Photo editing tools can be expensive. For most average consumers, features like cropping, color enhancement, and the ability to add text comprise the essentials for photo editing needs, and many online apps provide these services free of charge. For several years, Picnik has been one of the most popular services offering this array of features plus more, featuring the ability to crop, resize, and rotate photos, as well as edit the exposure, correct colors, add effects (such as black and white), and add text.
However, ever since Seattle-based Picnik was bought by Google in 2010, the future of Picnik has seemed doomed, much like other Google acquisitions shortly after being acquired. Much to our dismay (but not our surprise), Picnik will be closing on April 19, 2012, along with other recent acquisitions including Slide and Apture, and in addition a suite of other Google products including Wave, Knol, Friend Connect, Gears, Health, and Powermeter. If you’re an avid Picnik user, you’re likely looking for an alternative to Picnik’s vast array of free and easy-to-use features. If you don’t need an expensive photo-editing app, yet are willing to pay a small fee (or put up with ads) to edit your photos online elsewhere, here are a four great alternatives to Picnik that we found for you.
Photoshop offers not only some of the best photo editing software, but its online tool, Photoshop Express at Photoshop.com, is one of the best online photo editing tools available for free. Photoshop Express offers the basic basic editing tools, such as the the ability to crop, rotate, resize, auto correct, adjust exposure, fix red-eye, and correct saturation levels. Additionally, you can adjust the white balance, highlight, fill-light, and dodge and burn levels, as well as sharpen the photo or add soft focus. The online tool also features effects, such as crystalize, pixelate, adjust hue, tint the photo, or make it black and white. You can also, of course, add text or a variety of other decorations, including frames. Adobe Express only supports JPEG files, but for those looking for a comprehensive, free, and easy-to-use online photo editor, Photoshop Express does the job well.
You may already know Imgur as a popular service to share and save photos. Imgur also hosts a free service to edit your photos, including the basic tools to crop, resize, and rotate your image. Advanced features offered also include the ability to draw on your image, add text, flip the image, fix red-eye or blemishes, adjust colors, saturation, brightness, and contrast, as well as add stickers to your image. Unlike Photoshop, Imgur also features a few filters, including favorites to make your photo look like a Polaroid, and others such as Toy Camera, Old Photo, and Retro. Though not as comprehensive as Photoshop, Imgur ranks slightly higher on the “fun” scale for those looking for an alternative to Picnik. Imgur is free, and easily allows you to share your edited photos with your friends and social networks on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr or StumbleUpon, and also comes with a direct link, an HTML embed code, and even codes designed for message board embeds and Reddit comments.
For those looking for an even more fun alternative to Picnik with just as many editing tools as Photoshop or Imgur, BeFunky is one of my favorite alternatives to Picnik. BeFunky not only features tools to adjust contrast, brightness, exposure, hue, saturation, and colors, but also the ability to add speech bubbles, frames, and cool shapes to your photos. Users can also add text from a selection of several fonts, choose from several effects and filters, and also add frames. BeFunky can store your photos for you, but also is equipped with the ability to share your photos to other social accounts — including Flickr, which is one of the most trusted hosts for online photos. (You can also share via email or to Facebook or MySpace — if you still use MySpace, that is.) BeFunky is free, but also features an upgrade for those looking to create and save high-resolution images.
If filters are your game, Pixlr might be your favorite alternative to Picnik. Loaded with all the common editing tools, Pixlr’s interface might remind you of an offline editing tool like Photoshop. However, you may first want to check out Pixlr’s Retro Vintage effects to first apply a trendy filter to your photo before you crop, resize, and otherwise edit your photo. (You’ll need to save and upload your filtered photo, first.) Pixlr also has a super-simple version of its photo editor, Pixlr Express, that former Picnik users may like for basic online photo editing needs.
Are you looking for an alternative to Picnik before Google migrates its features into Google+? If you have already found one, which is your favorite? Feel free to share yours in the comments.