Retro Image Editing with 8Bit Photo Lab

Do you sometimes long for the pixilated blocky graphics from your youth? Yea, me too. Well, Android users rejoice. You can create your own 8-bit works of art with 8Bit Photo Lab from Ilixa.

Features

8Bit Photo Lab is a free app that allows you to adjust the color, resolution, and dithering of your photo to give it the look of the pixilated screens from the 80s. There are several pre-set filters to get you started including filters that mimic the look of the green screened Commodore, the sepia tones of a Gameboy, or even the multicolor output of the Apple II. I felt like I was back in grade school playing Tass Times in Tonetown on the old Apple IIe. Browse the slideshow to see my examples some effects.

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In addition to the pre-set filters, there are a wide variety of controls so you can continue to manipulate the color, resolution, and dithering. You can even introduce the banding of a CRT screen and some image glitching. It is fun to try out the different controls to see how it changes your image.

8Bit Photo Lab editing screen.
8Bit Photo Lab editing screen.

The editing interface is very easy to use. When you are done, you can save your images to your device or share them out on social media.

 

The free app is probably good enough for you photo dabblers out there. For the rest of you, you might want to upgrade to the pro version for a mere $2.49. This gives you a bunch more presets, pallets, and effects, as well as more control over the settings. The pro version also gives you a higher output resolution.

Other Apps by Ilxia

If the name Ilxia sounds familiar, it is because I already reviewed their app Mirror Lab. You can read my review here. They have another fun photo editing app called Mosaic Art Lab.

Mosaic Art Lab is, again, a free app with pro upgrades available for $4.49. The interface is similar and as easy to use as 8Bit Photo Lab and Mirror Lab. One of the features I like in Mosaic Art Lab is the Random button. The Random button will select a random image on your device and apply a random filter. Using it you tend to get some amazing happy accidents.

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In the Classroom

In the post about Mirror Lab, I listed several ways you could use the app in the classroom.  For example…

  • Explore the different filters and have your students all create a different image based off of one starter image.
  • Build student visual literacy skills and have students create images based on different emotions. Have them write about why each image represents each emotion. Make sure they use their visual vocabulary.

Those ideas hold true for both of these apps as well. You could also…

  • Create some of your own images and have the students use them as starter images for stories, poems, or musical compositions.
  • 8 Bit Lab would be a great tool for having students create images that go along with their favorite sci-fi stories.
  • App-smash and try using a combination of the three apps to layer on special effects. Granted, this is also a great time to discuss the trap of over-editing an image.

For me, anything that gets your students taking and editing photos while building their creativity is fantastic!

Ilxia has developed a wonderful suite of editing apps that are fun and easy to use. Whether you use them in the classroom or use them to create your own art, they are all worth exploring.  Download them all today and start creating! Share your art in the comments. I’d love to see what you and your students create.

Green Screen Magic with Do Ink

If you are not making fun green screen adventures with your students yet – what are you waiting for? Go find a green blanket, grab your iPad, download Green Screen by Do Ink and jump on this bandwagon before you miss out!

If you are not familiar with green screen effect, or chroma key effect, here is the basic idea. Chroma key is a special effect technique where multiple images are layered on top of each other. Using a chroma key filter, you can make a color range of the top image transparent so an underlying image can show through. Any color can become transparent, however, a high key green is commonly used, hence the term green screen.

Why would you do this? Well, what if you want a picture of your friend on top of the Bean in Millenium Park in Chicago? You could go to Chicago, climb on top of the Bean and try to get a picture before security arrives (I would not suggest this option). Or, the easier and more legal way, take a picture of the person on a green screen and overlay it onto a picture of the Bean using editing software. Viola! Your friend is on the Bean and no one got arrested. Yay.

Anyway, chroma key photography and video production have been taking the classroom by storm lately because of a great iPad app called Green Screen by Do Ink. It is one of the easiest tools out there for making green screen projects.

Full disclosure – I do not have an iPad that supports the Green Screen app. Yes, it is sad. I hope to remedy that soon. However, I do live vicariously through the projects of others by following Do Ink (@doinktweets), #doink and  #greenscreen on Twitter. The projects students and teachers are creating are amazing!! 51K1TKetnVL._SX389_BO1,204,203,200_

I also had an opportunity to play with Do Ink back in October thanks to the incredible Todd Burleson. Not only is he the type of creative librarian you wish you had as a kid, he is also the author of The Green Screen Maker Space Project Book. He was at STEMfest this year to host a green screen workshop. I was lucky enough to attend and had a chance to give Do Ink a try. It was tons of fun!

Green Screen Features

The Green Screen by Do Ink works on any Apple device that supports iOS 10 or later. You can download it from the Apple store for $2.99 a device. A steal considering all of the amazing features packed into this app.

Features — Do Ink
Screenshot from doink.com

Using this app you can combine up to three layers of images/video using the editor screen. As you can see from this screenshot, the editor is simple to use and easy to navigate. You have a preview window, a timeline and some tools to help you create your video.

As far as timelines go, this one is pretty simple to understand compared to other video editing software.

The chroma tool is where the magic happens. It allows you to select the color you want to make transparent, as in that lovely green color seen above. The app also has a Mask tool so you can draw custom transparency masks not based on color.

img_20181027_142607124.jpg
Green Screen Workshop at STEMfest with Todd.

Green Screen lets you use images and video that are already on your device or that you record live. You can even add animations you created using Do Ink’s other app, Animation and Drawing.

When you are done with your project you can save it on your device or export it to the cloud.

If you need some guidance while creating your project, visit the Do Ink Documentation Page for some in-depth information on how to use the app. Also, visit their Tips Page for some creative ideas on how to make the most of your own green screen studio.

img_20181027_141830228.jpg
Anything can be a green screen!

The best part about green screen production with Do Ink, is that you do not need a lot of expensive equipment to get started. Don’t have a green screen? Use a bed sheet or a shower curtain taped to your wall. Or, create your own mini green screen by painting the inside of a clean pizza box green. Anything can be a green screen! Add an iPad with the app and you have a green screen studio.

There are more classroom uses for this app than I can list in this post. If you want to get your creative juices flowing, then click on over to Twitter and check out what teachers are sharing with Do Ink (@doinktweets), #doink and  #greenscreen. There are tons of inspiring examples of what students can do and create with this app. If you need more ideas, then head over to Amazon or your local independent bookstore and pick up Todd’s book, Green Screen Maker Space Projects.

How are you using Green Screen in your classroom? What amazing things are your students creating? Share!

 

 

Beautiful Web Pages Made Easy With Adobe Spark Page

This is not the first time I have written about Adobe Spark. For last year’s 30 tools in 30 days, I reviewed both Spark Post and Spark Video. You can read my review of Post and Video by following the links. However, I did not review the final tool in this suite – Spark Page.

Visual Portfolios and Digital Stories

Adobe Spark Page gives you the same simple tools you find in Post and Video. In a short time, you can create visually stunning web pages. Like Post and Video, Spark Page’s main focus is on the images. There are several tools to help you create a page that highlights your images.

Here are a couple of examples of pages made using Adobe Page.

The first I created for the STEM Read Podcast to display pictures we took while recording an episode with author/illustrator Tom Lichtenheld and Dr. Rhonda Robinson. (Here is a link to the episode if you would like to give it a listen.) The second is a sample of my photography and the third is my daughter’s art portfolio.

You can see from the examples that the pages you create are more than just static web pages. There are some nice scrolling and image display features. Want to see more, check out their inspiration gallery.

Key Features

Make Images  Videos and Web Stories for Free in Minutes   Adobe Spark.png
Adobe Spark Page – Easy Editing

Adobe page has a ton of features that make this an easy tool for building a visual web page.

  • Formatted blocks – You build your web page in blocks. You can select the type of block you want and then add your images, text, video, or buttons.
  • Embed videos – You can add videos easily to your site. Create videos with Spark video and then add them to your page. with a simple click.
  • Upload images from anywhere – Not only can you upload images from your computer, Spark Pages also connects to Lightbox, Dropbox, Google Photos, and Google Drive. If you don’t have your own images, you can search through Adobe’s bank of stock images.
  • Apply Themes – Change the look and feel of your page by applying different themes. If you have a paid account, you can set up a custom theme using your brand management settings.
  • Free – Just like the other Spark tools, Page is free. However, you can upgrade to the premium account if you want to manage the look and feel of your brand and remove any Adobe branding. Read more about the pricing on their Pricing Page.
  • Adobe Hosting – Adobe hosts all of the pages you create using page. You do not need an external host.
  • Sharing – When you publish your page, you get a shareable link. You can also share your page through Facebook, Twitter, Google Classroom, or email.
  • Link updating – If you update or modify your page, you can update the link to push out the changes. No new URL needed.

In the Classroom

All of the Adobe Apps are wonderful tools for the classroom. With Spark Page, your students can create amazing visual stories that look like they have years of training. Here are just a few ideas for how to use this with your students.

  • Art portfolios – As you can see from the example above, Page is a fantastic tool for creating visual portfolios. I like the combination of text and images that allows your artists to write captions and artist’s statements about their work.
  • Informational web page – Instead of having them write a research report, have them put together an information page about a topic they researched.
  • Visual resume – Have students create a visual about me page. Focus on different audiences. What would a professional page look like versus a personal page? This is also a good time to talk about what you should and should not share online.
  • Science journal – Create a science journal that documents an inquiry project through text and image.
  • Reflective journal – In my visual literacy class, I do a Photo A Week challenge. Having my students create a reflection journal using their images would be a great way to capture their learning.
  • Digital Stories – Whether your students are creating works of fiction or non-fiction narratives, have them tell their story through building a page.
  • Class magazine – Turn your students into journalists and have them create a class magazine. Assing different content sections to different teams and let them work together to publish a magazine. Create multiple pages and pull them together into a Google site or other website tool.

There are so many other ways you could use Spark Page in your classroom. You could even create your own visual resume to highlight some of your own professional wins.

If you do not have a free account yet, go sign up for one today and start playing with the amazing set of tools!

Add Some 3D to Your Coloring with QuiverVision

As I write this, the entire midwest is hunkering down for our first big blizzard of the season. While the winds blow outside, I’ve decided that it is the perfect time to pour myself a glass of wine…er… I mean a cup of hot chocolate and do some coloring. Not just any coloring mind you, some augmented reality coloring with QuiverVision.

Coloring only BetterColoring my Quiver Coloring sheets.

QuiverVision is an app that brings your coloring pages to life. The app is free to download on iTunes, Google Play, and Kindle. The app works with special coloring pages that you can download from the QuiverVision Coloring Packs website.

There are several color pages available on the website. Some are simply coloring pages while others have interactive content and quizzes. Find one you like and simply print, then color, and then let the app do the magic. There is a mix of free and paid content. For the paid content, you are able to print off any of the pages but you cannot access the augmented content unless you make an in-app purchase. One of the packs I tried to use was only 99 cents to unlock.

At first, I was not too impressed with the educational content of the pages. I think I was just using the wrong pages. I tried a few others and was pleasantly surprised. I liked the interactivity of the different pages. The cell coloring sheet gave you information on each part of the cell. It also included a quiz. I’d be interested to see what the paid content is like.

Watch the video to see some of the interactive features in action. With this coloring page, you create your own flag. While using the app, I can change the wind speed and watch my flag wave. The video was captured in the app. I turned off my sound but you can also capture audio. Could be an interesting way to have students give an oral report on their flag. Have them talk about what the colors and symbols mean. (However, before they create their flag, have them watch this video with Roman Mars from 99% Invisible on why city flags are great examples of bad design. Don’t let them fall prey to bad design choices.)

Companion Apps

There are three other apps from QuiverVision: Quiver Education, Quiver Fashion, and Quiver Masks.

Quiver Education seems similar to QuiverVision but with more educational content. Quiver Education costs $5.99 so I am assuming you do not need to pay for the additional educational content.

Quiver Fashion is perfect for your budding fashion designer. With Quiver Fashion, you can print out the coloring pages, design your own clothing, create collections, and have virtual fashion shows.

Quiver Masks is my favorite. Masks uses facial tracking to overlay your custom mask onto your own face. There are 19 coloring pages to choose from. Some are hats while others are full face masks. You can use the app without the coloring pages by using the preloaded masks. However, it is more fun to color your own mask. Check out my cool cat hat. That should keep me warm during the blizzard, right?

In addition to putting cute masks on your face, you can record video with your mask on. This could be a fun way to add some interest to your students next speach. Have them do it wearing a virtual hat or mask.

You can even do a face swap with the Masks app. Don’t try this with your own face. It’s just creepy.

If you want to get started with augmented reality but you are not sure where to start, give the apps from QuiverVision a try.

Now, where is my wine? I’m going to color while I watch the snow fall.

 

Works of Art with your Phone using Mirror Lab

Today I decided to take a little time to explore my artistic side and see what I can create using Mirror Lab. Mirror Lab by Ilixa is an app for Android and iOS that gives you the ability to turn your pictures into kaleidoscope, fractal, geometric, and glitchy works of art. You can get started with the free version and upgrade to pro if you need the extra functionality. I did all of my manipulations using the free version.

Overview

Edit screen on Mirror Lab
Edit screen on Mirror Lab

Using the app, you can take photos from your phone and apply a wide variety of special effect filters. These are not your typical Instagram filters, these filters add special effects such as mirror images and multiple mirrors to create unique works of art. To begin, open a photo and choose your filter. Each filter has different settings. You can also move the image around to create different effects.

The beauty and simplicity of this app is addicting. I spent a few hours playing around with the different effects on several images that were on my phone.

According to the app information page, there are over 50 different filters and effects you can apply. If that is not enough for you, for $4.99 you can go pro and add a bunch more.

After you are done creating your image, you can save your image. In the free version, you save the image as a JPEG. Upgrading to pro gives you the ability to save as a PNG. The Pro version also bumps up your working resolution from 3 Megapixels to 12.

Image Examples

Here are a few side-by-side comparisons of a starting image and different filters.

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In the Classroom

The obvious use in the classroom is to create amazing images. Here are a few ways to use Mirror Lab in the classroom.

  • Explore the different filters and have your students all create a different image based off of one starter image.
  • Build student visual literacy skills and have students create images based on different emotions. Have them write about why each image represents each emotion. Make sure they use their visual vocabulary.
  • Have students take pictures of their world. A picture of something familiar and have them use the filters to make the familiar into something different.
  • Take pictures of ordinary objects. Use the filters to change the images. Have students build their inquiry skills and see if they can figure out what was in the original picture. Have them support their thoughts with evidence.

These are just a few ways you could use this app with students.

Whether you want to use the app for your own creative pleasure or you are going to use it with your students, Mirror Lab is an excellent create app. It is easy to use and fun to see your images transform into something amazing.

Have you created works of art with Mirror Lab? Share your images in the comments.

 

360 Images Made Easy with Google Cardboard Camera

I have lamented before about how I do not have a 360o camera. In fact, I complained about it extensively in my Google VR Tour Creator post. It makes it difficult to hop on the 360o image bandwagon and create VR experiences. However, I did find that the Google Cardboard Camera app that helps to satisfy my 360o cravings.

App Overview

The Google Cardboard Camera is a very simple app that allows you to create 360o images with or without sound. These images are saved to your device, or in Google Photos so you can use them in other applications such as Google VR Tour Creator. This app is available for both Android and Apple products.

For a free app using your phone’s camera and not a real 360o camera, these are not bad. When you take a picture, a center line guides you as you rotate to capture your surroundings. If you go too fast, the app will tell you too slow down. When complete, you have a super panoramic image.

Using my phone’s camera, the center of the image looks pretty good, not a lot of distortion or vertical banding. However, it doesn’t capture a really wide angle top to bottom. So, it is not true 360o, more like 270o. You can see my full image below.

360 view of Chicago on Columbus
360 view of Chicago on Columbus

When viewed through a Google Cardboard or other VR viewer, it looks pretty cool.

My VR View
My VR View

In the Classroom

Your students will really enjoy this app. It is a great tool for them to get started with creating their own virtual field trips. Using their devices they can quickly and easily take pictures and then use them in other applications.

If you are looking for a high quality 360o camera alternative, this is obviously not it. If you are looking for a free tool to get you started in creating 360o images and VR, then this is most certainly something to try.

Create 3D Scans on your Phone with Qlone

Qlone is an app that allows you to create 3D scans of real objects with your phone or mobile device. Once you’ve scanned an object you can modify your 3D model using in-app tools and then save or export it to other applications. It is fast and simple to use. Check out their overview video to help you get started.

 

Pros and Cons

I was excited to find this app and get started making some 3D scans. Overall it is a cool tool. However, like everything in life, there are pros and there are cons.

Pros

In-app editing tools
In-app editing tools. Yes, Poor Rainbow Dash did not scan well.
  • Free app for iOS and Android.
  • Scanning mat is free and you can print it in various sizes to accommodate your items.
  • Scanning dome guides you through a complete scan. Thanks to the dome, you know that you have scanned every inch of your item.
  • In-app editing tools allow you to modify and refine your 3D model.
  • Save and edit your model in your phone.
  • Models can be exported as multiple file formats including OBJ, STL, PLY, and X3D.
  • Models can be shared or used in other applications.

Cons

Export your models.
Export your models.
  • On older tech, the scans are a little rough. See poor Rainbow Dash above and my pointy-headed penguin.
  • It takes a little bit of practice to calibrate and use the scanning dome. Again, my difficulty could have something to do with the age of my tech. However, once you get the hang of it, it is pretty easy.
  • In-app credit is required to export certain file formats. Exports can cost between $.99 and $9.99, according to the Google Play Store. This isn’t a huge con. An app has to have a sustainable business model so you can’t fault them for charging for some features. There is a lot of value in the free features so paying to export some file formats is not a bad thing.

Classroom Ideas

For me, the pros outweigh the cons, especially when you start thinking about all the ways you can use it in the classroom.

  • Creating 3D Models – Get students thinking in 3D virtual space. They can practice scanning and modifying their models.
  • Explainer Video – Create a 3D scan and export as an mp4. Use a video editing tool to add voice-over or to edit it into other footage.
  • Online Art Gallery – Have students scan their 3D IRL artwork. Save the file as a GIF and create a web page that includes their art GIF and an artist statement.
  • Upload to other applications – Create 3D models that can be used in other AR apps such as MERGE Cube Object Viewer.
  • Prototyping – Build object prototypes out of clay or other materials. Then scan it and export the model for 3D printing.

This is a short list. I’m sure there are lots of different ways you could use a 3D scanning tool in your classroom.

Read this article about middle school class that partnered with a local museum to create a virtual exhibit using Qlone and MERGE Cube tools.

Have you used Qlone in your classroom? What have your students done with their scans?

Travel the World with Google VR Tour Creator

Virtual field trips are my new obsession. I love them. They curb my wanderlust just a little. I’ve been wanting to try my hand at creating my own but my lack of a 360 camera makes it difficult. And, no matter how much I beg, no one will buy me one. (Not sure what I’m talking about? Here is what you need to know about 360 cameras.) I should have known that Google would have a tool to help me solve my lack of 360 camera dilemma and fill my need for creating VR tours.

Google VR Tour Creator

Google VR Tour Creator is an easy to use tool for creating VR tours using either the 360 views from Google Street View or your own 360 images.

Development interface of Google VR Tour Creator.
Development interface of Google VR Tour Creator.

Google VR Tour Creator has everything you would expect from a Google tool. Easy log-in with your Google account, intuitive interface, and easy to use features. In a matter of minutes, you can create interactive 360 tours of anywhere Google street view has been or, if you have your own 360 footage, you can upload your own images.

Key Features

There are so many cool features of this tool. I’m shocked that I have not played with it earlier. Here are just a few.

Search Google Maps for street views.
Search Google Maps for street views.
  • It’s free.
  • Use Google Street View to find 360 images for your tour. You can easily search Google maps and move your little street view person around to find the perfect shot.
  • Add interactive features to your tour. Using the development screen you can…
    • add a scene description,
    • ambient music,
    • scene narration,
    • identify points of interest,
    • add image overlays (you can only add images, no video or 3D models),
    • and points of interest narration.
  • If you are not sure how to get started, you can choose from the wide variety of templates to help you. Each template is a sample virtual tour with editable elements.
  • Once complete, your tour is published to Poly. You can choose the visibility level. List it publicly or leave it unlisted.
  • Device agnostic. You can view your tour on the computer or use VR apps.
  • Easy to use. My little sample tour below took less than 20 minutes to create.

In the Classroom

Google VR Tour Creator is a great way to get your students started in creating VR experiences. Imagine, instead of reading a report on a location, you can view a 360 tour that includes music, narrative, informative pop-ups, and photos. Not only are your students researching and writing about a place they are also building important media skills. The best part is that there is no special equipment is needed, just a computer and a Google log-in. Even your youngest students should be able to navigate through this application and create their own virtual tour. If you have a 360 camera, they can even take their own footage and incorporate it into their creation.

If you are like me and you do not have the joy of a 360 camera in your life, never fear. Google once again has your back. Download the free Google Cardboard Camera app. I have not yet tried it but, I will give it a shot this weekend. It might be a no-cost alternative to a 360 camera.

There are so many ways you can use VR Tour creator in your classroom. I’m excited to start creating my own virtual tours and playing around with all it can do. What are you creating with VR Tool Creator? Have your students used it? Share your ideas!

Friday Five: Build Visual Literacy Skills

Friday Five: Five activity ideas for building student Visual Literacy Skills.

In a world full of visual communication, it is important that we teach our students how to be visually literate. Much like building text-based literacy skills involves both reading and writing, building visual literacy skills includes both decoding and encoding visuals.

Here are five ideas for how to build student visual literacy skills in your classroom.

  1. Photo a Day (or Week) Challenge: Give your students a daily (or weekly) photography prompt. Every student takes a picture based on the prompt and shares it with the class. Discuss how each student interpreted the prompt. How were they different? How were they similar? Be sure they use their visual vocabulary as they discuss. How did the photographer use line, texture, color, and all the visual elements in their interpretation? Need prompt ideas? Use your current vocabulary list or words or phrases for the book you are reading. Have students take photos of math concepts. Use a mix of concrete prompts and abstract ideas. For example, how would you photograph blue? Join the global Photo A Day Challenge by following blogger FatMumSlim. Every month she publishes a new set of prompts and a hashtag for sharing. It is fun to see how people around the world interpret the prompts differently.
  2. Tell a story in Five: Start by showing your students five images. Place them in an order and have them tell the story that they see. What happens when you change the order of the pictures? How does the story change? Next, have students tell their own story using only five images. These could be their own images or ones they find online. Have them show their stories to the class and see if their classmates can verbalize what they see. Check out the Flikr group Tell a Story in 5 Frames for some excellent examples of five photo stories.
  3. Wordless Videos: Using your favorite presentation/video creation tool, have the students tell you about their favorite place using only images, editing techniques, and music. No words allowed. This will encourage them to use the visual elements combined with the power of music to help the viewer understand why this is their special place.
  4. Compare and Contrast Picture Books: Many of our favorite classic children’s stories have been told through picture books over and over again. Go to your library and pick up several different versions of the same story. Classic fairy tales are perfect for this. You can even select international versions of the same story.  Have the students look at how the different illustrators interpreted the story. How do the illustrations change the story from book to book? Look at the artistic style, use of color, line, tone, and the choice of medium. How do those choices change how you interpret the story? How much of the story is told through the pictures? Do the pictures help you understand the story or do the pictures conflict with what they are reading? Be sure they use their visual vocabulary in their explanations.
  5. I write you draw: Similar to using pictures books, then I write you draw strategy helps students see the connection between written language and visual language. Have each student write a couple sentences describing a setting or a character. Tell them to use good descriptive detail. When complete, they exchange their writing with a partner. Each student then illustrates their partner’s passage. When complete, have them discuss the results. How well does the drawing work with the passage? Based on the drawing, is there any editing that the author could do with the passage? To take it further, have students work together to write and illustrate picture books. Each student writes their own story and illustrates their partner’s story. This not only builds visual literacy skills but also collaboration skills.

Below are a few (five because it’s Friday!) of my favorite visual literacy resources and informational sites.

Bonus! Visit the Public Domain Review for images to use with your students.

There are so many fun ways to incorporate visual literacy into the classroom. Sometimes it might just be tweaking existing activities to include more image analysis or visual vocabulary. I could keep writing about this topic all day but I will leave some for a future post. How are you building students’ visual literacy skills? Share your ideas and favorite resources in the comments. I’d love to hear them!

30 Tools in 30 Days: Day 29 Pixlr

Pixlr – a family of free photo editing tools to meet all of your creative needs.

Day 29: Pixlr

Everyone is a photographer nowadays. We all walk around with little cameras in our pockets. Sometimes I even use mine to call or text my family. Personally, I take hundreds of pictures a year. I love to capture the world around me and share what I see on my media channels. I have even more fun with creative post-processing and editing. Back when I did it for a living, my tool of choice was (and still is) Adobe Photoshop. You just can’t beat this powerhouse. However, for those who dabble, the price tag may be a bit too steep to justify. Even for me, I have a license for my personal use but I do not have one at work. So, where do you go when you need the editing capability of Photoshop without the price? Pixlr is my choice every time.

Pixlr is a suite of free photo editing tools that you can use as web-based or mobile apps. The web apps are great for anyone who is using a work or school computer because you do not need to download anything. Just open one of the apps and edit away.

Pixlr has three different apps designed to meet the needs of the beginner, the dabbler, and the more serious photo editor. Each one can be found as both a web app and a mobile app.

Add filters, Frames, and Effects with Pixlr-omatic.
Add filters, frames, and effects with Pixlr-omatic.

Pixlr-omatic

Pixlr-omatic is a fun way to add retro filters, frames, and effects to your images. The screen looks like an old camera. There are tons of effects and filters to choose from to create a unique image. The interface is very easy to use. Final images can be saved to your computer or device and shared on social meida. Because really, why else would you over filter your image?

Pixlr Express

Pixlr Express is the photo editing app for everyone. Easy to use for the beginner but also has lots of editing options for those who want to do more with their photos. With Pixlr Express, you can still add the filters, effects, and frames that you used with Omatic, however, you can also do some advanced image correction, editing, and manipulation. You can even add text and stickers and create photo collages. Again, the controls are easy to use so it does not take long to learn and start editing your images. For most of you, Pixlr Express will meet your photo editing needs.

Edit and correct or images with Pixlr Express.
Edit and correct or images with Pixlr Express.

Pixlr Editor

Pixlr Editor is a robust photo editing tool. If you are a Photoshop user, Pixlr Editor will not disappoint. With Pixlr Editor, you have many of the same tools you would find in Photoshop, including layers, filters, and selection tools. When I need to do some heavy duty editing at work (where I don’t have Photoshop) Pixlr is the tool I always turn to.

Edit your images like a pro with Pixlr Editor.
Edit your images like a pro with Pixlr Editor.

In the Classroom

The Pixlr family of apps are great for classroom use. Pixlr-omatic and Express are easy to use even for your youngest students. Pixlr Editor gives you the power of a robust editing tool as well as the ability to create digital works of art.

The best part of all three of the apps is that they are free, web-based (for those working on a desktop or laptop), and require no sign-in. One thing to note – since they are free apps, you will have to deal with embedded adds. They need to pay the bills, right? For the most part, the adds are not intrusive. I’ve noticed that the adds are tailored to me and are usually for products I buy or sites I visit. (Thank you creepy internet and big data!)

If you are doing any type of photography or digital media production with your students (and you should be) the Pixlr suite of apps are tools you must check out.

It looks like they also have a vector editing tool called Vectr. I have not used it yet myself but I am excited to give it a try.

Happy editing!