Tools that let you edit photos in the Web browser have come a long way in the last few years. We wanted to take a moment to do a feature comparison with a grouping of editors--big and small, to see what each one is capable of.
Most of the services on this list take advantage of Adobe's ever-developing Flash platform, which in its latest iteration got a huge boost with support for the large images coming out of today's high-megapixel cameras. On the flip side of that, several of the non-Flash-based editors use AJAX to make the changes happen without reloading the page. The benefit here is that you can run these on machines without the latest versions of Flash installed.
While not an exhaustive list of features, we wanted to focus on some of the ones that really mattered, like how much each service costs to use, how large of a photo you can upload, and what makes each one special. Here are the results:Service Flash/HTML Max. size Max. resolution Cost Layers Effects Killer feature Flauntr Flash 10MB 2850x1599 Free No Yes Part of a larger suite of editing products. You can take your file to another tool without losing changes. Fotoflexer Flash No limit 4500x4500 Free Yes Yes Handles multiple layers with grace. Includes advanced features like curve tweaks and intelligent lassoing for free. Lunapic HTML 4MB 1330x1330 Free No Yes Can run on machines without Flash installed. Really inventive special effects--especially reflective water that ripples. Phixr HTML No limit 1440x1080 Free No Yes Can run on machines without Flash installed. Does not save your photos on its servers for very long, so you can edit sensitive images and nobody will see them. Phoenix Flash No limit 2800x2800 Free Yes Yes Great layer masking, community support, and tutorials. Work from Phoenix can be sent to another editing tool in the Aviary Web suite. Photoshop.com Flash 10MB 6000x6000 Free No Yes Editing features get previewed in real time. Also runs on Adobe's latest and greatest Flash technology. Picnik free Flash 16MB 4000x4000 Free Yes Yes Default photo editor for Flickr, very slick interface. Picnik premium Flash 16MB 4000x4000 $24.95/year Yes Yes Bigger uploads and more effects filters. App also remembers what you were doing the last time you were using it. Picture2Life HTML 5MB 1600x1600 Free Yes Yes Can run on machines without Flash installed. Floating windows workspace, similar to desktop apps. Pixenate HTML 10MB 1600x1200 Free No Yes Can run on machines without Flash installed. Tooth whitening tool perfects yellow smiles with two clicks. Pixer.us Flash 10MB 6000x6000 Free No Yes Remembers the last photo you were working on and has a wide range of filters and effects. Pixlr Flash No limit 2880x2880 (Flash 9 users) 4096x4096 (Flash 10 users) Free Yes Yes Feels a lot like a desktop application, complete with a workspace which you can rearrange and customize to your liking. Snipshot HTML 10MB 5000x5000 Free No Yes Can run on machines without Flash installed. Can import the first page of a PDF file for editing. Snipshot Pro HTML 10MB 5000x5000 $7/month No Yes Effects filters, face detection, support for RAW camera files. Splashup Flash ~6.25MB 1250x1250 Free Yes Yes Really great handling of layers. Photoshop users will feel right at home with some of the user interface.
Two small caveats about size: In most cases, any difference in the maximum photo resolution is a result of which version of Flash the tool--or the user--is running. In Aviary's case, its Phoenix photo editor uses the Flash 9 spec, thus only supporting images up to 2800x2800 in size. Its next release, due later this year, will nearly double that resolution.
Also, the maximum resolution doesn't necessarily mean if your original photo is bigger, it won't take it. Instead, what many of these services will do is simply scale it down to something that's more manageable both for your machine and its servers. Photos with odd aspect ratios are often constrained within the proportion of pixels any given editing app can render within its available workspace.So which one is the best?
That's a difficult question. It depends on what you're trying to do. If you want to add glitter graphics to a picture to put on your MySpace profile, you should go with Lunapic. If you're trying to edit the RAW photos you just took on your new SLR, you're only going to be able to do it on Snipshot's paid pro service.… Read more
Contests in context, when infinity isn't infinite, and things that make us cranky.Listen now: Download today's podcast PhotoNetCast #23: Photographers' Rights and the new U.K. Counter-Terrorism Act 2008… Read more
SAN JOSE, Calif.--iStockphoto, which helped pioneer the "microstock" market for inexpensive, royalty-free imagery, plans to launch an audio-licensing business Wednesday.
The Getty Images subsidiary already offers photography, illustrations, Flash animations, and video. iStockaudio was a natural extension--one the company's customers had sought, iStock Chief Executive Bruce Livingstone said in a speech here at the User-Generated Content Conference and Expo.
"We're introducing iStockaudio on Wednesday this week," Livingstone said. The company announced the iStockaudio plan last May, but the actual arrival was delayed by a suddenly necessary overhaul to the site's search system, … Read more
Apparently, it wasn't as easy to launch a microstock site for lower-cost photography sales as Corbis thought it would be.
Corbis, one of the established powers in licensing stock photography, launched SnapVillage in 2007, arguing that the microstock market was still young. But on Thursday, Corbis announced that it will phase out SnapVillage by the end of the year.
Contributing photographers and illustrators, along with customers and existing imagery, will be moved to a new microstock part of Corbis' existing Veer property called Veer Marketplace. Veer, a stock art agency Corbis acquired in 2007, offers both royalty-free and rights-managed … Read more
The iPhone 3G brought changes in shape, function, features, etc., relative to original model, but, to the dismay of many cell phone, photographers, the device retains the same 2.0 megapixel camera. Apple enhanced the camera by coupling the camera to the GPS features of the iPhone 3G to enable photo geotagging, but this did little to calm the complaints about the camera's resolution, lack of flash and other features available on a few other phones. Last October, I wrote a lengthy article about the state of photography on the iPhone and, months later, I'm still amazed by … Read more
New York Times tech columnist and camera critic David Pogue attempts to take the mystery out of digital photography in O'Reilly Media's new release, David Pogue's Digital Photography: The Missing Manual.
In fairly concise, jargon-free terms, Pogue works to explain shooting, editing, and organizing pictures, and distributing them to your audience.
"These days, digital photography *is* photography. But even the cheapest pocket camera has over 100 features, half of which are never decently explained anywhere. I mean, come on, read the photo magazines: 'Boost the ISO to 1,600, dial up the aperture, or change the … Read more