Online Graphics Tools – part 2

Posted by: Rea Maor In: Linux and Unix - Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

Continued from part 1, these are some handy online tools useful for graphics artists, whether you’re a Photoshop virtuoso, a Gimp master, or just a working grunt who needs to get this image done already!

Big Huge Labs – This one site has dozens of graphics generators – it’s almost like having Photoshop Effects on tap! Make calenders, motivational posters, various banner hacks, photo-cubes, LOLCAT images, badges, and much more. Most of these are integrated with Flickr, too.

Vector Magic – This can take an image and run a vector-tracing filter on it, generating output suitable to edit in Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape. However, vectorizing images leaves something to be desired for progress. Definitely not good for detailed photographs, but perfect for simple web element graphics. Do you need to re-size your logo to fit your new, larger template but only have it as a gif or jpg? This tool’s for you.

3D Text Studio – This handy CGI generator will create a fresh 3D ray-traced banner for you, by the specifications you put in. Dozens of options to customize here. With some skill, you can get quite awesome effects.

Pixel Button – Make a quick pixel button here, suitable for blog sidebar quick-links. Other bloggers will be quicker to link to you if you supply them with some little graphics they can paste into their sidebar, as opposed to a plain text link.

And now, for the general-purpose image editors:

Foto Flexer – Upload photos or work with existing photos from Flickr, Picasa, MySpace, and so on. Run various filter effects on them. Standard photo editing functions like cropping, resizing, color retouching, and so on.

Splash-Up – This is the closest thing to “Photoshop in a browser” that you can get. A full-featured image editor, with brushes, filters, selectors, and layer effects all right there. The screenshot on the front page speaks for itself – it is set up exactly like a desktop image editor.

Phixr – A general purpose photo editor. A smaller feature set, but with many cool toys. Mainly all it does is filters, but can do color balancing, dozens of special effects, crop, rotate, resize, and so on. This one’s more comparable to Adobe Fireworks, at least as far as look and feel goes.

In summary – the longer we go on with the web as a platform, the closer browser-based image applications get to replacing desktop applications. Many of the online image editors already blow away tools like MS Paint and Xpaint, and they’re gunning for (but are far off from matching) Adobe and Gimp. But browser-based image editing is definitely worth keeping a close eye on, because it looks like amazing things in this field are just around the corner.


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