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Aviary – A Free Online Suite Of Media Enhancement Tools

Groovy Freeware
Ever wanted to score a free version of Adobe’s creative suite?  While it might not be as feature rich as what adobe offers, Aviary has a groovy web app suite for pretty much all things Images and Audio.  The best part?  The interface is great and the price is right – FREE!

What’s in the Aviary suite?

The aviary suite is made up of 8 different web applications.  Each web application has both a practical name and a funky bird name to go with it.  Honestly it totally confuses me but I think it’s groovy they got this whole bird theme going on, it’s unique for sure.  Another great thing about Aviary is there’s nothing to install similar to Google Apps. Everything is done in the “the cloud” so I don’t need to worry about security patches or other exploits common with Adobe software.

  1. Aviary Image Editor
  2. Music Creator
  3. Screen Capture
  4. Audio Editor
  5. Vector Editor
  6. Image Markup
  7. Effects Editor
  8. Color Editor
  1. Pheonix
  2. Roc
  3. Talon
  4. Myna
  5. Raven
  6. Falcon
  7. Peacock
  8. Toucan
aviary web apps

Should I Sign Up For An Account?

Aviary doesn’t require you to create an account however by creating an account you get several additional benefits.

  • In order to save your work to the Aviary cloud, you need an account.  And trust me, you’ll want to Save often so you don’t lose your work.  However if you’re against sign-up you can still Export your work without an account and save it to your computer.
  • Having an account lets you host images from Aviary, which is especially useful with the Screeshot add-on we’ll talk about below.
  • When you have an account you can share your creations with the entire Aviary community.
  • Aviary has a top-notch privacy policy and doesn’t sell your stuff.

I thought it was groovy that Aviary lets you sign up using an existing account from other popular sites.  These include Twitter, Facebook, Google, and Yahoo.  Keeps it simple and anonymous if you use something like your Yahoo or Twitter account.

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create an aviary account

Signing up with an external account only takes a few minutes, you just need to sign in to your other account and then Allow Aviary to link to it.

link aviary account to google gmail account

Also, even if you used a 3rd party account you get to choose a new custom username and a new password that will be used independently on Aviary.

create an aviary username

Pheonix the Image Editor

aviary phoenix photoshop wannabe

On Aviary, Phoenix is the heavy hitter of their image editing suite.  Phoenix image editor incorporates some of the light-weight aspects of Photoshop including the ever useful magic wand tool.  In reality it could never replace Photoshop but it does offer enough to go toe-to-toe with another FREE alternatives such as  Image components are managed using layers and there are selection tools and filters available to speed up editing.  My biggest current complaint about Phoenix is the speed, but there are also a few bugs that need to be worked out before this thing is ready for full release.  Yeah yeah I know… You get what you pay for right.  😉

the aviary phoenix web app lets you do stuff photoshop like on the web

Roc the Music Creator

roc music and beat generator

Roc isn’t so much a “music” creator as it is a beat maker.   You can emulate sounds from different sets of instruments and bring them together as a whole.  It reminds me of JamStudio except that it is much more refined and professional.  The beat loops and typical and you don’t want to make a huge track using Roc.  I haven’t really seen any practical use for this product as of yet as a groovyGeek but, I’ve had fun testing it out and expect it will get better as it moves out of Alpha testing.

aviary roc rocks

Roc has extra “unlockable” features that are what you would find in a premium version.  The great thing is that you don’t have to pay to unlock a premium version.  All you have to do to unlock it is invite friends to join and they don’t even have to join!  Once you send the invitation, you’re golden.

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unlock the roc

Talon the Screen Capture Browser Add-on

Talon is a browser add-on for screenshot captures

Talon is a groovy browser add-on for Firefox or Chrome that allows you to capture screenshots.  It works similar to Jing, SnagIt, or the Windows Snipping Tool except that it has both some advantages and limitations.

You can download the Firefox Add-on here:

You can download the Chrome Extension here:

Once installed, the Add-on places an Aviary button on your toolbar to allow you quick access for screenshot capture and also to open any one of their web apps.

talon adds a menu to your browser to take screenshots quickly and open other web apps from the aviary suite


  1. Talon doesn’t work outside of the browser window you have open, so it’s only good for web pages.
  2. Talon doesn’t have any built-in editing tools like Jing or Snag it.
  3. I haven’t found a way to connect it to a keyboard hotkey, yet.

drag with your mouse to capture an aviary talon screenshot


  1. Talon lets you save anywhere you want, be it the cloud, the Windows clipboard, or as a file on your desktop.
  2. You can directly open screenshots in Aviary web apps using the Takon tool.  I know it’s not really a feature, but it’s a convenience.
  3. It’s a browser plug-in, not a stand-alone desktop application.

save aviary talon screenshots to the cloud or clipboard or wherever you want

Myna the Audio Editor

myna the audio editor from aviary

Myna is an audio mixer that lets you splice sounds together and add special effects.  When combined with Roc it can be a useful online tool, but stand-alone it really doesn’t pack much of a punch.

myna audio editor lets you splice audio and add special effects

Raven the Vector Editor

aviary raven vector editor

Raven is the Phoenix equivalent for vector art.  It allows you to convert or create vector shapes and has the tools to let you do it quickly.  Vector graphics are the shapes made of geometric points that can be resized without a severe loss in quality.  Most often vector graphics are used for printing, so if you run any kind of business or hobby that involves material vector graphics Raven might just be your new best friend.

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create unique vector art or convert regular art to vector using aviary raven

Falcon the Image Markup tool

aviary falcon image markup tool

Falcon is the quick-editor for image markup.  There isn’t a lot Falcon can do but it’s useful for adding text, cropping, resizing, and copying images.  The best part about Falcon is its performance.  It’s very fast.  Falcon loads almost instantaneously and has the best performance out of all the Aviary web apps.

cookie monster doesnt want to delete cookies but aviary falcon can help him out fast

Peacock the Effects Editor

aviary peakcock effects editor

Peacock is one groovy piece of software.  With Peacock you can add a huge variety of effects to your images and the Node-based UI it incorporates allows you to easily drag-and-drop effect generators then connect them with resources and controllers.  With the near limitless combination of effects you can take any ordinary image and make it brand new.

add some of the grooviest effects around to your images usin gaviary peacock

One thing to note about Peacock is that even though it’s a web app, it’s still somewhat hardware intensive.  Adding multiple visual effects to images can take its toll on your system resources and Peacock even includes a Memory used monitor to let you know it’s current status.

aviary peacock memory monitor

Toucan the Color Editor

aviary toucan color editor

Toucan is clean and simple.  This bird does colors and it does them good.  Toucan can create color palettes from scratch using just one color.  The web app inadvertently knows exactly which colors go together and can tell you 20 different ways a color set can be changed and contrasted while still keeping it appealing.  Toucan is a must have for any artist or painter who wants to easily create clean original work.

create groovy color palettes in aviary toucan

So that’s the 5 minute review for the Groovy Aviary Creative Online Suite.  I was moving quite fast but hopefully I sparked that creative monster inside.  Take a look and post back here what you think.  Also, if you know of a similar FREE service like Aviary, drop a note below and we’ll take a look!

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