If you’ve been hesitant to delve into the world of photo editing beyond applying simple filters to Instagram, you might want to check out Pixlr. It is indeed a powerful online photo editing software program with so many options that never let you impress with their complexity. The result is that even people new to the world of photo editing can get started faster, vastly improve or alter their photos, and have fun doing so. Oh, and the best part? The program is completely free.
Getting started with Pixlr starts with choosing either Pixler X, which is a more basic and easy-to-use version of the software, or Pixler E, which offers more tools but a bit more for those new to photo editing. Maybe. Both versions are free.
Next, simply open a photo, which you can do by either navigating to the one stored on your device or by entering a URL for the web-based image. Alternatively, you can start from scratch by choosing one of Pixlr’s many blank templates that feature handy specs for items including icons, Instagram, Facebook covers, and more. As if that wasn’t enough, Pixlr also integrates with free photo site Unsplash, so you can import any of those pictures to work with with a simple search and click.
Once you’ve got a project to work with, navigating your options is as easy as selecting one of the icons on the left. Hovering over each button appears a handy box with an illustration telling you which device icons will open. You have all the usual photo editing tools here, including resizing canvas and photos, creating and working with layers, cropping, adding effects and applying an impressive number of filters, which are combined and controlled with the slide bar. Huh. It all adds up to a lot of creative freedom to achieve the look you want.
Of particular note is Pixlr’s “Liquify” tool that allows you to rotate, enlarge, or shrink small portions of a photo for an impressive degree of fine-tuning. Other options include a cutout tool, which lets you remove elements in other layers from the photo or remove them altogether; a “retouch” suite that lets you dodge/burn, clone and fix any area of the photo; text entry; and doodle tools, including a variety of brushes, pens, shapes, and an eraser.
Down the right side of the screen you’ll see your layers arranged in an easy-to-navigate bar.
When you’re finished working with an image, you have the option to save or download your file in a variety of formats, including JPG, PNG, and WEBP. One particularly appealing component of Pixlr is that the images you download are completely watermark free—so you don’t end up having to get your creation exactly the way you want it.
That being said, Pixlr does offer two upgraded versions of the software – both of which eliminate the banner ads that you would have to install if you were to use the free version. The premium tier costs $3.99 per month when paid for on an annual basis and includes additional editing tools, including what the company calls “AI CutOut,” the ability to use the software’s “eye” to quickly remove backgrounds. Capacity. On top of that, you get 3,000 additional overlays, 7,000 more stickers and icons, 5,000 decorative fonts, and video tutorials. Moving to the Professional edition, which costs $14.99/year on an annual subscription basis, increases the number of overlays to 28,000, and provides access to Pixlr’s own “stock content” that covers over 10 million images, Graphics are a repository of fonts. Video clips and 3D files.
Whether or not you’ll need to upgrade really depends on how deep you want to go with photo editing. But sign up for free version Definitely a smart move, and you may find just what it needs to add a professional glow to your images.