Arbor Labs Fotoflexer
Web-based photo editing
- Layers, Geek tab tools
- Saving image freezes your changes, slow to edit hi-res pics
With plenty of high-end features wrapped up in a serviceable interface, Fotoflexer is a useful tool. Unfortunately, it's not optimised for high-res photos; and you can't edit layers or effects once you've saved and closed an image.
Fotoflexer, which bills itself as "The world's most advanced online image editor," does indeed pack an amazing array of capabilities — including a few that no other web-based Photoshop alternative dares to attempt.
Ultimately, we prefer the slicker, more fully baked Picnik, but Fotoflexer is an ambitious service that isn't far behind.
Like FlauntR and Picture2Life, Fotoflexer's service is filled with image-processing tools of all sorts, from the mundane (red-eye reduction) to the oddball (fonts that sparkle). But Fotoflexer is far better at making them simple to find and figure out, thanks in part to a tabbed interface that organises functions into areas such as Effects, Decorate, Beautify and Distort.
The service's extensive layering features are outstanding compared with those of other Web-based photo-editing applications, and more intuitive than Splashup's more Photoshop-like implementation of the same idea. You can place multiple pictures into one file, shuffle them, and then apply special effects layer by layer — a great way to create composite images such as photo collages.
Fotoflexer's most distinctive tools sit in a tab intriguingly labeled Geek. Smart Resize, for instance, lets you change an image's proportions by painting out elements — such as random strangers who wandered into your snapshot — that FotoFlexer then erases while preserving everything around them. The effect works well only with images where cloning surrounding pixels into the painted-out area is easy — but it's simple to use and fun to watch at work.
Given Fotoflexer's richness and its claim to offer unlimited storage, we were sorry to find that saving an image permanently freezes your changes: You can't come back later and move a layer, undo an effect, or edit a block of text, as you can with Picnik and Splashup.
By default, Fotoflexer also knocks down the resolution of high-res photos when you load them, without clearly telling you it's doing so. You can opt to edit everything at full resolution, but it accurately warns that this may bog down your work. However, if you don't intend to print out your pictures or archive them for posterity, the reduced resolution shouldn't be an issue.
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