Who Needs Photoshop When You Can Have Splashup?

Tina Sieber 05-08-2008

Who Needs Photoshop When You Can Have Splashup? splashup07One 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.

Who Needs Photoshop When You Can Have Splashup? splashup02

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.


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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.

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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 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!

Related topics: Facebook, Flickr, Image Editor.

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  1. john
    January 29, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    Can you help me Please ? I down loaded splashup as you syuggested
    When I try to open picasa through splashup I grant access to google chrome but splashup can not gain access.

    Is there something in the security settings I should be aware of ?

    I am running Google Chrome (36714)

    On Windows Xp

    Can you please help me.



    • Tina
      January 30, 2010 at 12:28 am


      it's been some time since I wrote this article and I'm not sure I tried to sign into Picasa back then. When I try now, it doesn't work for me either. It does work, however, with Flickr. I don't know what's causing the issue with Picasa.

      By the way, what do you mean with downloading Splashup? It's an online image editor, which works from within your browser.

  2. dc
    July 16, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    very interesting..

  3. Harryooo
    January 26, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    I couldn't get SPLASHUP to work. Every time I opened an image it disappeared as soon as I clicked on it. No balloon or any other help. It's a total bomb for me.

  4. usb
    October 2, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    Great info thanks. Here is drop shadow generator: Drop Shadow Generator

  5. inkBrush
    September 24, 2008 at 4:07 am

    Howabout Sumopaint which seems to be currently the only browser based image editor that
    provides functional and profefessional tools for digital painters.

  6. Justin
    August 12, 2008 at 5:41 am

    Adobe released a web based photoshop called photoshop express.

  7. Richard Foster
    August 9, 2008 at 3:18 am

    It looks good, but I'm an Aviary beta user and it's looking good.

  8. haider
    August 6, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    i use picnik...will try this one...sdhould have compared

  9. GRTerrero
    August 6, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    It's on the net.

  10. Sabina
    August 6, 2008 at 11:58 am

    Nice apps, but some bugs and missing function : the clone stamp for example that i really like (but is my friend too and online, none of the apps got it).
    For the bugs, i have problem exporting a good quality jpg to my computer, everything is compress. This is bad for photography transformation because some artefacts is showing even in 100 % quality.
    A nice apps, but it could be better ! But for now, online, it's the best !
    For people that don't use Photoshop, you could try pic nik online, more simpler.

  11. Aravind Jose T.
    August 6, 2008 at 11:47 am

    I'm a PS user, though not an expert.

    I use for my basic image editing needs like cropping, resizing, resampling etc. And PS for everything else.
    I love designing logos, backgrounds (which end up as wallpapers) and I don't think that SplashUp will hook me to it.

    But, the whole app is seriously nice and great and hats off to the creators behind it.
    Beautifully Designed and decent feature sets.

    In a case where, PS is not possible, that is at some remote computer or smthng, this is a great blessing.

    This killer app could become DEADLY is they added PSD support :P :P

  12. wohdin
    August 6, 2008 at 10:32 am

    I suppose that I'll still have to use PS for my hadrcore .tga editing for games, but this looks like it would be an excellent alternative to PS for minor GFX mashups or whipping something up from scratch. I'm definitely gonna try it out.

  13. g
    August 5, 2008 at 8:15 pm

    I gave up photoshop a few years ago and have been using gimp and

    Splashup is actually a very good useable program if I happen to be without the gimp.

    And I am preparing for the Cloud. Thanks for sharing MUO!

  14. Blake Elias
    August 5, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    I'm not a Photoshop expert either, but I've used it quite a bit and know my way around pretty well. For basic to moderate editing tasks like cropping, adding a drop shadow, stuff like that, Splashup would probably be enough for me.

    But for anything more than pretty basic stuff, Splashup wouldn't cut it. Although I will admit, for an online tool that you can access from anywhere, it is very impressive and certainly beats MS Paint! Especially useful when you're on the go and the computer you're on doesn't have any real image editing software.

  15. Brad Taylor
    August 5, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    Disclaimer: I'm not photoshop expert.

    Well, I've been looking for a photoshop alternative, however I can't one that fits my needs.

    I need the filter tools and actions that photoshop provides for the work I do ( I dont work with photoshop as a job just use it as a tool to enhance drawings I do ( AutoCAD ). I wish I could find a free alternative such as Gimp, but not sure if it can do the actions/filter things I need.