I've been a big fan of Aviary since I first signed up for the site in September of 2009. They had a suite of advanced flash editors for a variety of media and for the most part they were all free. And starting this month, this suite of sweet tools that I've grown fond of is officially offline. Consider this post my eulogy.
- Image Editor: Phoenix
Phoenix was a powerful photo and image editor, rivaling Adobe Photoshop Express and others in many reviews. It was a layer based editor with a simple to use interface. You could also mix together graphical elements from other graphical Aviary tools. I'd used it to create some web design compositions for a few projects, including my own portfolio that I'd first posted about in 2010.
- Color Editor: Toucan
Toucan was a fun toy for creating color schemes to meet any need. You could just have fun with it and mix and match different colors and see how they worked together or clashed. What was powerful about it was that you could import in an image of your own and then pick out specific colors from the main image. This video shows it off a bit.
- Effects Editor: Peacock
Peacock was a bit hard to explain and harder to understand, but definitely useful once you got started. I've seen it described as a "visual laboratory" which seems pretty fitting. Technically, Peacock was a node-based image editor, which allowed you to generate high quality gradients and effect images with a plethora of filters and tools. This video might explain it a bit better.
- Vector Editor: Raven
Web 2.0 was built on scalable vector art and Raven was an online vector editor appropriate for logos, t-shirt designs and much more. It was a direct competitor of Adobe Illustrator.
- Audio Editor: Myna
With Myna, Aviary tools took a brave step into the world of music editing and this was one of my favorites. Myna was primarily a loop editor where you had a graph of time and could drag and drop drum and instrument loops onto the timeline. First of two advantages here were the hugely comprehensive loop library that they integrated. The second really nice feature was that you could record your own audio directly over a microphone into Myna and then mix your sound with the library presets and effects. It was very much like an online music studio with some basic features.
- Image Markup: Falcon
Falcon was a neat and quick image markup tool. Whereas Phoenix had advanced tools and multiple layers, the idea behind Falcon was that you'd add simple tags and highlighting to existing images. The usage recommended was teams gathering feedback on a composition image from Phoenix would import into Falcon, then tag it with suggested changes that the designer could use back in Phoenix. Falcon was also handy for saving and manipulating screen shots.
- Music Creator: Roc
Roc was a sound tool and another favorite of mine. The concept of Roc was creating your OWN drum and sound loops. You chose a time signature and an instrument set and chose your pitch. Then you lined up two measures worth of note hits that formed your basic loop. You could use them as-is or port them over to Myna for even more use.
Over the past few years, the company's development resources have been spent on a mobile photo editing tool which I was never excited about. I know mobile apps are supposed to be the big thing nowadays and I'd be happy to use something like that if it sparked my interest, but I'm very sad that the original flagship apps from Aviary are now gone. There are some potential replacements scattered around, but none of them all fit under the same umbrella in the same way that Aviary did. I'll post a few of the random creations I've managed to save from my Aviary account below.