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Pictures are visual memories and story tellers. Creating images, enhancing a photo, revealing details and adding effects is like changing the perspective, like telling a story with different words from different angles. The list of tools available is endless.

Here are three very simple ones.

Browser Based

Beware, the interface is pretty ugly and it’s lined with ads. BUT besides supporting basic editing, you can easily add some artsy effects and animations to your images. The gif animations are pretty cool.


Yes, it remains basic, you cannot customize these special effects, the most you can do is combine several animations. Definitely a bore for the advanced user. However, it is a great tool to quickly spruce up an image without having to load a bloated desktop program.

Also check out recently mentioned GIFmake that can be used to compose and decompose GIF animations online.

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Here we actually have more than just one tool. With J-Painter you can draw a sketch, annotate a photo, draw a diagram, draw a road map, paint a greeting card or perform some medicine drawing. Images can be downloaded as png files.


Yet another very basic looking and easy to use tool. What really got me hooked is the map editor with the predefined symbols.
You can use the tool online or download to your desktop for free. Licenses to install J-Painter on your own website are available as well, including a 30 day free evaluation.

Desktop Based


The people from Mosaizer developed a program that lets you combine a picture and a text file of your choice to produce a text mosaic. Or you can transform your image into ASCII Art, create ASCII text, and there is a lot more Textaizer can do.

Also check out the original Mosaizer (30 days free trial) and the new Pattaizer (available soon) from the same creators.

If you found this list inspiring, you might also want to take a look at 10 Free Image Editing Programs for your PC 10 Free Image Editing Programs for your PC 10 Free Image Editing Programs for your PC Read More and 5 powerful Online Image Editing Tools 5 Really Powerful Online Image Editing Tools 5 Really Powerful Online Image Editing Tools Read More .

Do you know of any web-based or desktop-based image editing tools? Drop the links in the comments.

  1. Mr. Wizard
    July 22, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    I can't believe that no one mentioned A.Viary. It is in private beta, but I'd consider it web based photoshop, and you can easily get invites through

  2. Anonymous Coward
    July 15, 2008 at 9:13 pm

    Please, for the sake of all that is good in this world, put up a warning before posting an animated gif like that. By the time I was finished reading the first paragraph, I was dizzy. No offense, but those images (the one with the blurring effect especially) have an annoyance factor similar to that of the <blink> and <marquee> tags.

    • Brainiac
      July 16, 2008 at 2:36 pm

      So what's your suggestion? Not to add anything at all? I like being able to see samples before trying the tool myself.

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