Several months ago I wrote an article regarding the best free photo-editing software for bloggers. It’s recently come to my attention that I missed one of the very best free photo-editing programs, Pixlr.com. Pixlr is an in-browser editing program based largely on Adobe Photoshop: it has many of the same tools, it’s user interface is very similar, and it can even accept .psd files (with all the layers too!).
Why You’re Going to Like It
First and foremost, Pixlr.com is totally free to use. Yes, so too are Gimp and Piknik and Picasa, but it’s difficult to overstate just how much more powerful Pixlr.com is than these other free programs.
It has almost every single feature that Photoshop has, with only a few exceptions from Photoshop’s most recent version, CS5.5. In addition to all of the usual Photoshop tools it also has all of the familiar Photoshop Filters, such as the “Unsharp Mask” filter and the “Tilt Shift” filter. Pixlr also automatically creates layers on a tool-by-tool basis and adding text to, say, a collage, has never been easier. In addition, Pixlr has a very active blog that contains info about relevant updates and some tips and tricks about how to get the most of the software.
But that’s not all. Pixlr isn’t just a robust photo-editing tool, the company has a whole suite of small programs and plug-ins to flesh out the experience. Pixlr is also available as an app for your phone (both iOS5 and Android), known as Pixlr-o-Matic that can apply some pretty neat vintage and retro effects to your images. They have Pixlr Express, an even more simplified version of the Pixlr program for quick and easy photo editing. They have Pixlr imm.io, an image uploading service akin to yfrog or imgur. They also have a plug-in for Firefox and Google Chrome called Pixlr Grabber, which allows you to easily grab screenshots of web pages you find (the screenshot at the top of this post was grabbed with this tool). My point is that Pixlr has really done an excellent job of providing you with any and all image editing and sharing tools that you might need as a blogger.
A Few Reasons Why You Might Not Like It
But I don’t know what they are just yet. For free software there is very, very little to complain about here. It can’t accept RAW files, which for me is a bit of an issue as I really don’t much like to process JPEGs because of the speed at which the image begins to degrade.
The other big issue a blogger might face is that there is zero integration with Twitter or Facebook. With the Pixlr imm.io program it is easy enough to share your photos to both of the social networks (no G+ integration at all though), but there’s no direct integration as we’ve now all gotten used to with our Tumblrs and our iPhones. It would be nice to be able to save a photo on Pixlr.com and have it go straight to Twitter or FB, but who knows if they’ll ever implement that feature.
All told, Pixlr.com is an incredible free app. It’s easy, fast, clean, and robust. Its editing tools, in conjunction with its photosharing capabilities and various plug-ins, make Pixlr a pretty much do-everything platform.