6 Exceptional Web-based Image Editors

Web-based image editors have several advantages to its desktop counterparts. The most obvious benefit is that they allow you to work on any computer (that has a browser). In most cases, you can save your work online, avoid having to install desktop software, and interface with other web based services such as Flickr or Picasa. This article shares 6 of the finest, free online image editors that are capable alternatives to desktop applications like Adobe Photoshop and GIMP.

1. Pixlr

Pixlr - screen shot.

Pixlr is a very robust, Flash-based image editor that shares a similar user interface to Adobe Photoshop. The Pixlr API – which is still in its early stages of development – opens up possibilities of mash-ups an integration of Pixlr into your blog, web application, or website. It has a smart Wand tool to help you automatically select similar and adjacent pixels (which is equivalent to Photoshop’s Magic Wand tool).

2. Splashup

Splashup - screen shot.

Splashup is feature-packed online image editor that integrates with popular photo sharing services like Flickr, Picasa, and Facebook – allowing you to access your photos remotely. Some of the cool features that Splashup has are layers with blending modes, the ability to interface and capture images from your web cam, and a nice variety of filters and layer effects.

3. Phoenix

Phoenix - screen shot.

Phoenix, a powerful web-based image editor by Aviary, rivals the capabilities of desktop image editing applications. Check out this list of tutorials to fully appreciate the potential of this excellent image editor. You have to sign-up for an account to access Phoenix, but it only takes a few seconds and also gives you access to other Aviary tools and services such as Peacock ("Visual Laboratory") and Toucan (color and swatch tool).

4. - screen shot.

If you’re looking for an application to meet your simple photo-editing needs, check out – a free, web-based photo editor. It has an intuitively simple interface and useful photo-editing features like cropping, resizing, and rotating. It also has some color adjustment options such as Saturation, Brightness, and Contrast adjustments. You can save your work as one of the four popular digital image files (PNG, JPG, GIF, or BMP).

5. FotoFlexer

FotoFlexer - screen shot.

FotoFlexer is a free, web-based photo editor that has tons of features but is still simple to use. Check out FotoFlexer’s demo page to see some of the useful capabilities of the application. FotoFlexer certainly does an excellent job for common photo-editing needs such as cropping, resizing, and rotating. It also integrates with popular web services such as Flickr, Picasa, Photobucket, Facebook, MySpace and more.

6. SUMO Paint

SUMO Paint - screen shot.

SUMO Paint is a free, online image editor that allows you to edit and create images. It has a Shape tool that gives you the ability to draw unique shapes, a Brush tool with a surprisingly high-quality set of brushes, a Transform tool to help you scale, move, and rotate objects, and much more.

What’s your favorite?

Is your favorite web-based image editor not on the list? Share it with us in the comments, along with your experience and why you like it over other web-based image editors.

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This was published on Oct 6, 2008


How about Aviary?

Great list. I’ve only actually used, in terms of not just experimented, with Aviary’s online apps and they’re really great for when you’re not at your own machine. Thanks!

These are all awesome. has the most potential, as the idea fits more with what a web app should do. These are all pretty powerful, but none will erase my Photoshop install. I myself using though for the sake of time and convenience.

Rokurosv Oct 07 2008

It’s like you’ve read my mind, I was looking for alternatives to PS and I’ve found some, plus they’re online, even better. Awesome post

THE|ODIN Oct 07 2008

Thanks for the list, some very powerful kits out there!

Perry Oct 07 2008

Why bother with web based when when there’s free downloads such as or even Picassa for simple photo editing.

Jason Oct 07 2008

I’ve always been partial to Picnik
Thanks for the list of alternatives to check out.

Rolando Oct 07 2008

I can’t believe Picknik isn’t on this list. It’s Flickr’s photo-editor by default.

Sumul Oct 07 2008

Here’s an even better list of Phoenix tutorials:

Great collection Jacob – I’ve literally never heard of any of these – but all very cool. Thanks.

web based editors allow you to make the changes from anywhere without having to install applications when you are not at home or on your laptop.

pixlr looks amazing!!

Oliver Oct 07 2008

Nice collection. I personally use for all my online image editing/organization.

Pheonix is my fave out of the list.

These are very good editors, but maybe too powerful for simple tasks. Have you tried This tool is very good for small retouches.

“Why bother with web based when when there’s free downloads such as or even Picassa for simple photo editing.”

Sometimes you may not be using a machine you can install software on, or be able to download anything you like.

Sorry for the typo, should be

Traverse Davies Oct 07 2008

To Chad: Phoenix is the image editor in the aviary suite.
and to Perry: because they are cool, you don’t have to install them on each system you use, and a couple of them are better than most desktop based image editors (I have been using splashup and aviary for a long time, just tried Sumo paint and Pixlr, very impressed with both)

Chuck Reynolds Oct 07 2008

what about ? As far as I know it’s one of the most popular ones.

Lady Sith Oct 07 2008

Nice! I like them all… but of course, nothing beats Photoshop.

sylv3rblade Oct 07 2008

not if you can’t afford it.

@Chad: Aviary is Pheonix…

@Chuck Reynolds: I love Picnik!

Rizky Oct 07 2008

what? no Photoshop?

Lurker Oct 08 2008

Good post, but I don’t think these are very impressive until there is some sort of capability for using -pressure sensitive tablets-. :(

Tobbi Oct 08 2008

Thx for the List. I knew Pixlr and SumoPaint, i’m gonna check out the other ones.

Holy crap that’s is awesome. I never knew these things existed hah. Now I can recommend convenient solutions to clients who are clueless with pictures and without decent software.

Ryan G Oct 08 2008

Photoshop? What? A web based solution too?

Jonathan Oct 08 2008

@ Rizky – Dude, this is a “top 6” list. would probably come about 200 on a top 100 list.

Julian Oct 09 2008

Try this: It is based on ExtJS/Javascript on client and ImageMagick/PHP on serverside, and its free and open source, so you can put it on your website!

StoneCS Oct 10 2008

Photobucket has one along with 1GB storage. It looks just like the one on FotoFlexer, and has ton of cool features.

Torley Oct 10 2008

Picnik is more for retouching than pixel-precise editing, but for what it does, it’s absolutely FABULOUS. Nice team making it (great support), beautiful UI, fun effects which can be applied in seconds, and so much more.

Edgar Oct 10 2008

Do you have any suggestions for free tools that allow to create website banners or buttons?

I have an annoying issue with Paint.Net and GIMP in that, once you let go of the text control, you can’t edit it.

I wish the text control become editable after you let go off it.

Designer Oct 11 2008

WOW…… very useful tools

Jacob Gube Oct 11 2008

Hello everyone!

It looks like there’s a lot of supporters for Picknik, and it was a top candidate for this post. It’s definitely worth a mention.

Kyle Rush Oct 12 2008

I’m so glad I found this post! It showed up in my Sage reader plugin for Firefox. The interesting thing is that I was just about to begin a Google search for online image editing apps. This made it much easier.

After trying some of these, I have to say that I like the best because it seems easiest for my clients to use. It has a very basic interface and does not require registration. My clients only need to have resizing abilities and is great for that. Also, if the client wants to ad some other special things to the photo he/she can.

Jacob Gube Oct 12 2008

@Kyle Rush: I’m also glad you found this post! Great idea about having your clients use a web-based application for easy photo-editing so that when they need to update their site images, they can.

Kyle Rush Oct 12 2008

Yes, using a web based photo editor app seemed the best option because the client I was speaking of is a student group so they don’t have the money to purchase any software and I definitely don’t have the time to teach them how to use the software.

I am redoing their site and I have decided to start using custom fields to have different sized images for each post. The client will need to create about three different sizes of the image. One will be used if the post is in the ‘featured’ category and this will be the largest of the images. The featured post will show up on top of the homepage. Another will be a very small version of the image (50×50 px) which will be used when listing the most recent posts in a category. This way I don’t have to edit any of the images for them!

Great post. Getting to use the browser more and more for activities that used to require installations! Love it. Just found an awesome in-browser ftp solution as well. One of these days you’ll need nothing but your browser.

ellen Oct 21 2008

these really great and easy to use too

Robert Frost Oct 25 2008


Robert Frost Oct 25 2008

All of these comments have been photoshopped.

pixlr is awesome

lihuawei Feb 04 2009

Very good. Maybe you should move it a little closer to the middle.

AdrianLee May 20 2009

I want to do somw image editing on my netbook but dont want to wastw memory space installing a software.

So I will try your recommendations.

Thanks! :)

Phaoloo Aug 16 2009

pixlr has firefox add-on, you can handily edit an image right in your browser.

WebDesignExpert.Me Nov 03 2009

Pixlr is more well known than’s own online image editor and image hoster, I guess.

Kevin Apr 01 2010

I am currently constructing a website. I have a graphic I created, but I need to smooth the edges. The graphic is oval. Besides blurring the image is there a way to smooth the edges without going crazy and broke. Any ideas??

Kiirsten Apr 14 2010

the pixlr wand tool doens’t always work for me, and it’s really annoying because i have a graphics website :\
anyone know another site with the wand tool? :[

Anonymous Aug 19 2010

Kiirsten: It looks like Aviary Phoenix has a wand tool.

Barbaralynn Jan 31 2011

kevin… yes. I have used a downloadable software called PDN- Paint Dot Net that has a wand tool and a “feather” feature that smoothes out the edges of images. Website address is: Also.. they have tons of tutorials to show you how to do something if you need help

ishan Apr 12 2011

There is free website where you can add different-differnt effect to your image i.e. sketch, painting, drawing etc. and That is totally free…, you definitely would like it

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