Click. Click. Click. Many people today have some form of digital camera that allows you to quickly shoot hundreds of pictures without costing more than the battery required to power the camera. This also increases the chance that you will succeed in taking that perfect picture that makes you feel like a professional photographer.
However, there are still times when it can be useful to pop certain images into an editing program to remove annoying red-eye or to adjust sharpness.
Traditionally, a separate image editing program has been required. Many of the very best programs on the market cost a pretty penny to use, but there are also good free alternatives. In recent years, online editing services have also started popping up – the first variants in that area were admittedly not much to rave about, but over time, really good services have appeared that work well in simpler contexts.
Runs directly in the browser
So what is the point of investing in an online editing service instead of a regular program that is installed on a computer? One of the main advantages is precisely that the service can be run directly in the browser without requiring any installation. This allows you to save hard disk space while avoiding unnecessary programs on the computer. It is clearly good to keep the number of installed programs down as some of these can have a tendency to degrade performance and cause various other problems.
Another plus of a web service is that it is available wherever you are as long as you have an internet-connected computer at hand, and you also don’t have to keep upgrading the service as is customary with programs.
However, all is not gold and green when it comes to online editing. The biggest problem is that the images you want to edit have to be sent to and from the service, and it can take some time even if you have a fast connection to the Internet. Some services can also feel a bit slow when you work with them as they simply don’t respond as quickly to commands as a traditional program.
The question then is which of all the photo editing services you should choose. We’ve taken a closer look at six free variants, and among these we’ve also found a clear favourite!
Click on the image to view the test in large format
This is what readers think
In February we posted links to all the services on PC for Everyone’s site (surftips.se/onlineediting) and invited you readers to try out the photo editing services and tell us what you thought. Here are some comments:
Crop, resize and increase or decrease contrast. That’s what I do 9 times out of 10 whether I’m using Photoshop or some other image processing program. With Pixlr.com, I can do it quickly and easily and avoid running a heavy program locally on the computer. Many shortcuts from Photoshop also work well. Pixlr can probably never replace Photoshop for those who really work with image processing, but for quick pictures for my blog and for Facebook it works well.
Photoshop Express Editor and Picnik are undoubtedly the best programs for fast and good editing online. If you need more tools for editing, it is probably best to buy, for example, Photoshop.
I’ve briefly tried the online image editing programs, and I’m comparing the features to Photoshop Elements 8 on the desktop. Only Picnik and Pixenate managed to open a tif file (from scanner) which is why only these were tested. The Crop tools, unlike the El 8, only allow you to remove a few pixels of width at the edge of the image, which I appreciate. Uploading images was extremely slow in comparison (broadband 2 MB). Pixenate could only restore the image as the same file type (tiff). No, I’ll probably continue with Photoshop Elements!
Picnic, is my favorite!
So we tested the services
In the test, we started from a somewhat half-assed test image, which we tried to fix as best we could with the respective services.
The goal was to remove red-eye (in cases where such a tool was available), improve sharpness, crop the image a bit, eliminate a small birthmark on the cheek, and adjust brightness and contrast to try to get a nicer image. Pixlr did the best with the operation, although we are somewhat disappointed that it was not possible to fix the sharpness in a better way.
Otherwise, we tested the services by importing and exporting images to and from different sources, experimenting with all the tools and going through the menus and functions to check the ease of use.