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Picnik Aftermath + Making Pinteresting Labels

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

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?

bye bye picnik

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.

 

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50 Things to Write About When You Have Writer’s Block

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

A new blogger Abby wrote to me last week asking how I find stuff to write about everyday and I had to really think about it. I don’t often suffer from writer’s block but I used to in the beginning. These days, it just sorta comes to me at night which is why I keep a notebook by my bed of thoughts and ideas. I also get inspired from a lot of what I read online.

Writer’s block is a real issue that bloggers encounter at some point. It can be mild or it can be crippling.  It’s that feeling of not knowing what to say, what to write, what to put out there and to be frank I didn’t really know how to answer Abby’s question.

writers block button

But then it came to me last night. How about 50 blog posts from writers that I’ve bookmarked or remembered from the past year. All of these posts are great because they’re personal and/or offer a takeaway. So here you go Abby, fifty great examples of what to write about when you can’t think of anything at all.

1.  Answer a reader’s question (like Kristi did).

2.  Rediscover your home (like Courtney).

3.  Share your vacation photos (love Stefanie’s).

4.  Make a funny observation (like Steph).

5.  Share a great bargain (like Emily).

6.  Teach readers something technical you know all about (like Amy).

7.  Start a clever series.

8.  Try something cool and wacky. (like Ree)

9.  Share some pretty pictures.

10.  Talk about a device that makes your world complete (like Holly).

milk frother life int the fun lane

via In the Fun Lane

 

 

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