Tool: Aviary.com

This one is for all my fellow artists out there.

Ever have the need to use Photoshop but 1) can't afford the official software and 2) don't like the layout of GIMP and lack of easy to use support files? Meet Aviary.com. Aviary is a new completely online image editor broken into four tools. The basic plan is free and allows basic functional access to the four, soon to be five, beta tool versions. A premium plan is available for $9.99/month that opens up more features and grants the user commercial rights to the software.

The first, and newest, tool on the page is Raven. Raven is a vector editor. Vector graphics use basic geometric shapes, lines, points, and curves to create graphics optimized for computers. The layout makes sense and features easy to use options. The largest weakness of Raven is the lack of user-created tutorials at the moment because it's the newest addition. I would expect that to change soon.

More tools after the jump.

Phoenix is the image editor. This is where you get to play around with photographs and images with everything from basic image rotation and cropping to advanced shadow and manipulation effects. This is probably the most valuable tool right now as the layout is strong and the variety of effects, even in the basic plan, is impressive.

Peacock is the most unique of the tools provided on Aviary. It is a pixel effects creator and editor. Just think of it as an advanced version of Mario Paint. It's fun to play around with, but I don't have much use for it.

Toucan is probably the most exciting tool in the bunch. It's online color matching and design. You figure out color pallettes and schemes for project with a variety of options and tools.

Overall, Aviary is a great, free service of image tools with tons of online support. As with any digital imaging program, there is a pretty significant learning curve because the development of these digital art/imaging tools has not been the most intuitive. Aviary is one of the better designed free programs out there and will eventually be releasing a downloadable version of the tool bundle through Adobe AIR.