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Pics.io Edit aims for better online photo editing

Top Tech Photo has released a "baseline" version of a photo-editing tool that uses Web-standard technologies.

Pics.io Edit runs a variety of photo-editing tools using browser-based processing technology.
Pics.io Edit runs a variety of photo-editing tools using browser-based processing technology.
screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Top Tech Photo, a Ukrainian company specializing in onilne photo editing, has built new tool called Edit.

Top Tech Photo already had launched a site called Pics.io tool for online handling of photos in some raw image formats from higher-end cameras. The new Pics.io Edit site, though, is for more ordinary JPEG, PNG, and BMP image formats so far.

It's got a variety of controls for adjusting brightness, tone curves, color saturation, and a few other attributes. It also can convert shots into black-and-white or sepia-tone versions.

"Our aim is to make online photo editor as capable as your favorite desktop application," the company said on an Pics.io Edit explanation. It can handle photos up to 42 megapixels and 32-bit color depth -- the latter an unusual attribute for most ordinary photos people handle, but more useful as the industry gradually embraces the possibilities of photos with high dynamic range.

The algorithms need some work -- for example, the brightness slider tends to produce washed-out or murky photos that aren't very satisfying for people accustomed to state-of-art photo editing tools from Adobe Systems and other rivals. But it's an impressive achievement for processing that takes place in a browser.

The company knows it's got catching up to, do, but calls the tool a "baseline." And unlike the sophisticated Google+ photo-editing tools, it uses Web standards more broadly accepted than Google's Chrome-only Native Client foundation.

"To be honest, it doesn't rival the Google+ photo editor in terms of functionality. But, when it comes to architecture, they use native client technology, so it can run only in Chrome," said Chief Marketing Officer Konstantin Shtondenko. "We're building everything [so] it works on Chrome, Firefox, and Safari."

Browsers today can't match native software when it comes to performance. But they've improved tremendously in recent years, and running-browser based software means a person can use a variety of operating systems and more easily tap into of online advantages like sharing and collaboration.

The tool later will be able to handle raw images, too, he said. (Raw images record unprocessed image-sensor data from higher-end cameras, a format that offers higher image quality but that requires manual processing.)

"We'll be adding more features to it," Shtondenko said. "We just can't say right now which ones."