I’ve had two cups of coffee so brace yourselves, this is a long post about photo editing, Picnik, and making labels for Pinterest. My friends, Google dropped a bomb on us over the weekend. Perhaps you’ve heard, but according to their blog, Picnik, one of the best and most user friendly sites for online photo editing is closing on April 19th.
Deep breath people, deep breath.
Truth is, I’m upset like so many and there are hundreds (maybe over a thousand now) of disappointed and angry comments. Picnik is/was so great for an easy photo tweak, I loved the Collages and Effects, and I used it to quickly make labels for Pinterest with the Basic Shapes tool. Some of the basic Picnik tools have been moved to a Creative Kit on Google+ but after visiting, it’s really not the same thing. It seems this is Google’s way of forcing people to join their social network by transferring this popular program over to lure people over to Google+.
Hopefully they’ll reconsider, but let’s assume what’s done is done. What are we to do? What about kids who can’t join or those who don’t want to bother with Google+? We Picnik lovers are now mourning and seeking alternatives. What are our choices?
I’ve been hunting around for one over the last few days. It basically comes down to a few other online sites, upping your game by purchasing and learning to use Photoshop Elements, or turning to close but free equivalents like GIMP, Splash Up, and Pixlr. My brother is slowly teaching me the ins and outs of Elements – I’m just amazed at what it can do. I’m getting more proficient, but there is definitely a learning curve. Often my eyes glaze over when working with Elements, which is why I’m excited Layla is planning some tutorials in the near future.
For us Picnik fans, sadly, there’s no one program that does exactly everything I or we want to do as quickly and easily as Picnik. iPiccy is the most Picnik-like it its layout and user friendliness and has some of the same fancy tools we’ve become accustomed to (Clone Tool, Sketch Tool, and also a Painter tool), but lacks the sophisticated Frames, Borders, Collages, Shows, or Stickers (Geometric, Speech Bubbles, etc.) we loved over at Picnik. iPiccy likes feedback, so feel free to suggest any Picnik like tools to them.
Fotoflexer has a few Photoshop like tools that are available like the ability to use Layers and Scissors (similar to the Lasso tool), Paint Bucket, Pencil, and Eye Dropper. There are several fun Effects similar to Picnik and it will Beautify (meaning fix wrinkles like Picnik’s Wrinkle Remover) but still not as great as Picnik. (Thanks Jen for letting me know about this one).
Pixlr Express is another online editor which offers the ability to make some quick adjustments, and also has some fun Effects and Overlays. They have a Teeth Whitening tool like Picnik, but no other Touch Ups or Stickers and a limited amount of Frames. Photoshop Express Editor is available as well, and while their basic edit functions are superior to most, they have none of the other fabulous Tools, Effects, etc. offered by Picnik. I’ve always liked Picasa for a basic photo edit, but again, no fancy Tools or Effects. And then I checked out Pixenate and LunaPic and gave up due to their ads and the fact they seemed to be not very user friendly. For two other articles offering helpful tips in the wake of Picnik closing, read the SITS girls post on Photo Editing Sites like Picnik and Susan’s article on 9 Photo Editing Alternatives to Picnik. Also check out Rhoda’s tutorial on using Photoscape!
I also played with three free Photoshop Elements-like programs, they are GIMP, SplashUp and Pixlr. GIMP requires you download the software, but it also has Layers, and a good toolbox (Paintbrush, Healing, Bucket, etc). The nice thing about GIMP is once you download it, you can work without an internet connection. Splash Up’s layout is also similar to Photoshop Elements, it offers Layers and Tools like EyeDropper, Marker, Eraser, etc. My favorite was Pixlr, simply because it looks and feels the most like Elements and is completely free so you can work on it anywhere you have internet access. My brother and I played around with it a lot over the weekend and he was pretty impressed.
Onto Pinterest labels. I was asked by a few how I make them and as I said above, it was with Picnik. I started making those rectangular labels for my project posts because it looks nice and makes your project easily pinnable for readers. I also appreciate a great label when I spy a cool DIY project and want to file it away on Pinterest myself. Since Picnik is closing, I’ve turned to Pixlr to make them. For those of you who are interested in making labels for your projects for Pinterest, here’s how you do it in Pixlr in five steps.
1. Open Pixlr and then open your image.
2. Click on the Drawing Tool about halfway down the toolbar, then select the Rectangle Tool in the upper left corner.
3. Adjust the opacity (50% is nice), change your border to zero, and change your Fill color to white.
4. You’ll see a little cross symbol appear on your screen. Click and drag your opaque rectangle where you want it on your image, like so.
5. To add text, select the Type Tool, then choose your font and color. (Note: You can adjust the font size up to 130 but if your image is over 1000 px, simply resize it down with the Image Tool in the top navigation bar to get the maximum size text to fit across your label.) Take the time to watermark your image too while you’re here.
6. Now save your image to your computer, you’re done.
Use the same rectangle tool and play around with the opacity and colors to make even more labels like this one…
So readers and fellow bloggers, tell me. Are you as upset at the demise of Picnik? Any great editing sites or software you recommend? And for those of you who know Photoshop well, what do you think of the similar (but free) tools over at Pixlr? How do they compare to Photoshop Elements? Would love to hear from you too.