Browser-based Photoshop launches on all plans, no free version for now

What just happened? A long-running beta for a web-based Photoshop client with a freemium trial for Canadian users raised hopes that Adobe might lower the iconic image editor’s barrier to entry. The browser option’s full launch brings Photoshop to a broader range of hardware, but its prohibitive cost remains.

All Adobe Photoshop subscribers gained access to a web browser client this week. While the new option doesn’t include the full suite of editing features, it offers easy access to Adobe’s recently released Firefly generative AI library.

The company primarily designed Photoshop on the web for newcomers, streamlining the interface to speed up workflows and make the software easier to understand. Tools are reorganized based on how often they’re used together for specific jobs like retouching pictures or cutting objects. Users unfamiliar with Adobe’s glyphs can optionally display tool names. Web Photoshop also includes the recently introduced Contextual Task Bar, which automatically recommends the next tool to help users perform the most common tasks.

Although the web client lacks many of the traditional desktop version’s features, it includes the most popular tools. Users can employ the pen, patch, polygonal lasso, and more. It also has smart object support. More functionality is coming soon. In the meantime, users needing to access missing tools can quickly shift a project between the web and desktop clients with a single click.

A central feature of the web version is Adobe’s new Firefly AI suite, enabling the Generative Fill and Expand tools. Through clicks or text prompts in over 100 languages, subscribers can add and remove elements from pictures or create new content beyond an image’s original borders, all while maintaining perspective-correct lighting. Adobe made Firefly commercially available across multiple applications earlier this month, including a standalone web app, Express, and Illustrator.

While the company has tested a free version of the web client in Canada, Adobe told The Verge that it isn’t planning to launch a free tier worldwide. The news will likely disappoint those hoping for a more accessible entry point to Photoshop, but the paid web version still introduces advantages.

Subscribers can now access some functions on Chromebooks or other platforms that don’t natively support the desktop software. It also allows users to quickly begin editing on a new system without downloading and installing the desktop version. Additionally, web users can invite non-subscribers to collaborate by viewing and commenting on files.

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