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Sp4 For Artists/photography - Mini Review


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Wanted to give a quick review of the Surface Pro 4 for the purposes of photography/Photoshop/Lightroom


For location shoots and studio shoots I have been previewing images to clients using my iPad. This is a fine format for previewing images (i use shuttersnitch) but not so good for editing.


I use a relatively high horsepower desktop machine (3.6ghz i7 3820, 32gb memory, 512gb SSD) for my photoshop editing but more and more, I dislike being tied down to a static computer in my office and wanted the flexibility of being mobile. Yet, the mobile platforms like the android and apple tablets either didn't have the horsepower or capbility to run the full desktop applications. I was surprised recently that the mobile version of photoshop running on android couldn't open a multi-layer desktop photoshop file for example.


My photoshop work is unusual in that I do a lot of compositing , drawing and artwork in addition to just using filters. It's not unusual for one of my pieces to have 50 layers of 4000x6000 artwork and be over 500MB in size. These images can take up to 8-9GB of physical memory and really slow the machine down to a crawl, particularly when using the mixer brush or smudge tool set to sample all layers.


At any rate, I had a chance to pickup a used surface pro 4, i7, 16gb memory and 256gb of SSD.


After a week, I can say that this machine performs VERY WELL. There is virtually no lag on any operations I have tried relative to my desktop and it's easily able to handle 4000x6000 files with 50+ layers.


Additionally, I can run FULL versions of lightroom and photoshop CC2017 and they are just about as snappy as on my desktop. 


When microsoft first came out with the windows 8 platform I thought it was really a stupid idea to put a desktop OS on a tablet but now that the hardware has caught up to the software, I can really say that this is genius. It's so nice to be able to edit anywhere and unlike trying to use something like sketchpad on an ipad pro and having to export to an additional format in order to "work" them on my desktop, I edit the files in standard photoshop and can go back and forth between desktop and table with no importing or exporting or limit to file sizes, layers, color depth etc.


About the only negative I have found is that the photoshop pen-tool is awkward because the display on the surface is such high density that the nodes on the screen are only a few pixels wide and the width of the pen on the screen hides them so it's hard to select them. I ended up resorting to using the touch pad for pen tool work. I am disappointed that adobe has not elected to give the user an option to scale the pen tool node handles like they did with the toolbar and menu items for high density displays.


Here's an image I created with the surface pro 4, 500mb, ~50 layers.



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