Thursday, February 23, 2012

Photo Editing Site Simple Enough for Everyone

One of my favorite web photo editing tools PicNik is being shut down by Google. No amount of lamenting the fact will save it. I used PicNik to sharpen and re-size photos I took on my iPhone for my New Jersey Tech Weekly website. I liked it because it was easy to use and did just what I wanted it to do without confusing me with fancy jargon. While all the professionals and photo hobbyists I know are crazy about Photoshop, I have found it incredibly difficult to use, even after I took a course on it. (My apologies to Prof. Kerstin Vogdes-Diehn at Pace University! You tried.) 

Once I learned that PicNik would be closed, I turned to the web to look for alternatives that would be easy to use. What follows is a blog entry by Kaye Swain of SandwichINK for the Sandwich Generation. Kaye’s blog is not devoted to technology and is in fact a fairly religious site while Tech and the Baby Boomer is clearly a secular site. However, we both agree that we need photo editing tools that are easy to use so we can keep posting.  With Kaye’s permission I am reprinting much of her blog post about an alternative to PicNik called iPiccy.


by Kaye Swain on February 21, 2012

Photo editing! Some tools, like Picnik.com are fun and easy to use with both photos from a digital camera or clip art. With other tools, it's like pushing a rock uphill – for 5000 miles. That's about how I felt when I learned Picnik.com was closing their site and migrating some of their tools over to Google+. As a VERY busy member of the Sandwich Generation, I was definitely feeling frustrated.

HOWEVER, after lots of fun experimenting, and plenty of intensive research, and gaining several great new iPhone apps (and a couple of not so great ones), I revisited a site that had helped someone I know, and found that he had discovered an excellent alternative. Mega thanks to Brad Andersohn of Brads Domain (not to mention being the Industry Outreach Manager for Zillow.com, the Director/Instructor for Zillow Academy, and an Ambassador and Blogger on the ActiveRain Real estate network – all great resources for all of us in the Sandwich Generation who are busy caring for the real estate needs of our elderly parents.)  for introducing me – and now you – to iPiccy.

If you are familiar with Picnik.com, you will probably feel quite comfortable at iPiccy. There are many similarities. There are plenty of differences as well, though. Some things are better. Some are more difficult. And it all takes a few minutes of playing with it to start learning what's what. But it takes me a LOT longer to figure out things like Gimp or PhotoShop – if I ever do, so I'm happy to say that I find that this is definitely much easier. 

A couple of little pros, cons, and tips. First, I miss the stickers from Picnik that let me point to something. I can do the same thing with the pencil tool, but as you can see, I'm not very straight at it.

When you are editing the size of your photo, (select "editor," then "resize image," making sure it says "constrain proportions," then type in the width or height, and it SHOULD change both for you, keeping it in proportion. The SHOULD is because last week, it wasn't doing it. I suspect it may have been upgraded, as I know they are working on it steadily to make it even better than it is. But just in case it does NOT change both numbers for you – here's the little trick I discovered. Click on the arrow to the right of the "WIDTH %." A little bar will show up and you can toggle that to adjust both the height and width in proportion. 


There are several different choices for special effects from "old photo" to "neon" to "artistic painting" to this cute "Snow" effect. My grandkids will enjoy seeing granddog surrounded in snow, since our own snow failed to make an appearance this week.
One thing that is of vital importance to me is the ability to add text easily to photos and my cute country clipart from Trina and Friends. This works GREAT. It's actually easier than Picnik in some respects and, while it doesn't have as many fonts, I like the selection. It has my favorite font – Comic Sans. I love it because it's small letter A is the same  way kids write them so it's easier for little ones to read. I also found a few others I know I will use a lot like:

One thing I noted in the font options is that it always comes with "SHADOW" preselected. I don't care for the effect so I always deselect it before anything else. Try it both ways to decide for yourself.  ;)
Well, that's it for now on iPiccy. As I play with it more and learn more interesting and intriguing options, I'll pass them on. It's definitely a useful tool for those of us in the Sandwich Generation who like a quick and easy to use photo editor as well as a digital camera.
Kaye

5 comments:

Kaye Swain - SandwichINK for the Sandwich Generation said...

Hi Esther, Thanks again for resharing this info, along with my cute granddogs, here at your terrific tech site. :) Have a great day!

sell my cell phone said...

I have to agree with you. Basically this tool is easy to use. Doesn't require any editing skills, all it takes is practice and creativity.

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