Aviary is a collection of ornithologically named online tools designed to bring creativity to the cloud. There is a strong focus on graphic work in the form of photo, vector and palette editors, but an online audio editor is also available.
Each application has a striking look and feel, and it's easy to forget that these are online tools rather than locally installed apps.
The undeniable star of the show is the Phoenix image editor, which features support for layers, special effects, masks and much more. Phoenix does fall down slightly with load times – the online application takes a while to fully load, even when using a relatively fast internet connection – but the process of applying effects, filters and working with the editing tools is responsive once it is up and running.
Support for layers is particularly interesting thanks to integration between the individual components. An image created in Phoenix can include layers created in the Raven vector editor and the Peacock effects editor.
A bird in the hand
Peacock is something of a unique offering and it really has to be experienced to be fully understood. This impressive effects editor – also referred to as the Visual Laboratory – works in a way comparable to Yahoo Pipes: different effects, filters and visual generators can be connected to a blank canvas, with the ability to manipulate the settings for individual tools and apply effects between different nodes to create unique results.
Myna is the suite's multitrack audio editor. You're provided with a large number of samples that can be dropped into a track, but it is also possible to upload your own audio files. Uploads can be tagged and shared with the Aviary community so that samples can be used by others.
More personal creations can be compiled thanks to the ability to record audio from equipment attached to your PC.
The range of features found in each Aviary tool is such that it doesn't feel like a compromise opting to work online, with the only real downside being the extra time it takes to save large files.
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