When looking for a decent suite for photo editing and designing, one usually considers the most popular choices such as Photoshop or GIMP. But in the Web 2.0 era, desktop software is not the only alternative. In fact, you can find excellent online graphic tools with which to edit, optimize and share your images – like Aviary.
Aviary is a complete online graphic suite that includes four applications: an image editor (Phoenix), a vector editor (Raven), a tool to work with color swatches and palettes (Toucan) and what they call “a visual laboratory” (Peacock), which lets you experiment with pixel-based images in a completely new way. And all you need to start using these four online tools right away is create a free user account.
Each Aviary tool opens in a new browser window and provides you with a working environment that’s very similar to the standard interface found in any regular desktop graphic app. In the case of the photo editor and the vector tool, for instance, you have floating menus – like the ones you’d have in Photoshop and Illustrator respectively – and a selection of tools, filters and effects. Also, most of the standard shortcuts you use when working with images are also valid here.
You shouldn’t expect a huge number of features though: the Aviary apps do lack some functionality that you find in other professional suites, but to be fair, that’s what you get in exchange for a free graphic software suite you can use any time, anywhere, as long as you have a web browser. In other words, Aviary may not be suitable for professional graphic projects, but works great for your daily, personal design and photo editing tasks. Still, if you’d like to have more control over Aviary apps, you can always go for a Premium account starting at $9.99 a month.
Aviary doesn’t only provide you with these basic four tools for free. After creating your user account, you’ll enter a whole community built around this suite where you can meet other people, see their creations and share yours on your Aviary public page. What’s more, you can open other people’s creations in your Aviary apps and work on them yourself. And if you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry: the Aviary suite includes a complete help system with videos, tutorials and very active user forums that will surely answer any question you may have.