Pixlr was brought to my attention by subscriber Trev Wood. It’s a free, online, image-editing application that duplicates much of the functionality of Adobe Photoshop. In fact, some are saying that it has the kind of functionality that might replace Photoshop in an iPad environment.
You can access it here.
I gave the app a little test drive and found the following:
- It’s Flash-based, so you’re going to need a Flash plug-in installed.
- Upload an image, work it, and then download it back to your computer.
- Familiar Photoshop-esque interface.
- No registration
- Opens JPEGs, PNGs, GIFs and Photoshop (.psd) documents.
- Honors the layers of a layered Photoshop file.
- Tons of tools and filters
- It took a long time to load an 8.8×3″, 300 dpi, CMYK, layered Photoshop file.
- Does not open TIFF or EPS files.
- Unable to create a text box — only text-in-a-line functionality similar to pre-CS Photoshop.
- Although the layers of the Photoshop file are honored, saving options are limited to JPEG, BMP, PNG and PXD (layered Pixlr image)
- The PXD file will retain the layers, but it is not recognized by Photoshop.
- The PXD file is not recognized by Adobe InDesign either.
- Interface can be wonky. I mistakenly clicked a layer and dragged it to the History pallet — and lost it there.
- Mac-users will have to adjust to using the Control button in place of the Command button.
- Although some tools resemble Photoshop, they lack the functionality (for example, holding down the Option button while clicking with the Zoom tool does not zoom out on the image.
- No Revert to Saved command — so if you paint yourself into the corner, you have to re-upload and start from the beginning.
- No control over image mode (CMYK, RGB, Grayscale, Bitmap, etc).
I could see this coming in handy at a convention or over vacation. For example, if you need to make a change to your comic, and you’re away from your computer. However, I don’t think this app (or others like it such as Picnik and Fotoflexer) have Adobe shaking in their boots yet. (In fact, Adobe already has its own online image editor, Photoshop Express, (but that one requires a registration).
But this is also worth keeping an eye on — especially for the early iPad adopters. According to one source, this app is barely over a year old. And functions such as cropping were added as recently as December 2009. It’s very possible that many of the cons listed above could be addressed by the end of the year.