Cloud Photo Editing: Picnik
It seems everything is moving on to the web, even photo-editing. Adobe recently released an online edition of Photoshop but one of the longest running photo-editing cloud services is Picnik. We used it to see if Picnik still got it.
While most cloud apps require you to sign-up in order to do anything Picnik gives you the opportunity to just use the basic service without any sign-up process. This is great when you just want to edit something quickly on the go and then posting it online.
Picnik also have a number of other features. For example it is possible to crop, resize, sharpen or rotate photos. Picnik also have nice options for adjusting colors and exposure, it is also possible to correct red-eyes by just clicking a button.
Adjusting colors in Picnik is pretty easy, but of course with less options than in Photoshop or Gimp. It is possible to change the saturation and color temperature. You can also pick a neutral area in the image and use it as a base for adjustment.
Adjusting the exposure is one of the most important features in photo-editing software. In Picnik it is possible to change the contrast and exposure. The more advanced options allow you to change brightness, the exposure of shadows and lighter areas. Picnik also have a histogram so that you can more easily adjust photos the way you want them.
The red-eye reduction works pretty well, there are different options for human and pet-eyes. If you do not want to go through all the editing options manually there is a auto-fix option, Picnik will then automatically adjust your photos applying all the options mentioned above.
Most of us have played around in Photoshop and Gimp with the different effect filters. Picnik have a set of its own, by selecting the Create tab you get a surprisingly high number of different effects. You get the usual soften, greyscale and sepia effects. But also some really nice ones, such as snow, 1960s colors and a favorite from Photoshop, the pencil sketch. The effects really look great, and there is no difference really from desktop software. They are also easy to apply and manage if you have used similar features before.
Picnik also includes features for working with text and applying it to images and photos. There are a number of different fonts available, since Picnik is in the cloud it is impossible to add your own fonts as would be possible in Photoshop or Gimp.
A new addition in Picnik is the touch-up feature. It a set of effects aimed at touching up photos of humans. For example there is a lipstick effect and a feature where you can change the weight of the person in the photo. Most of the other touch-up options are available in the premium version (for $2.08 a month).
Picnik comes with different frames that you can apply around your photos, such as a stamp effect and rounded edges. There is also an interesting feature in Picnik; called Sandbox, where users have made their own effects using flash scripting. The scripting makes it possible to bend photos in different ways, not possible before (according to Picnik).
Overall Picnik is a great photo-editing tool, the free version goes a long way and the premium version is pretty cheap compared to Photoshop and other photo-editing software. For people who want basic photo-editing software with a few advanced features Picnik is perfect, I even dare to say that it beats Gimp in some areas such as ease of use. Picnik is also surprisingly fast, even though it runs in the cloud it starts faster than Photoshop and Gimp does on my machine. For Adobe Picnik is a very dangerous competitor for the online version of Adobe Photoshop.