In present day scenario, as our lives become more and more web-centric, Web-based applications are steadily replacing conventional desktop applications. Although web-based applications are not necessarily suitable replacements for anything and everything but thanks to the ever-evolving powerful web-technologies, a lot many fascinating web-based applications have cropped up in the last few years.
So despite being slower than traditional desktop applications(a situation that is rapidly improving) there are several advantages of using web-based applications like no need for installation, cross platform identical interface and great sharing features.
So here is my handpicked list of top 5 fascinating web-based free image editors :
- Picnik : Picnik provides basic photo manipulation tools which we need every now and then, like – Autofix, rotate, crop, resize, exposure, color ,sharpen ,red-eye correction etc. Although its feature set is not exhaustive and not very impressive it may appeal people who prefer getting day-to-day tasks done quickly and easily. Also it has a pretty neat collection of filter effects and options to add frames and speech bubbles to images. For advanced options, payment is required. Before hooking up for a paid account, you might want to check out the next few options.
- Fotoflexer :Fotoflexer is a tool with lots of similarities with picnik. In addition to providing the basic image editing features like crop, rotate and zoom, it provides some image markup, animation and beautification options. Specially the basic distortion and animation effects set it apart from the crowd. It also offers web-cam integration and allows you to take images directly from your web-cam and edit them. It supports layered images and some really impressive photo sharing options .It allows users to share their creations with their friends on facebook,picassa,photobucket,myspace,flickr etc. quickly and easily. It indeed has a few praiseworthy features.
- Pixlr : Pixlr is an advanced image editing application that goes beyond simple prototype predefined tasks and gives the user the fine-grained exhaustive toolsets for image-manipulation. The site interface is modelled after Photoshop and will indeed appeal to hardcore photoshop lovers out there, who will find them at home immediately as not only the interface is a close replica of the photoshop interface(the essential toolbox, history pane, navigator pane , layers ,free transform – they are all there ) but standard photoshop keyboard shortcuts too are available. The flash based interface, despite being impressively feature rich is strikingly fast and responsive. No registration is required and all features are available free of cost. Bmp,jpg,png,pxd image formats are supported. Layered images are supported through the pxd format. There is a great collection of filters and brushes and users have been given much control over brushes and the design-lovers would definitely love being able to load external custom made brushes as well. The filter set is very complete and features most of the commonly used filters like
- Heat map
- Tri tone
- Emboss and engrave
This is definitely a really well designed image-editor which deserves loads of appreciation. Although we could have aspired for better and more intuitive image sharing features (pixlr offers image sharing through integration with imm.io which is pretty nice but ability to directly upload images to flickr/photobucket could have been handier) .All in all, it’s a really fascinating image editor and if you are into some serious photo editing, give pixlr a try.
- Sumopaint : Sumopaint is another image editor modelled after photoshop and has a lot in common with pixlr. Basic photoshop features are all available and feature sets are complete and mature. Most of the features mentioned under pixlr except notably keyboard support and lacks the ability to import external images. Sumopaint has built a great community and user base and a nice store. All in all, a great editor and a really strong competitor to pixlr .
- Splashup: Splashup is another similar tool modelled after photoshop but the interface was apparently a bit slower and feature set is less exhaustive compared to pixlr.Although the essential and intermediate level tools are all in place, but user does not have as much control over the brushes, the filter sets are somewhat limited and tools like blur,sharp,pinch,bloat etc are missing. Also images can be zoomed only by discreet levels – something that many serious designers will scoff at. However a very strong point of this service is seamless integration with a plethora of web-services and social networking sites like facebook, flickr,picassa,smugmug, photobucket etc. jpeg, png images are supported and layered images are supported through fxo format. All in all it is definitely a well designed application, although there is room for improvement, it is worth giving a try.
- Aviary :No list of image editing applications can be complete without the mention of this masterpiece application suite. If you haven’t heard of or used aviary before , fasten your seatbelts for a really jaw-dropping experience – huge feature set, powerful tools and expansive documentation and tutorials- They have tried to do it all. As we mentioned before it is a really awesome set of applications that caters to the needs of even the most seasoned photographers and designers.The image editing tool phoenix is a powerful image editor. The interface though is inspired from photoshop is not a clone, tries to be innovative, clutter free and intuitive. All the necessary features are in-place and feature set is complete and mature.
The screen capture utility Taylon is a firefox add-on that is integrated with the rest of the application suite and makes taking and editing screenshots very easy and painless.
The vector graphics editor raven is the world’s first web-based vector graphics editor and it serves as an elegant example as to how powerful can a flash interface be made by innovative thinking. All requisite tools for creating and editing paths, objects, beziers etc are available and it’s a complete and practical application.
The color and swatch editor are pretty impressive and give professionals the intricate level of control they crave for. They have recently offered audio editor and music creation softwares too.
Falcon, the image markup application is another exemplary application that is very innovative and rivals the maturity and functionality of professional desktop applications.
There are huge communities of fans who are there to help you in painting your dreams and publishing your work. The sharing features are great and seamless integration with most of leading social networks and image sharing sites is built right in.
All in all a powerful application suite, though beginners might feel the learning curve a bit steep but investment of time and effort with a powerful application like aviary will indeed pay off. Describing all features of aviary would take tons of pages … I strongly recommend you to try it out .
Also check :
- Great Photoshop Effects without using photoshop
- Best books to learn photoshop CS5
- Free Photoshop replacements
So the final verdict , which one is right for you ? Ask yourself what you actually need. If all you need is basic cropping and slicing of images with maybe a bit of decoration, look no further than picnik or fotoflexer, but in case you desire pixel-perfect control over your creation we have tools like pixlr, sumopaint, etc. For serious painters and photographers who don’t mind having to spend some intial time getting habituated to some new and refreshingly innovative ways of doing things we have aviary. So go forth, choose the tool that suits you and Monalisa is there smiling for you ….