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Four online photo editors with layers

Updated on May 26, 2012

There are many web based alternatives to Photoshop in regards to changing the look and feel of a photo. However, there are very few online photo editors that have layer capabilities.

If you are unfamiliar with layers let me explain them real quick. A layer allows the user to keep images separate from each other. Think of a hamburger. You can separate the buns, lettuce, cheese slice, pickles, and the patty and see them all individually. You can then put them back together to see the whole hamburger. So if the hamburger is a little raw you don't have to toss the whole thing away, you just throw the burger back on the grill.

Without layers you would only be dealing with one whole. So in that case, if you don't like one element (the pickles) it is more difficult to get rid of them when they are attached to whole burger. Layers let you keep them all separate but seem them as a whole, therefore allowing you to edit individual parts.

Here are some other cool things about layers...

  • More control for the user
  • Compare two different elements side by side
  • Isolate and work on elements individually
  • Hide other layers to concentrate on the layer you are working on



The cool thing about Aviary is that it allows you to pull pics from the web using Chrome and Firefox plugins. Super handy. It also has a very user friendly interface for basic editing, much like Picnik. Drawback is you have to search inside to find the link to get you to the Phoenix Image Editor, which allows a more photoshop feel with the layering.


This site has easy grab buttons from major sites like Facebook, Flickr, and other social networking/photo sharing sites. Compared to Aviary's plugin ability to grab an image from anywhere, this doesn't seem as cool, but still provides access to your personal pics saved on those sites. Fotoflexer is pretty straightforward and has a very easy and basic interface, so it does well for ease of use. The main page looks a little busy, but once you get to the editor it is not as bad.



Talk about App central. Pixlr reaches out to a ton of platforms in the form of photo editing apps. It also has a cool alternative of retro-ing up your photos with the pixlr-o-matic. The actual editing is very crisp. I like the black background and the setup is similar to photoshop.


Another crisp looking site with a black background, Splashup opens up in a smaller pop-up window, which may or may not fit your fancy (I like it). Splashup has a very similar layout to Pixlr, and thus Photoshop.


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