Every graphic designer and animator occasionally faces a situation when he has to work on a certain project in the absence of his favourite graphic tools. Such situation could arise when a project is being displayed at a client’s place or when he is away from his own computer and he receives an emergency call from his office regarding some urgent modifications required in a design. All of a sudden, he finds himself in a state of helplessness as he cannot just fly and gain access to the office or home computer on which he had painstakingly installed sophisticated and advanced versions if his favourite graphic suites.
A few years back, it would have been a disastrous situation for an ordinary designer. In the age of Internet, however, things are getting convenient and friendly. He can still edit and create graphics and designs with the help of online graphic suites. And if he has no access to a computer, even a cyber café would do the trick as the online versions of these suites don’t need to be installed on a system. Plain and simple access to broadband Internet is sufficient. Moreover, most of them are free. In the world wide web revolutionized by Web 2.0, all you need to work on your graphics and images is to logon to a website.
Today, there are a host of such lifesaving tools available on the Internet with the familiar Adobe leading the pack. Adobe Photoshop, considered to be the market leader in photo editing and design segment, has made available basic image creation and editing facilities at www.photoshop.com. Apart from touching up and modifying your images, you can also store, organize and share them online as you get a whopping 2 GB free storage space at the time of signing up. After you are finished working on the design, just send the URL to your boss or client from where they can download the edited file. Isn’t that incredible!
These online software are not just for professional designers, artists and photographers. They are for anyone who has interest in images and designs and cannot afford to buy the expensive desktop versions of image editing and animation tools. Graphics enthusiasts, students and trainees fall in this category. Why should they use pirated software when a fully legitimate version is available on the Internet?
To use the online version of Photoshop, you must have an account with Adobe. If you don’t have one, click on ‘Join’ at the top of the homepage and provide your email address and password. You will also need to verify your email address before you can actually sit back and work on the image editing software. Once you are done, upload an image by clicking on the ‘Upload Photos & Video’ button. If you wish, you can create categories of your images (called albums) and add description and tags to them.
Now you can start working on your image by selecting it and clicking the ‘Edit’ button from the list at the bottom of the screen. You will see a quick change on your screen as the web page would now turn into an image editing software. Lo! Many tools are lined up for you in the left just they way there are in the desktop version of Photoshop. You will be delighted to find some basic (Crop, Image Resizing etc.) as well as adjustments (Sharpen, Soft Focus etc.) and some advanced tools (such as Tint, Sketch and Distort) on the screen. Use them as per your need and click ‘Finish’ button when done. Save the image on your computer if so wish.
Did you ever imagine that an image editing software can work in this way, saving you money and effort! However, due to obvious reasons linked with Internet, an online tool cannot be as good as its desktop version is. But it is good enough to carry out elementary tasks.
Though Photoshop is one of the better known, it is not the only online tool of its kind. Options are aplenty, which even include some 3d modeling and animation software!
For instance, Photoshop users will find the online interface of Aviary Phoenix (http://aviary.com/tools/Phoenix) to be quite familiar. You would be amazed to see the line up of tools it offers you in the left side of your screen. It is simply amazing to see tools similar to ones found in Photoshop CS 4 toolbox to be available on a web page! Aviary has made available many other online multimedia tools including a vector editor for illustrations and an online sound editing software!
For those who work on Flash animations, Shapelifter by Aniboom (http://www.aniboom.com) opens up a world of exciting possibilities. Just surf around a bit and you will be astonished to watch hundreds of interesting Flash animations created by users of this online animation software.
Aniboom claims to be the first virtual animation studio in the world, bridging the gap between the global community of independent animators and the professional animation industry in all its forms: cinema, television, web, mobile, music videos, digital gaming, and advertising. One can even participate in competitions organized by Aniboom and win prizes.
At phixr.com, advance effects can be applied on images in an extremely simple way. Notable feature of the site is its ability to convert image file formats from and to PNG, JPEG, PDF and GIF etc. Options such as creating speech bubbles, adding fun effects and decorating your work with preset images work like a breeze!
Splashup.com has a striking similarity with Photoshop and one has to appreciate the variety of features it provides. The site was earlier known as Fauxto.
If you are looking for further options, you may find FlauntR.com, Lunapic.com and Picnik.com are worth exploring.
New advancements in web technologies have revolutionized the way we work, and the field of multimedia is no exception to that. So, next time when you forget to carry your laptop along and a sudden requirement arises to work up your designs, you need not lose your sleep. Internet hai na!