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Fauxto is a little Flashy

Fauxto has the usual tools: a pencil, a pen, a paintbrush, and an eraser so that users can create their own drawings or perform rudimentary photo enhancements. Did we mention this is all in your browser?

A few weeks ago we played with CanvasPaint, a version of Microsoft Paint that runs in your Web browser. Along similar lines is Fauxto, a browser-based design program reminiscent of early versions of Adobe Photoshop. Fauxto has the usual drawing tools: a pencil, a pen, a paintbrush, and an eraser. Users can create their own drawings or perform rudimentary photo enhancements, but essentially it's a doodling tool that proves these kinds of programs can work in Flash.

Giraffes have never been so colorful. CNET Networks

What sets Fauxto apart from CanvasPaint is its use of layers and brushes. For those unfamiliar with working with layers, each layer is essentially its own workspace. Layers can be manipulated independently of one another, and arranged to create more advanced works without necessitating the need to plan ahead in the drawing process. Fauxto also has five unique brushes for its painting tool with the potential for user-created brushes in later versions. These are features you're unlikely to get without using an advanced software program like Photoshop or Illustrator. Fauxto also lets you select the feathering range of a brush to give you control over the smoothness of your brushstrokes.

When you're finished creating your masterpiece, there are a few ways to save and share your work. Three custom URLs let users save images directly, embed them in HTML, or embed them in bulletin boards. I would have liked to see a straightforward Save As function built in, but I'm almost positive nobody wanted to see my fluorescent giraffe, painstakingly created using the spray paintbrush. It's worth noting that Firefox doesn't seem to like the direct image URL, and I only managed to get it to function correctly with Internet Explorer.

There are some annoying limitations with Fauxto, most significantly the lack of undo and redo options. If you're a Photoshop buff like I am, you probably keep one hand on the mouse and the other close to Ctrl+Z for undoing mistakes or changing your mind. There's also a canvas-size limitation of 1000x1000 pixels, which limits most of your projects to casual doodling. But perhaps I'm picking nits. Fauxto is a cool project, and I'd like to see it keep adding features and export options. Adobe better watch its back. In the next few years Fauxto could be one of many Web-based creative tools offering a similar feature set to Photoshop without the triple-digit price tag.