The Picnik is over…

…or at least it will be, soon. If you, like me, are already a big Picnik user, you’ll know by now that Google are closing it down in April & integrating some (not all) of it’s features into Google+ in an attempt to force more people to use their facebook alternative.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll resent this sly move & try to find an alternative rather than be forced to use a platform you weren’t going to use on it’s own merits (although I did try, when it was new, for about a week…).

After perusing twitter links &, ironically, Google searches, I’ve found two online editors that certainly aren’t Picnik, but could fill the void somewhat. Below is my original photo of Suspence which I’ll be using to demonstrate what these two programs could do.


Exhibit A: Pixlr Express.


I think this is what I’ll be turning to, at least initially. The Pixlr Express interface is nice & clean & the functions are smooth & easy to use. I really like the overlays & you can easily adjust the basics like brightness/contrast.


It has plenty of nice filters to choose from & many, many, many more borders than I can ever imagine utilising, but it doesn’t have some of the things I really love Picnik for, like airbrushing which I often use as a kind of more specific focal soften (where you can focus on one area of the picture & it blurs the rest)… speaking of which, Pixlr Express doesn’t even have that. Here’s my Pixlr Express’ed Suspence;


As you can see, I really went to town with the effects, normally I wouldn’t edit a picture this much, with overlays & filters & a crazy border, but for the purposes of this demonstration I decided to click a whole bunch of things & hope for the best.

Exhibit B: BeFunky.

Yeah… the name is a bit of put off right there, but I have been using the app version on my iPod so I thought I’d give the web version a run too.


The interface is… juvenile I guess, and you won’t be able to ignore the advertising easily, or their bold attempts to get you to upgrade at every turn, but if you can get past that there are some nice effects to be had in just a few clicks, it differs from Pixlr Express in that it has some arty effects in addition to photo filters, I’m not a huge fan of those but they can be fun to experiment with. BeFunky have stickers too which I know some people loved to utilize on Picnik.

My BeFunky’ed Suspence:


Special mention: Sumo Paint.

I couldn’t find another online editor that will help you fake the depth of field like Picnik (Why I don’t know, nearly every image editing app for the iPhone or iPod do it almost as a default), but Sumo Paint at least lets you try with it’s Linear blur filter.


Sumo Paint looks & is much more complicated than Picnik ever was, and I honestly think if you’re going to take the time to learn & use Sumo Paint that it would be more worthwhile to learn & use Photoshop or it’s free equivalent Gimp instead. I can use Photoshop & I like it, but it really does take a lot of time & effort to get a photo looking as good as Picnik did with three or four clicks, which is why I am so damn bummed about it closing in the first place… I might not want to be forced into the realms of Google+ just to access the Picnik features I love, but, after all this, it might happen anyway.

More online editors to try for yourself:



Big Huge Labs


Feel free to let me know about any others you’ve tried or like in the comments – believe me, I want to know!


  1. I am so frustrated that Google is closing picnik, sheesh! I have tried Pixlr and FotoFlexer and find them clunky and not nearly as good, but there seems to be few alternatives. Photoshop is great but takes a considerable amount of time, plus I've only scratched the surface there. Woe is us, I love picnik for how user friendly and quick it is. Stupid google!

  2. I'm probably the wrong person to ask, as I love my photos, but I've been hanging onto Microsoft picture it! photo 2001 for over 10 years (even running virtual PC on windows 7 to run it), but lately I've been jumping to my iPhone or iPad if I need a quick and dirty edit for the blog.

  3. Wow I've never used any of these. Thanks for the little review of them Vic. x

  4. thanks for the links, was meaning to do a post about it too.
    i guess you may have to get your head around photoshop.
    ...look at that little blond cutie! ♥

  5. I wonder if this is going to force me to really learn photoshop properly but when!! So frustrating! thanks for the links- I was going to do a post like this too. On ya Vic.

  6. *Sigh*... I'm really not willing to believe that my beloved Picnik is gone soon :(... And nothing can replace it. Cry, cry, cry!

    Thank you Vic, for your time and effort, though these programs don't look anything like Picnik (how could they), and don't seem to have the "heart" that Picnik had (or has, at least for a couple of months).

    I hate Google for closing it down, and I'm sure that there are a lot more people feeling like me.

  7. I know! I use photoshop a lot, but picnik was just great too! Bugger.

  8. Wow! I have never used it before, but at least I can get a bit of a play with them before they close it down. Thanks for the review

  9. I don't use Picnik much but it is convenient and I don't choose to use Facebook, let alone by forced to sign up. So thanks for doing homework, Vic.

  10. I usually use photoshop but do use picknik when on my netbook I'm away and it is good, Maybe if everyone complains enough they will change their mind?????/

  11. Hey Vic, for the blur, look for an online tilt shift generator, there is a few around, I can't remember the one I used off the top of my head but when I find it I'll tweet it.

    Also Photoshop have Photoshop Express which comes as an app but also an online lite version of PS.

  12. I have been using free download software photoscape pretty painlessly, not such a steep learning curve as photoshop and you can do an easy or complex edit. http://www.photoscape.org/ps/main/index.php

    1. YOU ARE MY FAVORITE! xxxx

    2. The program you recommended doesn't look bad at first sight (took a look at the screenshots)! I'll give it a chance.

      THANK YOU! :)

  13. actually, now I have had a better look at the main page I can see so many features I haven't used including region blur and lots of filters and frames.


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