Publish Better Images Using the WordPress Aviary Editor Plugin

Image Editor-Screenshot of Aviary image editing interface in actionEver had the perfect photo for your web post–except for the little kid with red eyes? Did you want to make a photo look older with a duotone effect, but didn’t know how? Do image editing programs scare you?

The Aviary Editor plugin for WordPress lets you edit photos with a powerful web-based image editor–right from your Media Library.

Introducing Aviary

Image Editor-Aviary Logo and TaglienAviary is a free web-based photo editor you can use from any modern web browser. For most image touch-ups bloggers need, the tool works fine. You can upload photos from your machine, edit them, and download the changes–ready to post.

Simplify Everything

I train many people how to post content to WordPress sites. Adding photos is by far the most intimidating topic for newer users. You might think this is silly, but many folks get all tangled up once they’re asked to browse their documents folder for any reason at all. With the Aviary editor, I’ll be able to train folks with only one mention of the file system on their local machine: uploading their original image.

Aviary Editor Setup

Image Editor-Screenshot of Aviary Editor SettingsWhen you first install the Aviary Editor plugin, you need to register for an Aviary developer account to get an API key. Don’t be intimidated by the words “developer” and “API.” The link to register is right on the Aviary settings screen where your API key goes.

Editing Images from WordPress

Image Editor-Screenshot of photo in media library with aviary edit buttonThe Aviary Editor is built to edit images already uploaded to your WordPress Media Library. Once the plugin is installed, you’ll see an “Edit photo” button to the right of each image in the Media Library list. Click the button to start the editor.

Editing Functions Galore

Most of the image editing functions you’ll every need show right across the top of your preview image. You can also zoom in and out of your image using the magnifying glass zoom tool in the upper left corner. Once you apply some edits, you can use undo and redo tools, found in the lower left corner. Click “Apply” in the upper right corner once you’re happy with an edit. Finally, click “Save,” also in the upper right corner, once you’re finished with edits.

Checking Your Edits in WordPress

Once you save changes to an image, you’ll receive a dialog reminding you to reload the page in order to see the new photo edit. Simply click your browser’s “Refresh,” or click the “Media > Library” link again in your WordPress dashboard.

You’ll see the edited file does not replace the original–usually a good thing. The file ends up in the Media Library with no title, and unattached to any post. You should edit the item in the Media Library to give it a title. Then you can add it to any post just as you would add anything else from the media library.

A Few Bugs

The settings screen lets you choose to save the edited image as “PNG,” “JPG,” or “Original” format. However, only “PNG” worked for me. I did some debugging and notified the plugin author. In the meantime, if you need JPG format–like me–you can make the following changes to the plugin file, if you dare.

Forcing Save to JPG Format

  1. Using a plain text editor (NotePad, PSPad, NotePad++, TextWrangler, etc.) open the “aviary-editor.php” file from the plugin folder.
  2. Find the line starting with:
    var featherEditor = new Aviary.Feather({
  3. We need to remove one line from the block of text that follows. Find and remove the following line:
    fileFormat: '<?php echo (isset($options['fileFormat']))? $options['fileFormat'] : 'original';?>',
  4. Save the file
  5. Empty your browser’s cache
  6. You can now edit images from the Media Library, and when they are saved they will be JPG format.

Hopefully, the developer will be able to figure this out soon. In the meantime, I hope this helps you start using this otherwise fantastic image editing plugin right away!

8/13/2012 Update

The plugin developer contacted me about this article, and has since updated the plugin to take care of some issues. Many thanks to the developer for being so responsive! From the changelog:

  • Fixed txt file format on save (quick hack until aviary guys sort out the issue)
  • Removed extra notification of saved file
  • Set fixed position for editor to avoid scrolling to top
Check out the update! If you need to force your image to save in JPG format, my 6-step process above will still do the trick.

Credits