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Summary:

Last October, we published a post about Aviary, a suite of graphics-focused online applications that, at the time, consisted of three basic tools. Aviary has expanded since then to become a very popular, award-winning graphics suite — much more than the simple photo editor that it […]

Last October, we published a post about Aviary, a suite of graphics-focused online applications that, at the time, consisted of three basic tools. Aviary has expanded since then to become a very popular, award-winning graphics suite — much more than the simple photo editor that it started out as. There are quite a few new modules in the suite. I’ve been using all of the tools recently; it’s one of the best graphics suites you’ll find. It’s also free, although a Pro version is available.

Because it’s a hosted, online application suite, Aviary not only lets you use its photo and image editing tools, but also allows you to share creations with others online. When you sign up to use the suite, you even get a prompt to find friends who may be online, which you can choose to skip if you want. The screenshot above shows some images created and edited in Aviary’s image editor, dubbed Phoenix.

As seen in the menu to the right, which greets you when you begin using Aviary, there is much more than just photo editing built in. There are also more than twice as many modules in the suite as there were in October. You’ll find a vector editor, a color palette editor, a tool for creating visual effects, and more. All of the tools are available for you to use within your browser.

Aviary also comes with many tutorials, similar to those found online for Photoshop. You can browse many of them here. The tutorials are categorized from Beginning to Advanced, and provide instructions on shadows, adding saturation to photos and images, enhancing eyes in photos, and much more.

Using Aviary’s effects editor, dubbed Peacock, you can save image effects that you create and import them into the Phoenix image editor. This means that the number of effects you can use is essentially unlimited. There is also a module called Toucan for doing color management, and Raven is a vector editor that can translate bitmap images to vector images. It’s also a very useful screen capture tool, as Thursday wrote about previously.

My most-used image editing application remains IrfanView, which I wrote about here. It’s free to use, as Aviary’s tools are, although if you want to use all of Aviary’s functionality you need to sign up for a Pro account, which is $24.99 a year — significantly lower than the previous monthly pricing plan. I’m currently using both Aviary and IrfanView, and Aviary strikes me as quite powerful. It’s also adding modules and features at an impressive rate. If you haven’t tried it, definitely do so.

Let us know your thoughts on Aviary in the comments.

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