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Free online tools for images and graphic design

You know, sometimes software that costs about as much as 5 netbooks is way more horse than the average cowgirl or cowboy needs. Case in point: Photoshop. I’ve been using Photoshop for longer than some of my students have been alive, and I’m here to tell you that there’s lots to love about Adobe’s products.

However, as Merlin Mann recently observed, it’s annoying when a company lets their pricey software become overly complicated and full of feature-bloat that most of us don’t use or need. (Microsoft Word, I’m looking in your direction, too…)

Fortunately for average users like you and me, there are plenty of simpler and more affordable options to choose from. You might already know about such free and powerful word processing tools like AbiWord and OpenOffice (for desktop work) or GoogleDocs and Zoho (for cloud-based work). And for image work, you might have used (or heard of) Gimp and Seashore, free desktop-based software.

But were you aware of how many free and powerful online tools are available for working with images? Check ‘em out!

Online image-editing tools

Because the following tools have only recently come to my attention, I’ve yet to give them a test drive. That’s why each one is followed by a quoted blurb lifted straight from their home page, obviously not an unbiased source for information.

  • Phoenix: “From basic image retouching to complex effects, Phoenix delivers the key features of a desktop image editor with the simplicity and accessibility of a web-based application.”
  • Pixer: “Need a quick fix for that photo? With pixer.us you can edit your photos online using only your browser.”
  • Pixlr: “We bring you advanced online image and photo editing tools, just choose your flavor, jump in and start creating.”
  • Splashup: “Splashup runs in all browsers, integrates seamlessly with top photo-sharing sites, and even has its own file format so you can save your work in progress.”

Web design color-picking tools

I’ve used Color Scheme Designer quite a bit recently, and I really dig it.

So what do you use when it comes time to do some image-based work?

[Image by flickr user fotographix.ca.]

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