Picnik: Log On, Import, Edit, Share!

By Rossi Fernandes Published Date
01 - Sep - 2007
| Last Updated
01 - Sep - 2007
Picnik: Log On, Import, Edit, Share!

Getting perfect photos all the time is impossible, as you know, and all of us depend on a little image editing every now and then to tweak our pics to perfection. With all the Web 2.0 buzz, developers are moving applications away from your Desktop and to the Internet. They've already done it for office applications and operating systems; it's now the turn of image editing software.

We look at Picnik (
http://www.picnik.com/), an image editor that allows you to edit your pictures through your browser. Of course, before you begin, register for your own (free!) Picnik account.

Acquiring And Exporting Images
Picnik isn't an image creation tool; it's for editing. The first obvious step, therefore, is to get photos into Picnik. The tool offers many options from where you can import images, and also a wide variety of formats. It allows for uploading of images from your local computer. This can be done by clicking on Photos and then on Get from Computer. Click on Get Photo and then choose the image you want to edit. 

Photos can be easily imported from a number of locations

There's support for two of the commonly-used photo-hosting sites-Google's Picasa Web, and Flickr, which Yahoo! now owns. Click on the link of the site you have an account in and click Connect. Enter the username and password and sign in.

You also have the option to load images from random pages by clicking on Get from Web Site link and then entering the site address. The WebCam Photo features allows for capturing of images from your webcam.

After you're done with the editing, click on Save and Share. Here, you can choose to save images to your Flickr or Picasa Web Albums by clicking on the link. Enter information such as the tag, caption for the image, album, etc. and click Save Photo. You can also save the image to your local hard disk, or have it printed. Use the links called Save to Computer and Print Photo. Clicking on Save to Computer gives you the option to resize the photo, and set the format and compression levels.

HDR And Other Effects In Picnik
Adobe Photoshop only recently included the HDR feature, which lets you create HDR images (HDR-High Dynamic Range-is a technique that uses photos taken at multiple exposures and merges them to give a more vibrant image). Picnik has a feature that simulates the HDR effect. Click on Create and then on HDR-ish. Use the sliders for radius, strength, and fade till you get the right look for your image. Click Apply when done. 

Picnik has a huge number of effects-among them, HDR

Similarly, you can use the large list of effects such as sharpen, soften, matte, doodle, and many more using the same Create menu. All the smaller tweaks you need to do such as changing levels of colour saturation, brightness, contrast, etc. can be done from the Edit menu.

Installing The Firefox Plugin
The ability to quickly access and redirect data is a challenge, and addressing this are plugins for browsers. Click on the Help link on the top and then on Tools. 

Plugins for Firefox give quick access to Picnik

Firefox users can click on the link for the Picnik Firefox Extension v2.0. Click on the Install Now link on this page. Scroll down the earlier page and you'll find a bookmarklet that can be locked to your Bookmarks Toolbar. Drag and drop the link for the Firefox bookmarklet into the Bookmarks Toolbar.

Now when on a particular site, click the Edit in Picnik button from the bookmarks bar to open the URL in Picnik. All the images from that site will appear in Picnik. You can then double-click on any of the images to edit in Picnik.

To use the Picnik Firefox extension you installed earlier, right-click on any Web page and click Edit Image in Picnik. An extension for Internet Explorer is available in the same page.

E-mailing Photos To Sites
Picnik doesn't allow you to export images to all your photo hosting sites, so to be able to send images to the vast majority of the other sites, you can make use of the E-mail to Web Site feature. Most sites where you create accounts allot an e-mail address or some kind of ID to which you can mail photos and they'll automatically be part of your online collection. Click on Save & Share. Then click on the drop-down and select your photo hosting site. Enter your e-mail address or ID for the site and then click Send Photo. 

Export your images to sites via e-mail

So there you have it-a quick introduction to what could quite possibly be the future of quick and casual photo editing for everyone. An advantage of services like Picnik is that they're Web based applications, so you can expect frequent updates.