Week 4 Halloweeks Contest Winners: JesiMariko and Migor 1332
We have two more winners this week in the Pixlr Halloweeks Photo Challenge! Each week we’ve been giving out prizes, and this week had some of the best prizes of the competition.
mCAMLITE winner JesiMariko
The theme this week was “Halloween Faces,” and we absolutely loved JesiMariko's photo submitted via Instagram. Fit the theme perfectly. This face has some very beautiful eyes. Nice face! But that's just the beginning. She added overlays and filters — and even some stickers from the new Halloween pack in Pixlr Express — to make this photo otherworldly. Superb job all around. We're putting the mCAMLITE in the mail to Arlington, Texas and wishing you a wonderful Halloween, JesiMariko.
CanvasPop custom canvas winner Migor 1332
@migor1332 from Houston, Texas submitted a bunch of images to the contest via Twitter, and nearly all of them were outstanding. But this one particular image blew away our judges with its excellent use of Pixlr Express effects. We don’t know who this beautiful woman is in the photo, but we do know that Migor 1332 is hugely talented. We hope to see more of your work in the future. We’re sending you a $179 gift certificate from CanvasPop as the prize for most creative use of Pixlr effects. Print some of your best work on it. It’s going to look great.
We’re down to the very last week of October, which means we have one more thing to give away — the Grand Prize of the Sony QX10. This unique lens works with your smartphone, or you can simply grab it and take pictures with it apart from your phone. There’s never been anything quite like it, and we bet most of you wouldn’t mind giving it a whirl to see what it can do.
The Grand Prize will be awarded to the best overall Halloween photo, so you can choose whatever Halloween-related subject you like to create your masterpiece. Just tag it #halloweeks on a few key social networks and look for it on our contest site, halloweeks.com. If you’ve already submitted an entry this month, you’re already entered to win the Grand Prize. Good luck!
Our month-long Halloweeks contest has been well-received by the community — even more so as we ramp up the prizes each week. We’ve saved a few of the best prizes for last, and that includes a prize for this week: the very unique iPhoneography-oriented mCAMLITE. The mCAMLITE holds your iPhone, but it’s not exactly an iPhone case. The best way to describe it is that it’s bit like a camera body for an iPhone.
I contacted the company that makes it, Action Life Media, to see if they wanted to sponsor our photo contest and donate an mCAMLITE to a lucky winner in the Pixlr community. They said yes! That’s not totally surprising since they are all about mobile photography. They’re a good fit with the Pixlr community. They sent one to me, and I’ve been trying it out in the Instructables Lab where our office is located on Pier 9 in San Francisco — a great excuse to take photos of this beautiful city. Right outside our window.
The mCAMLITE unboxed
The first thing I noticed when unboxing the mCAMLITE is that it’s solid. It’s a singular piece of aluminum that has a polished feel to it but that is clearly super strong. I didn’t hurl it across the room to see just how strong it was, but I can’t imagine putting a dent in this thing without using some industrial tools. It’s not designed to be lightweight, which I think is one of its strengths. It’s designed to be durable.
It comes with a silicone sleeve that you wrap your iPhone in before inserting it into the device itself. Obviously, this protects your iPhone, but more importantly it provides a snug fit so your iPhone won’t slide out. In fact, I was a little afraid my iPhone wouldn’t fit the first time I tried it, but it quickly becomes clear that it’s supposed to be that snug. I would be very confident to take this out on a day trip or do something athletic with it. It actually feels like a solid-body camera in my hand.
It also comes with a combination lens. To be perfectly frank, I’m not sure I need lenses, but I did get some interesting photos out of it. I’m using the brand-new iPhone 5S, which has an even better camera than the still-quite-impressive earlier versions. The lens that comes with it is actually two lenses in one — a wide angle and a macro lens that you can switch out. The wide angle gave me a slight fish-eye effect, which I actually like, but it’s not technically a fish-eye lens. Of the two lenses, the macro worked better for me. They offer other lenses, but if you’re really serious about using multiple lenses you might be better off buying an adapter for Nikon or Canon lenses (which they also offer). The one downside to using the provided lens with my phone is that the new iPhone 5S has a really (really) strong flash right next to the iPhone’s lens, which can sometimes result in lens flare in your photos. Of course, you could always use an external flash in situations like this. All in all, I got a few neat effects from the lenses, so I’d probably use them some of the time.
Probably the most useful thing about the mCAMLITE are the many camera mounts. Joby makes a neat GorillaPod device for stabilizing your smartphone (we gave one away last week in the contest), but there aren’t a lot of other ways to get your iPhone to plug in to a tripod in an easy and useful way. This does that, and it does it quite well. Plenty of options if you have a tripod. I tried it out with the old standard Joby GorillaPod, and it worked great.
It also contains a cold-shoe mount, which I didn’t use, but this would surely be useful for any pro photographer who needs it. And it comes with a small microphone that plugs into the audio jack that juts out to capture audio from the front of the device. While this is a neat idea, it’s clearly geared toward filming video, which isn’t something I’m focused on. I’m all about photos. If you’re into video, you may want to check out some of the video-friendly accessories they offer.
All in all, the mCAMLITE is appealing if you’ve ever wished your iPhone could sometimes feel like a dSLR. It also probably would work for you if you intend to be out hiking in the wilds and want to just toss your iPhone in a bag and not worry about it getting squashed. While it’s sort of geared toward more professional photo takers, I bet it would be a good gift for an amateur photographer or outdoors-y photo taker who likes the idea of a very durable case and multiple tripod options.
Want to win this mCAMLITE? Enter our Halloweeks contest by Sunday at midnight for your chance. Entering is as easy as tagging your photo #halloweeks on popular social-media sites. Check out our contest site for all the info.
Tomorrow is the last day to enter the Snap, Style & Share contest. It’s been going on for many weeks, but you’ve still got a tiny window left to enter.
The contest is open to just about anyone between the ages of 13 and 24. We’re giving away cool prizes like an iPad, an iPad mini, and an Olloclip iPhone lens system. But we’re also exhibiting the winners in the Autodesk Gallery in San Francisco.
Want to participate? Just take a photo of something that shows what you think is stellar design and improve it using Pixlr Express. Easy! Entries are judged by a panel of judges, so the emphasis is on quality and not just popularity.
That said, you can also vote for your favorites — no matter your age or whether or not you enter. Just hop on the Snap, Style & Share contest site and pick your faves.
Our Pixlr on Flickr group is one of our favorite places to view Pixlr-made art, and we love profiling some of the artists who share their work with us. A few weeks back, we profiled k8rry. This time around we wanted to alert you to another skilled sharer, Sonel. A homemaker from Hartbeespoortdam, South Africa, she’s a wife and mother, animal and nature lover who enjoys swimming, blogging, digital scrapbooking, photography, digital art and graphic design, computer games, good movies, singing, reading, and most of all being at home with her family. Phew. She’s got a lot of hobbies, not the least among them taking some beautiful photos. We wanted to find out a bit more about her and her gorgeous photos, many of which she works up in Pixlr Express….
Pixlr: Have you always taken photos, or did something at some point spark the photography bug in you?
Sonel: I’m just an amateur and have always loved to take photos of nature and animals. A year ago my husband bought me a new DSLR camera, and I had something new to learn and experiment with. One day my dream of having a Canon EOS 7D with telephoto lens will come true. Maybe then I will be able to call myself a photographer.
Pixlr: Where are you located in this wide world?
Sonel: I live with my hubby, two sons, my Peketese, Simba, and Tweety, the African Grey in Schoemansville, Hartbeespoort Dam, South Africa. What I love about this place is the clean air, the mountains, and my most favourite, the dam.
Pixlr: Sometmes you seem to focus on adding inspirational quotes to photos. And you’re pretty good at it. Why inspirational quotes? Are they all photos you take or are some photos you find?
Sonel: Thank you for the lovely compliment. All the photos are my own. I love quotes so much because I’m not really good with words. I know what I want to say but can’t always express it. Inspirational quotes also inspire me and make me think about the things in life I’m grateful for. I sometimes forget I have a lot to be grateful for; through photography and inspirational quotes I can express myself and feel good.
Pixlr: What kind of things inspire you? Besides the inspirational quote photos, are there themes or subjects that people might notice about your photos?
Sonel: Nature, animals, my family, and music always inspire me. I think the one thing that people will notice about my photos is that I truly love nature, and I am crazy about animals. And I love to be creative with my photos.
Pixlr: What kind of equipment do you use to take photos? Camera, smartphone, apps, etc.
Sonel: My camera is a FujiFilm FinePix S2960. The photos of my camera itself are taken with my Nokia cellphone, but I prefer to use my camera to take photos.
Pixlr: Is incorporating effects into your photos important?
Sonel: I’m the kind of person who gets bored very easily. Most of the time I use effects on my photos, whether it’s Pixlr or Lightroom or even Adobe Photoshop actions. I don’t want to present boring photos. For example, I am currently running a photo challenge on WordPress about split-toning. When doing that I challenge myself and my readers and blogger friends and show them new ways of being creative with their photography.
Pixlr: That’s great. Split toning is something included in some photo editing apps, and Pixlr Express uses that type of process with certain effects. It colors shadows for effect.
Sonel: Yes. With this challenge I showed them that they can do the same with Pixlr that I am doing in Lightroom. Most of them can’t afford most of the professional programs and would love to do the same. With the wonderful Pixlr apps they can.
Pixlr: Is there anything you’d like to see in our apps that aren’t there yet? What’s your feature requests?
Sonel: More effects, borders, and overlays would be awesome. One can never have enough of them.
Pixlr:Where’s the best place to view your photos online?
Week 3 Halloweeks Winners: Kelsey Walser & James Coltham
We have two winners this week in the Pixlr Halloweeks Photo Challenge!
Thank you to Kelsey Walser for sharing her entry on Twitter. We loved her pumpkin pic. Great collection of what look like ceramic decorative pumpkins, which fit our theme quite well. She gets the Olloclip 3-IN-ONE lens system, which we are popping in the mail and sending to her in Dallas. Have a great Halloween, Kelsey!
Our second prize for Week 3 goes to James Coltham from Edinburgh, Scotland. We think this homemade costume of what looks like Jack from The Nightmare Before Christmas is special to begin with, and we enjoyed the subtle Pixlr Express effects he added. Great photo, James! We’re sending you a gift certificate for a custom CanvasPop print. Make something great with it!
There are nearly 5 full weeks in October, so we’ve still got 2 more to go! Which means we still have more prizes to give out. If you haven’t entered yet, get started with the Week 4 theme.
Have you entered our Halloweeks Photo Contest? We’re giving away a Grand Prize — the Sony QX10 — at the end of the month, but each week we give out prizes that follow a theme we set for the week. This week’s theme is “Halloween Faces.” It can be creepy or cute, scary or scare-free — anything that works as a Halloween face, whether it’s a mask, a costume, or just a pumpkin with a ridiculously creative carved expression.
We’ll post the winners of Week 3 tomorrow, but we wanted to get you started on Week 4 with the theme for the week. Entering is super easy. Tag your photos #halloweeks on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, or Tumblr. Read all about it on our Halloweeks.com contest site.
Prizes for Week 4: mCAMLITE and CanvasPop custom canvas
This week we’ll be giving away two prizes. First, an mCAMLITE iPhone system. This unique aluminum-body case comes with special lenses and plenty of camera mount options for you to take some serious photos with your iPhone. The second prize is a custom canvas from CanvasPop, which will let you turn a photo of your choice into a work of art to hang on your wall. Both of these are generously provided by our sponsors, and we can’t wait to give them out.
New Halloween Overlays, Stickers, Borders in Pixlr Express!
We know there are Pixlr Express users out there who love seasonal stickers and effects. A lot. A whole lot! If you’re one of those people, you’ll be happy to know that this year’s Halloween overlays, stickers, and borders are ready to go. Fire up Pixlr Express for the web or your Android or iOS device and start laying down the Halloween cheer — and fear.
This special seasonal pack will be around until November 8th, and we’ve included some info in there if you are interested in entering our Halloweeks contest. We welcome all Halloween photos, including ones that use these stickers!
A Few Halloweeks Prizes: Three Custom Canvases from CanvasPop
Our Halloweeks contest rolls on through the month of October like a pumpkin kicked off the front porch by a pimply faced teen. Actually, if you can capture that exact image in a photo and work it up in Pixlr Express you’re probably a shoe-in for a prize.
But what kind of prize, you ask? Lots of different ones — and new prizes each week. Today, I want to encourage you to enter the contest to try and win what I think is one of the best prizes: custom canvases from CanvasPop.
In preparation for the Halloweeks contest, I sought out CanvasPop to see if they wanted to help us celebrate Halloween with the Pixlr community. They were happy to join in and generously gave us three gift certificates for 24”x36” custom canvases to give out to some of the best photos submitted by the Pixlr community. Each prize is a $179 gift certificate that you can use to make any kind of printed canvas you want with the picture of your choice. (Or pictures plural if you prefer a collage treatment.)
I’ve purchased a number of canvases from services like CanvasPop, usually as birthday or holiday gifts for friends and family. I love the idea of taking something you made yourself and putting it on canvas. Using a service like this lets you put all your energy into the creativity of making — with none of the headaches that come with printing and stretching canvas on your own. (Don’t even get me started on how difficult framing is if you don’t have experience doing it; it’s harder than it looks.)
When CanvasPop donated these prizes for our Halloweeks contest, they offered to send me an example of what our community members would be winning. I sent them a photo of one of the Instructables Artists-in-Residence that I worked up with all kinds of subtle effects in Pixlr Express. (I created this image for a tutorial on this blog a few months back.) The end result is quite good, especially considering how many overlays and effects I added with Pixlr Express:
This is the size canvas we’re giving away in the contest, and it’s a much better quality canvas print than other services I’ve tried. In fact, I have a canvas print (printed from the exact same image file) that I ordered from a competing service a few months back. The quality of these kinds of services varies wildly, but it’s embarrassing to see just how poor quality the shall-remain-nameless’s print looks side-by-side with the CanvasPop version:
All of which is to say that if you’re ever thinking of using a service like this, I would encourage you to check out CanvasPop. They have a customer-friendly website that’s easy to navigate, and the quality of their prints are the best I’ve encountered so far. And the prices are surprisingly competitive. They even included a nice card with my shipment that has a big fat discount on my next print.
If you’ve ever wondered what your own photos would look like as hang-able wall art, enter our Halloweeks Photo Contest and get in the running to win one of these custom canvases. We’re giving one away this week and another next week. And we have all kinds of other prizes for you to win. It’s as easy as tagging a photo #halloweeks on the most popular social sites. Read all about it on our contest site.
It’s the seven-day warning for our Snap, Style & Share contest. Our contest for students (or anyone, really) between the ages of 13 and 24 has been building up steam for weeks, but we’re getting close to the finish line. The last day to enter is next Friday, October 25th.
Not only is it NOT too late to enter, it’s worth noting that winners aren’t simply chosen on the basis of favorites or votes from the community. This contest has multiple age categories and multiple winners — and the winners are chosen by a panel of judges. So don’t think you are too late to be in the running. It’s really all about the quality of your entry.
Entering is easy. Just take a photo of something you think embodies great design. Could be something in nature, a beautiful machine, the human form, an abstract close-up — anything you think exhibits compelling design. Then, edit and improve your photo using Pixlr Express. Submit your before and after photo to our contest site, and you’re entered to win great prizes like an iPad, an iPad mini, and an Olloclip iPhone lens system. We’ll also be exhibiting winners in the Autodesk Gallery in San Francisco so your work will not only be a prize winner — it will be seen by the thousands of people who visit the gallery every year.
Ready to enter? Get your design hat on, take some photos, and enter the Snap, Style & Share contest.
Pro tip: Tweet at us @pixlr with a link to your entry. We’ll try to retweet it and get you some added visibility. We want to see you win!
People make all kinds of things with Pixlr, and we stumbled on a new one this week: a book for guitar makers.
The author of the book, Brian Forbes, is a seasoned guitar maker who has put all his knowledge into Acoustic Guitar Making: How to make Tools, Templates, and Jigs. What caught our eye was his recommendation in the book that people use Pixlr Editor as a free tool for creating a custom soundhole label to add a finishing touch to a handmade guitar.
The soundhole label is the certificate pasted inside the body of a guitar that tells you who made it, where it was created, and when. And sometimes more. It’s both the birth certificate and certificate of authenticity for an instrument. Most of them are simple labels — black and white for the most part — but some have eye-catching illustrations and lustrous old patinas that seem to only get prettier with age.
We don’t have any guitar-making skills, but just for fun we made a guitar soundhole template (.pxd file) for our imaginary guitar-marking shop here at Pier 9, Flotsam & Jetsom.
Then, we gave it an old patina using Pixlr Express. Why not!
What are you making that’s different with Pixlr? Point us to your creations on Twitter @pixlr. We’d love to spotlight how you use our apps.
Every photo you enter in the Halloweeks contest gets you in the running for the Grand Prize of the Sony QX10, but each week we give out one or two prizes that follow the theme of the week. This week’s theme is “Halloween Decor” — photos of creative pumpkins, big bowls of candy, orange-and-black streamers, or a half-buried skeleton in the lawn. Anything that sets the mood for Halloween. It can be creepy, it can be scary, or it can just be a beautiful representation of Halloween seen through the lens of the smaller, more incidental stuff you see at this time of the year. Not sure what to photograph? Just run with a pumpkin pic and show us a really awesome pumpkin, for gourd’s sake.
This past week, we gave out two really great prizes. This week, we’re giving out two more. The person who shares the best photo based on our theme will get an Olloclip 3-IN-ONE lens system for the iPhone. It has a macro, fish-eye, and wide-angle lens that you can use to take some pretty interesting photos.
The second prize is for creativity with Pixlr — show us what you can do with Pixlr apps to enhance your Halloween photos. This prize will get a very special 24” x 36” custom canvas from our friends at CanvasPop. It’s a $179 value, and it’s a wonderful way to take a photo you love (or a bunch in a collage) and print it on a high-quality canvas. We’ve tried them out ourselves, and we’re incredibly impressed by the quality of their canvases. We’re thrilled to be offering this special creativity prize, and we’re looking forward to seeing what you can do.
Enter as many times as you like
Simply share your photos with the hashtag #halloweeks. We’ll be scouring the Internet looking for entries with this hashtag on these platforms: Twitter, Flickr, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr. Watch halloweeks.com to see if your entry has been chosen as a finalist. If your photo appears there, you’re in the running for a prize. Need more info? Go check it out!
Even better, if you’re not chosen as a winner this week, you’re still eligible for the grand prize: the Sony QX10.
We have two winners this week in the Pixlr Halloweeks Photo Challenge!
Joby GorillaPod winner Madmark NinetyNine
Many thanks to Madmark NinetyNine for sharing his photo of a scary devil riding a scooter. It really has an old feel to it, he did a great job adding effects, and the demon in question really does scare us. He looks like a Victorian-era demon — with a really sweet Vespa. Great job all the way around, Madmark!
Madmark, who joins the contest from Essex in the U.K., wins the Joby GripTight GorillaPod Stand. If you’ve never tried one of these things out, GorillaPods are amazing tripod-like devices that help you take better photos no matter where you are. You just just wrap this thing around a tree or pole or whatever and you’ve got an instant tripod. The GripTight version is custom-made for smartphones — a great thing to throw in your bag when you’re out and about taking photos.
CanvasPop custom canvas winner MrsKBad
Our other prize this week is the prize for creativity. The special creativity prize awards people for using Pixlr effects in unique or novel ways. We loved how MrsKBad took one of the recently added Marks stickers — the “Poison” skull sticker — and stuck it right where the moon should be on this spooky, cloudy night sky. MrsKBad, sending out photos from Cincinnati, Ohio, had a few other nice entries like this one of a devilish cherub statue that also uses some particular Pixlr Express effects in a new way, but we particularly like the skull as moon photo. Made us do a double take.
MrsKBad wins one of our special creativity prizes: a CanvasPop custom-made canvas with the photo of her choice. We’re huge fans of CanvasPop, who have generously provided three of these big canvases as prizes for the Halloweeks Photo Contest. If you’ve never heard of them before, their service is a wonderful way to take your photos and turn them into hang-able wall art. We’re giving away two more of these 24” x 36” canvas prizes for the next two weeks, so we highly encourage you to enter a photo that really uses Pixlr apps in a novel or unique way.
We’ll post about that theme more tomorrow with additional prize information, but if you want to get a jump-start on this week’s entries, this week’s theme is “Halloween Decor.” Just tag your photos #halloweeks on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Instagram or Tumblr. Read all about it on our contest site.
Today we flipped the switch on another piece of a big redesign. Check out our new home page.
Our team did an excellent job of taking what had been a well-worn page and updating it to reflect a whole new design language. It was time for this very trafficked web page to get a facelift, and it looks sharp.
This design shares a similar jumping off point that you may have noticed with the release of Pixlr Express 2.0 for iOS. If you’re a Pixlr Express Android users, you undoubtedly also saw a big change in design with the release of version 2.0 for Android this week. Not just new logos but wholly redesigned interfaces.
While this new home page is way prettier, there are a few important additions to the page that didn’t exist in the past:
First and foremost, you’ll see that you’ve got three big options to click on when you arrive at the page. Previously, you had to read and find the app you wanted and click on a link. Now, just click on one of those big logo graphics, and you’re in the editor of your choice.
Next, we’ve included a way for visitors to get to our very popular phone apps. In the past, those lived on a separate page, but there’s no reason to have people click through and click through again to get to what they want. Send them straight to the app stores from the home page.
Finally, you’ll notice a big block of content from this blog prominently displayed below the fold. These six content slots will help visitors see exactly what is new and locate any important announcements. It will help us promote tutorials we’ve created for our users, showcase the wonderful Pics of the Day our users share in our Pixlr on Flickr group, and get the word out about any contests we might be running. It’s designed with the Pixlr community in mind, and we encourage you to give it a glance whenever you come to visit us.
We hope you like the new design. In fact, we’d love to hear what you think. Hit us up on Twitter (@pixlr) with your redesign thoughts.
Congratulations to Week 1 Halloweeks Winner @dkblooms!
We have our first winner in the Pixlr Halloweeks Photo Challenge! Many thanks to @dkblooms for sharing her wonderful Halloween pics with us. She had a number of fine entries, but we loved her picture of a cobweb. Simple and evocative of Halloween no doubt about it. As the solo winner for Week 1, she gets a Speck CandyShell case of her choice. We’re dropping that in the mail today for you, Deb, and we hope it protects your iPhone so you can keep taking and sharing those wonderful photos.
Week 2 is already under way, and just about anyone can enter. Simply post and tag your Halloween photos #halloweeks on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Instagram or Tumblr. Read all about it on halloweeks.com.
Week 2 prizes include a Joby GripTight GorrilaPod and a custom-made canvas from CanvasPop. Everyone who enters throughout the month of October is eligible for the grand prize, the Sony QX10.
You can enter as often as you like. So, get going!
Pixlr Express 2.0 for Android: Collage and Add-a-Picture Features Now Available on Your Android Phone
Today we’re releasing a huge update to Pixlr Express for Android. It’s a fully redesigned look with a new interface and icons — and a few big new features.
First up: new interface
You’ll notice right away that this app looks different than the previous version. Nice and clean with a friendly welcome screen that lets you dive right in with something new or just pick the most recent photo you’ve taken — the “fresh” option. The last image you saved sits behind this welcome screen with a stylish blurred-out look and gives this splash screen some atmosphere.
Second big thing: collage
This is something our customers have asked for, and we’re happy to bring it to you. You’ve long been able to make collages on the web version of Pixlr Express, but starting today you can create the same rich collages directly on your Android device. You can pull in a ton of photos to make a giant collage, or just a few key ones to make a collage with a bunch of configuration options to control details like spacing between photos, roundness of borders, proportion controls for the entire collage — even some options for changing the color of your background.
Third big thing: Add image
Maybe you don’t want to create a collage but want to combine more than one image together or add a watermark. The new Pixlr Express lets you add a second (or third, or fourth, etc.) image and control its location and opacity. This is a great way to upload your own custom stickers if you’ve ever wished we had a special sticker for just what you need. Just upload it and start sticking.
One little thing
Doodle! We’ve added the Doodle option to the Android version. It’s just a way to draw freehand on your photos using your finger. A nice way to quickly mark up photos, you’ll find this new addition in the Adjustments area.
Speaking of stickers…
We’re also happy to announce that the old “Antiquarian” sticker pack from an older version of Pixlr Express is back in action, revived by the undying love of its fans. We’ve added it to Pixlr Express for the web, iPhone, and Android, so if you’ve missed those stickers, jump in and start plastering your old favorites onto your photos. And if you never even glanced at that sticker pack before, now is a great time to take a first look at something Pixlr users love.
We can’t promise things will always stay the same — we wouldn’t want them to. But we can promise that we make every change with our users in mind, and we’ll always be here to listen. Thanks to everyone who offered their pleas for the return of Antiquarian Victoriana stickers! Now get out there and old it up.
What are you going to make first? Share all your old-school creations or collages with us on Twitter or our Pixlr on Flickr group. We’ll shoot back a message (and maybe even our own Pixlr-made photo in response).
Week 2 Theme for Halloweeks Photo Challenge: "Scaredy Cats"
We’re rolling on through the month of October, which we’ve dubbed Halloweeks — because Halloween deserves more than just an Eve. We’re hoping to keep the Halloween spirit coursing through even the most undead veins for the entire month. And you can help. And win some prizes while doing it!
This week’s challenge: We want your scary stuff
Each week, we’re challenging people to follow a theme, and this week is “Scaredy Cats.” Haunted houses, ghosts or ghostly figures, figurative monsters. Anything scary — either seriously or in jest. We will gladly accept literal photos of scared cats for the weekly challenge. Seriously!
Prizes this week: Joby GorillaPod & CanvasPop artwork
We are incredibly thrilled to have two sponsors this week: Joby, the makers of amazingly useful tripod-like, totally unique accessories, and CanvasPop, a top-notch printing service that will turn the photo of your choice into hanging wall art. This week we’re giving away a Joby GripTight GorillaPod to the best scary photo and a 24x36-inch printed canvas from CanvasPop to the most creative entry.
Enter as many times as you like
We’ve made this as dead-simple as possible to enter. Simply share your photos with the hashtag #halloweeks. We’ll be scouring the Internet looking for entries with this hashtag on these platforms: Twitter, Flickr, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr. Watch halloweeks.com to see if your entry has been chosen as a finalist. If your photo appears there, you’re in the running for a prize. Need more info? Go check it out!
Even better, if you’re not chosen as a winner this week, you’re still eligible for the grand prize: the Sony QX10:
Some of our favorite Pixlr People post their beautiful photos in our Pixlr on Flickr group. Some of these folks are real standouts, continually sharing images that blow us away either with their subject matter, their sense of style, or the way they use Pixlr apps to do creative things we never would have thought to do ourselves. We’ll be spotlighting these creative PIxlr People with some Q&A sessions on this blog; we want you to check out their work. They’re good. First up: k8rry from the U.K. She makes some very artistic and stylish images with Pixlr Express. And she has a great sense of humor!
What kind of things inspire your photos, and how long have you been at it?
I’d like to say I was inspired by National Geographic magazine landscapes, Dada montages, and the work of Man Ray, but in truth I merely want to take pictures that are in focus and don’t cut off people’s heads — unlike the ones my mum took of me in childhood (thanks mum).
I’ve always taken photos since getting my first Instamatic camera at age eight, but it wasn’t until I discovered Flickr and various apps (I use Pixlr Express and Pixlr-o-matic, Poladroid, Retro Camera, Lomo Camera & Vignette) that I found I could turn my mediocre holiday photos into “artsy” snapshots. My current inspiration is all the excellent photographers on Flickr and the vogue for toy cameras.
I own a DSLR (Canon EOS 400D), but I’m a snapshot girl at heart, so I mainly use a point and shoot (currently a Panasonic DMC-TZ30) and a smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy Ace.
What kind of themes do you usually pursue?
I use quotes from favourite books, films, poems, and songs on photos — as well as to title my photos so there is probably a subconscious theme of sorts there. I also shamelessly rip off/pay homage to famous works of art. For example, artist Tracey Emin’s My Bed sculpture inspired my photo Fill The Empty Space With Hopes & Dreams and Wolfgang Tillmans’ Concorde photos inspired my photo Come Fly With Me. Otherwise my photos are fairly standalone records of my daily life and my worldview. They also document the increasing popularity of mobile photography apps and my attempts to master them.
Are there any special subjects that regularly catch your eye?
I’m quite keen on street art and have been approached by Hero De Janeiro about using some of my Amsterdam street art photos in his next book. I also seem to photograph a lot of statues and sculptures. I live in the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle. Other than that, I seem to focus on nature and travel.
Do you use a lot of effects, overlays, filters?
Most of my recent photos have effects added, usually in a slipshod and haphazard manner. I’m the poster child for the “try it and see what it looks like; it can’t be any worse than the original” school of post processing. Occasionally, I see a photo that looks good straight out of the camera and I leave well alone. This doesn’t happen often.
Is there anything on your Pixlr wish list? Something we should add to our apps?
I’d like to retain the use of all sticker packs that are issued [instead of rotating them out seasonally]. Also, when text is entered, I’d like the ability to keep it across all font packs without having to re-enter it if you change the choice of font. Finally, I’d like to preserve the EXIF data from my camera, especially the date it was taken. Other than that, keep surprising us with new effects.
The winds of Internet design have been changing when it comes to avatars: They are increasingly becoming circular.
A number of major social networks have adopted rounded profile pictures, which has spurred this trend on further. The main reason behind it seems to be HTML5. With HTML5, web app developers have a lot more flexibility with how they treat images, and making circular avatars seems to be a “because they now can” option. It’s become quite trendy.
If you love circular avatars but your favorite social site doesn’t offer them, you can create one with Pixlr Editor. Using a simple layer mask to surround your photo with a circular “border,” you can quickly and easily create the effect of a round image. If you’ve never used layer masks before, this is an excellent introduction.
Step 1: Prepare your canvas
I like to start by getting my layers all set up so I can work in an organized way. With the image you want to “circularize” open in Pixlr Editor, unlock the background layer and create a second layer — a new background layer that you will place underneath the layer containing your image. Paint the background of the new background layer white if you want a white background. Leave it transparent if you prefer a transparent background. I painted mine white.
Step 2: Draw your circle
You’re going to draw a circle on your profile image layer. Choose the Marquee tool and select the circular option in additional tools. Note that if you select the constraint for “Aspect ratio” and set that to 1:1 the circle you draw will be completely round. Simply choose a starting point in the upper-left hand of your image and draw the circle. You’ll see it outlined as a selection with dotted lines.
Step 3: Add your layer mask
The area you drew and that is selected is ready to be turned into a layer mask. Choose “Add layer mask” from the Layer menu. You’ll notice that your Layers toolbar now has a green circle on your profile picture layer. You’ll also notice that everything on that layer except the area of the circle you drew has disappeared. You can do a lot with masks like this to cut out or reveal parts of a layer.
Step 4: Clean up your image
You may need to resize your profile picture, and you can do that by choosing “Free transform” from the Edit menu while you have that layer selected. Free transform lets you drag the corners of the layer to resize it (hold down the Shift key to resize the layer with a constrained 1:1 proportion). Once you have your profile picture framed in the circle the way you want it, you might want to crop the entire image so that it’s square. Most social network services will upload a square image, so you might as well make it square now. I added a green background to show you how you can color the background if you want.
And that’s it. It’s quite easy to make an avatar like this and worth learning if you want to develop your layer masking skills further.
Need more help? Try this template
Layer masks can be tricky, so I’ve created a .pxd template to help out if you’re having a hard time getting started. You can download it here. You might want to save a copy of that template to your Pixlr Library so you’ll always have a quick way to make circular avatars.
Soft portrait effects, too
You can use this masking technique to put an oval background around a portrait, too. You might want to choose a 2:3 aspect ratio or something similar to give it the right oval look. You also might want to turn up the feathering to get a very soft transition from the photo to a white background. This is a look that you might see in a glamour shot or school photo. Note the feathering setting I’ve chosen:
Halloweeks Week 1 Theme: The Ghost of Halloween Past
The Pixlr Halloweeks Photo Challenge kicked off yesterday. The first weekly prize is a Speck CandyShell iPhone or Android case. This week’s theme? The Ghost of Halloween Past.
Share your photo of a previous year’s costume or something from Halloween yesteryear. Remember, anything Halloween is eligible for the grand and special prizes so every entry will be eligible for a prize throughout October. But the Week 1 iPhone/Android prize will go to a pic of an old Halloween costume or something that is clearly old and creepy. Maybe it’s a costume you wore or that someone else donned 10 years ago. Maybe it’s something 100 years old that you’ve given a new spin on with Pixlr Express. Whatever says “old Halloween” will be considered.
The Pixlr Halloweeks Photo Challenge: Because Halloween Deserves a Whole Month
Today we’re launching a brand-new contest for everyone who uses Pixlr apps: The Halloweeks Photo Challenge. It’s a casual contest that’s incredibly easy to enter and that has a bunch of interesting prizes — including the just-released and completely unique Sony QX10 wireless camera lens.
We’ll be giving away a new prize every week in October, culminating in our grand prize — plus 3 special creativity prizes to put your artwork on beautiful, big canvases courtesy of CanvasPop. All you have to do is share a photo that screams out Halloween on Twitter, Flickr, Instagram, Facebook, or Tumblr with the hashtag #halloweeks. You can follow our weekly prompts or just share anything you think embodies the spirit of Halloween — a haunted-looking house, a creatively carved pumpkin, a particularly awesome zombie costume from last year. Anything and everything “Halloween” will be considered for a prize.
As you undoubtedly know, Pixlr apps have tons of effects, overlays, and stickers that can be used to make a very convincing and atmospheric Halloween image. You’ve got grunge effects, bloody stains, skulls, radioactive overlays, and all manner of vintage filters you can use to take an everyday image and make it creepy, cool, or ghostly. If you can make something Edgar Allen Poe would approve of, you’re on the right track. So, get to it. Creep us out — or just make us feel the mood of Halloween.
How to enter
We’ve made the #halloweeks photo contest very easy to enter:
Take a photo and edit it using Pixlr Editor, Pixlr Express, or Pixlr-o-matic.
Share your creation on popular social media sites with the hashtag #halloweeks. We’ll be scouring the Internet looking for entries with this hashtag on these platforms: Twitter, Flickr, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr.
Check halloweeks.com to see if your entry has been chosen as a finalist. Every day we will choose the best photos we see with the hashtag #halloweeks and re-post them to halloweeks.com. If your photo appears on halloweeks.com, you are in the running for a prize.
What you can win
Win a weekly prize: Prizes will be awarded each week in October based on the theme for that particular week. Check halloweeks.com or this blog for the current week’s theme.
We’ll give away the Sony QX10 lens at the end of October to the best overall Halloween pic. You can submit your best overall pic anytime during the month of October — or even on the night of Halloween. Everyone who enters will be eligible for the grand prize.
Best use of Pixlr apps = special creativity prizes: We’ll award three gift certificates from CanvasPop for a 24”x30” print to the three images that we think most creatively use Pixlr apps and their effects to illustrate the general theme of Halloween.