Photo Fun, Part IV: Pixlr Express.

OMG, you guys. I love Pixlr Express.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been reviewing my favorite web-based photo editing sites in the wake of Picnik’s closing in April. In my search for a great site to edit photos, cover collages, and Quotetastic Friday posts, I have played with lot of different sites. Many of these have added on or changed their services in order to step up their game in Picnik’s absence. Here’s a brief summary of the previous reviews (click the link to view the full review):

  • PicMonkey: Cute site with cool filters, effects, and fonts (hopefully they will add more of each!). Collage feature is customizable and fonts are easy to edit.
  • iPiccy: The most Picnik-like of all the sites. Text feature is buried in layers, so text can’t be edited after it is set.
  • FotoFlexer: Boring design with a limited collage feature. Lots of great fonts, but they can’t be edited once they are added.

So now we’re down to my favorite photo editing site: Pixlr Express. Pixlr Express offers the most  basic edits, fonts, frame, overlays, stickers, effects, and collage options of all the sites I’ve used. I love it. Instead of breaking these down, just know that they are plentiful and fun. There are too many things to count. Instead, I’m going to look at the collage feature and fonts specifically, since these are so unique to the site.

Collages

The collage feature here is AWESOME. It’s so easy to use, and allows users to custom edit each image in each frame. This alone saves a lot of time! I can upload book covers and resize, rotate, apply filters, or other edits easily.

Once the collage is set, it opens up in the regular editing window for additional edits: resizing, adding filters, text, etc can all be done at this point, and then the collage can be saved. I love this collage feature, as I think it is the most flexible and user-friendly of all the sites I’ve reviewed.

Fonts and Text

There are so many fonts. So many. More fonts than I could ever dream of using. The fonts are pretty, sophisticated, fun…whatever feel you want, it’s there. Fonts are organized by categories: Dotted, Grunge, Handwriting, Novelty, Retro, Sans, and Serif. Once a font type is select, the feature gets a little clunky. I want to love the fonts here, but actually using them can be a pain for the following reasons:

  1. Once a text box has been applied, it is set in stone. No going back to re-edit. This drives me nuts because I never see my mistakes or change my mind until after I’ve moved on to the next edit.
  2. The text input field is available after a font category is selected. So if I input a phrase for a handwriting font, I have to re-enter the phrase if I change my mind to grunge or novelty. I often change my mind, and I wish Pixlr made it easier to change my text.
  3. I can’t copy or duplicate text boxes. I usually do this to ensure I get consistent colors/fonts across all text boxes, because I copy the first text box and then change the words. It is virtually impossible to get the same color — I have to drag my mouse across the color field and hope each color selection is close enough.
  4. When I go back to each text category, it brings up a random font instead of defaulting to the last font used. Such a silly thing, but it would make my life so much easier
font, fonts, and more fonts!

Basically, I need a photo-editing site where I can edit any piece at any time. If Pixlr Express made the text feature a little more user-friendly, it would be the perfect site. I love the fonts,  so much! Also, I wish that there were stickers with basic shapes (squares, circles, rectangles) so I could add transparent blocks behind my text on busy picture.

Final Thoughts

Pixlr Express is just one of three products offered by Pixlr. The full-featured Pixlr program is like a web-based Photoshop: instead of offering filters, it offers sophisticated photo edits and layers for the serious photographer. For the super-casual user, the Pixlr-O-Matic applies just effects, overlays, and frames. It even selects a random combination for those who want a surprise!

Pixlr Express is my favorite site and my go-t0 site when I start a photo editing project, but it’s not perfect. I’ll open the photo in iPiccy if I want to add a fancy colored box to write my text on. I’ll open the photo in PicMonkey if I want to play with my various text boxes, arranging and re-arranging my text until I get it just right. I love iPiccy’s ability to stretch text horizontally and vertically instead of just proportionately. I don’t think FotoFlexor has any features that stand out, but the others all have their moments of usefulness.

Photo edited in Pixlr

Writing these posts has forced me to examine what is important to me in creating graphics for my blog, and I have a much clearer sense of which sites to use for which needs. I don’t expect that many of you are as picky as me, but I hope I have at least introduced you to some cool sites and shown you how I make my graphics for this little blog!

Which photo editing site do you use? Which might you try? How do you make graphics for your blog?

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2 responses to “Photo Fun, Part IV: Pixlr Express.

  1. Pingback: Art Journal from a Compositon Notebook | bobthemartian·

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