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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Aviary Suite of Tools

I first read about Aviary a while back and was pretty impressed with the suite of photo editing tools they were developing. I haven't written about this amazing resource yet but now that they have purchased the online audio editor Digimix, and they are looking to add an even larger array of tools to their already extensive lineup, I thought it was time to share. Since they have so many web-based (and free) tools available and in development, and I must admit I haven't tested everything out, I will just share the titles and tools briefly here.

Currently Available in Beta

Phoenix is their image editor that has many of the same capabilities of Photo Shop. You can check out the video below to see some of the capabilities of this tool. It certainly seems to have the kinds of features teachers would want to be able to do basic photo editing so they could, for instance, prepare images before adding them to a class homepage. You can upload images or access them directly from a URL. You do need an account in order to save your work but Phoenix, like all the other Aviary tools, is web-based so it doesn't matter what operating system you are using nor does it require anything to be downloaded. Plus, you only need one account in order to be able to save with any of the tools.

Raven is a powerful vector editor that can be used to create logos and other types of artwork. The video below shows another time-lapse example of what you can do with this tool. As you watch, remember that this is completely free to use. This tool is actually in Alpha testing rather than Beta.

Aviary vector icons from mpeutz on Vimeo.

is referred to as a visual laboratory tool and it allows you to play around with images in a variety of ways. You can watch the video below to see a tutorial and get a sense of some of the things that can be done with Peacock.

Toucan is a color palette tool that helps you tweak the colors of your projects in order to find shades that go together. This is particularly useful for someone such as myself who is a bit deficient when it comes to finding colors that match. The video shows another tutorial that will give you a glimpse of Toucan.

Digimix fits nicely with this selection of tools not because it is an image editing tool but because they plan to offer it for free, it is web-based and it promises to be a very powerful tool. There are even more tools that are in development and they extend well beyond image editing to include desktop publishing, 3D modeling, font creation, word processing and much more. You can check out the screenshot below to see the current list of tools in development. This is something that is definitely worth keeping an eye on.

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