It’s sad but true: Picnik won’t be with us much longer.
On April 19, the online photo editor joins the long list of companies that Google has acquired, assimilated, and ultimately shut down. Rest assured that you’ll get a full refund if you happen to be a premium Picknik member. But no matter what your membership level, be sure to take advantage of the Picnik Takeout option (right on the Picnik menu) to automatically download all of your stored photos in a convenient zip file.
Just try to console yourself with three thoughts: all good things must one day come to an end, life goes on, and if there’s one thing that the Internet has in abundance, it’s free photo editors. I’ve chosen ten of the best and most likely alternatives, and just to pretend that I’m objective, I won’t tell you which my favorites are.
10 Picnik Alternatives
Google+ Creative Kit
- This is the direct descendant of Picnik. You’ll need to log in to your Google+ account first, which may be a deal-breaker for some. For the rest of us, it’s as easy as clicking on the Photos tab, selecting any photo from one of your albums, and clicking on the Edit link. This will give you the Creative Kit menu option, which opens an interface that should look very familiar to experienced Picnik users.
- Another obvious option would be to follow some of Picnik’s developers, who have departed Google and launched a site called PicMonkey. It goes without saying that it’s a high-quality online photo editing site with many of the same features as Picnik (including, eventually, the highly esteemed collages).
- If your experience with Picnik has been via Flickr’s photo editing tools don’t fret much; Google has assured that ‘partners’ will still get access to Picnik functionality, and Flickr has assured that users won’t lose their photo editing options. It remains to be seen whether this means that Flickr users will still use the same (admittedly, somewhat limited) version of Picnik, or if there will be a similar-but-different photo editing app replacing it.
- Speaking of collages, those are among the many options over at Picture2Life. Don’t go by old first impressions of Picture2Life; when it first came out, several years ago, the Picture2Life photo editor was nowhere near as advanced as it is now, after considerable refinement of its interface and functions. Plus, it also offers HTML5 as well as iPhone iPad app versions.
- Picasa is another good choice for collages, as well as a few other options that can’t often be found with online-only photo editors. Unlike the Creative Kit, Picasa can be downloaded whether you have a Google Account or not, although it does offer several specific benefits to Google+ users.
- Many Picnik users have begun migrating happily to iPiccy, whose developers come right out and say “we want to add as many tools (from Picnik) as we can.“ While still technically in beta, iPiccy gives great results, offers many effects and features, and integrates well with Flickr.
- Also actively reaching out to stranded Picnik refugees, Pixlr has three great things going for it: the simple and intuitive Pixlr Express, the more detailed Pixlr Editor (for when you really want to get your hands dirty with image editing), and the mobile iOS and Android apps to take Pixlr with you.
- Similarly, the Aviary “Phoenix” Image Editor [http://advanced.aviary.com/tools/image-editor] finds an excellent middle ground between a user-friendly online interface and surprisingly powerful tools and effects. Aviary has a number of equally impressive web apps covering various other graphics and audio needs, so don’t hesitate to look around their web site when you feel like getting creative.
Adobe Photoshop Express
- It probably goes without saying, but Adobe Photoshop Express is a streamlined online photo editor that offers many of the high-quality tools and effects that you’d find in the company’s premium photo software suites. Along with mobile app versions and an online organizing/sharing tool, this could easily become your preferred Picnik alternative.
- I can’t make a list of photo editing tools without mentioning GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) [http://www.gimp.org/]. Despite the somewhat unfortunate name and the fact that it’s a traditional download-and-install piece of software rather than an online app, GIMP is probably THE most feature-packed and powerful image editing program you can find. In many ways, this free and open-source software outdoes even the mighty Adobe Photoshop, with which it shares a significant learning curve; i.e., it’s probably not going to be your first stop for quick retouches and collage projects.