Web applications have come a long way in recent years. With the introduction of HTML5 (in addition to existing Flash technologies) the complexity and feature-richness of online applications has come on leaps and bounds. Just a few years ago the idea of doing a quick photo touch-up or drawing online was unthinkable, but now we have a plethora of available services to choose from. There are numerous advantages to using web-based applications. They tend to be less heavy on resources than their desk-bound cousins and they are cross-platform, meaning they can be accessed from any of your devices that are capable of running a browser. This week we’re going to look at 8 applications or resources that you can employ in your artistic endeavors.
Some of these use cutting-edge HTML5, so you’ll need a recent version of Chrome or Firefox to take full advantage.
Pixlr from Autodesk is a suite of three different applications with varied levels of complexity and functionality. The Advanced editor is a fully featured image editor, where you can create and edit pictures using many of the usual tools you’d expect to find in a comparable desktop product. The other applications are intended mainly for photo-editing. Pixlr Express allows the application of filters, enhancements, touch-ups stickers, borders and labels to photographs. Pixlr-o-matic is the little brother of Pixlr Express and has a fun and simple to use interface for applying Instagram-like filters to your photos.
Photogene for iPad
For those who prefer to edit your photos on an iPad, Photogene is the best of an ever-widening collection of iOS photo-editing apps. As you’ve come to expect from the best iPad apps, it has a pretty and easy-to-use interface with a comprehensive range of features. It’s not quite as capable as a full-blown photo-editor like Lightroom, but as far as day-to-day photo-editing goes, it doesn’t lack much that the amateur or hobbyist photographer might need. Unlike the other apps mentioned here, Photogene is not free, but at $2.99 it’s not going to break the bank.
If you’re a one tool for one job sort of person, the you’ll appreciate Cropp.me. Unsurprisingly, it crops images, and it does that very well. You can do multiple crops of multiple images at a time, and the nicest part about Cropp.me is that it can analyse photos and work out the best crops for you, so rather than having to drag and resize a box, you can just hit a button.
If you want to quickly create a poster or banner for printing, PosterMyWall has you covered. Choose from a set of provided backgrounds or upload your own, and then customize with writing and photos. Basic quality downloads are free, and high-quality downloads or prints are reasonably priced.
Often neglected when online art resources are talked about, 3D modelling is a handy addition to the artists toolbox. 3DTin isn’t going to be competing with Maya anytime soon, but it offers basic 3D sculpting and animation features, and your creations can be exported to standard formats.
OpenClipArt is a great resource for finding clip art to include in posters, brochures, flyers, presentations and other documents. It has a huge selection, and best of all, they are released to the public domain do you don’t have to worry about copyright infringement or licensing fees.
Subtle Patterns is a very popular resource among web designers, and chances are you’ve come across a website that uses one of their pattern images as a background. They make great background images for posters and flyers too. The patterns are released under a Creative Commons license and are free to use in personal and commercial projects. All Subtle Patterns asks is that you give a mention to them in your work.
Creative Commons Search
Incorporating other people’s work into your own can be legally tricky; you have to be very careful about how that work is licensed. No-one wants to get in trouble for copyright infringement or to be on the wrong end of a DMCA takedown notice. Creative Commons Search is not a search engine in itself, but rather a front-end to the Creative Commons searches of numerous media repositories and search engines around the web, including Flickr, Google Images, and the Wikimedia Commons.
We’re sure you guys have favorite services you’d like to see added to the list. Let us know if we’ve missed something that you’ve had good experiences with in the comments below.