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Visual Communication And Online Image Editing Tools - The Best From Sharewood
Today, if you want to communicate effectively, whichever is your medium of choice, you must understand and leverage the power of visual communication.
The more you understand the logic and principles that direct effective communication the more you can leverage the fascinating new digital image editing, data visualization and visual presentation tools springing up all around you.
Image credit: Mikael Damkier
While preparing this collection of visual communication tools I found lots more that I could handle. Only in the last year, here at Sharewood headquarters, I have seen move in front of me over 100 new tools and web services designed to help professional communicators and amateurs alike manage, edit and publish online their visual stories, presentation, photo-based product reviews.
- Online digital image editing and retouching
- Online image albums, photo books and catalog image publication service
- Special Effects - Image generators
- Image utilities
- Image Search
- Visual Mapping
- Data Visualization
These the categories for my hand-picked selection some of the most interesting and little-known visual communication tools we have run into during our review and exploration work online. Nearly all of these tools require no software download or configuration, work on every operating system and computer type and ask no money from you to use their cool features.
If you were looking for a quality basket of visual communication and image editing tools to refer to in times of need, you will probably find something that does what you are looking for right here.
Image credit: Robin Good - Emprssr.com - PXN8.com
- Online free poster creator enlarges digital images to up to 20 meters: The Rasterbator
The Rasterbator is a web service which creates huge, rasterized (rasterbation is the process of taking an image, blowing it up, pixelating it, and printing it onto numerous pieces of paper) images from any picture. The rasterized images can be printed and assembled into extremely cool looking posters up to 20 meters in size. The Rasterbator is very easy to use. You can either upload a file from your computer or use any file that is publicly available on the Internet. After you have cropped the image and selected a desired enlargement size, the resized digital image will be sent to you as a PDF file. You will need to have Macromedia Flash Player 7 and Adobe Reader (or other pdf viewer) to use The Rasterbator. Free.
- Web-based free image editor for non-technical users: Online image editor
The Online Image Editor is a free online image editor hosted by Easy2upload.net which allows you to do basic digital image editing from any computer without the need to install any commercial software. edit images. The online image editor is completely web-based and it allows you to upload, re-size or crop any digital image, and to save it in your preferred file format for personal use. Free.
- Suite of cool image tools to enhance your Flickr-based image collection: fd's Flickr Toys
Flickr Toys is a collection of truly great web-based services that extend, enhance and augment in many interesting and useful ways the image hosting and sharing service provided by Yahoo/Flickr. Flickr Toys include among many other:
- Magazine Cover creator
- Mosaic Maker from your own photos
- Calendar maker
- Card Maker
- Badge Maker
- Photo Captioner
- Slideshow Creator
A must-visit destination for Sharewood friends. All free to use.
- Online free image editor and uploader - optional customizable and brandable version: Pxn8
Pxn8 is a free online image editor with a user interface developed with standard web technologies. No software needs to be downloaded or installed to use Pxn8. The image editing software allows you to upload any digital image and to zoom, resize, crop, rotate and adjust colors and image tones. Pxn8 has a red eye removal feature as well as one to whiten teeth. From Pxn8 your edited images can be saved on disk or can be even uploaded directly into your Flickr account. Pxn8 interface can also be fully customized via CSS and re-branded to reflect the look and feel of your site. The upload to Flickr feature can be for example replaced with an upload facility taking images submitted by users to your own custom gallery or photo showcase. The hosted version is completely free while a license for installing Pxn8 on your own private/corporate web server costs $749.
- Web-based image editor: Snipshot
Snipshot, formerly Pixoh, is an excellent online image editing tool, which allows non-technical people to open, resize, crop, rotate and alter image adjustments like brightness or contrast with extreme ease of use and at no cost whatsoever. Snipshot requires no time to learn and you can immediately start editing images sitting on your hard disk or available online at a specific URL. Snipshot also allows automatic import of digital images from any web site, including Flickr, allows the exporting and saving of any image to GIF, JPG, PDF, PNG, PDF, or TIF, sports a powerful unlimited undo and redo function and it is adding week by week new and more powerful features. Free to use. Recommended.
- Browser-based image editor enables users to edit images online with no need for plugin: nexImage
nexImage is a fully functional browser-based image editor that integrates current image processing tools directly in your web application without the need for plugins, ActiveX or a Java VM. nexImage provides word processing tools and the integrated file manager allows image files from a pre-defined server drive to be opened for processing. The server drive access can also take place via FTP connection. nexImage also allows image files to be uploaded from an URL or a local drive.
Free to use.
- Online photo editor enables you to edit and add special effects to your images within your browser: ImageEditor
ImageEditor is a web-based photo editor with a very easy to use interface. ImageEditor allows you to resize and crop images, apply several filters and add special effects. ImageEditor works only with Internet Explorer and similiar browsers such as Maxthon and AvantBrowser. Completely free to use.
- Web-based images editor enables you to edit pictures online and upload them to popular photo sharing sites: Phixr
Phixr is a web-based images editor that you can access from any computer. You simply need to upload your pictures and make all the changes you want. After editing your images, Phixr enables you to directly upload them to Flickr, Fotopic, Livejournal, Photobucket, Fotolog.com, Buzznet and Dropshots. Phixr requires registration and is completely free to use.
- Online tool allows you to edit your pictures online: Picture2Life
Picture2Life is an online tool that allows you to edit your pictures online. There are several methods that you can use to upload or import your pictures: you can either enter the URL of the pictures or upload them. You can edit pictures directly from your internet browser and import your pictures from photo sharing websites like Flickr, Photobucket, ImageShack, and much more. Free to use.
- Online image editor that lets you resize and edit your pictures within a web browser: PicResize
PicResize is a online tool that enables you to resize and edit pictures within your web browser. You are allowed to resize multiple pictures at once and then save the result in .gif, .jpg and .png formats. On the website of PicResize you will find a useful video tutorial showing you how you can use this tool with ease. Free to use.
- Photo channels creation software allows album creation and online sharing: Slide
Slide is a desktop program that indexes photos on the user's hard drive, automatically groups them into channels, and plays them back via an always-on ticker interface. Slide provides an innovative scrolling "photo playback" model, users can rediscover and enjoy images they would rarely see otherwise. Users can choose to share any photo or invite both registered and unregistered friends and family to subscribe to entire channels of photos. You can also put Slide on any website or blog so others can watch, too. Slide requires download and it's free for Windows and Mac.
- Create online photo books and add music and animations to them: Funtigo
Funtigo provides a photo sharing service where members can create a customized online photo album and share it as a website. With Funtigo you can create your online photo scrapbook and design each album or web page the way you want it: feel free to add text, music, backgrounds, cliparts, or animated text balloons; you can move or resize your pictures right on the page. Funtigo is completely free to use.
- Online photo manager that allows you to save, easily edit, and efficiently organize your images: Snapmania
Snapmania is a web-based photo manager that allows you to save, easily edit, and efficiently organize your images with no limitation from where they can be accessed or when. Once you subscribe you will get a free account with 100MB storage. Premium accounts start with $4.90 per month and offer 2GB storage. Check out the complete price list.
- Service that allows you to upload unlimited images and create online photo albums: Webshots
Webshots is a service that allows you to upload unlimited images and create online photo albums.
Furthermore, by downloading Webshots Desktop you can upload files directly from digital cameras to your online photo albums. Besides, a desktop notification just above the system tray alerts you when new professional photos are available in the Webshots Gallery to be purchased, and when favorite members have uploaded and shared new images. Free to use.
- Photo albums creator enables you to set up online albums with pictures and video clips too: Phanfare
Phanfare is a site that enables you to create photo albums online. With your account, you get a destination web site for your album collection. Your Phanfare website will be at http://yourusername.phanfare.com. You can set a password to protect all your web albums, or leave some albums open and protect others. You can import short video clips into Phanfare for inclusion in your albums. Each clip can be up to 10 minutes long and there is no limit to the number of clips you can store. An account costs $6.95 per month or $54.95 per year (a life membership is also available at $299.95) and offers unlimited storage.
- Photo album creator helps you organize your pictures with the use of tags: Pikeo
Pikeo is a photo album creator that helps you organize your pictures based on tags that you select. Pikeo offers you 1 GB storage for all your pictures and you can send photos from your camera phone. You can decide which of your pictures you want to share with your family and friends. Pikeo is completely free to use.
- Online photo album creator enables you to upload your photos and organize them in albums : Tabblo
Tabblo is a service that lets you upload your photos and create albums that you can share with other people. The site provides you with many templates, among which you can chose the one that suits you better. You can add captions, titles and full paragraphs thanks to a fully integrated text editor. Pictures can be resized as you please and it is possible to decide who can download them and who can't. Free to use.
- Multimedia scrapbooks creator allows you to publish albums with photos, videos and audio: Scrapblog
Scrapblog is a service that lets you create multimedia scrapbooks featuring your photos, videos, audio and other elements. You can share your scrapblog online with friends and let others add notes and comments. Once you upload your multimedia files, you can turn them into high-quality photo books and DVDs. Scrapblog is free to use and requires no download.
- Picasa's new feature allows you to create photo albums and store them online: Picasa Web Albums
Picasa Web Albums is Picasa's newest feature, designed to help users post and share their photos quickly and easily on the web. Picasa Web Albums offers one-click web upload using Picasa's new "Web Album" button, free storage space to post and share approximately 1000 photos, with the option to upgrade to more space for a relatively small fee. End-to-end photo management makes it easy to download uploaded photos back to your computer. Free to use.
- Automatic generator of image-phrases takes in your text input and gives it back to you as a collage of letters photographed in different scenarios: Spell with Flickr
Spell with Flickr is a web-based tiny program that requests users to type in whatever they want to, then matches each letter of that word with letter pictures grabbed from Flickr. If you don't like the images that come back, just click on each individual image to change it. Free to use.
- Create a 360 degrees navigable image with your digital photos and post it on your website: Picture Cloud
Picture Cloud enables you to replace your photo with one that spins and pans up to 360 degrees. You can take several images around an object or scene, upload them to Picture Cloud and create your 360 degrees image or even a moving image sequence. What Picture Cloud does in essence is to transparently stitch multiple digital images together as to provide the ability to see them as a kind of movie sequence. Picture Cloud can host your clouds for you, or you can download your cloud and upload it to your own server. Picture Cloud images can be embedded in any web sites that enable you to show Flash items. No software required. Free to use.
- Pictures showcase creation tool for Flickr enables users to display their images in a interactive box: PhotoShakr
PhotoShakr is a service that allows you to showcase your pictures on Flickr in a box that displays random thumbnails of them. You simply need to enter your Flickr email and PhotoShakr will automatically generate a interactive box displaying your pictures, which can be embedded into any websites or blog. PhotoShakr is completely free to use.
- Search engine for images enables you to find similar photos within Flickr database: Tiltomo
Tiltomo is a content-based visual image search system that enables you to search for similar images within Flickr's database. To get started you can search for a specific tag or click random. When you find an image you like, simply click one of the "Find Similar" links under the image and decide whether you want to search for similiar images by theme or by color/texture. Tiltomo will automatically find all those images that resemble to the one you selected according to your criteria. Free to use.
- Flickr-based search engine lets you view hundreds of thumbnails at once: Flickr Grab
Flickr Grab is a Flickr-based search engine that lets you view hundreds of thumbnails from Flickr at once, by user or other criteria. You can create links to a thumbnail page like today's most interesting or a user's pictures and display all photos for a search query and all photos tagged with a keyword. Free to use.
- Web-based photo search and facial recognition system: Riya
Riya is a web-based photo search and facial recognition system. Tell Riya who a person is in one of your photos and it will automatically recognize that person in all of your other photos and tag them appropriately. Riya also recognizes text in photos, and lets you select any area of a photo and tag that as well. Riya is completely free to use.
- Animated gif creator lets you create animated gifs with your pictures and also with photos on Flickr: Gickr
Gickr is a web tool that enables you to create animated gifs with whatever picture, even on Flickr. You simply need to upload the images you need from your hard disk (or search for pictures on Flickr). Note that the sequence you uploaded them in will be your frame sequence. You can't upload files bigger than 1MB each and, also, you can't upload more than 10MB files at once - your browser may hang. Supported files are .png, .gif and .jpeg.
- Take screen captures and upload them directly to your Flickr account: Flickr & Webimager
Flickr & Webimager is a service that enables you to take screen captures and upload them directly to your Flickr account. You can capture a section of your screen, rotate and resize and insert a cursor on the image with Flickr & WebImager. Once you are done editing, click on the upload arrow and the image will be sent to your Flickr account. Flickr & WebImager requires download and works with Windows 95 or later. Free to use.
- Browser-based toolbar to download rich-media from any web page: PimpFish
PimpFish is a powerful browser toolbar that enables you to save pics, movies and more in your computer, from any webpage. PimpFish provides an advanced download manager that offers several features such as a mini thumbnail viewer, live statistics, gallery shortcuts and SLAPfiles integration. SLAPfiles is a shared collection of URLs, all gathered in one place, that you can also comment. PimpFish is able to save Flash, Quicktime, Windows Media and other embedded videos; moreover, it offers password management when grabbing file from protected websites and bulletin boards. Free download. For Windows/Internet Explorer (Firefox beta version available).
- Upload images, resize them, and convert them into another format: ImageSquash
ImageSquash is a web-based tool that allows you to upload images, resize them, and change their format. When your image is uploaded, just select your options to the left panel and click the convert button. Once you are done, right click the image to save the newly transformed file. ImageSquash is completely free to use.
- Online service that takes screenshots of any web site and enables you to embed them into web sites: WebShotsPro
WebShotsPro is an online service that takes screenshots of any web site. The service automatically generates thumbnails for every screenshot and allows you to display them anywhere in the web. You can include them in your blog postings, on a forum post, or next to your search engine results. Check out an example. WebShotsPro works better with Firefox and Internet Explorer 6.0. Free to use during beta period.
- Web-based tool that enables you to resize your pictures within your browser: ResizR
ResizR is a little web-based tool that enables you to resize your pictures. Once you have uploaded your image, you can set the width in pixels by dragging the slider or entering a value into the text field below the slider. When you are ready, click "ResizR" to start the resizing process. With ResizR you can also resize any images from the web: you simply have to click the "From Web" tab and paste the URL of the image. All uploaded images are deleted once per day to protect users' privacy. Currently only jpg images can be resized. Free to use.
- Favicons creator: FavIcon from Pics
FavIcon from Pics is a free online service that converts any digital image into a Favicon (aka a Web page icon). The service is extremely easy to use, as you only need to input your selected image file URL or location on your hard disk and FavIcon from Pics immediately returns a 32x32 pixels icon version of the same. Free to use.
- Map creation service allows personal life events documentation: Wayfaring
Wayfaring allows you use Google Maps data to create maps documenting events in your life, trips that you have taken, and so on. You can even include pictures and video to make the experience more visual. These detailed maps can then be shared with friends, family, colleagues, and strangers through e-mail, your blog, or Wayfaring. You can explore maps created by others and connect and collaborate over a vast social network. You can set your maps public or private, allow others to edit them or lock them down. Wayfaring is a free service.
- Draw pictures and label things on a Google map and see your work in 3D: Quikmaps
Quikmaps allows you to draw pictures and label things on a Google Map using simple clicks and drags. You can easily post the map on your blog or website. Quikmaps hosts your maps, so you can come back and edit them whenever you want. You can also see your quikmap in 3D with Google Earth. Free to use.
- Map creation tool lets you generate maps through Google Maps and embed them into any websites: MapKit
MapKit is a service that enables you to create and put maps on your site or blog. Once you sign up you get the ability to make maps with your readers using Google's base maps and Platial's social application. Just follow the easy steps and fill in all the blanks to get your MapKit code. Then you can just copy and paste the code into your site. Free to use.
- Web-based mapping and searching service allows you to view road maps and satellite images: Atlas
Atlas is a web-based mapping and searching service that allows you to view road maps and satellite images. With Atlas you can explore the globe and find what your looking from movies to parking or restauraunts. You can create routes and email directions to your favorite locations to your family and friends. Lowest gas prices and latest traffic conditions are available to registered users. Free to use.
- Online marker lets you put annotations on pictures and share them with others: MapLib
MapLib is a service that allows you to upload any images (as large as 6000x6000) and transform them into a custom Google Map in a really simple way. You can add markers and annotations to your pictures and also embed them in your own web pages or blog. Settings for each map include title, description and control for who can add map markers. You can have this set for only you, or you can let visitors to the map annotate the image as well. Free to use.
- Visual tag cloud generator: ZoomClouds
Tag clouds are cool, informative, appealing representations about what's happening in your blog, or anywhere else. With ZoomClouds you can generate a visual tag cloud for your site in a matter of minutes. You select the RSS feeds to be used to generate the tag cloud and ZoomClouds does the rest. To achieve its magic ZoomClouds uses both the Yahoo! Content Analysis API as well as a custom ZoomCloud content analysis tool. When you create your cloud, ZoomClouds will go and fetch your RSS feed, and the cloud that you get at that moment is based only on whatever content is in your feed at that time, which usually is the last 10-15 posts. You as a user can control this variable and extend it to a larger time frame. Free.
- Graphs and charts generator allows you to input data and display it in a visual fashion: Swivel
Swivel is a service that lets you explore data and share your insights with others in the form of graphics and charts. Swivel has data about politics, economics, weather, sports, business and more. You just have to upload the information you care about, describe it, pick a color scheme and even add some pictures. If you upload data for the public, Swivel is free; after Swivel finishes its preview period a professional edition of Swivel will be introduced, which will allow you to keep your personal or business data private. Free sign up.
- Online drawing tool that provides an environment for diagramming, creating flow charts and free hand drawing: ajaxSketch
ajaxSketch is a web-based drawing tool that provides an environment for diagramming, creating flow charts, free hand drawing and more. You can perform functions such as resize, rotate, change background or pen colors, and alter opacity directly within your Firefox browser. Once finished with your images, you can easily save your work right to your hard drive. ajaxSketch is free to use and requires Mozilla Firefox.
- The principles of easy interface design: The Principles of Universal Design
The Center for Universal Design recently published The Principles of Universal Design. The Chinese/English on-line magazine is dedicated to increasing usability through quality user interface design. This article lays out seven simple principles that can be applied to any project to make it more usable by the public. A valuable read for software developers, web designers, engineers and even writers, the article includes several key points to keep in mind when designing communications designed for public use. Free to read.
- Video tutorials to learn how to make effective photographs: Just Show Me How To
If you want to learn how to make great photographs as well as learning from professional photographers tips and tricks about the difficult art of capturing quality images, Just Show Me How To offers short video tutorials that show you instantly how to attack or resolve a certain issue. Learn The Basics, Photograph Animals, Photograph People, Take Auction Photos, Take Travel Shots, are some of the many titles available. Prices start at $1.99 per video.
Image Editing And Retouching
Online Image Albums
Special Effects - Image Generator
Educational - Learn About Visual Communication
Pure XHTML CSS Banner Generator/Creator
Use these online generator tools to easily and visually create those popular "XHTML valid" CSS banners, micro buttons or css website templates in seconds. No programming required!
Congratulations for this great list.
You should also consider http://www.comboost.com , just launched, with features like free slideshows for sites/blogs updatable from comboost, pdf albums...
Nicolo, that's a great round-up of visual communication software and services. You may want to try out the new release of Scrapblog, due to be announced end of February '07.