotation.

The button should be marked AWR – ‘Accept with Resignation’.

Example 2

When I dismissed that dialog photoshop.com showed me its helpful upload dialog box. It’s good that it shows what I am uploading and the status of each file. But in this error case it seemed a bit ambiguous.

Upload Failed

Upload Failed

The Status and Remove columns are confusing to me.

No one without a CS degree knows this use of the word ‘default’. To most of humanity default is something that happens when you don’t pay your Visa bill on time. See here for example.

I remember when we were working on HP New Wave in the 1980s the human factors team would give developers a hard time for using unfriendly words like that. 20 years on nothing changes in that area.

And of course everybody knows what ‘represent and warrant’ means. I know the attorneys had them put that in as Adobe is trying to protect itself against charges of displaying copyrighted content, but please!

Example 3

This is what I got the first time I tried to download an edited image to my PC.

Photoshop.com Download Failed

Photoshop.com Download Failed

Again, AWR rather than OK.

Why did it fail, and what should I do about it?

I guess a summer intern wrote the upload and download code. The clever engineers got to work on the editing which is the meat of the product. All of course were on a fast intranet or working from home on a good connection. Pity us in the developing world Adobe!

Example 4

Things got even more confused when I tried to upload another image. This time I got two error dialog boxes.

First this one:

Lightroom Storage Error

Storage Error

and then when I AWR’d that, this showed up:

Lightroom Buy More Storage

Buy More Storage

I don’t think this was due to my flaky internet connection. I think something went wrong at Adobe’s end. The upload server asked their accounting system how much storage I have. It did not reply in time so it assumed the worst and told me I need to buy more storage.

In fact I have only uploaded a dozen photos and am only using a couple of megabytes. They give me 2GB bytes free.

The second upload worked. But if I was a novice I would have been put off.

Lost My Work

I made a lot of screenshots of the editing tools and their effect. I saved a copy of the photo and then tried some of the options in the ‘Beta’ Decorate category.

I tried adding a frame. But the frame is inside the image and obscured what I wanted to show. So I pressed “reset” and the picture reverted to the original unedited state – just as I’d uploaded it!

There were no warnings – it just went back. It is nice that ps.com has this non-destructive editing, but not implemented like that.

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One Response to “Fun With Photoshop.com Editing”

  1. BKKPhotographer Says:

    I haven’t used photoshop.com since then. With all the tools on my PC I do not need it. I guess there is a market for it. But do they realize they are essentially downloading the editor to their PC or Netbook – just that it is a Flash app.

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