Julie Lyles Carr: Everything Changes....

Friday, January 27, 2012

Everything Changes....

That doesn't mean I have to like it.

I posted this week that Picnik, the online photo editor that I know and love, had sent out an email letting users know that they will be shutting their virtual doors come April.

I've been pouting since.

And I'm in good company. There have been a rash on blog posts and articles that have hit the web as Picnik users wail and moan and try to figure out what the next best thing is. Centsational Girl posted a fantastic article earlier this week (thanks for the heads up, JT) with some possible options, along with the article I directed you to from c/net. I'm starting to dip my toe in the editing alternative pool and played around some today with Pixlr, an online service that seems to extend a little hope. Here's what I've noticed so far....

1. The Pixlr 'Express' editor does give you some quick options for fast overall effects...

pixlr 1

When you first arrive on the Pixlr home page, you'll see a tab that encourages Picnik users to try 'Express' first. It's called Pixlr Express and it's a condensed menu of effects, filters and simple edit tools.

This screen shot above is a picture of 2 of 8 and a recent photo shoot I did with her. The Pixlr options for effects are named for people, so my brain is having to rewire from Picnik's 'Holga-ish' and 'Sepia' type designations to random people's names for the effect I'll looking for. But it's cute. And I figure in no time I'll be thinking "I need to 'Julia' that photo...".

2. Within the Pixlr Express version is an editing option called 'Overlay'. Which is neato.

pixlr 2

There are photo embellishments that look like solar flares and rain and all kinds of cool stuff. It's a far greater menu of items than Picnik offers within this category. However, there is not a lot of control over where you can place these items on your photo. You can rotate it and move it a tiny bit side to side. But I wasn't able to control it fully and so 2 of 8 kept ending up with star bursts on her nose or forehead instead of, say, up in the left hand corner. I'll enjoy playing with this feature with photographs that have the right 'dimensions' for it, but would love to see greater control available for effect placement.

3. The 'Border' feature will bring great joy to my editing life. I can already tell.

pixlr rustic

I still miss me some Scrapblog. Remember Scrapblog? One of my other favorite photo online playthings that went the way that Picnik is going, which is buh-bye. But the 'borders' feature on the Pixlr Express page reminds me of the little flourishes and curly-cues I used to be able to adorn pictures with. The one above is called 'Rustic'. And I like it. And I'm ready to border some more stuff.

4. The full version of Pixlr reminds me a lot of GIMP. A lot.

pixlr screen shot

Which is good. And bad. Because GIMP sometimes confounds the heck out of me. And sometimes not.
(GIMP is a free program available for download for your computer that is similar to Photoshop desk-top editing programs.)

I'm sure I'll be playing on the full version more in the coming weeks and will hopefully become more proficient.

5. Pixlr will save edited photos to Flickr. Which makes life a little easier.

mckenna pixlr edit

It will also save to your computer. But for some reason, it doesn't save it to my computer with a jpeg designation, even though that's the file designation I gave it. It may just be some little hiccup or it may be user error on my part. But it does make me have to go an extra step in opening up the file on my computer.

All in, Pixlr reminds me of Picnik in some ways and makes the departure of Picnik all the more keen and sad for me. But the Pixlr express version has a feel to it which is similar to Picnik and I do like the idea of being able to commit GIMP-like edits in the full version of Pixlr while online.

And then there's the part where it's free. Free. So I don't want to look that gift horse in the mouth too closely, right?

I'll be checking out more of the Picnik-alternatives I've been seeing in the coming days. And I'm still holding out hope Picnik may miraculously change its mind.

A girl can dream. And still adapt.

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