So, you know how to do some neat stuff with Photoshop (like borders), but what if you need to resize a graphic or do some other digital image manipulation and you don’t have your regular setup on the road with you, or some other such issue has left you high and dry as far as image processing is concerned? Here are a few sites that I have very recently “test driven” and actually tried out on the net, and I have included a few brief comments on each for you:
Well, being that I bow down to the “Messiah” of all photographic/design programs, Adobe Photoshop, I figured this one will be something I’ll use over and over, and I would be right except for the fact that they are so backlogged with people trying to sign up, that I’ve not even received my login and password information yet, and it’s been a week! However, that little inconvenience aside, I managed to do a basic “test drive” of the program, and what I experienced was quite engaging and enlightening to say the least!
The interface itself is very attractive, and allows you to upload many photos to the tune of a total of about 2 Gig, which is pretty generous! The program organizes your photos into a photo album of sorts, and lets you click on any photo in order to do some amazing manipulation. One simple feature in particular was incredibly impressive to me; I could take an image and change the color of the main focus, which in this particular instance was a red car, with one click. The color change feature gives one a veritable laundry list of different colors you can choose to make the car just by plonking an eyedropper onto the car, which then opens up a horizontal bar at the top of the screen which allows you to ‘mouse over’ each color until you choose one to change the original to. It was a spectacular feature that I must have spent 10 minutes on just changing colors; and it was so specific and accurate, a feature that I really appreciated.
In test drive mode, I wasn’t able to upload any of my own photos, and I also wasn’t able to really study all of the amazing features available, but it gave me enough of a ‘taste’ that I am absolutely going back once the password issue is sorted out. This is an amazing little program that is sure to please “Photoshoppers” and anyone else in need of an online photo editing tool. I would have to comment that this particular online photo editing program has a bit of a learning curve, but it is easy to figure out once you start pressing and clicking. I believe folks who already use Adobe CS products already will have no problem at all going to Adobe Photoshop Express. This program gets a standing ovation from me!
Nice, easy site to figure out, doesn’t take a brain surgeon! A big plus about this site is that you don’t have to login and create a password if you don’t want to ‘commit’ so to speak, you can just try it out and see if you like it first. I like that; it is a bit like try before you buy! I was extremely impressed with this little tool, I must say. I easily uploaded a large, not-so-great photo of mine, and was very quickly able to crop, auto-level, sharpen, and even change the ‘color temperature’ of my awkward picture. It took seconds, and did a very nice job. This program allows you to save your photo or graphic in several formats, and even gives you options for migrating your shot over to Flickr or MySpace.
I believe this tool is quick and easy to learn, and gives you a lot of nice features to choose from. I think if you need a fast fix to a photo you are trying to prepare for use on the web, this site is a must see. Photoshop users will find this program probably a bit easier to figure out, and will also experience some good flexibility like they are used to. Picnik gets a big round of applause from me.
While this site has a very high-tech, attractive GUI, it is a bit complicated if you’re not a digital image processing “maven.” I was not really impressed by the menu area that doesn’t show you how to access the image you are supposedly going to work on. It’s just not spelled out very clearly anyway. This site has a lot, no, tons of features that would take a bit of a learning curve to figure out, unfortunately, and sadly, it’s a bit of a slow-loader depending on which browser you are using. FlauntR requires that you create an account and sign in, which is not a biggie, but once you get there you’d better be prepared for a long frustration session! No rousing applause for this program, and although I felt their interface was very nice, their usability factor is practically nil in my view. This program gets no applause from me at this time; maybe I will revisit sometime in the future and see if I can figure it out!
And, finally, an online design application with a bit of a twist:
Adobe Kuler is a rather interesting web-hosted application for generating color themes for websites, interior designs, scrapbooks, fabric patterns, or graphic identities. This exceptional little program allows you to create color themes and variations, or even base your web color theme on a photograph you have. It is a very different type of program compared to the online image manipulation programs I’ve been discussing so far. Check this site out; it’s well worth a visit there for sure. Each theme or color scheme has a name, and shows you the swatches associated with that particular theme.
The interface is very friendly and seems pretty easy to use. Some of the many features: Kuler has the ability to ‘extract’ color and generate themes from images you upload using quick mood presets or markers you can use to target specific colored areas. You can also search through their thousands of color themes very quickly, and look at their highest rated themes. Another very “kule” feature also makes it possible for you to access this program through your browser (any), their own Kuler desktop, and also from within Adobe Illustrator CS3, which really shows some terrific flexibility for Adobe users. Another Adobe product that gets a standing ovation from me, or 10 out of 10.
Do visit some or all of these wonderful sites which all have something to offer just about anyone needing to deal with images on the Internet. As you can see, they all have different features as well as some similar ones, and most importantly, they are pretty easy and self-explanatory to use if you are willing to spend a few minutes to learn the basics. When compared to Adobe Photoshop, some do quite well, others not as well. I can’t say I would use all of these programs myself, but I certainly wouldn’t rule most of them out either.
What do you think? Have you tried any online imaging tools? If so, what’s your verdict?