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.
It’s been nearly four weeks since we began the Snap, Style & Share contest. Since then, we’ve seen all kinds of beautiful entries, including some of the beautiful photos above. Some of these entries were submitted awhile back, but some are quite new. One of them came out of nowhere and leapt up near the top of the leaderboard this week.
There’s plenty of time for you to join in and share your best Pixlr Express edited photos. Multiple winners will be getting iPads and lots of other prizes, and entering is quick and easy.
A reminder that anyone can vote, so even if you don’t enter the contest, we welcome all of your likes, loves, and votes in the contest gallery.
Interview: Android Editors Photo Sharing Community
One of our favorite photo-sharing communities has to be Android Editors. They always get high-quality submissions, nearly all of which are taken with smartphones. You may have encountered a few of them in our Pixlr on Flickr group, or you may have seen some of their work when we teamed up with them for the #AE_Pixlr Challenge not too long ago. We’re always seriously impressed with the quality of work their community creates — some of it quite carefully edited using Pixlr Express and similar photo apps to create beautiful works of art. We wanted to find out a bit more about what they do, so we sat down with two of their founding members, Josh St. Germain and Jessii Powers.
How did Android Editors start?
Josh: It all started a few months after Instagram hit the Android market. I quickly became impressed by what people were doing with photos taken and edited with their smartphones. I would look for all these apps that the iPhone Instagrammers were mentioning, but with no luck. I struggled to find a handful of decent editing apps (Pixlr-o-matic was one of my first favorites). I started bumping into other people who were app frustrated like myself. One of those people was Atle Ronningen. Last September, Atle asked if I wanted to team up and start a group that would share Android mobile photography knowledge.
Who else helps runs the community?
Josh: It didn’t take long before we started bringing on other influential droiders. Our first recruit was Jacob Dix, an AMPt member from Sweden, followed by the fabulous Pernille Scheele from Norway. Once we were set on our path, we brought on Jessii Powers, Tom Nussbaum, and Edu Cambra. Tom and Edu were iPhone users who were huge supporters of the mobile photography community, as well as friends of ours. We felt it was necessary to show our support of all mobile photography, no matter the type of device. We scouted around for some writers who could add quality articles — Nakeva Corothers and Hannah Teoh — the two newest members of Android Editors. We each have our strengths and contribute where it’s most beneficial.
Your community participates in a lot of places online. How do all of these spaces work for you?
Josh: Instagram will always be our most interactive platform, seeing that we got our start there. Once we developed AndroidEditors.com, we began using Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, AMPtCommunity.com, and EyeEm for article “teasers” that would bring our audience back to the main website to view the entire article. We still run specific projects on certain channels that function as community engagement tools, much like the recent #AE_Pixlr challenge. There are three Android Editors who are also on the admin panel of AMPtCommunity.com. AMPt has been one of the most influential groups on Instagram (and for the entire mobile community) since before Instagram even hit the Android market. AMPt and Android Editors are like family members.
One of the things that impresses us about your community is how explanatory community members can be when describing how they edited an image. How do you get people to be so thoughtful when they’re sharing?
Jessii: I have yet to meet a single person who wouldn’t explain their editing process if you asked them, and generally they tell you more than you could’ve ever hoped. There really isn’t anything we have to do. It just sort of happens. When we feature members we are always as detailed as we can be, and when we reach out to them they do the same in the spirit of sharing, learning, teaching, supporting one another and growing as artists.
I occasionally see an event halfway across the globe that brings together phone-based photographers for a gallery exhibition. Are there any events like this you think others should check out?
Josh: Absolutely. In spring of this year three Android Editors members were speakers at a mobile photography conference in Spain called D-ive. This was the first taste of “real life” involvement that we had been part of. One of our goals is to take a more local community-based approach and host photo walks, workshops, etc. The future is full of potential.
What are some of your other goals?
Josh: In a simple sense, or goal has always been to be the number one source for Android photography and editing knowledge. Even if that means sharing links to other groups or blogs, we want to share that information. We have to constantly be scouting for new talent that needs to be highlighted, news about devices, news about apps, writing or facilitating tutorials, events. Basically, we need to absorb all things Android and share it with our growing audience in as many ways as possible.
Another major goal of AE is to connect app developers and device companies with our community. Our community is a rich resource of beta testers. We want app developers to know to come to us if they want quality testers and feedback on their product. Being able to be the middle man in those circumstances is something that brings a huge smile to our faces.
What’s the best way for people to get involved with the Android Editors community?
Jessii: Follow us everywhere or anywhere. We’re always hosting something, whether it be a theme week, a challenge like we did with Pixlr, or weekly discussions hosted by Josh.
Join Android Editors for a photo challenge
Android Editors is always offering up a new photo challenge, so consider joining in. They just wrapped up their latest challenge, which encouraged people to turn an everyday sign into an exceptional photo using a smartphone. Check out some of the featured entries:
Turn Your Photos into Art with New "Stylize" Effects in Pixlr Express for iOS 7
"How can I make my photo look like a drawing or a sketch?"
That’s a request we’ve heard more frequently over time. People look to Pixlr Express as a do-it-all app that includes all the photo editing tools they need to do the heavy lifting of photo editing, but they also want a steady stream of unique effects to help them get creative. We love to see people make their own small works of art directly from their smartphones, and today we’re thrilled to announce a whole new batch of effects to stoke your creativity: Stylize.
This set of effects can be found in the iOS 7 version of Pixlr Express under the “Adjustments” tab. You’ll discover about a dozen options for turning your photos into something that looks like it was done in a different medium or on a special type of material: pencil drawings, silkscreen prints, dappled dabs of color, polygonal constructions, rough sketches, halftone dots, posterizing, cross-hatching, watercolors, india ink, lithographs — a whole bunch of ways to add some non-photorealistic interestingness to portraits, landscapes, or anything else that needs some creative flair.
In addition, this update to Pixlr Express for iOS 7 increases the preview size for retina display devices, making the in-app experience much more vivid. And, if you rushed out to buy an iPhone 5S (or ordered one and are patiently waiting for it to show up), the new iSight camera and controls in the 5S — image stabilization, TrueTone flash, and a new sensor — will make every picture you take and edit in Pixlr Express that much more beautiful.
This release follows hot on the heels of last weeks’ big iOS 7 release that totally revamped Pixlr Express for iOS. If you’ve already started using the new collage tool or are ready to try out these new Stylize effects, we’d love to see what you’re making. Tag your photos with #pixlr on popular social media sites, and we may just weigh in with a like or a pic of our own for you.
New Pixlr Express: Redesigned for iOS 7 with Collage & Add Image Features
Just about everyone with an iPhone is excited about the iOS 7 release. It happens today, and we’ve been preparing for it for months. If you’re a Pixlr Express user with an iPhone or iPad, you’ll find a new update waiting for you. It’s a fully redesigned app with a gorgeous new interface. But it’s also got a few big features people have been asking us to add: the ability to create a collage directly from your phone and the ability to add an image.
A brand-new splash screen
You’ll immediately notice a difference with this app. The home or splash screen that you see when you open up the app is nice and clean. And customized for you. The most recent image you edited and saved is now your background screen’s decoration — treated with a stylistic blur. Want to open or edit the most recent image saved to your phone’s camera roll? The “fresh” button will grab that image for quick editing.
A fully redesigned interface (and logo)
People have always been happy with the general design of the Pixlr Express interface, but it’s been sporting the same look for a long time. It was time for a redesign. Apple has moved everyone forward with iOS 7 by encouraging app makers to implement a whole new design language, and we’re fully on board with these kinds of changes. We’ve been working hard to give Pixlr Express a design refresh, but we haven’t changed the way our app works. You’ll find it works in much the same way, although a few details of the interface are different. The reset and favorite buttons (for saving your favorite effects) are now handily located in the upper-left corner by themselves, and the color splash feature now is simply (more minimally) called “splash.” The changes probably won’t be jarring. We expect people will welcome this fresh look.
Faster pack downloads
Pixlr Express comes with plenty of packs of effects, overlays, borders, type, and stickers by default, but there are a ton of extra ones to download if you want them. In the past, those downloads of individual sticker packs sometimes took a few seconds to get to your phone. Ugh. Too long. We worked on that. You’ll find these packs will now download lickety-split. Practically instantaneous. Just like you, we want apps to work quickly, without pesky interruptions. When you’re getting creative, the last thing you want to do is wait.
Add an image
You can now add an image to the current image you’re editing and control its location and opacity. This is a really creative tool for image-editing experts that will allow you to create things like double exposure images or add watermarks to your photos. But it’s probably most easily understood as a way to add your own custom stickers or make a different kind of collage. Just upload a second image and add it to the one you’re currently working on. Boom! Picture-on-picture action.
The web version of Pixlr Express has long had a collage feature, and it’s always been hugely popular. Now you can do it all from your iOS device. Grab up to 25 images (25!) and make a collage out of them using a staggering amount of layout options. We’ve added fine-tuning controls for spacing, roundness of borders, proportion controls, and the ability to change the color of the background. Most important of all: It satisfies a request from our users that we know people will use to make really beautiful and creative collages.
Still supported for iOS 6. Still more to come.
If you’re not ready to update to iOS 7… don’t worry. The app will work just fine with iOS 6 and will be ready when you’re ready to upgrade. Have an Android phone? Don’t fret. The much-requested collage feature is planned for Android, too.
What are you making with the new Pixlr Express?
The highlights of our days are when we get to see what you make with the tools we’ve made for you. Share your photos with the hashtag #pixlr on your favorite social networking sites. Chances are we’ll see them and respond if we can. Or, join our Pixlr on Flickr group. We highlight a new Pic of the Day every day on this blog and to our 2.5 million Facebook fans. We’d love to see what you’re making with the new Pixlr Express.
New Stickers: Spills, Stains, Splatters & Splotches
Sticker fanatics rejoice! Today we’re releasing another pack of stickers for Pixlr Express users. This time around, we’ve added Marks. These splashy stain-y stickers include some creepy skulls, slashes, and smudges, but it’s not all gore and ooginess. You’re also getting some paint spills and coffee smudges — it’s a whole set of splatters and splotches.
This sticker pack harkens back to an older sticker pack that contained lots of spills, stains, and splatter, but this new set has been completely redesigned. Better stickers and more control over the colors of your splashy stains. What are you waiting for? Start making some marks.