Free Image Editing Suite

Posted by: Ben Dover

Free Image Editing Suite - 02/18/10 12:39 AM full suite of image editors

Liked my trials with it enough to spring for a $20/annum commercial subscription, instead of freeloading, but they don't want my money. The old freeloader terms were that your stuff was public, not private, and although you retained full rights to original/source files, other Aviary users had derivative rights, i.e., to make art derived from others' original/source files (that in turn become new derived original/source files. But now they're not taking money, and art can be private, public, unaccessible, whitelisted, commercially licensed, various Creative Commons Licenses, basically however a user wants to lock up or open their stuff. Pretty cool. I really wanted to give them my money, however - I'll spook out a modest endowment.

Stuff happens on their internal cloud and is redundantly backed up on Amazon S3 - Nice. DVD backups coming. Currently, rasters and vector-metafile download/export to user local disk as flattened usual raster formats and EPS and SVG.

Between the various editors you can do a lot of neat stuff. Haven't played with it enough, but what little indicates a lot of promise, looking like editor-to-editor workarounds could accomplish any standalone editor deficiencies, but as it is they've got pretty much all the core illustrator's tools and operations ( except for charts/graphs garbage, etc smile ). No explicit booleans as of yet, but that's not a showstopper. Other than that, damned spanky.

I'm going to use it for some pretty simple illustration stuff for a clothing line, whitelist the view permissions, non-editable permissions, so that makes it pretty nice using Aviary bandwidth, having them backed up securely, offload the managing hassles, etc, etc. Sweet. Still gonna spook out a donation/endowment/whatever to these guys, though, as this is really great what they're doing, and the stuff works good.

Yeah, I know, but these days I don't library any source stuff, just flattened stuff for legal reasons and a few things for posterity. Anything else is a PITA.

As of today, we have decided to make using Aviary's suite of editing tools FREE for everyone.

At Aviary, we believe that everyone in the world should have access to powerful creation tools. We therefore chose our company mission to be We make creation accessible to everyone. Our powerful set of tools helps fulfill this mission by enabling small businesses, students, artists & creators across different genres.

As a business, we did need to bring in revenues to cover our costs and development and to accomplish this we created a tiered pricing plan for certain types of uses. Although this was financially successful for us, the side effect of this was that our tools and their features (in their full capacity), were not truly accessible to everyone.

We have long felt that to better serve our core mission our complete feature set needed to be in the hands of everyone - not just those who could afford it. Fortunately, our recent round of funding (by Spark Capital, Bezos Expeditions & others) enables us to finally achieve this goal as we shift revenues to other areas that don't limit individuals in any way. We are excited at the opportunity to stay true to our mission. Not many companies are so fortunate.

What does that mean exactly? Now everyone can:
# Save private files on Aviary.
# Add your own automatic watermark or go watermark-free.
# Access all tutorials.

Existing subscribers who signed up in the last 30 days can request refunds. For all other past Blue plan members, we will cancel all future recurring payments directly. You will remain on indefinitely as our legacy Blue Supporters (recognized by the blue badges wherever they appear on Aviary's site) and you will continue to gain first access to all alpha products we release (rumor has it that a new one is floating around). And of course, we can't thank you enough for supporting Aviary's growth and development. That means the world to us.

Thanks for your continued support and we looking forward to seeing what you create.

Check it out,

Posted by: MacGizmo

Re: Free Image Editing Suite - 02/19/10 12:16 AM

I played with Aviary way back when it was in private beta. It was decent, but slow back then.

I don't know how it is now, but it showed real promise.
Posted by: Ben Dover

Re: Free Image Editing Suite - 02/19/10 07:13 AM

Well, a lot of stuff is pretty snappy, and with a fast pipe I can tell there's a lot of good remote and local caching going on and a lot of stuff happens instantaneously on the webservers with the only lag in HTTP negotiation and download. But some stuff, like serially piped processing final outputs can be slow, as well as a lot of filter setups, and the workspace setup in moving a file from editor to editor, so maybe their internal cloud is stuck on parallel solo multi-cores, if that, instead of parallel commodity multi-procs? Or the code could use some work? These guys sound like they're in it for the haul, though, and claim no money problems, so it's bring down the offload latency or be road pizza. Life in the fast lane. You'd think they could only improve.

My stuff is simple, so it works for me. Just some bit depth reductions, layer blends, effects, etc, a little text.

All I need to do is some final art with a layered look, elegant dirty entrophy erosion decay stuff. I'm just reverting to an accident from twenty years ago, when I did a pencil comp for a customer, scanned and reduced bit depth to line art, just to give an indication of what it would look like. They went apesh!t over the digital comp and then I started noticing that it looked pretty cool, so we were all happy and ended up using the digitized comp.

So, that's all I'm doing now, having fun, making these block print impression-like print things from foam and a chopstick whose end is sanded off to not tear the foam but merely leave an impression. Ink it with a roller and stamp onto paper. Some pencil drawings. Some pencilled type indications. Then, instead of scanning, just shoot this stuff with a digital camera, load it into the Aviary editors, screw around with it, mostly knocking down the bit depth, dirty noise, various layer blends, occasionally importing some layer art from a URL or a local library, some text effects, a lot of color adjustments/effects to get the overall palette right, etc. A lot of noise stuff to simulate this thing that fine art printers, monoprinters, engraving printers, etc called 'print tone'. Basically reallly simple stuff.


Jeeze, this takes me back to impossible days. I don't know if you went this far back, but there was a time if you had a good hand, the commercial world was your playground. I even once did a stint as a freelance comp artist: Record companies, department store chains, whomever, actually paying you big money to do these cheezy little simple color pencilled and penned comps, basically a tight sketch with the figurative stuff indications with the nice little type indications, etc for the unsung hero final art guys, photographers, graphic artist, typesetters, whomever to work to. In retrospect, that was one of the weirdest things I've done. Weird times - This was the period that Bob Peak got $90,000 (at those wayback dollars!!!) for the Apocalypse Now illustration smile . Also did freelance fashion illustration for big department store chains (which haven't graced newspapers for a very long time), architectural illustration (they still have a few of those guys), etc, etc. A lot of stuff that isn't done anymore smile So maybe there is a point to this weird closing - Stuff changes, always does, always will. Change with it or get run over.

I hope a lot of people today can appreciate how great such a common thing such as a decent Bezier is - I remember when Illustrator had the only pen that wasn't a POS. That was so long ago, when Illustrator's Bezier was the clincher for me - Some other editors had a lot more bells and whistles goin on, but their pens were a showstopper.

So, I'm an illustrator, so that's my perspective on stuff. Pretty simple. Pretty basic. A lot of the stuff still happens from the hand, then you juice it, anything to make it better. Michelangelo would have done digital if he had the chance. Aviary cuts it for me.