Photo editing service Aviary has added a new HTTP-based API that allows developers to pass photos through filters, effects and even basic editing operations. Aviary "soft-launched" the new Aviary Effects API last week at SXSW, when we interviewed Aviary's Michael Galpert (video below). The new service could be used to create photo-sharing services like Instagram, CMS plugins to aid workflow or within social applications to create a standard look to all avatars.
Galpert explained some of the possibilities in the video below:
The filter sandbox lets you play with the filters and options outside of code. The effects API provides 20 filters, all with options to tweak the effect. Basic rotation, cropping and similar operations are also available. The new service joins the standard embedded Aviary API, launched in 2006, which lets site owners include the Aviary interface within their sites. The features of the new Aviary API are also similar to the PicPlz API, which added filters in January.
Some of what is available in the API could be installed on your own servers with other tools like the open source ImageMagick. However, Aviary is part of a movement to make server-side functionality easy for all developers. For example, there are 8 video encoding services, which allow developers to convert uploaded videos to one that can be embedded in web pages. Video encoding, photo effects and other sorts of utility APIs are important for providing advanced functionality to developers with very little effort.