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01 - Pixlr - 02 Main ScreenFor many designers, Photoshop is the only graphics program that will ever cut it. But while Photoshop unquestionably offers a lot, it’s by no means the only software capable of getting the job done.

But today, I want to talk about growing band of increasingly impressive web-based, OS-independent Photoshop alternatives. I do need to state that these programs are not complete replacements for all Photoshop functionality.

So, if they aren’t a complete replacement, why bother?

Firstly, if you examine your workflows, you’ll likely find that you use the same 5% of functions 95% of the time.

01 - Pixlr - 06 FilterCut, paste, crop, layers, text tool, opacity, color adjustments, masks and lasso selections probably covers off a large percentage of what you do.

Secondly, if you’re like many of us, you probably operate two, three or even possibly more computers, both at home and at work. Inevitably, some are older and less powerful units.

Installing a fully-fledged, resource-intensive graphics apps on each machine may be neither smart, nor even possible — either from a financial or performance perspective.

Thirdly, if we’re already storing and sharing our files across the cloud (Dropbox, Google Drive, etc), it makes a lot of sense to share functionality the same way. For many tasks, our browser can effectively become our new desktop.

02 - Sumopaint - 01 Main ScreenIn this article, I’ll review a handful of the best browser-based graphics alternatives for doing just that.

1. Pixlr

Pixlr is a genuine GIMP, and arguably, even Photoshop competitor. It’s fast, free, and really offers a lot. You can use it to edit your existing images or create image from scratch.

When you create a new image, you can choose from preset image sizes (some of which are the standard banner sizes) but you can’t set the resolution. Pixlr supports JPG, PNG, BMP, TIFF, and PXD (their own layered format).

03 - Photoshop Express - 01 Main ScreenThe size, resolution, and format limitations are not that much of an issue, if you work with Web graphics. I repeat, Pixlr is not meant as a Photoshop replacement. It is good enough to create a banner or a Web image but definitely not an option for print.

Pixlr interface looks familiar because it is similar to the interface of a desktop graphics program – with menus at the top, a toolbox on the right, and floating windows on the left.

In the toolbox you will find tools that are present in any desktop graphics program. The tools are not an exact match of the tools in Photoshop or GIMP but you have what you need.

04 - Lunapic - 02 - Main ScreenPixlr has quite a lot of options for work with layers, for image adjustment, and filters. Again, these are not necessarily an exact match of what you will find in Photoshop or GIMP.

Two other points that need mentioning are that the interface of Pixlr comes in multiple languages, and it even has a mobile version as well.

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