Until just a couple of years ago, image editing was something that required expensive programs and lots of computing power. Recently, however, the proliferation of cameras in phones has brought photography to the average consumer, and demand for quality photo editing software has increased. Though you can’t entirely recreate the power of Photoshop with an online editor or mobile app, powerful and free image editors now available offer more features than the majority of non-professional photographers need. Here are several great image editors and other design programs that are available online through your browser and are completely free.
Best Free Online Graphic Design Tools
Picnik was one of the original online image editors. Its powerful flash-based image editor allowed cropping, resizing, color adjustments and filters to be applied to photos. They expanded their original online service to include a Facebook application, but after being acquired by Google in 2010, they closed the public application.
Their services are still available through the Google+ image editor, which also offers a range of other features. Google’s Auto Awesome feature sorts through batches of photos to highlight the ones it determines to be more interesting. It also automatically applies filters and color corrections to make your photos look great without much manual oversight. This is great for groups of photos from family vacations.
Prezi is a great tool for creating beautiful presentations. Prezi is a free, online competitor to Microsoft’s PowerPoint and Apple’s Keynote software. When you look at a Prezi presentation, however, you’ll notice it looks a lot different than the tradition slide approach to presentations. Prezi groups all presentation content together into one massive image, and transitions by zooming in and out on different parts of the presentation. This creates a unique, beautifully organized effect that still allows presentations to be presented in small, logically grouped chunks.
Pixlr is a powerful flash-based online photo editor. Though online applications aren’t as powerful as desktop software, you’ll get enough features from this application for most common uses. Pixlr is completely free, and offers an app for Android and iOS phones and tablets.
Wordle is a simple tool for creating word clouds. Many websites use tag clouds to show the most popular topic on their site or blog. While Wordle doesn’t provide a way to update the word cloud automatically, it’s great for creating word clouds from static documents. It’s also useful for creating word clouds for terms relating to a business, holiday, or other event. Wordle provides an impressive array of color, font, and style choices, so no two word clouds look alike, and you can create a word cloud that matches the style of a project you’ve already created.
Kuler is a color palette designer from Adobe. It’s simple, but it’s a powerful tool for starting large graphic design projects. Just pick a starting color and a color rule, and Kuler will give you four more colors to match it. You can manually edit any of the colors, and you can get output in Hex or RGB values. Kuler is free to use, and if you sign up for a free account you can save palettes for future reference.
iPiccy is another flash-based image editor, similar to Pixlr. iPiccy has a standard array of photo editing options, but is more focused on the social aspects of photos. Integration with Flickr, Facebook, and other social sites make it easy to import and export photos. iPiccy is a great way to edit images you’ve already uploaded online somewhere, though you can upload new photos or use your webcam to take a photo.
These free innovative design technologies are sure to aid in your creative endeavors, whether you are just starting out or already an accomplished graphic designer.