Apple made Photoshop transition to M1 a 'smooth experience,' Adobe says

Posted:
in Mac Software edited March 15
Adobe's Photoshop team says that transitioning the app over to Apple Silicon was initially intimidating but made easier thanks to Apple's "significant investment" in developer tools.

Credit: AppleInsider
Credit: AppleInsider


On Wednesday, Adobe officially updated Photoshop to run natively on the M1 chip. A couple of days later, Computer World spoke with Mark Dahm, the principal product manager for Photoshop, to get further details about the transition.

From the start, Dahm said that the initial scope of the project was "a little intimidating," since the team wanted to ensure that performance on Apple Silicon wasn't compromised in any way. However, since Photoshop existed through the Mac PowerPC to Intel transition, Dahm said there were some familiar considerations.

"Fortunately, Apple's Rosetta mode allowed Photoshop to run reliably and fast on M1 devices on day one, without requiring significant changes to the code base. And many features were running as fast, or even faster than on the previous systems, so those earlier questions about performance were being resolved quite satisfactorily," Dahm said.

The team wanted to go further than that, so re-factoring Photoshop to run natively was the "first step toward unlocking real performance gains from the hardware."

On that note, Dahm said the attention on the developer tool chain set the stage for a much more seamless transition. It allowed the team to spend more time fixing Photoshop code, and less time fighting with developer tools.

Partnering with Apple, Adobe's Photoshop team was able to implement optimizations that boosted the performance of the app's staple features -- such as Content Aware Fill, the healing brush, and specialized filters.

"This is only the beginning, and we look forward to bringing even more performance gains and Photoshop magic to life on the new Apple Silicon platform," Dahm said.

The Photoshop product manager also praised Apple's "significant investment in the developer toolchain and experience," adding that developing for M1 and future Apple Silicon chips should be a "smooth experience."

More than that, Dahm said the time and effort it took to recompile Photoshop was worth it because of the user-facing enhancements to both features and performance.

"We compared an M1 MacBook to a previous-generation MacBook similarly configured, and found that under native mode, Photoshop was running 50% faster than the older hardware," he said. "These great performance improvements are just the beginning, and we will continue to work together with Apple to further optimize performance over time."

Dahm added that both Photoshop and Lightroom are available as native M1 applications, and public betas are also available for Premiere Pro, Premiere Rush, and Adobe Audition. He said that more Creative Cloud updates should be coming down the road.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    thttht Posts: 3,952member
    Would be interesting to see some investigation to why Adobe apps are so hard to migrate to new architecture. A lot of the compute intensive, or faceless ops/functions, should be straight ANSI C/C++. Custom platform middleware? Crap UI implementations? Custom memory allocation routines?
    spock1234watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 11
    sevenfeetsevenfeet Posts: 432member
    I’m old enough to remember Photoshop 1.0 on the 68000 Macs. Architecture transitions predate PowerPC-Intel.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 11
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,517member
    sevenfeet said:
    I’m old enough to remember Photoshop 1.0 on the 68000 Macs. Architecture transitions predate PowerPC-Intel.
    So am I and I bet most of the code hasn’t changed significantly which is why Adobe has had issues. They also turned to Windows relegating Mac development to the back burner. I would like to know if Adobe actually rewrote the software to make use of Apple’s Core technologies like Pixelmator and others have done to achieve all the speed and ML capabilities Apple offers.  
    spock1234watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 11
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 5,408member
    tht said:
    Would be interesting to see some investigation to why Adobe apps are so hard to migrate to new architecture. A lot of the compute intensive, or faceless ops/functions, should be straight ANSI C/C++. Custom platform middleware? Crap UI implementations? Custom memory allocation routines?
    Do you use any Adobe software regularly? The possibilities you listed are definitely a problem. Their entire app UI system is or at least was all Air-based (related to Flash), their MacOS UI elements are all faked to look native when they’re not, even their UI panel controls are terribly inconsistent between apps and all behave completely differently. Stuff that should be fast like just applying a drop shadow to a rectangle and moving it in Illuatrator can cause beachballs, it’s insanely unoptimized for the most simple stuff and very crash-prone. Dreamweaver churns through CPU just sitting with no open windows. Apps trigger dGPU usage without any open windows. It’s kind of a shit show. 
    mainyehcspock1234watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 11
    rob53 said:
    sevenfeet said:
    I’m old enough to remember Photoshop 1.0 on the 68000 Macs. Architecture transitions predate PowerPC-Intel.
    So am I and I bet most of the code hasn’t changed significantly which is why Adobe has had issues. They also turned to Windows relegating Mac development to the back burner. I would like to know if Adobe actually rewrote the software to make use of Apple’s Core technologies like Pixelmator and others have done to achieve all the speed and ML capabilities Apple offers.  
    I think that happened for Lightroom (as opposed to Lightroom Classic), which is why it migrated to Apple Silicon basically overnight.

    Photoshop/Illustrator date back to early Macintosh. Both have continuous histories on macOS, with no forks that I’m aware of, the closest thing being the Creative Suite and OS X transitions.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see that change now, with the same approach they used for Lightroom. There will be a Photoshop Classic, while they launch a new Photoshop based on the iPadOS app. Same for Illustrator, which also has an iPadOS app.
    edited March 12 caladanianspock1234watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 11
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    tht said:
    Would be interesting to see some investigation to why Adobe apps are so hard to migrate to new architecture. A lot of the compute intensive, or faceless ops/functions, should be straight ANSI C/C++. Custom platform middleware? Crap UI implementations? Custom memory allocation routines?
    It would be interesting for sure.   Much of adobe’s software could use updating     However I wonder also how much of this speed up is software only or leveraging specialized hardware on M1.   
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 11
    The M1 has generally been a smooth experience. It is better than my 2020 Intel MBP 13" 32GB for sure. Same speed or better, plus it runs silent and cool.

    Now that a lot of these native apps are coming through, the CPU, memory and swap memory usage have dropped during normal use. Once all of the apps are native this machine will be borderline magical compared to the Intel hairdryer I had before.

    Oh yeah, the battery life is INSANE and that's not an exaggeration. The battery management is also great. My previous Intel Mac lost 8% of its capacity in the first month and again after I complained and they replaced it, it fell again. In contrast, my M1 is still at 100% battery capacity after 3-months. Those Intel processors really wear out the battery.

    I don't miss Intel at all. Thanks, Apple!
    caladanianwilliamlondonspock1234watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 11
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,308member
    sevenfeet said:
    I’m old enough to remember Photoshop 1.0 on the 68000 Macs. Architecture transitions predate PowerPC-Intel.
    Me too, I still have the disk, Photoshop aka MacPaint Pro courtesy of Knoll Bros., lol.  In fact, I have a disk with a beta earlier than 1.0 in my collection.
    edited March 13 docno42watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 11
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,308member
    The M1 has generally been a smooth experience. It is better than my 2020 Intel MBP 13" 32GB for sure. Same speed or better, plus it runs silent and cool.

    Now that a lot of these native apps are coming through, the CPU, memory and swap memory usage have dropped during normal use. Once all of the apps are native this machine will be borderline magical compared to the Intel hairdryer I had before.

    Oh yeah, the battery life is INSANE and that's not an exaggeration. The battery management is also great. My previous Intel Mac lost 8% of its capacity in the first month and again after I complained and they replaced it, it fell again. In contrast, my M1 is still at 100% battery capacity after 3-months. Those Intel processors really wear out the battery.

    I don't miss Intel at all. Thanks, Apple!
    This is a joke for the oldies here...  Maybe they might be a 'Language Card' for the next Mac Pro M series,  so we can run X86 code.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 11
    ppietrappietra Posts: 251member
    Considering that in some benchmarks the native version only runs 10-15% faster than running under Rosetta, I think we can assume that there is a lot of code that hasn’t been well optimised for the new processor.
    docno42watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 11
    docno42docno42 Posts: 3,536member
    sevenfeet said:
    I’m old enough to remember Photoshop 1.0 on the 68000 Macs. Architecture transitions predate PowerPC-Intel.
    Yeah but 68K to PowerPC Photoshop was pretty much Mac only - and it was a much smaller program and Adobe didn't have a whole pantheon of apps yet either.  

    With PowerPC to Intel Adobe was not nearly as focused on Mac and Windows was a lot more of their revenue.  For anyone who was involved back then it was pretty obvious that Apples decision to cancel migrating Carbon to 64 bit was mainly to force Adobe to finish migrating Photoshop.  Those were some acrimonious and testy times.

    It's nice to see Adobe and Apple working together this time, and also very nice to see Adobe back to prioritizing the Mac too (or at least pretending to care).
    edited March 15 watto_cobra
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