Picnik – Free Online Image Editing

There have been several occasions where I wanted to upload some photos and images to post online, but I didn’t have immediate access to my computer with Photoshop Elements installed on it. I’ve used Adobe’s Photoshop Express a few times, but it feels far to cumbersome for minor edits and it doesn’t support common image types like GIF. More recently, I’m finding Picnik to be a great alternative for editing images from any computer. There’s nothing to install, so you don’t need to worry about having administrator permissions. Picnik supports JPEG, GIF, and PNG, which are the primary formats I’d work with in a pinch. Features include resize, crop, sharpen, minor color correction, exposure and contrast, and the ability to save out more than one file format when you’re done. If you upload images to Facebook, Flickr, MySpace, PhotoBucket, Picasa, Webshots, or FreeWebs, you can edit those images using Picnik. I also have a plug-in for editing images uploaded to Movable Type, which further extends the usefulness of Picnik. There is a $25 version, which is useful if you need to upload many files at a time, but for quick edits on the go, the free version of Picnik will likely be all you ever need. In addition to bailing me out in a pinch, I’m looking at Picnik as a handy way to edit files on a netbook without needing to use precious disk space for a bulky application.

Windows Live Photo Gallery with Plug-ins

Back in April I recommended Windows Live Photo Gallery as an essential upgrade to the built-in photo browsing of Windows XP. It also enhances Vista, but the difference isn’t nearly as dramatic. Since my initial recommendation, the Windows Live team made additional enhancements and exposed some features to allow other people to make Windows Live Photo Gallery even better. In addition to better tagging of images, basic photo cropping and red-eye removal, there are vastly improved online sharing features. At the time I first wrote about the app, Windows Live Spaces was the only place you could upload photos. Now Windows Live Photo Gallery supports uploading to Flickr, Picasa Web, SmugMug, and any Drupal installation via a set of handy plugins. In theory someone could write a plugin to upload almost anywhere. The nice thing about the way its done is you only install the upload tools you need. [Windows XP/Vista $0.00]

Fisheye-Hemi Plug-In Lens Distortion Correction

I tend to only use a fisheye lens when I want to distort an image, but there are times when you might use a fisheye lens for other purposes. For instance, say you want to capture everyone in a room in the same photo, but your lens doesn’t have a wide enough angle or you simply can’t move far enough away from your subject. The fisheye effectively shoots to the corners in those scenarios, with the downside being you get a warped image. Fisheye-Hemi plug-in to the rescue! Shoot with your fisheye lens to get everything in the shot, then use the software to ‘fix’ the image and make everyone look normal. In most cases you can get the image to appear as if you started with the correct camera lens in the first place. This is made by the same people who do ShineOff and PearlyWhites. [Windows XP/Vista $29.95]

Before Fisheye-Hemi

Fisheye Hemispheric Distortion Correction

After Fisheye-Hemi

Fisheye Hemispheric Distortion Correction