I’ve been noticing more and more that a lot of free online image editors are popping up across the web. Some are good, some maybe aren’t so great. Many are free, a couple are “pay per use” or subscription. Some of the free ones offer a premium paid option. Some of the free ones have a limit to how large an image you can upload, and some offer free storage or display space. Be careful with these – be sure you read the “terms of service” and “privacy” pages on any of these free online editors.
Here’s a listing of some that have been around for a bit, in no particular order, of places you can go online to edit your photos without having to download or buy software.
Adobe Photoshop Express : Although Photoshop Express used to be primarily available online for desktop users, what’s available now from Adobe is an app, suitable for use with tablets and phones. I used the online version when it first came out (okay for quick fixes), and have the Win8 app installed on my Surface Pro tablet. I’ll be honest and say I haven’t used the app on my tablet (I don’t usually edit images that way), so I can’t say one way or the other what the app actually like.
Adobe’s online offering is now “Photoshop Express Editor” which only supports .jpg files that are 16 mp or smaller. Uploading an image that was 1000 pixels on it’s longest side (which is often a good size for a blog) works fine. The online editor offers all the basic functions (crop, rotate, resize, red eye, auto corrections, etc.), and provides the ability to edit white balance, add fill light, dodge and burn, and sharpen. There’s a few basic “artsy” type effects (crystallize, pixelate, sketch, pop colour), and a “decorate option”. That’s for adding text, talk bubbles, sticky notes, frames, (even costumes).
All-in-all, for a quick-change adjustment, it’s not too bad.
Aviary : Aviary was an online photo editor available for desktop users which was pretty handy, and it had a fairly good following but, in 2014, Adobe acquired Aviary. You can get the Aviary app for Android or IOS. Unfortunately, I can’t test it or give you my opinion on it since my only device is a windows tablet.
MyImager.com : Another basic editor for resizing, cropping, rotating etc. It has basic controls for colour adjustments, brightness, converting to black and white – most of the basic functions you’d find in a downloaded free-software, except you can access this online with your browser, with no downloading of software. There are several restrictions: image uploads are restricted to 500kb, and every day at noon, the uploaded images that have been edited are removed from the server, so when you finish you’re edits be sure to grab the image right away.
I did upload an image and attempt a couple of changes – which were simple, given that you choose from a drop down menu. However, when attempting to use some of the effects filters, I ran into problems. The first filter I chose randomly from the effects list (sketchy), and it produced a coloured sketch. I clicked the “undo” option to try another effect, but every other one I selected produced an Internal 500 error. I can’t say whether or not that was because I didn’t open an account and was a guest user, or if there is a problem after undoing some adjustment made to your uploaded image.
This is probably not the first online editor I’d recommend using, but it’s fast and simple if all you want is to crop and resize, or convert to black and white.
In an older article I wrote about online image editors, I’ve discovered that several other online editors have disappeared over the last few years, either swallowed up (merged/bought out) by competitors, or simply … disappeared off the web, so I was hesitant to write a new article. It’s pretty hard to keep up changes to some of these online options, but there are still a few of the older editors out there. For how long, I don’t know. A few have kept up by creating apps for various mobile devices, which probably helps them stay alive.
I won’t go into reviews of all of these, but a list of those still available and of those that have available apps is below:
FotoFlexer – slightly more advanced online editor
iPiccy – photo booth effects, paint, collage, etc.
LunaPic – this one’s been around for a while and has evolved to include some animation effects.
Picture2Life – includes collage
PixlR – several options (online or native apps, multi-use and a popular editor for some years)
SumoPaint – has been popular for several years, and offers both online and downloadable options.
With the advent of mobile devices like larger screen smart-phones and tablets, the proliferation of online editors seem to have grown as well. Some are specialized and offer things like animated gifs, or sparkles/blinkies type options, or comic-style. A few oddities that might be of interest:
eZimba – large variety of filters, colours, and other options.
Fotor – collage, edit, or make a slideshow (also has an app)
PhotoCat – also available on Facebook
Ribbit – overlays, touch ups, textures, filters, stickers, fonts.
There are dozens of others if you do a web search. I only went a couple of pages into the search result to gather this listing. Some I didn’t include on purpose. If I landed on the page and it was fussy or had a lot of advertising, I left them off the list (unless they offered something very unique in the way of editing). Nor am I going to suggest which are the best.
In a way, it might be nice to have someone else’s opinions on these editors, but not everyone has the same editing ability, or starts off with the same quality of photo, and what one person likes or is comfortable using, another might hate.
Photoshop is one of the most well known, and one of the easiest options since the online editor is pretty intuitive, and a lot of people out there may already have Photoshop Elements installed on their computer, so they’ll already be familiar with the online interface, and that can be handy if you’re in a hurry using your tablet or other mobile device.
But, several other options out there did pique my interest, and I will go back and take another look at them (Ribbit being one of them, with BeFunky, Picadilo, and Fotor running close behind) … when I have time. When I do get back there, I’ll let you know.
Edit: so I went on back to BeFunky and uploaded a small colour photo of my cat at the vet’s office, and you can see the result at the right. Not bad … I like the framing options, which are different than some of the standard ones available.
For now, you should be aware that while there are a lot of newer ones out there, these online options can list in the hundreds one day, and some may disappear a few days later. Obviously not all of them, so until these gain a long-standing history, if you want something you can always depend on, pick on one of the older options for your regular editing, and try some of the newer options for something a little more funky.