December 14, 2009

How could we improve Photoshop for iPhone developers?

If you use Photoshop in conjunction with mobile development (iPhone or otherwise) and have ideas on how we could streamline your workflow, please let us know. It’s not as if we lack ideas, but rather than risk biasing your responses, I’ll leave the query open-ended. If there’s feedback you’d prefer to send directly, I’m jnack at adobe.

Posted by John Nack at 4:03 PM on December 14, 2009


  • Ben Hansen — 5:14 PM on December 14, 2009

    i feel like most of those features would apply to dreamweaver rather then ps but certainly adding a template to the default sizes would help.

  • Eric Dolecki — 9:31 PM on December 14, 2009

    The only thing I can think of is if there was a way to save out a PNG and have it directly added to the XCode project so that I didn’t have to manually do that myself. Otherwise, PS is good to go for me.

  • Manny — 9:47 PM on December 14, 2009

    I know this about making PS mobile app. better. Sorry for the deviation, why not a Lightroom app? I use PS 4 in collage and at work. Lightroom would be a better choice.

  • mga — 9:50 PM on December 14, 2009

    I know this is a question about PS but I actually prefer FW for these reasons: Pages, States, Vectors. I guess you would need to add that to PS but then again why would you replicate those features?
    There are widget sets for either (the default iPhone OS buttons and controls).
    FW has an extension that lets you script mockups to then export as web apps.
    My 0.02

  • THE INTERNET DOG MACHINE — 2:01 AM on December 15, 2009

    why on earth would anyone sane design a UI in Photoshop when Fireworks exists?

  • Marco — 2:31 AM on December 15, 2009

    I like the idea of master-pages (like fireworks). Right now I’m stuck to using the timeconsuming layersets (sorry don’t know the exact english word).

  • Mike — 4:07 AM on December 15, 2009

    I don’t think Photoshop is the right tool for the job, so rather than waste time on adding features to Photoshop, why not put those resources into Fireworks, which is already a much better tool for UI design (with hyperlinks, pages, masterpages etc).
    I’m surprised that Adobe doesn’t understand its own products and how they are best used.

  • Mike — 4:24 AM on December 15, 2009

    When is Adobe going to stop with the Fail and get with the Win?
    Fireworks dude, Fireworks. They are probably in your building, maybe another floor. You should have a chat with them.
    And when you get back, you should write a blog post about how a photo manipulation software package is not really the right product for mobile software UI design.
    Look, we all understand iPhone is THE hot tech product of the year, and we all know by now that Adobe is 98% driven by marketing, but this is really unbelievable. Do you really think that this equation is going to work?
    Adobe popular product +
    Current technological hype =
    more profit!

  • johnson — 6:52 AM on December 15, 2009

    Mike nailed it beautifully, stop trying to make Photoshop do things its bad at. Thanks to this idiocy there is a whole generation of designers using a hammer to put screws in.
    And what on earth is the point of trying to jump on the iPhone UI bandwagon? Why add features for something so very specific?
    I want to bang my head against a wall every time I see a UI done in Photoshop, separate layers for each button and the text on the button, having to marquee select one side of the button cut it move it then stretch the middle to resize them. IDIOTIC!!!
    Don’t say use vectors because thats just as stupid, if you make every element out of vectors then it becomes utter hell just trying to select something because the vector pointer can select any vector on the stage at will but there is no highlight to tell you its going to happen, making it impossible to draw a box around points once you have enough overlapping vectors. Don’t tell me to lock layers because the lock control is so TEDIOUS compared to FW and IL.
    So instead of wasting time doing this why don’t you send some more people to work on Fireworks and make it less clunky so people would stop opening it and laughing without realising how good it can be.

  • Daemon — 8:52 AM on December 15, 2009

    Oh wow. So much hate here. All of you people talking about Fireworks designs, and not linking to any that you did with FW. I know, with FULL confidence that most of the sites I have designed in the last 2 years, could not even be opened IN FIREWORKS, let alone made in FW. And yes, I know what I am saying, we tried. To save money in the company we bought Fireworks for markup/css division, and not Photoshop. It turns out that our designers use Photoshop to such extent that Fireworks could just not handle the PSD file, and opened it with MANY MANY MANY bugs – smart layers, effects on smart objects, gradients in masks, vector objects pasted from Illustrator, …
    Yes, Fireworks is cool when you design a small “This is my hoempaeg” site.
    When you create a page for the biggest regional insurance company, for regional MTV, for biggest regional news-site, for the biggest regional advertising agency, things get REALLY complicated REALLY fast, and then only the power of Photoshop can help.
    So, FW lovers, show me what you have done in Fireworks.

  • Ncus — 8:53 AM on December 15, 2009

    Yes please. Give more love to Fireworks. I like to make icons with FW. But since it’s has too many bugs, especially with pixel snaps :-( .
    FW works better for UI design. When Adobe going to realize it, FW is not for just web designer, it’s also for UI designer from wireframing to final design.

  • Nik — 8:56 AM on December 15, 2009

    Why not focus on making photoshop better at what it is intended to do?
    And possibly fixing all the major UI inconsistencies, software bugs and redundancies?
    UI prototyping should not be an add-on or afterthought to photo manipulation software. It should be its own entity, with thought of the greater picture + flexibility for where UI design could eventually go.

  • When will this end — 10:08 AM on December 15, 2009

    please, please, please focus on making Photoshop do what it’s supposed to do first.
    [So A) it’s not used to design graphics for mobile apps, and B) it’s not supposed to be? Thanks for clearing that up for everyone. –J.]

  • Jay — 11:10 AM on December 15, 2009

    I wish Adobe would focus on making Photoshop, faster, smaller, and more refined. Just like Apple did with Snow Leopard. New features are nice and all, but if you increase the speed, and make it more solid, that would be even better.

  • Juan Sanchez — 11:43 AM on December 15, 2009

    The company I work for uses Fireworks for designing applications for iPhone, Android, Flex, Silverlight, JavaFX, etc. (not websites) over Photoshop. The number of timesavers, efficiency tactics that can be employed and vector + bitmap design capabilities in Fireworks makes it the perfect app for designing UIs. Lately, I’ve been feeling that Fireworks has been kicked to the curb, which is a shame.

  • Daniel — 12:04 PM on December 15, 2009

    I have never really used Fireworks, so I use Photoshop for UI design. And yes, I know that that’s not optimal, but I just know Photoshop really well, and I’m lazy. I also have an iPhone, and I’ve dabbled in app development.
    Even so, I would not want Photoshop to become a tool for UI design. Nor do I want it to have a “3D layer” (oops, too late!) when I have modo for that. Likewise, I don’t want Photoshop to do print layouts when there’s InDesign.
    So I agree with people here, that even though Photoshop is the flagship app, you should really stop burdening it with all kinds of incidental features. Especially if the idea to do so is driven by something as hyped as mobile apps.
    Ask yourself this: Would you write a novel in MS PowerPoint? Would you do a spreadsheet in MS Word? No, you wouldn’t.
    You probably can nowadays, but does anyone here think that the MS Office apps are super-streamlined, slim and focused apps that you just love to use? I guessing the answer’s “no”.
    And anyway, with Adobe’s (depressing) focus on marketing and sales (and not so much, y’know, the actual products), they should be thrilled with idea of people buying more apps than just Photoshop.
    Isn’t that kinda the point of have an “application suite” to begin with?
    Well, isn’t it?! What’s so terrible about having Photoshop just be a great tool for 2D bitmap still-image editing?
    Even if you can’t find too much new ground to cover within that spectrum, then just, please, improve what’s already there instead! I’d love it if the Photoshop CS5 box just said “Does the same as always, but now it’s a hell of a lot better at it!”

  • Ben Gotow — 12:37 PM on December 15, 2009

    Why use Photoshop for iPhone at all? I feel very strongly that Photoshop should be for photos, not for designing UI or web content. That’s what Fireworks is for, and it does an ABSOLUTELY AMAZING job at it. I use Fireworks every day developing software for the iPhone, and it fits into my workflow beautifully. I can save a PNG in Fireworks (the native image format for iPhone and Android development, btw) and see how changes are reflected in the iPhone simulator almost instantly. I can manipulate graphics, art, and text as objects and apply styles to make things look great.
    Please, please, please – don’t try to get people using Photoshop instead.

  • Richard Barbieri — 12:48 PM on December 15, 2009

    I know that this is more of a manufacturer thing, but it would be nice if you could get major phone companies to support flash.

  • Mike — 12:51 PM on December 15, 2009

    [So A) it’s not used to design graphics for mobile apps, and B) it’s not supposed to be? Thanks for clearing that up for everyone. –J.]
    You may have been sarcastic, but you actually nailed it!
    What I’m wondering is: why did you take time to respond to that post, ignoring the people that are saying they prefer to use Fireworks for UI design? Ignoring the issue doesn’t make it go away.
    [I’m happy that people like using FW for this kind of work. They’re welcome to keep using it for that purpose. But a heck of a lot of people use PS for screen design (note that it was a PSD and not a PNG that those guys posted). –J.]
    What you seem to complete fail to understand it that indeed what USERS do with Photoshop defines the product AND what they expect for new releases.
    Sites like and are here to stay it seems.
    [Of course those sites will always exist, because no matter what we do, no matter how many improvements we make (small and large), there will always be more to do. And it’s not like the Adobe Gripes guy is going to say, “Wow, Adobe has made some real improvements; let me start talking about that.” It’s far more entertaining (and draws far more eyeballs) to fire off streams of profane bitching. That’s fine, and there *are* plenty of things that we collectively should make better. I’m just not holding my breath for any props when we actually do it. –J.]
    Unless you guys start focusing on quality instead of quantity and take back control from the marketing department when it comes to product development.
    Seriously, have a look at Fireworks. It does iPhone UI development TODAY.
    [Good. I wasn’t asking about Fireworks. And it doesn’t matter how many nervous FW devotees come here and pump up the volume: lots of people like using PS for screen design, and it’s perfectly legitimate to try to make them happier–in PS. –J.]

  • Rick — 12:55 PM on December 15, 2009

    I’d make PS more user friendly on a mac first. Can’t copy and paste hex colors into the save for web dialog color picker.

  • Joe Stevens — 12:58 PM on December 15, 2009

    I think you might want to focus on making Photoshop better for UI design in general, right now it kind of sucks. You should bring the Fireworks guys into the PS team.

  • Kendall Gelner — 1:00 PM on December 15, 2009

    I’m a full time iPhone developer. I have a number of actual suggestions instead of siding one way or the other on the Fireworks debate:
    1) Read PNGCrushed images. Sometimes I come across people who have mistakenly thought to use pngcrush on the images to save space. I would like to unconvert those or at least view them in Photoshop.
    2) Make PNG workflow easier. Basically have some way to dump the visual state of a complex PSD into a small set of different filenames – basically here I’m talking selected states for a button so that I could toggle layers on and off and quickly generate multiple button states.
    3) Related to buttons, offer a nice tutorial somewhere on how to make a nice looking rounded button that comes with a png showing how to easily make a button supporting selected and unselected states (or even a highlighted vs. selected state if you want to get fancy). Yes I know there are a million tutorials around the internet but a very nicely done Adobe button people could use as a starting point, would probably help a lot of people.
    Given that so many people like working with Fireworks I can see a lot of value in sitting down with a heavy Fireworks user and see how they design a button, where Fireworks s making that process faster than Photoshop.

  • Mike Caprio — 1:13 PM on December 15, 2009

    Integrate with Dashcode. Add features to it.

  • Joel davis — 1:19 PM on December 15, 2009

    As a game developer, I’d love to see support for PVR texture compression from within photoshop.
    Also, not sure what the best way to handle this, but it’s a little tedious doing mockups or screens twice for landscape/portrait, if there were some tools to make this easier that’d be nice.
    A way to take a screenshot (Aquire->iPhone screenshot) if your iphone is connected would save me a few steps.

  • Christopher — 1:21 PM on December 15, 2009

    I’d like Photoshop to export a layered PSD so that each layer is sliced and saved in a directory as individual PNG (or other) assets AND provide an XML document relative to those images describing their coordinates, effects, draw depth, etc, in such a way that I can reasonably reference that information as draw instructions for use on a chosen mobile platform.
    I’ve created my own workflow in Photoshop by hobbling together some scripts but am sure the good folks at Adobe could provide a more robust version with more options and greater flexibility.
    It is also possible to assign meta-data to the layers to enable some menu routing and behaviors/animations. Consider layers as assets, folders/groups as widgets, and then ponder on the useful meta-data one could attribute to each.
    This workflow does allow designers to get a lot farther before they need to bother an engineer.

  • Troy Gilbert — 1:39 PM on December 15, 2009

    Fireworks is a brilliant product, the best I know for creating screen (i.e. UI) elements.
    Photoshop is a brilliant product, the best I know for creating photo/print elements.
    Let’s not push Photoshop any further beyond its capabilities. There’s a ton of infrastructure in Photoshop that’s never used for screen work, and there’s a ton of stuff in Fireworks never used for photo work.
    Here’s an idea: really, really polish Fireworks, make it so it doesn’t crash regularly, make it load faster and cleaner, and make it use native OS widgets (instead of the abstracted, blah Adobe UI), and charge $100 more.
    That’s right, charge more. Make Fireworks a more efficient, more stable, more native product and I’ll gladly pay twice what you currently charge. You don’t even have to update it’s feature set.

  • iphone developer — 1:55 PM on December 15, 2009

    I think apple should simply provide a standardized PSD kid of all the interface graphics that they use. So each application looks flush with the iphone. Developing for any mobile phone is so frustrating! I think only time will make things easier!

  • Daniel — 2:13 PM on December 15, 2009

    John, I’m curious. Do you solicit ideas on this blog after decision is made to shovel more stuff into Photoshop, or do you do it before the decision is made?
    It’s a serious question, and I’d very much like an answer. Because if indeed your “thanks for clearing that up” comment was meant to be sarcastic, then it would seem that the decision has been made already. So why bother asking, if we users have no say?
    Of course, I would prefer to think, that your comment was meant literally, and that you’ll take it to whoever should make the decision, and they’ll say “Ok, let’s use our time and money on something users actually want instead” (which incidentally has been made very clear here). But I have this terrible suspicion, that the decision’s already been made, and now it’s “Damn the torpedos! Full speed ahead!”
    So which is it?

  • Chris — 2:40 PM on December 15, 2009

    I read through all of these and bear in mind. I may or may not have been using Photoshop as long as most. But if one is to pay/download Photoshop for their iPhone or iPod touch. Then the idea isn’t for such a rich desktop presence. Make the PS app be fantastic at manipulating images taken with the camera. Make it better at handling large images, make the app connect to Adobe connect and have it sync with the adobe network. Participate in forums and offer ways to collaborate. This is meant for on the go Not development. That’s why we have desktops. Right?

  • Kira — 2:52 PM on December 15, 2009

    I use Photoshop exclusively for creating graphics for my iPhone apps. On the whole it’s all good, though I still sometimes get confused by color profiles. Nothing more aggravating than doing a save-for-web and finding all the colors have changed. How about a color profile for the iPhone screen?
    Also, a faster way to save PNGs would be nice, though I can live with the current save-for-web method too.

  • Alansky — 2:53 PM on December 15, 2009

    I would much rather see Adobe concentrate on improving Photoshop’s user interface than on expanding its feature set. There’s a reason why Photoshop has been the undisputed king of image editing apps since version 1. It doesn’t need more features. It needs a much better interface.
    [For the record, please note that I didn’t breathe a word about expanding Photoshop’s feature set. I asked what we could do to improve the app for a certain type of work, and your feedback is valid. It turns out in many cases that people remain unaware of what’s even possible in PS (e.g. auto-selecting layers when clicked, or showing transform handles on layer edges–both of which are one-click toggles in the options bar for the Move tool). –J.]

  • Takayuki — 4:08 PM on December 15, 2009

    Built in iPhone UI elements & shapes and gradations would certainly help. But I prefer it be supplied as custom plugin rather than default functionality.

  • Alan Valek — 4:08 PM on December 15, 2009

    LMAO I don’t get Fireworks either—they will eventually phase it out.

  • Alex — 5:52 PM on December 15, 2009

    Since I’ve switched to Fireworks for UI design, I don’t see myself ever using Photoshop for anything but photo editing. Fireworks and Flash are a much more efficient/streamlined tool for GUI design.
    Frankly, the UI in Photoshop is the opposite of user-friendly. I’ve used PS for the last 5 years–perhaps longer–and I still find it frustrating to create even the simplest elements. To me Photoshop is the definition of “feature creep” and “wouldn’t that be cool!”
    Adobe, please work on PS’s layout/UI, and please stop adding useless features.

  • Charley Parker — 6:49 PM on December 15, 2009

    I’ve created the interfaces for two iPhone apps and am working on two more.
    Though I used Photoshop to create the images for two of them (i.e. digital painting), it never occurred to me to use anything but Fireworks to create the interface elements.
    In the same way, it would never occur to me to use Photoshop to create web site interface elements instead of Fireworks.
    Fireworks is specifically an application for creating screen graphics as opposed to print graphics. Hello?
    I’ve been using Adobe software since Photoshop 2.5, but lately I’m astonished (and appalled) at Adobe’s insistence on forcing square pegs into round holes.
    In the same vein, I second the comments about refining the existing applications instead of piling on pointless “features” every time accounting wants a new version to sell.
    Instead of duct-taping more “functionality” onto Photoshop, refine Fireworks into the “must-have” app for all iPhone developers.
    It already is for me.

  • Sam — 7:32 PM on December 15, 2009

    1) Have an option that you *never* want to save an interlaced PNG.
    2) Have some way to recall the last directory you saved a PNG to. I always open the PSD file in one place and then save the visible PNG to my deployment XCode directory. I have to click “Recent Places” in Vista and hunt for it every time.
    3) Have a better way to set the text color to the current foreground color. Perhaps this is easy but I haven’t figured it out yet.
    4) Fix the bug where if you try to save to a PNG thats already open you get an “Unknown Error” pop-up. This also happens when you try to do something with an invisible selected layer.
    5) But mostly the PNG interlaced thing :)

  • Sam — 7:38 PM on December 15, 2009

    Oh and have an option to select multiple layers and merge to a new layer keeping the old layers unchanged.
    I realize there’s probably a way to do this just asking in the off chance there isn’t.

  • Jorge — 8:28 PM on December 15, 2009

    Make it play nice with OS X’s Spaces. Please.

  • David — 10:06 PM on December 15, 2009

    I don’t mind the expansion of the scope of Photoshop to do things that Illustrator or Fireworks do, but I’d rather see more and better tools for photo manipulation.
    For example:
    I’d like the ability to add layers and adjustment layers to masks.
    The transform/warp tools can be horribly slow and pixelated. They could probably be vastly improved through GPU acceleration.
    ( I do like the new PS CS5 warp tool and healing tool)

  • Daniel — 11:46 PM on December 15, 2009

    “It turns out in many cases that people remain unaware of what’s even possible in PS […]”
    So…. maybe work on that a instead of adding phone UI features? (And yes, it is adding features regardless of what you say, John. I mean, if you say “Photoshop: Now with new UI design abilities!” wouldn’t that be a feature? Or features?)
    “lots of people like using PS for screen design […]”
    True, but wouldn’t it even then be in Adobe’s interest to tell those people that they should also invest in Fireworks? I mean, that’s another sale right there, and no effort spent duplicating features in Photoshop. Instead the pitch is, that there’s this whole CS package, but Photoshop kinda does everything sorta good enough, so just get that?
    Yes, I’m being snarky, but I’m also being serious.
    BTW, you still haven’t answered whether or not you solicit ideas here before or after decisions to add stuff have been made. I’m still curious about that.

  • Daniel — 11:55 PM on December 15, 2009

    I can tell you Nack’s response:
    It’s not our fault, it’s a bug in Spaces when using Carbon windows.
    And here’s Apple’s response:
    But we’re deprecating Carbon, so that’s no surprise, is it? How about you update your code to Cocoa?
    Regardless of whether Apple made the right move or they screwed Adobe or whatever, it’s Apple’s OS, and the app is Adobe’s. Since the app runs on the OS, and not the other way around, it’s Adobe’s problem. That may suck for Adobe, but that’s the way it is.

  • Chris Cox — 1:21 AM on December 16, 2009

    So Apple is free to write as many bugs as they want, and it is up to each developer to reverse engineer Apple’s code to determine the nature of each and every bug so the developer can code around Apple’s bugs?
    Interesting theory you have there.
    And what happens when the bug in the OS can’t be coded around? When the bugs are so deep in the OS, or so disconnected from the app, that you can’t code around them? Like when fundamental file system operations cause crashes? Or when an external application modifies the behavior of the graphics subsystem in a way that is invisible to the application? Or when a fundamental part of the code used to put bits on the screen has a crashing bug?
    (BTW – these are not theoretical)
    There is only one reasonable response to bugs in an OS: hold the OS vendor responsible for fixing the bugs in the OS. Blaming application developers for OS bugs really doesn’t help.

  • Peter — 1:41 AM on December 16, 2009

  • mike — 2:33 AM on December 16, 2009

    [Good. I wasn’t asking about Fireworks. And it doesn’t matter how many nervous FW devotees come here and pump up the volume]
    Nervous? Are you kidding me? How about: happy users of our other flagship design product, that through their comments give us actual guidance on how our products are perceived in the market, which helps us focus our efforts where they are most likely to add value.
    But instead you chose “nervous devotees”. Nice…
    – “i feel like most of those features would apply to dreamweaver rather then ps
    – “I know this is a question about PS but I actually prefer FW”
    – “why on earth would anyone sane design a UI in Photoshop when Fireworks exists?”
    – “I like the idea of master-pages (like fireworks)”
    – “I don’t think Photoshop is the right tool for the job”
    – “stop trying to make Photoshop do things its bad at”
    – “FW works better for UI design”
    – “UI prototyping should not be an add-on or afterthought to photo manipulation software”
    – “please, please, please focus on making Photoshop do what it’s supposed to do first.”
    – “The company I work for uses Fireworks for designing applications”
    – “That’s what Fireworks is for, and it does an ABSOLUTELY AMAZING job at it”
    – “You should bring the Fireworks guys into the PS team. ”
    – “Fireworks is a brilliant product, the best I know for creating screen (i.e. UI) elements.”
    – “Fireworks and Flash are a much more efficient/streamlined tool for GUI design”
    – “it never occurred to me to use anything but Fireworks to create the interface elements.”
    – “Fireworks is specifically an application for creating screen graphics as opposed to print graphics. Hello?”
    Your blog reads like an excellent archive for how marketing-driven development is the worst way to develop software.
    As well as an excellent example of a company blog with comments that refuses to understand the comments for valuable feedback, instead subverting the messages into something that fits the predetermined marketing message: Nervous Fireworks devotees be damned, we will add something to do with iPhone to the Photoshop list of features!
    [Of course those sites will always exist, because no matter what we do… there will always be more to do.]
    Yeah, like adding iPhone UI design to the feature list of Photoshop… :(
    Meanwhile, we succesfully switched our web design team to Fireworks, we have not looked back since (our clients love the interactive wireframes and prototypes we cannow create). But of course, I’m just being a nervous Fireworks devotee, so I’ll just go away now.

  • Terry — 2:58 AM on December 16, 2009

    Ever seen the window content and border disconnection happen in any other OSX app?
    Nope me neither… guess it is Adobes fault then.

  • egal;) — 3:45 AM on December 16, 2009

    i need masks und many layer.

  • aaron — 6:29 AM on December 16, 2009

    you guys are turning into Corel.

  • Sjakelien — 7:05 AM on December 16, 2009

    After reading everything above, I became extremely interested in giving Fireworks a try.
    Having said that, I have so far done all my iPhone UI design in Photoshop and Illustrator.
    I think Apple and Adobe should sit down, to make the workflow of creating images and using them in an XCode project more efficient.
    Currently that involves:
    -Make a design
    -Save for web and Devices
    -Drag the result in your XCode project
    -Click OK to a dialog box asking if you want to copy the file into the project folder
    Now, after running the app in the Simulator, you notice something is not the way you want. You then have to do that whole cycle again.
    The ultimate solution would be if Xcode would accept native .psd documents, with all the layers and effects. There should be a mechanism in XCode, that would, upon building the app, take the .psd, render it down to a .png and somehow make it work with the code.
    I see some danger in the last step (do you want an external mechanism to change your code?).
    I trust though that Apple and Adobe are smart enough to work that stuff out.
    I DO NOT WANT any script or template guiding me how to make a button. I would like to see a panel that is helping me creating different button states.
    Stop the press!
    During the writing of this comment, I started up Fireworks, just to find out that it uses .png as its native format, and to my surprise, it can contain vector information. It also has a panel for different states of an object. I will now investigate this a little further, but I think I can now do a full roundtrip from an original document to Xcode….

  • Mike — 7:58 AM on December 16, 2009

    “Stop the press!
    During the writing of this comment, I started up Fireworks, just to find out that it uses .png as its native format, and to my surprise, it can contain vector information. It also has a panel for different states of an object. ”
    See there John, another conversion.. ;)
    Just as soon as people start using Fireworks, they realise it’s the best app in the whole Creative Suite for doing iPhone UI design.
    I will now rest my case…

  • Michel — 8:26 AM on December 16, 2009

    Hi, Mike,
    I have read all the comments here, including John’s. I have also read with great interest what you had to say:)
    Problem is, I believe that John Nack simply says “We will make so Photoshop users can design for iPhone (easier|better); now tell us, how?”.
    He doesn’t want to hear how much better Adobe Fireworks is for this task, from Fireworks users (it is, really — Fireworks is best in screen design, and 5+ years of my experience in it can confirm that).
    Or what both Ps and Fw users think about Photoshop being not focused on what it really does best — photo and print design.
    Fireworks is for designs for screen/Web.
    Photoshop is for editing of photos and for print design.
    Yes, you can do designs for screen (UI, Web, etc.) in Ps, but it is similar to using Fireworks for print — you can, but it’s not optimal.
    So, that’s why John Nack will say something like “Some nervous FW devotees are trying to say something, but I won’t listen; I want to hear instead the Ps crowd cheer up at the news that we are being adding soon even more stuff to Ps. iPhone? Yes. More vectors? Yes. Symbols? Yes.” and so on.
    So, you know, it’s like trying to talk to someone when he/she won’t listen, unless what you say is what is expected to be heard… :(
    Am I a “nervous Fw devotee”? Maybe. If you consider any professional designer/Web designer/interaction designer, who prefers Fireworks as a tool for his screen/Web/UI work, then yes, I am…
    I just don’t get why Fireworks has received over the years so little attention from Adobe, while this is and remains their best tool in the whole line of various Adobe products, that does best a few things — namely, design for screen (and yes, iPhone included!).
    And why not investing some resources to improve the way Fireworks “talks” to Ps and Ai, instead of trying to make one app (Ps) do everything in not he best way…
    Ps has enough features. What about making it do a few things, but very well? Just like Fw cannot be used for print, but it does some other things extremely well! :-)
    Just my two cents…

  • John — 9:07 AM on December 16, 2009

    Personally I still think that one of the worse things that happened is the take over of Macromedia.
    Adobe has never been web orientated and stuff like air does not change my mind about this. Macromedia were billiant at it – see Fireworks and Dreamweaver both of which have been treated as the naughty step-children ever since the takeover.

  • Michel — 9:28 AM on December 16, 2009

    “Yes, Fireworks is cool when you design a small ‘This is my homepage’ site. When you create a page for the biggest regional insurance company, for regional MTV, for biggest regional news-site, for the biggest regional advertising agency, things get REALLY complicated REALLY fast, and then only the power of Photoshop can help. So, FW lovers, show me what you have done in Fireworks.”
    Do you realise you tell us almost complete non***? Do you mean Fireworks is for designing small “homepages” and only Photoshop can design “big websites”?? Is it because Ps is BIG and Fireworks is small (when you compare their download size)? ;-)
    Well, let me disappoint you! Fireworks has the power to create the perfect graphic assets for both the smallest and the biggest of websites!
    It can be used successfully by creative individuals or by whole teams of designers.
    Its power lies in the fact that it is mostly vector-oriented app, but it has also a few nice bitmap tools in its toolset. It has live effects. It is intuitive to use — especially to novice users. It has Symbols — when used wisely, then can help you speed up your workflow, and a lot — create one symbol (example: create a red aqua button with white text, use it 100 times in all of your pages/layers/states in one complex Fireworks file, and when needed, update one of the buttons once, and see all instances of this button update instantly in all places! power!). It has Pages/Layers/States, and this speeds up your workflow, too — for example, have the header and footer part be shared accross all Pages, but design separately only the main content area in them! Also, click on an object, edit instantly color, stroke, text, effects, gradients, etc., in one place, in the Property Inspector — no need to have 10 panels open just to change a few properties of any vector or bitmap object!
    Should I continue? I don’t think so…
    Professional designers that use Fireworks for their screen/Web/UI designs, can speak for themselves. And some of them already have spoken here, in these comments…
    Finally, I will show you an illustration, made entirely in Adobe Fireworks:
    This illustration is the contest winner in a recent Fireworks contest; the author is Lucian Dragomir, a talented Fireworks designer.
    The illustration is made from A to Z in Fireworks, and everything that you see, is pure vectors!
    Does the illustration look unprofessional to you?
    Does it look like Fireworks is an application that can create only second-grade graphics (for Web/screen)?
    Does it look like all of this creative power, so strongly demonstrated in only one image, is only enough to be used for creating lame “homepages”, but cannot be used to create first-class graphics for any website — included?
    Because, you know, it doesn’t look so to me…
    And — question: Can you (re-)create the same kind of image in Photoshop, without using a single bitmap or a mask, only with vectors? Can you create it in such a way that if you have a repeating element in the design (for example, a little silver screw), you can edit it once and made it change in 150 places simultaneously? If yes, then you don’t really need Fireworks:)
    If no, then don’t speak so lightly about this nice graphic app that you probably never used because you prefer Photoshop…

  • Lena — 3:59 PM on December 16, 2009

    Funny…I had to downgrade from Snow Leopard specifically _because_ of Adobe and their abysmal lack of support for the new OS. Crash-tastic!
    Regarding photoshop’s use in iPhone dev’t – working with an outside firm, they insisted I use photoshop because that’s all they have. I’d recommend keeping as much of your artwork as smart objects as possible in the off chance that, like me, you’ll have to change resolution at the last minute because they decide it’s lighter weight to render images of text rather than device rendered.
    The pain point I have with this is that there’s not a quick way to save in a non screen resolution. save for web png forces 72ppi, and text is blurry at anything but the phone’s native res: 163ppi.
    Another bonus to avoiding rasterized graphics as much as possible…less effort to port when apple inevitably changes resolution. The Droid on android is a taste of phone screens to come, and there’s always the infamous tapplet to contend with the future.
    Fortunately, thanks to smart objects and filters these changes can be somewhat painless.
    ps: blog bug – preview doesn’t preserve name, email, URL values in those fields.

  • Daemon — 5:07 AM on December 17, 2009

    And still, none of you commentators provided links to images (or full websites/Apps) that you created in Fireworks. You are just speaking in theory here, with very little professional work actually being done behind those words.
    Show me what have you done in Fireworks.
    Me? Recently:
    (be sure to click around the site, even if you do not speak the language)
    All Photoshop.

  • Diego Massanti — 6:27 AM on December 17, 2009

    Amazing, next time take the time to read (and understand) the topic before posting a comment.
    Thank you.

  • Michel — 7:12 AM on December 17, 2009

    I commented but MovableType probably deleted my comment because of the link:(
    (and make sure to click on the 1st place Fw contest image to see it in full-size!)
    Does this illustration look like created by a second-grade graphic design app?
    It is made from A to Z in Fireworks CS4, all vectors, live effects and symbols!
    Can you re-create the same kind of image in Ps without using even a single bitmap and/or a mask?
    Because in Fireworks, you can!
    And there lies its power — excellent vector tools, Symbols, live effects, Pages/Layers/States, amazing Properties Inspector panel — all such things that Ps still can only dream of, even as of CS4! :)

  • Mike — 7:10 AM on December 18, 2009

    “You are just speaking in theory here, with very little professional work actually being done behind those words.”
    Awesome, can I have some of your skills that allow you to know what complete strangers heve and have not done? Or is that something that comes for free with Photoshop Extended?

  • Dustin Wilson — 10:17 AM on December 18, 2009

    I’ve read through many of the comments here, and while I don’t necessarily agree with their tone I do agree with their message that this is something for Fireworks. I personally do not use Fireworks because Fireworks CS4 is largely unusable as it crashes on even the most mundane of actions, and Adobe’s answer to the multitude of gripes about the program’s crashing is to largely ignore the complaints. If they didn’t ignore the complaints there would be a series of patches for the program to fix it. There’s stupid crashes in many of the other programs, and none of them are generally fixed. There was a time back in the day where Adobe would release many updates to Photoshop and Illustrator (as they were the only two I used back then). We’re lucky these days to get a single update to programs which we pay quite a lot of money for and which are in dire need of updates to fix UI bugs, crashes, and general annoyances. Instead we’re expected to fork over money for the next suite to hopefully fix bugs present in previous versions. A lot of times the bugs from the previous release are fixed, but a lot of times new ones are added. The cycle repeats itself. It would be nice that Creative Suite 5 will become the release that stops this cycle.
    My point here is that the best thing Adobe can do to improve Photoshop (or any Adobe application for that matter and for any specific task) is to make it more stable and release patches for it when issues come up. The program’s going to have bugs because humans program it, but there has to be more than one or two patches for these programs. It shouldn’t be something Adobe’s users should have ask for. I’d expect a product that costs more money than the average computer these days to be actively maintained. To be fair out of the applications I use from Adobe Photoshop is the most stable of the bunch.
    While I agree that the specific feature being discussed here is a feature that should be in Fireworks and not Photoshop I am also of the belief that Fireworks COULD be merged with Photoshop into one application. It’s completely wrong to label Photoshop as just a photo manipulation program as it is and can be used for many different things outside of that task. I personally use it more to paint illustrations than I do manipulating photos for instance. I find Photoshop’s interface more productive, but that is perhaps because I’m more familiar with it — having used it for over a decade. One of Fireworks’ features such as the industry’s best PNG support (like 8bit images with 8bit alpha) should be added into Photoshop regardless of whether it’s to be merged into a single program. There’s no excuse to have many programs across the suite having different levels of support for a particular format. No program free or purchased can touch Fireworks’ support for the PNG format (excluding its own proprietary extensions). All of its alignment and UI tools can be integrated into Photoshop. But if Photoshop is to be the program selected by Adobe to handle iPhone UI design it needs to be merged with Fireworks first, gaining its necessary tools for the job — otherwise the feature needs to be part of Fireworks instead.

  • Michel — 2:45 AM on December 19, 2009

    You cannot merge Fireworks with Photoshop!
    First, Fireworks is dedicated for editing screen/Web/UI graphics. As such, it has much less features than Ps, but they work much better in the area that Fireworks excels.
    Second, Fw and Ps have too different workflows and UI. In Fireworks, you don’t think layers, you think objects. In Ps, you think layers. In Fireworks, this workflow works best for screen graphics, prototypes, UI. Click on an object and edit it. In Ps, this doesn’t work so. Without layers in Ps, you can’t do anything. In Fw, you can work with your Layers panel closed.
    Third, Fw is mostly vector-based. Is Ps vector-based? I don’t think so.
    Fourth, if you merge Fw into Ps, what’ll happen is probably Ps will copy some of the features that Fw has into its already over-crowded features list/toolset, and that’s it. Ps will continue to work as it is now, but its workflow is not usable nor intuitive, for screen/Web work, at least. And to change the way that Ps works… no, this will never happen, Ps users are accustomed to this un-intuitive way that Ps works. But Fw users are accustomed to the easy way Fw works. So, no way, IMHO…
    * * *
    I hope that Fireworks CS5 will be much more stable and fast and bug free and will have some nice features.
    As to Adobe CS “cycles”, that’s the way it is. Once a program is released — Ps CS4 or Fw CS4, etc. — there’s almost nothing Adobe can do; the maximum is to release one patch a few months after the program is out and that’s it. Then you wait till next cycle.

  • justin — 4:37 PM on December 20, 2009

    yep, until adobe fix Fw I’m not going near it. Yes I have tried but walked away swearing. Ps blasts Fw out of the water for productivity in UI design as far as i’m concerned. It’s a shame to think Adobe can call this a good product release and still not have fixed the multitude of bugs and deficiencies in the current version after nearly a year on.

  • Dustin Wilson — 3:55 PM on December 21, 2009

    I’m well aware of how Fireworks functions, but it’s as much a vector editor as Photoshop is currently as both application’s native format isn’t vector — they embed or link the vector data into the file. Illustrator’s the vector editor in the package, but Illustrator — like Photoshop — could learn a thing or two from Fireworks as well such as vector to raster conversion because let’s face it Illustrator’s vector to raster converter sucks. Granted Photoshop’s controls for handling vectors is quite clunky and mostly pointless unlike Fireworks’ handling. It doesn’t mean it couldn’t change (and it should because Photoshop’s controls for vectors suck). I was just stating that it could be merged into Photoshop (or perhaps even Illustrator), not should — however.
    Yes that is how the development cycle works, and that’s the problem. Usually a few bugs are fixed, but many lingering ones such as the numerous crash and UI bugs in Fireworks which make it unusable are not fixed until money is forked over for the upgrade. It’d be like buying Mac OS X or Windows, downloading one or two bug fixes, and then being required to pay for the next version 18 months down the road for bug fixes to bugs that have occurred for over a year and a half. There’s plenty Adobe can do like releasing more than a couple of patches for their programs, supporting them up until shortly after the next CS suite is released. Supporting an application is like taking care of a baby; you have to help it grow, but you have to take care of it when it’s sick as well.

  • Mat — 8:11 AM on December 23, 2009

    Create a new flattened layer from all the current visible layers, while leaving those original layers intact:
    On the mac: “Command-option-E”
    On windows: “Control-alt-E”

  • Mat — 8:14 AM on December 23, 2009


  • Mat — 9:32 AM on December 23, 2009

    Wow, lots of whining and bickering going on but not a whole lot of productivity… I’d imagine it’s what most of your offices look like too.
    It seems that a majority of commenters have parked their protest vans outside Burger King, only to condemn McDonalds… This is a photoshop blog, go bug the Fireworks team with your feature requests.
    Back to what the original question was about – Photoshop and iPhone devs.
    1.) I would love to see a PNG save-to-web (or a new “save-to-device” option) option for 160/163DPI files.
    2.) As stated once already, a way to save all current layers to a separate, trimmed, transparent, 163DPI PNG would make life worth living again – as I’ve easily trimmed and saved out over a 1000 individual elements in the last year of development alone.
    [Have you tried choosing “File->Scripts->Export Layers to Files”? Please let me know if this doesn’t work for you. –J.]
    3.) It’s not something I do daily, but the ability to import ‘crush’d PNG’s would be beneficial as well.
    Thanks for taking the time to listen those who use your product the most… It’s a great step in the right direction.
    P.S. People, think twice before starting your comments out with an inherent “tone” and immediately flaming on the Photoshop guys… Adobe doesn’t step up and ask for end-user input very often, so lets not make them think twice before doing so again – OK?

  • Capturingmoments — 1:05 PM on December 23, 2009

    I would like to see a function that would automatically resize and optimize my photos to incorp into my iPhone app. I have over 3000 that will be going into several new apps. Built a function to crop but have to optimize and resize. I would like to see all in to resize and crop optimize for the iPhone

  • Alex Kac — 3:13 PM on December 23, 2009

    As a developer for multiple mobile platforms for the last 9 years, I can tell you that I don’t even own Fireworks anymore. We use Photoshop, our engineers only own Photoshop, the people we hire to design graphic assets to use within our apps only use Photoshop, and so on. In fact I thought Fireworks died.
    Yes, I prefer vector work and interestingly enough, nearly all my art assets in Photoshop use paths and layers and such so that we get vector art. I can take much of it and blow it up to poster sizes and its perfect. We even do our screenshots in Photoshop vector.
    So I don’t want any of this FW crud. I don’t want to learn FW again and I don’t want to buy it.
    The biggest issues I have with PS right now include:
    Management of original editable and exported final assets.
    Ability to keep families of assets together. For example on WM and BB we have to design 24, 48, and 64 pixel size versions of many graphic assets (not just icons). On iPhone mostly its one size here and there, but soon that’ll change and we’ll have multiple sizes as well. Even if its vector, the ability to have multiple “sets” in one file or catalog so that say on a smaller icon we need to do some pixel adjustments we can and it’ll look good and be manageable.

  • — 6:26 PM on December 26, 2009

    I been doing the bulk of my iPhone UI resource work in Illustrator not Photoshop. I mostly use Photoshop for minor tweaks and occasionally compositing.

  • Peter — 3:47 AM on December 27, 2009

    Slices palette window to select slices directly by name.
    In a standard PSD project where you’ve got the whole application in one document (each screen/view in it group), there are dozens of slices overlaying each other and it’s very difficult to actually selec the one you’d like to.
    Thank you!

  • Vladimir Kocian — 7:19 AM on December 27, 2009

    Please add feather on vetor mask, like in after effects.
    [You can do that now, as of CS4. Check out the new Masks panel. –J.]

  • Francesco Marano — 3:08 PM on December 28, 2009

    I’m not a developer, I’m just an Italian user but I would like to give you my help to improve Photoshop for iPhone.
    I think that you can create an app for iPhone named Photoshop but just like ulead photo express 6.
    Because this app is very simple an essential, but very usefull and it has all the necessary function. I hope I had you a good help.

  • Kira — 12:10 PM on December 29, 2009

    One other Photoshop wish: it’d be nice if the color picker could show the RGB values of the current color as a float from 0 to 1 – that’d make it easier to match up to UIColors in code.

  • Mark Greenberg — 7:41 AM on January 01, 2010

    What is the best way to deliver a GUI design for a software app to a programmer using FW. If I export images and slices the programmers says he wants complete background images and individual button states without background, etc.

  • Arun Kaza — 5:22 AM on January 13, 2010

    Hi Dustin,
    I am Arun from Adobe Fireworks Team. Was wondering if you have installed the FWCS4 patch ( that was released and are still seeing the frequent crashes that you mentioned here?
    We would definitely want to work with you on finding out more details or crash data, which can really help in nailing the root problem (if any).
    Please note that Adobe is surely dedicated to address these issues and we just need your great support and help!
    looking forward to hear more from you on this. You can also reach me off this thread at

  • ipad Italia @ work place — 3:01 PM on January 29, 2010

    I think it is a good idea but not for this thread, here is more about how to improve PS than to find a iPhone application.

  • Mateos — 8:03 AM on June 01, 2010

    Use fireworks

  • TaVi — 4:18 PM on September 21, 2010

    It would be great if you could add some more features than just the basic ones for editing images. Something to give the ability to the user to create web graphics.


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