Nifty art tools in the cloud

Do you often find yourself away from your workstation, deprived of access to CS5, or even GIMP, but with a burning need to edit some images, stat? Then you need to check out the tool suite at Aviary. I stumbled upon these guys when I was looking for a browser plugin to do some screen clipping. They have a product called Talon that does screen clipping well with easy access to cropping and annotating. Exploring further I was playing with some of their other tools and produced this picture from a Windows sample picture by applying a color filter using their Effects Editor. The filters offered didn’t have anything I thought particularly unique but they did cover all the ones you’ll need most of the time. The nifty thing about the bitmap editing tools though was a graph based user interface. You can drag and drop image resources and filters onto a canvas and wire them up. This is different from the stacked filters UI paradigm I’m used to and I thought it was pretty cool. I commend their UI designer for thinking outside the box of established paradigms for this kind of functionality. I’d have to spend more time with it to become proficient but I liked the approach. It definitely wasn’t a flop as departures from well established UI paradigms so often are.

Martian landscape.egg  on Aviary

They also have a vector editor, color palette creation tool, and even a multi-track audio editor. It’s all Flash-based and seems pretty well thought out. Your work can be stored in their cloud and even published directly from there. They may not be fully professional tools, mostly because large file operations are one of the worst candidates for cloud computing, but they can color me impressed. Sorry. I had to.

Go check them out. It’s nifty stuff, and you can’t beat free.