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Web-Based Photo Editor Roundup 106

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the shared-croppers dept.
mikemuch writes "ExtremeTech has a roundup of 5 web-based image editing programs. The mostly Flash and AJAX-based webware ranges from simple touch-up services like Snipshot to the Photoshop wannabe Fauxto. They vary greatly in interface and extra goodies; some offer bookmarklets for getting images from a web page you're browsing, some offer artistic or goofy effects for you pix, but all fear the specter of Adobe's online version of Photoshop on the horizon."
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Web-Based Photo Editor Roundup

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  • by MosesJones (55544) on Friday March 30, 2007 @05:16AM (#18540861) Homepage
    Okay so while its nice to have some basic stuff on a website I'm really not sure how this makes sense given the rise and rise of multi-core CPUs (which are fantastic at image processing). Models like Picassa and others which have a download to the machine make more sense as they don't require you to buy a massive amount of server hardware to support your business model.

    Sorry I've just realised... its Web 2.0 bubble isn't it, it has to be in the browser because otherwise its not cool.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 30, 2007 @05:27AM (#18540911)
      Okay so while its nice to have some basic stuff on a website

      Mosesjones, I'd like you to meet the vast-majority-of-the-world (tm) who only ever use the basic stuff. They're not going to buy photoshop, they're not going to download the picassa. Hell, they're not even going to ever launch the photo editing software that came with their camera.
      • by Aladrin (926209) on Friday March 30, 2007 @05:32AM (#18540935)
        Your statement doesn't apply to a single person that would use this website, then. So how does it have anything to do with this at all? If they aren't going to use the software that comes with their camera, they surely aren't going to sign up for a web-based service that does the same but is a lot more hassle.
        • Unless you can't use the software that is available with your camera. If all you have to work with is a PDA or even an OLPC laptop, you'll be glad to offload the processing to a server.
        • We have a WYSIWYG editor built into one of our website products. The main issue we've had with customers is that they can't figure out how to resize/crop their graphics before uploading them. After seeing Snipshot, I'll be building it into our editor so they simply need to right-click on the image to be able to edit it through the Snipshot interface. Their API seems to make this really easy to do. Problem solved.

          In addition to this being useful for developers like myself, it's useful for people like my
        • If they aren't going to use the software that comes with their camera, they surely aren't going to sign up for a web-based service that does the same but is a lot more hassle.

          Hassle test - person wants to shrink photo to put on a website:

          Scenario 1:
          Realize you never installed camera software. Hunt for it. Find it. Install it. Figure out how to use interface. Shrink picture.

          Scenario 2:
          Google "shrink picture". Click #1 result, "http://www.shrinkpictures.com/". Use the tiny, super easy web form to uploa
    • by beakerMeep (716990) on Friday March 30, 2007 @05:55AM (#18541037)
      Just because you dont see a market for these types of products doesn't mean there isn't one. as an AC pointed out, though a bit harshly, there are people who want just a few features and would love a quick web editor to fix up some of their pics. In the article it mentioned how a lot of the programs offered easy integration with sites like flickr or some type of browser integration. Certainly there are people who would like this kind of feature -- although for me I prefer photoshop.

      Users have a funny way of deciding for themselves how they like to use technology, and that doesnt always mean the best utilization of multi-core processors. Sometimes it just means a few less clicks to get out the red eye from photos of your dog Floofly.

      /have to say too the incessant AJAX and Flash bashing is tiresome on /. sometimes. And no I dont have a dog named Floofly.

      • Agreed. There are a lot of these people. Two of them (spouse, teen) live in my house.

        Also, I would think this development would be welcomed by camera manufacturers, who could offload the production of retouching software and give them another marketing tie-in opportunity.
    • You have to make a distinction between an application that runs on a server and whose interface is presented on the PC (html,ajax), and an application (flash,java) that is *distributed* over the web but which runs on the PC.
      Snipshot is of the first kind. And I agree with you that this kind of application cannot offer more than the basics nor scale, unless you are ready to throw ridiculous amount of money at it for the server infrastructure.
      Fauxto, for instance, is of the second kind. In this case all th
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by suv4x4 (956391)
      I'm really not sure how this makes sense given the rise and rise of multi-core CPUs (which are fantastic at image processing).

      Those online apps actually *do* use your CPU. You don't think every brush stroke is sent to a server and back in realtime I suppose.

      Models like Picassa and others which have a download to the machine make more sense as they don't require you to buy a massive amount of server hardware to support your business model.

      Sorry I've just realised... its Web 2.0 bubble isn't it, it has to be
    • The real niche for online photo adjustment is when ordering prints. I have photoshop, picasa, blah blah blah, but when I just want to order some prints from a company like kodakgallery or snapfish its much easier and quicker to upload the photo as-is then make a couple quick adjustments with their basic tools like darken/brighten and crop. This, as opposed to editing it myself locally, which I might do on occasion but my wife definitely wouldn't/couldn't. The online tools are good for her...easy.
    • i think the point you're making is that you would rather do image processing on YOUR cpu rather than on a server's cpu. If these apps use flash and the like, they are actually client side, using your cpu cycles.

      mr c
    • There are an awful lot of people who, y'know, travel.
      It's hell to take a laptop anywhere.
      When I was in Christchurch, New Zealand last year it would've been really nice to be able to crop pictures I'd taken with my digital camera so I could send them to friends. Oddly enough, the computer I was using in the nice internet cafe wouldn't let me download Picassa or install Adobe. Nor would the one in Wellington. I'll bet the internet cafes in Reykjavik, where I'll be next month, won't either.
    • http://blogs.adobe.com/jnack/2006/12/photoshop_and _multicore.html [adobe.com]

      Multi-core processors may not be as fantastic as you thought.
  • Data intensive (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Chris Pimlott (16212) on Friday March 30, 2007 @05:51AM (#18541013)
    This seems like a silly place to use a web application, since your photos normally reside on your computer. Uploading a two-to-three megabyte file just to run some simple corrections that are handled by dozens of already available tools (including many free or preloaded ones like iPhoto and Picasa), then downloading it again...
    • by antiaktiv (848995)
      Don't forget downloading it every time you want to see changes.
    • Between this and the other threads talking about Photoshop moving "online", there is a hell of a lot of misconception that surprises me from this crowd.

      No, these clients don't do the image processing on the remote server. Yes, it would take masses of bandwidth. They use simple, easy to implement algorithms that run on the client machine. Most of these are written in Flash, hell, Photoshop Online will be written in Flex. Why bother making a heavyweight client app, then send the images to the server for p
      • HLL image processing is a joke. Plain and simple. It'd actually be better - and probably a lot faster - to hand the images to a machine that is running serious, efficient code, and get the job done that way. Flex... Aside from the name, which is actually a 6800/6809 CPU operating system from the 1970's, the Flex engine is just more crawl-ware to complement Java and the rest of the web 2.0 silliness. And Flash? Are you kidding? Just benchmark that sucker against a few cores (or even one!) running close-to-

        • by Fross (83754)
          I agree with you entirely, but it doesn't take much muscle power to do 95% of the functionality 95% of this software's users will require. crop, resize, brightness/contrast, red-eye removal, etc. i don't think people are talking about trying to fully process 100-layer 600dpi posters with stacks of filters through this. i'd pity anyone who tries :)

          fwiw, I'm a flex/as3 and java developer, and find the two comparable in performance when written well. make of that what you will ;)
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Chris_Keene (87914) *
      Places where I might want to edit a photo: my flat, my place of work (my office), my place of work (someone else's desk), parents house, friends house, internet cafe, conference.

      Places where I will just install software because I need it: my flat.

      All those other places, if I want (or someone else asks me) to edit a photo, an online tool would be great.
  • Java would be the ideal solution if Sun would get off their asses and A)Make cut/paste work (even if it necessitates putting up a huge "warning this is a security risk" window before letting you do it the first time) , B)Make the allowable heap size MUCH larger for applets , and C)streamline the process of letting users save and load files to their computer (again with the whopping huge security warning windows)

    All of this WITHOUT forcing users to accept certificates to give applets carte blanche, which
    • by Ilgaz (86384)
      Those would happen if Sun finally figures end user desktop concept is completely different from those $10k workstations and start a Desktop department which will even post stuff to Youtube.

      They don't even give free signing to some great opensource developers out there who is stuck with Thawte freemail signature.
  • The idea seems to fit with Google Apps. How long before they buyout one of the companies or try something similar from scratch. If not raster images, I still think they'll get a vector editor going or at least a Dia clone.
  • by Qbertino (265505) on Friday March 30, 2007 @06:11AM (#18541093)
    itentionally left blank - see comment title
    • by BlueTrin (683373)
      I do not see your point Pedal-Driven Formula 1 Racer are not ajax or web related !

      Yours faithfully,
      Bluetrin
  • "
    Ads by Google

    Photo Tools
    Fix Image
    Image Repair
    Fix Photos
    Adult Photo
    "

    Adult Photo as an Ad accepted? Have fun with families who wants to edit their photos online.
  • I am testing the "Photoshop Elements 3" trial, yes the older version on my OS X. I am definately impressed by the coding quality and the ease of tools.

    If Adobe "ships" Photoshop Elements 3 kind of stuff to Web and asks for $$$ , count me in.

    Notice Photoshop Elements 4 for Mac didn't ship yet so I won't tell about 48bit TIFF editing offered with it etc.

    What can Adobe do to kill project from beginning? One small font sentence at bottom: "IE Required".

    • by stephend (1735)
      I think you have an "off by one" error there. Elements 4 is the current version on the Mac, with 5 on Windows. To be honest, if the delta between 4 and 5 is as little as that between 3 and 4 then you're probably not missing much.

      Adobe have been pretty smart about choosing which features to include in Elements -- enough to keep me happy most of the time but with a little nag at the back of my mind thinking, "What if I upgraded..?" I trust they'll do something similar for the web version.
  • As... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fyngyrz (762201) * on Friday March 30, 2007 @06:54AM (#18541267) Homepage Journal

    ...the head of an image processing and fx software company, I can tell you one thing with certainty: Online apps that transfer photos back and forth and process them online are the very last thing on our list of technologies to be concerned about.

    Why? Because nothing on the net will ever compare to an in-system, RAM-based, N-layer handling, real-time nondestructive effects engine written close to the metal with live geometric warp layers, masking and animation. That's on the application end.

    One the user end, these web based apps are meant for your grandmother. And at that, only on days when someone else in her apartment building or upstream on her cable connection isn't downloading "300" on bit-torrent, and there aren't 200 other people on the same server trying to process an image. The entire idea of "thin clients" for image manipulation is one that presumes bandwidth and server power that are not available at this point in time - it's silly, is what it is.

    You can buy a great image manipulation system for about $30 if you simply look hard enough. You'll be able to level photos, retouch them, or process the living heck out of very high resolution images if that's your intent, set people on fire, morph them, all manner of sophisticated things. Or you can use a web app and move a slider and wait... and move... and wait... and save... and wait... and finally get back your pic. Which you had better hope is what you wanted. When I say you'll get it back, I mean after that "300" download finishes, of course. :-)

    So here's what you should be asking yourselves: What is your time worth?

    • Re:As... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 30, 2007 @06:59AM (#18541289)
      You can buy a great image manipulation system for about $30 if you simply look hard enough.

      Or you can get GIMP for $0 without looking very hard at all, which is also perfectly capable of doing everything you mention and more.
      • I've been using digikam recently and I have to say I'm very impressed with it.

        First off its free and offers all the photo manipulation stuff you're likely to find online and secondly its organisational abilities are extremely useful - including location based organisation. It also uploads stuff to Flickr and other places really simply.
      • by maxume (22995)
        Is it great though?

        What I really mean is that $30 is so utterly cheap for software that can even display an image, so the only way I would choose $0 software over $30 is if they are very very equivalent, or if the $0 is actually better than the $30 software. Most retail software is so cheap that it doesn't matter that open source/Free software beats it on price, it has to beat it on features. A quick look at the success stories backs that up; the most popular stuff is generally the best product on the marke
      • Or you can get GIMP for $0

        But most users would balk at the complex interface of Gimp.
        I can use Photoshop routinely for most of what I need and I even tried Gimp and did what I needed successfully, but my wife is just swamped by the options.
        On the other hand, I introduced her to Picasa and now she can organize her pictures in album, do basic editing and put galleries online on a mouse click and she couldn't be happier. Maybe in time she'll see the limitations of the app and upgrade to something more powerful
      • by GWBasic (900357)

        You can buy a great image manipulation system for about $30 if you simply look hard enough. Or you can get GIMP for $0 without looking very hard at all, which is also perfectly capable of doing everything you mention and more.

        Or I can spend $30 for software that I can figure out. The time that it takes to learn how to use the GIMP is worth more then $30!

    • by BlueTrin (683373)
      As your grandmother, I wanted to ask you when you would have time to install me this bittorrent client you are speaking so much of so I can download some music.

      Your grandma who loves you so much. Grandma.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by fyngyrz (762201) *

        Grandma, after that lesbian porn incident with grandpa and the visit from the department of elder services, I'm not so sure about this. How about a nice cup of tea instead?

    • by fritzk3 (883083)
      So... which program is it that only costs $30, yet does all of the things you say it can do? (It's not your own WinImages, is it? Looks like that runs about $100...)
      • by fyngyrz (762201) *

        Yes, it is WinImages. You just have to grab it from the right page [blackbeltsystems.com] to get that price, which we offer via paypal only. That page — entirely coincidentally, I swear — is the photo/image editing page. The product you get is the full version, but download only - no CD, no copy protection. We do permanently back up your purchase and program keys for you so if it's lost, you can grab it again at no cost. Just takes a whack at our contact form.

        $30. Funny story. Funny to me, anyway. There's a very o

    • by darjen (879890)
      I think you're missing the point. Why should I have to download or buy software to get basic features like resizing and cropping? This web based stuff clearly isn't meant for heavy processing or filtering. Half the time all people want to do is resize a crappy pic taken with their phone. This works just fine for that. And no I'm not gonna use windows paint because it sucks ass even for that.
      • by fyngyrz (762201) *

        Not to wander too far off topic, but do you see the humor in posting this...
        Why should I have to download or buy software to get basic features like resizing and cropping?
        ...directly over your signature, to wit...
        TANSTAAFL - There ain't no such thing as a free lunch.
        Gave me a good laugh. Thanks.

        • by darjen (879890)

          Not to wander too far off topic, but do you see the humor in posting this... Why should I have to download or buy software to get basic features like resizing and cropping? ...directly over your signature, to wit... TANSTAAFL - There ain't no such thing as a free lunch. Gave me a good laugh. Thanks.
          It may be free for me, but it's still not a free lunch because someone else is willing to bear the development costs.
    • Although I don't doubt that these projects are sincere, their actual value is in testing the limits (and hopefully expanding the limits) of online GUIs.

      I mean, why bother posting about this things being slow as all get out? Anyone who has ever used any heavy flash or poorly designed AJAX app knows these things crawl.

      The thing is, the basic feature set for an app like photoshop is more-or-less stabilized. The issue with putting it online is one of overhead. Sure, it will always be slower then something kissi
    • ...the head of an image processing and fx software company, I can tell you one thing with certainty: Online apps that transfer photos back and forth and process them online are the very last thing on our list of technologies to be concerned about.

      It's not going to stay that way. Much (if not most) of the processing will be done on the client side. Using Javascript/Canvas, using flash, maybe even Java Applets. I know this because I'm working on an app that does a limited amount of image editing via the first
      • by fyngyrz (762201) *

        Interesting, but I respectfully disagree. Time will tell, of course. Thanks for your post.

    • by smallpaul (65919)

      So here's what you should be asking yourselves: What is your time worth?

      That approach is very short-sighted. You should instead be asking what new applications of photo editing this sort of thing will open up. You might want to do an investigation into how new product development happens: it isn't typically by trying to exactly duplicate the use-cases of established players. I would tell you all about it but I'm too busy integrating snipshot into the web app I'm building. And yes: it's an app for grandm

    • by shon (20200)

      I can tell you one thing with certainty: Online apps that transfer photos back and forth and process them online are the very last thing on our list of technologies to be concerned about.

      That reminds me of the Usenet posting claiming we'd never have or need computers with more than 1 GB (?) of RAM. There are likely a few image manipulation "tricks" that someone like a Google with a vast repository of image libraries and algorithms can do which the common PC cannot do. Things we haven't even imagined becau

    • I agree. Having server handle all the load is silly, unless the server is a localhost but then it doesn't have to be web based.

      The better is to use more of a local based system like SVG, but yet nothing beats the local graphic application when it comes to serious use. The best bet for web based graphic tool is some enhanced mspaint using svg or flash, which might have a tiny niche market being cross platform and all.
  • Hi there, Just wondering if anybody else remembers the venerable Image Magick Studio [net4tv.com]? Hours of fun to be had there and definately prior art to anything Web 2.0 :)
  • I haven't tried out any of the products, but it's safe to assume they do most of the work client-side and therefore they must have some Javascript image manipulation functions. I wonder if any of those exist as a free/open resource. For a long time I've been looking for a Javascript JPEG library which would allow me to scale an image client-side before uploading it to a CMS. Sure, server side checks and manipulations are available, but there's really no point in uploading a three Megabyte digital camera pic
  • That list is hardly complete. There are others, the biggest probably being lunapic.com [lunapic.com]. Some things are just easier to do, lunapic for example has a lot of animations and fonts that you wouldn't normally have. Obviously, for high quality photo editing, you'd want to stay local for now. But, with bandwidth ever increasing, the online editors slowly get better and better.
  • Just for the folks in the "I wouldn't use it, and I'm an average guy, so nobody is going to want this..." crowd (never mind the obtuse "we're in the high-end image editing business and need our apps close to the metal" gathering), there are in fact a ton of uses for a strictly online photo editing app...especially something lightweight that could be imbedded into a form.
    • embed into a CMS, or any other app. that has images as a content item
    • embed in a personals/community site, so uploaders can crop/resize
  • My wife wants to resize a picture to put on her Yahoo group site. So she Googles "shrink picture", and one of the top sites that she finds doesn't just *tell* her how to do it with some software, it *offers* to resize the picture for her, for free.

    We probably have five or more programs on our machine that could have done the job. But the above was *way* faster than it would have taken her to find one of them and figure out its interface.

    And I have to confess, it may have been faster than it would have tak
    • with the assumption that you use windows, the act of typing 'shrink picture' itself requires more keystrokes than needed to shrink an image. right click the image and select edit. hit ctrl+w (or go to image->resize if you like menus) and enter the new size. finish by saving.
  • ...in the coffin of a slowly dying Photoshop Phriday [somethingawful.com]?

    As Photoshop and other tools have gotten into the hands of folks who don't design for a living, the quality of this once-hilarious feature has gone down. The recent giant pets theme was just...well, something awful.
  • I'm sure these are all nice offerings, but at the moment will offer no serious competition to the gold standard, Photoshop.

    In fact, even an online version of Photoshop will not be competition to its current incarnation.

    The reason? Browser color management. Currently, only Safari, OmniWeb, & MacIE support it, and any serious Photoshop user soft proofs before printing.

    Their only current solution would be to bypass the browser display engine, but if they do that, they're in effect back to having

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