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Photoshop Touch apps turn iPad into artist's easel

Adobe launches a trio of iPad apps to complement Photoshop CS5 as finger painting goes upmarket.

Three new iPad apps bring out your creative side, allowing virtual painting, colour mixing and image viewing directly from Apple's wonder tablet. Known collectively as Photoshop Touch, this trio of apps were designed by Adobe to complement and enhance Photoshop CS5.

Color Lava (£1.75) turns the iPad into a virtual mixing palette, allowing colours to be picked, swirled and mixed together using just the fingertips. Tapping any colour instantly selects it on the desktop version of Photoshop. Swatches can be saved and emailed for later use.

Eazel (£2.99) turns the glorious 9.7-inch iPad display into a canvas simply imploring your fingers to flick electronic paint onto it. You can mix wet and dry paints and create realistic artwork. Though the app integrates via a network connection with CS5, you can also use it to save creations to the built-in Photos software.

Finally, for those who never have enough space free on their computer monitor, Nav (£1.19) comes to the rescue by allowing a customised Photoshop toolbox to be placed on the iPad. Additionally, up to 200 open documents (what kind of ninja designer has that many files open at once?) can be viewed and zoomed.

As the iPad doesn't currently have a pressure-sensitive touchscreen, it's not quite as versatile as a dedicated graphics tablet. That said, it's a lot of fun for aspiring artists and could be a serious aid to productivity.

Sadly it only works if you have the latest version of Photoshop, so while the apps themselves are cheap (get all three for under six quid) if you've got CS4 or below you'll have to shell out serious cash for the privilege of creating art on your iPad.

There are plenty of other painting apps available. That gorgeous screen lends itself to being doodled on. If you don't believe Photoshop is the Holy Grail of image-editing software, these apps might not excite you. For those who live and breathe the Adobe monster, you can't go far wrong with these.