Pixlr Touch Up, our works-online-and-offline photo app for Chrome just got a new touch up of its own. We just released version 1.2, which comes a few weeks after the last upgrade. If you’ve never tried it out, we encourage you to install this handy photo editor and give it a go. It’s free and works especially well if you use Google Drive to save your photos.
So, what’s new? Here’s the breakdown.
If you’ve used one of our other apps, Pixlr Express, you may have encountered the Focal Blur feature. It’s a great way to put a spotlight on one area of your photo and blur out the rest. It makes you look like a pro with a dSLR. You can choose between a circular focus or a linear one that rotates a full 360 degrees to draw attention to one area of an image.
One of the requests we heard from users of this app is that they wanted common cropping options. A lot of people love square photos, but some people also recommended we add other common aspect ratios like 5:4, 4:3, 3:2 and 16:9. If you regularly like to crop images using specific, common aspect ratios, you’ll be very happy to see these one-click options.
New color adjustment: warmth and vibrance
Sometimes you just want to tweak the color to bump it up or down a little. You’ve been able to adjust the Hue and Saturation controls with Touch Up in the past; now, you can tweak warmth and vibrance.
The new Warmth controls let you put a color cast on your photos. A little bit goes a long way, and we encourage you to try this tool out to see how it can add some nice balance to a photo that is for whatever reason off in its color composition. Pull the slider down to make it cooler, and your lighter tones will take on an increasingly bluish tint. Drag the slider up toward the warmer end of the scale, and you’ll see results that become increasingly more yellow, orange and ultimately red.
Where saturation uniformly increases the intensity of all colors — which can sometimes result in over-saturation — vibrance increases the intensity of muted colors. A great example of when you might want to use this is with a portrait. Using vibrance can prevent your skin tones from becoming over-saturated. Don’t want that skin to look orange? Use the Vibrance setting. Here’s an example of vibrance at work:
Live JPG preview
Finally, we’ve added something we think everyone who uses Touch Up will love: the ability to preview your image quality before saving. A lot of people want to keep their file sizes down, but they’re afraid to commit to a lower file size without knowing how it will turn out. This new preview lets you drag a slider to see exactly how big or small your file will be AND see exactly how that might compromise the quality of your image.
With the exception of the live JPG preview, all of these features were added in response to user feedback, so please keep it coming! Let us know in our support forum what you think of Pixlr Touch Up and what we should add next.
Gmail has been getting better and better over the years, and Google recently added something new we think you’ll love — the ability to open attached images directly from Gmail using Pixlr apps. We’re going to show you how it works with Pixlr Express.
Save your images to Google Drive with one click
If you use Google Drive to store your images, you’ll be very happy to see that you can now easily plop them into the cloud with one click — without having to open any new windows. You can also choose where to place them if you want to nest them in folders, although that’s not required. This type of direct to Google Drive option is a huge improvement for people who use their Google Drive as their photo backup system.
Open your images in Pixlr apps
Image attachments will appear as thumbnails in Gmail. Clicking on them brings up a nice photo browser mode, which has some important and helpful options. What we love about this photo browser is that if you’ve installed a Pixlr Chrome app, you can now simply click on “Open with” and you’ll see your Pixlr Chrome apps listed right there. If you don’t have any Chrome apps installed, Google will suggest one for you. There’s a good chance that will be one of our apps. If you like the idea of having quick access to a photo editor directly from Gmail, this might be a great time to install one of these apps.
Save back to Google Drive
Even better, when you use the Pixlr Express to open up an image from Gmail, you can now save it right back to your Google Drive without having to navigate any confusing menus. Just click on “Save and replace” or “Save as copy” to put your edited photo back in its place in Google Drive.
Want to install these Chrome Apps so you can take advantage of this Google Drive integration? Check out the Pixlr Express and Pixlr Editor apps in the Chrome Web Store.
If you entered our Snap, Style & Share contest, we’d like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We were overwhelmed by the creativity people showed in their entries.
This contest wasn’t just about taking good photos. It was also about what you could do to improve photos using Pixlr Express to showcase an example of interesting design, whether that design was found in nature, in machinery, or in abstract detail. The winning submissions came from around the globe, with four from India, three from the U.S., one from the U.K., and one from Indonesia. This wasn’t surprising to us. Pixlr Express is quite popular internationally.
What do these people win? First and foremost, their work will be professionally framed and showcased in the Autodesk Gallery in San Francisco. This space is open to the public and popular with both tourists and locals for their regular tours. (Stop by if you’re ever in San Francisco!) The winning work will have an audience of many, many thousands of people, but winners also get an Apple iPad and a few other smaller gifts. Most important, our winners get a great portfolio piece and hopefully a fun experience they can share with their family and friends.
Ready for the next contest? You can sign up to be notified about future Autodesk design competitions here. We’re always planning a new way to help people get creative and create digital art, so please join us!
We’re big fans of our Pixlr on Flickr members. They share some of the most creative photos they’ve enhanced with Pixlr apps. We’ve been profiling some of them lately — most recently k8rry and Sonel. Today we have another one for you with Aldrin Gersalia — aka Prisbourne. His photos are incredibly creative, and we really love how he can take what might seem like a simple close-up of a mundane object and turn it into something strikingly artistic with just a few key effects in Pixlr Express. It’s clear he knows his way around our apps.
Aldrin teaches Practical Arts to grade 7 and 8 at Escuela De Sophia school in the Philippines. He takes his Canon with him wherever he goes, and he told us he often edits photos before he goes to sleep. Maybe that’s why so many of his photos have a dreamy feel to them. We asked him a few questions to find out more about who he is and what he does.
Pixlr: Are you a pro or amateur photographer? What kind of equipment do you use?
Aldrin: I am an amateur. Before, I used to use my Nokia E71 smartphone when capturing photos, but I found out those photos from my Nokia are not so good in terms of defining image details compared to those from a dSLR camera. After using Pixlr-o-matic and Photoshop I started dreaming about getting my own dSLR camera to take better photos. Now, I use my Canon Eos 600D and a Samsung Galaxy S2 smartphone.
Pixlr: What kind of things inspire you? Are there themes or subjects that people might notice show up a lot in your photos?
Aldrin: People who surround me, my profession, my friends, and sometimes my mood inspire me. I always try to capture photos which I think are unique, and I like to join photo contests that challenge me to improve my skills in enhancing photos. I like to use sports mode in my dSLR to capture every moment — especially the fast-moving ones.
Pixlr: I’m not sure where I learned this, but I think you’re a teacher, correct? Do you do anything photography-related with your students?
Aldrin: Yes! I’m an educator from Escuela De Sophia. I use photos edited in Pixlr Express as background images in my school PowerPoint presentations. Once, after a discussion, some students started asking what tool I used with my photos. Because of that they started using Pixlr effects in their photos and some even joined the Pixlr on Flickr group.
Pixlr: Is there anything you’d like to see in our app(s) that isn’t there yet?
Aldrin: Sometimes I want to flip images and stickers [horizontally and vertically], so I have to use Photoshop to do it.
Pixlr: Interesting. You’re the second person this week to request that. You can flip images horizontally and vertically using the Rotate tool in Pixlr Express (which may not be very apparent) but not stickers. I’ll pass that suggestion along to the team.
Pixlr: Where’s the best place to view your photos online?
Announcing the Halloweeks Photo Contest Grand Prize Winner
We have a Grand Prize winner in our Halloweeks photo contest! Our goal with this contest was to get the Pixlr community to make and share photos around the subject of Halloween. We thought that Halloween — which is traditionally celebrated just one night each year — deserved more. So we made it a month-long celebration of anything and everything Halloween related. We’ve given out different prizes every week, and today we’re ready to announce the winner of the Grand Prize, the totally unique Sony QX-10 lens.
Big thanks go out to Sarah Lewis (silverbutterfly on Instagram) from Essex, England for sharing her winning photo. We love that this image is sketchy, and we especially love that the effects make it almost look like a comic book done in separate panels. It uses quite a few of the Halloween stickers we added to Pixlr Express and has just the right amount of spooky and pretty. To sum up: It’s a great image on its own, she’s used a creative treatment for the image, it’s definitely got some Halloween flair to it, and it uses quite a few effects from our apps. All in all, that adds up to a winner. We’ll be popping the Sony QX-10 in the mail to you this week, Sarah!
Huge, massive, gigantic thanks to everyone who entered this contest. Just for fun, we’ve collected some of our favorites from the competition into a big collage (below). There are simply too many great ones in the contest to list here, but you can always head to halloweeks.com to check out all of the entries.
The response to our multi-week Halloweeks Photo Contest has been huge! Thank you for everyone who took time out to submit an entry. The deadline to enter was midnight on Halloween Eve, and we accepted entries right up until the deadline. Lots of last-minute entries!
Just scrolling through the entries at halloweeks.com we can see that choosing a winner for the Grand Prize isn’t going to be easy. We’ll be weighing all the merits of our favorites this weekend, and we’ll announce a winner next week on this blog and on the contest site and everywhere else we get our word out. If you’ve submitted a photo anytime in the month of October, you’re eligible for the Grand Prize of a Sony QX-10.
It’s too late to enter this contest, but it’s not too late to use the Halloween sticker pack in Pixlr Express. The stickers will be available until November 8th.
Now if you’ll excuse us, we’ve got a difficult task ahead of us — picking the best of the bunch.
Pixlr Touch Up is our new app for Chrome that works really great in conjunction with Google Drive. It’s a photo editor built on new technology that you can use directly through your browser even when you’re offline. This week, we’re celebrating its first big upgrade to version 1.1. Huzzah!
We released this new app in the Chrome App Store two months ago, and we’ve been building it up bit-by-bit to include new features. Here’s what’s new in Pixlr Touch Up.
We’ve added five new effects packs. If you’ve used Pixlr Express before, you’ll probably recognize many of these. We’ve taken some of the more popular effects from Pixlr Express and added them to Touch Up. This new app doesn’t have the zillions of effects, overlays, borders, and stickers that you see in Pixlr Express, but we wanted to add some of the proven winners from our other apps to give people options. We’ll be watching closely to see how often they get used, and we’re always open to hearing what kind of special effects should be included in Pixlr Touch Up.
Google Drive picker
One of the absolute best pieces of feedback we got from our early adopters of this app was the request for us to include thumbnails and a search apparatus for people who are opening up files from Google Drive. People take many thousands of photos with today’s digital cameras and smartphones, and some people drop them all into Google Drive. It makes total sense to have a more refined way to dig into that large pile of photos to find the one you want. Now, you can search by filename or browse your image files a lot easier. We know this will be one of the most used features, so thank you to those of you who asked for it.
Supports higher resolution images
There is a detail about photos that is becoming more important over time: resolution. Camera and smartphone manufacturers seem to be entering a new horse race around capturing higher megapixel images, which means people are increasingly capturing photos that are — resolution-wise — massive. For that reason, we’ve increased the limits for opening high-megapixel images for people who bring a lot of pixels with their photos. For example, you can now open up a 16,000 x 11,000 pixel image with Touch Up. You may not have pixel-heavy images like this, but if you do this will make a big difference.
Supports lower resolution screens
On the other side of the resolution coin, we want Touch Up to be as useful as possible for as many people as possible. To take into account lower resolution monitors, we’ve lowered the minimum size of the editing window of Touch Up. Chances are you won’t notice this detail, but if you have a low-resolution monitor being able to resize the editing window to fit your monitor is essential.
Support for Windows 8
Pixlr Touch Up began as a Chrome App, and it still is a Chrome App, but we’ve added support for Windows 8 Chrome users. This is part of our ongoing roll-out of support for additional browsers and systems. We’re not ready to expand the app to other browsers just yet, but if you’re a Windows 8 who also loves Chrome, you can now start using Touch Up.
Beyond that, we have a few small bug fixes and improvements in this week’s release. Want to know more details about Pixlr Touch Up? Want to ask us a question, share an idea, or report a bug with this new app? We’re available on our customer support forum for feedback about Touch Up and all of our other apps.
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?