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One topic that never ceases to amaze me is the manipulation and editing of images. It’s a fascinating world at which I stare at in awe. But when I open Photoshop to give it what feels like the quadrillionth try, I turn away in disappointment within minutes because I simply don’t have the patience and determination it takes to master a professional image editing program. CorelDraw may be an exception, I’ve actually grown quite used to it.

So when I ran across Splashup, an online image editing tool, I was fascinated by a very well designed website. I hope they made it all using their own application. Well, probably not. Anyways, when I opened Splashup I was a little turned off. It looks a lot like Photoshop and it also works a lot like Photoshop. Needless to say, it comes with only a small fraction of Photoshop’s features, and turns out to be quite valuable even for the novice user.

You can “jump right in” without signing up, but of course membership has its advantages. You can save your images locally and continue working on them later on.

You can start with a blank image or open images from your browser, your Splashup, Facebook, Flickr or Picasa accounts or using a mundane URL to an image of your choice.

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To open images from Facebook, Flickr or Picasa, you first need to authenticate and allow Splashup to connect to your account on the respective site. For Flickr, a successful authentication will look like this:

Photoshop alternative

Once you’re happy with your image you can also save it back to any of the above mentioned accounts, with the exception of “http” that is, and of course you can download it to your computer. But we’re not that far yet…

The canvas opens in a separate window, so it’s almost like running a separate program, only this one runs within your browser. You can even go full screen and give your full attention to the program.

As you may be able to guess from the screenshot above, Splashup works with layers, the Photoshop-typic feature that probably makes the program both most useful and most annoying. I’m not a great fan of layers the way Photoshop deals with them, but I know many people find them quite helpful, if not indispensable.

I’m assuming that most of you will recognize the standard tools, what they can do and how to apply them, so I will not go into great detail here.

What I found a bit confusing though is that boxes, circles, and polygons added to a layer will melt with it and can not be selected or moved afterwards. You can however fill them with a different color, which seems a bit awkward to me. It’s been a while since I used Photoshop CS, but that’s a drawback I don’t recall. In other words, if you don’t want to mess up a layer, create a new layer for every new thing you add.

Splashup comes with a nice selection of layer effects and filters. In the example below I created several layers of the same gradient and added (from bottom to top) gradient glow, bevel, drop shadow, and gradient bevel layer effects. I will leave the discovery of filters to your own adventurous nature.

The Layers window is one of the most powerful tools. This is not just where you control the positioning and visibility of your layers. You can also add some more effects, like changing the opacity (as seen in the example below), multiply, screen, lighten, darken, difference, add, subtract, invert, alpha, erase, overlay, and hardlight your layers in relation to each other.

Add effects to images

There is a lot more you can do, for example capture images from any camera source connected to your computer. Whatever you do, always keep in mind that the undo option doesn’t go back very far, so better save or download your work at different stages, just to be sure you won’t lose anything.

Finally a bit of trivia. Splashup used to be called Fauxto and was mentioned on MakeUseOf earlier in 5 Really Powerful Online Image Editing Tools 5 Really Powerful Online Image Editing Tools 5 Really Powerful Online Image Editing Tools Read More . Interestingly enough this is undoubtedly revealed when you open the File menu. At the very bottom it still says Exit Fauxto. :)

In the opinion of the experienced Photoshop user, how does Splashup compare to Photoshop in the light of minor editing tasks? I would love to read your comments!

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