Posts Tagged ‘picnik’

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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From Photos to Coloring Pages (or Sketches!)

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Over the Christmas holiday, the kids and I did a lot of playing around with pictures of our family on the computer.  We’re big fans of Picnik because it’s free and you can make a lot of funny faces with it.  Have you tried the Gooify tool?  Hilarious what it can do to facial features!

Anyway, I was looking for a rainy day project, and I remembered there is a tool that will transform any ol’ photograph into a black and white sketch.  So then I thought we could just make some coloring pages for the kids… here is the simple (and free!) step by step:

how to turn photos into coloring pages

 

***** See update to this post at the bottom with the latest disappointing announcement that Picnik is closing on April 19th (or in some aspect moving to Google+) that came the day after this tutorial was posted.

* * * * *

It’s best to start with a high resolution image (1000+ px) since you’ll be printing these as 8 x 10s on letter size paper.  First, upload your image into Picnik and change it to a black and white image under the Effects tool.  You can also use the Boost tool to add a little more contrast between the blacks and whites.

black and white and boost

 

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