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Adobe flashes more looks at online Photoshop Express

At a sneak peek session, Adobe shows off Photoshop Express, a slick Web application that quickly makes changes to images.

Photoshop Express has a timeline below the image that lets people view and undo changes. Martin LaMonica/CNET

Update: we have added a video of the Photoshop Express demo.

CHICAGO--Adobe Systems gave a public viewing Tuesday night of an online version of Photoshop, its popular image-editing application.

During a sneak peek session at its Max 2007 developer conference, Adobe product manager Geoff Baum gave a demo of Photoshop Express, the Flash-based image editor that runs inside a Web browser.

The application is aimed at consumers, rather than professional developers, and complements existing versions. Baum showed how people can quickly make changes to images with the program.

With one click, people can fix red eyes or blemishes. The application also generates a thumbnail of an image with various effects, like sepia tone, which people can click on to select.

Below the main image editing window, there is a timeline of thumbnail images that lets people view all the changes they've made to a photo and revert to older versions.

The features that got perhaps the most applause from Max attendees was the ability to selectively change colors in an image.

Baum edited a photo of a car by changing only the color of the car and only the background. He also showed how people can quickly alter the image with different distortion patterns, like curving straight lines, by dragging the cursor over the image and clicking.

With the image editor, people will also be able to create slide shows, share pictures with others and embed photos in Web pages, Baum said.

Adobe CEO Bruce Chizen told CNET about the online version of Photoshop in February of this year, saying it was a way for Adobe to offer a low-end consumer-oriented product to compete with free desktop photo editors.

At the time, Chizen said Adobe would have a beta version within six months, a deadline it has missed. Since then, the company hasn't said when it plans to ship the product or whether Adobe will offer it directly or through partners as it has done with its online video editor Adobe Premiere Express.

This was the second public viewing of Photoshop Express. John Loiacono, senior vice president of Adobe's Creative Solutions Business Unit, gave a demo at Photoshop World in September and the company supplied a screenshot.

Photoshop Express lets people selectively change colors in an image. Martin LaMonica/CNET

During Tuesday's sneak peek session, Adobe executives also showed off Visual Communicator 3, a video editing product that looks to mimic live television production to simplify editing. The program could generate production-quality videos from a laptop, Adobe executives said.

The application is structured around a display of text. People can synchronize images and effects, such as a video snippet and transition, with text by dragging icons into a column next to the text.

Visual Communicator 3 will let people switch between three cameras and use blue and green screens for background images.

Adobe also showed off "Flash Home," a project that lets people personalize their cell phone screens. The phone starts Flash when it boots up. The platform will allow people to customize the display. During the demo, Ken Sundermeyer of Adobe showed how calls from a New York area code can display the Statue of Liberty as the call comes in.