Freebie: Photoshop hits the Web

Freebie: Photoshop your photos online

The Internet lets you touch up your digital photos with several free programs. But no Web tool offers you the power and speed of the desktop software Adobe Photoshop—used by professional graphic designers. Thankfully, Adobe debuted online last week a scaled-down version of its software: Photoshop Express, which is great for everyday touch-ups. Signing up is fast, uploading photos is painless, and instructions are easy to find. Store up to two gigabytes of photos for free. (That works out to about 500 to 1,000 photos, depending on the size of your images.)

The program is similar to other photo storing sites, such as Flickr and Shutterfly, in offering basic functions like photo-cropping and red-eye removal.

But Photoshop Express stands out with features like "White Balance," which fixes the light setting your camera used. "Tuning" tools allow you to fix what your camera might have missed, thus making the picture sharper and more balanced.

Things get really fun with the "Effects" tools, which allow you to brighten up certain colors (among other tricks). For example, compare my original photo and my touched up version here:

Whenever you choose a tool, a thumbnail bar appears at the top of your screen, so you can pick how far you want to go with each change. And it's easy to revert back to what you had before (should you make some unsightly mistakes).

The site still has a few quirks to work out. It runs slowly, first of all. It also needs to improve its save system. The "save" button saves and then immediately takes you back to your library, when really I only wanted it to save my work so far and stay on the current screen. I'm an obsessive saver, so this was annoying for me.

Yet, overall, Adobe gets a thumbs up. Try it at


Freebie: Get 1,000 prints digitized.

Before you buy a camera, click here.

How to store digital photos while traveling.

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