Easy Web Graphics with PicMonkey

Picnik—the online photo-editor that pioneered the genre—is officially out to lunch (and it’s not coming back), but hold back those tears long enough to say hello to PicMonkey. PicMonkey.com offers many of the same features once found in Picnik, and that isn’t surprising since the same team that brought us Picnik six years ago also put together PicMonkey. Maybe they just wanted a new challenge and a new name.

Going ape for PicMonkey

I was thrilled to discover that the PicMonkey interface is even easier to use than the Picnik UI, which is saying something, and for anyone who needs a quick photo editor for tweaking web graphics or turning a photo into a banner or button, PicMonkey is a great new option. I recommend PicMonkey as a free alternative to Photoshop for web managers and online photo buffs for two reasons. First, you can save your image at an optimized (compressed) file size that keeps your load times to a minimum. And second, the cropping tool is useful for online image prep as many web images must be an exact size or ratio. After that, the ability to add text, filters and frames can come in handy for creating banners, slides and advertisements on the cheap. One downside to the web app, however, is that you won’t be able to save your projects as in-process files. You can save only completed images, which means that you need to finish your editing in one go.

Here are some of PicMonkey’s features:

  • Cropping and resizing
  • Filters and effects
  • Text tools, including sizing, color and transparency
  • Overlays (Great for making banner ads!)
  • Frames
  • Textures

There are both free and premium tools on the site, and PicMonkey requires Adobe Flash to be installed on your computer or device, so iPhone users are out of luck. The premium “Royale” service costs as little as $2.75/month and opens up lots of effects and frames that aren’t available to free-users. Even so, if your photo-editing needs are modest, PicMonkey’s free features are hard to beat, and if you’re seriously into tweaking your images, the paid version offers a lot of bling.

If you’d like to compare PicMonkey to another free online photo editor, check out our review of LunaPic.

If you found this article useful, or you would like to share some other online photo-editing website, please let us know. Thanks for reading.

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