Aviary: Ambitious Online Image Suite


Aviary - Peacock -  (Build 2008092414)While looking into the Operation Foxbook story, I ran across Aviary – an application interesting enough to deserve some notice on its own. Aviary bills itself as “a suite of powerful creative applications that you can use right in your web browser,” and although they’re certainly no Creative Suite replacement, for Flash-based tools they’re pretty good – as well as affordable.

Right now there are three tools in the suite:

  • Phoenix, a layer-based image editor with a reasonable selection of masks and effects.
  • Toucan, a tool for putting together palettes and color swatches
  • Peacock, a generative “visual laboratory” that is the funnest tool in the bunch.

If you’ve got even a bit of creative tool experience, you’ll pick up how these ones work quickly. They’re not loaded with options, but they can get basic drawing jobs done.

Things get even more interesting when you examine the account options. For $7.99 monthly you can join at the “green” level, giving you unlimited access to any one application. For $14.99 per month you get a “blue” subscription, with unlimited access to everything including Raven (their vector editor) and Talon (their Firefox extension). They’ve dubbed Aviary “trustware”: you can actually try everything else use all the tools as long as you want, but they trust you to pay for your actual usage.

Aviary also has some community features built in. You can choose to make you images public, choose whether others can create derivative images, pick a license, comment on images, and so on. It’s not going to replace Photoshop or the Gimp for serious creative professionals, but if you need to grab some quick online editing tools at a time when you’re away from your desktop, it’s worth remembering.

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