Aviary Online Design Suite by aihaozhe2

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									This week we've been making paper penguins. Our reasoning isn't quite as tenuous as
you would imagine; our company mascot is a penguin, we had an hour to kill, and we
needed something to put on the Refresh Cartridges blog.

Of course, you never know where a journey to create a penguin template will take you
and while looking for a free vector image editing program, Matt fortunately stumbled
across the website www.aviary.com. Aviary is essentially a free online design suite
which consists of many powerful tools ranging from a simple audio editor to a variety
of fairly sophisticated image/vector editing software.

The applications are all used online rather than being downloaded and installed on to
your hard drive. This offers a number of advantages, most notably the ability to 'dip
in' quickly and easily, without having to install, and the fact that everything is stored
on a central server means you will always be using the most up to date version of the
software.

The list of applications currently includes:

Phoenix - A free image editor that handles pretty much anything from basic image
retouching to complex effects. Features include a wide selection of tools, support of
layers and 72 helpful tutorials to get you up and running.

Toucan - A colour editor which is ideally used in conjunction with other creations
tools in the suite. Toucan can be used to pick and analyse colour by either colour
association rules or by grabbing colours from within existing images.

Peacock - Described by its creators as a 'visual laboratory', Peacock is used to
generate a whole host of effects and image manipulation tools to make some quite
stunning and abstract artwork.

Raven - This tool is used for generating vector artwork, which is used by artists to
create images that are fully scalable and suitable for applications such as logos and
t-shirt designs. The intricacies of vector artwork are too deep to explain in one
sentence but the bottom line is that rather than every pixel of an image being assigned
a colour value, a vector image is saved using descriptions of the lines, curves and
shapes making up the image. This means that if the image has to be radically resized
the descriptions of those shapes are just changed proportionally resulting in no loss of
image quality. Due to the restrictions of creating drawings using just shapes and lines,
vector images are typically quite simple.

Falcon - This utility is used to capture images and web pages quickly and easily in
order to crop, resize and ultimately save them for use in another package. A similar
utility 'Talon' on the site allows you to do the same with an complete computer
screenshot.
Myna - Use Myna to edit and remix music tracks and audio clips. The application can
be used to trim, loop, stretch and reverse audio clips along with adding fade ins, fade
outs and other effects such as pitch change, delay and reverb. Each of these tools is
free to use and comes with at least one tutorial to help newcomers get to grips with
how to use the software and what to use each program for. Each program is free to use
and advertising is nonexistent, however users do have the option for upgrading for
just over £15 a year. By paying for a subscription you are given a number of
additional features such as unlimited storage of your creations online, the ability to
add personalised watermarks to your creations and access to the advanced premium
tutorials and forums.

								
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