With more and more computers being advertised as working “on the web” or “in the cloud,” it’s becoming more common for applications – powerful ones! – to run inside a browser. You need look no further than the Google Docs office suite or the Evernote note taking service for powerful applications that you access not by opening a program, but by going to a website! One other example is Photoshop.com, which has a stripped-down version of Photoshop that runs in your browser.
Now, before you get too excited, this isn’t really the Photoshop you’re used to. It looks nothing like it, probably doesn’t have 20 percent of the power, but for basic uses, such as cropping, rotating, correcting red-eye and color saturation, as well as a whole host of other tweaks, it’s a nice option, especially for those who don’t like using Paint, GIMP, or other default photo editors.
Using Photoshop is pretty straightforward. Navigate in your web browser to Photoshop.com and sign in (you’ll need an Adobe account to use it, but signing up is free). Once signed in, launch the editor. If you’ve used it before, and have uploaded pictures, you’ll see what you’ve worked on in the past. First, that’s one of the best features Photoshop.com has to offer as an image editor. It allows you to store what you’re working on with them, so if you have to stop unexpectedly, just save and come back (even on a different computer), and keep going where you left off.
If this is your first time, just upload a picture and start working. As mentioned earlier, Photoshop.com has a good number of basic image editing tools, such as Crop & Rotate, Resize, Auto Correct, Exposure, Red-Eye, Touchup and Saturation. You can also perform White Balance, Highlight, Fill Light, Sharpen and Soft Focus adjustments. You can adjust the hue of an image, select one color to highlight, turn your image black & white, or tint it a color. You can decorate your images as well, with text and shapes, such as bubbles, stickies, party images and more.
Finally, being web-based, it’s logical for Photoshop.com to integrate with other services, which means if you’re a Facebook user (or a Flickr or Picasa or Photobucket user), you can edit your images right in the Photoshop.com interface. In fact, you can create new albums as well. Unfortunately, as much of this integration relies on stable APIs as well as cooperative partners, this was where Photoshop.com failed me most often. I use Facebook, Flickr and Picasa Web Albums, but for some reason Photoshop.com couldn’t see any of my Facebook pictures. And although I was able to edit one of my Picasa photos, when it came time to save those changes, something happened and my changes weren’t saved.
Not that this has happened every time, but fair warning: things do go wrong occasionally. Still, like many other web-based programs, Photoshop.com isn’t nearly as powerful as a full desktop client, but its convenience is fantastic, its feature set is pretty well-rounded, and once some of the kinks are worked out, the integration it offers is something most desktop clients can’t touch. All in all, maybe Photoshop.com isn’t “there” quite yet, but it’s heading in the right direction.