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whole lotta uploading.
August 23, 2008 12:25 PM   Subscribe

Who needs Photoshop when you can have Pixlr ?

I have no idea if this works ( surely it takes a long time to upload images ), but it at least looks interesting - an open source competitor to photoshop would be welcome.
posted by sgt.serenity (64 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite

 
an open source competitor to photoshop would be welcome.

you mean like Gimp ?
posted by silence at 12:32 PM on August 23, 2008 [11 favorites]


It's kind of fun by I suspect being flash-based limits it somewhat. For instance when I used the airbrush I wasn't able to lasso and drag the result, and using filters on thbe selected area produced some odd results.

Here's the freeware photoshop alternative I use when stuck without the real thing: paint.net - requires .net and has some quirks but works pretty well. Not sure it's open source though. Um, is Pixlr actually open source?
posted by Artw at 12:33 PM on August 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


Well i'm not sure if pixlr is open source or even if i fully understand what open source means - i just had a picture of a globe in my head with little programs springing up to replace photoshop
while i was typing - i'm not sure if an expensive program like Photoshop can stay the course.
posted by sgt.serenity at 12:37 PM on August 23, 2008 [1 favorite]




you mean like Gimp ?




Yes, something like gimp but without the cellar and the leather.
I'd be pretty glum if there was only one free product that was going to take down photoshop.
posted by sgt.serenity at 12:40 PM on August 23, 2008


Nah, Photoshops not going away - Of the copies in existance I suspect that most are either warez or paid for by companies or individuals who use it enough, and make enough money with it, for it to be worth laying out the fat wad of cash for it. Stuff like this is neat for people who aren't into warez or don't have money spilling out of their pockets though.
posted by Artw at 12:40 PM on August 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Photoshops not going away

All things must pass ...........
posted by sgt.serenity at 12:43 PM on August 23, 2008


For "regular" users, there are already free / low cost alternatives to Photoshop (gimp, even Photoshop Elements is only like $100).

However, for serious (professional) photographers, they all have a lot of catchup to do. It's not even just Photoshop itself, it's the huge community of both add-ons and know-how.

I think the majority of Photoshop (not Elements, but the $600+ one) customers are either businesses or professionals, so I think this is not really an issue for that program. It's more a competitor for Elements, Microsoft Digital Image, Acorn, Gimp, etc.
posted by wildcrdj at 12:44 PM on August 23, 2008


My latest Dell came with Elements - It's not entirely horrible, but I wish the interface looked the same. That's pretty much been the biggest difference for me.
posted by Artw at 12:47 PM on August 23, 2008


As for online image editors, there's also the surprisingly good Photoshop Express. But my favorite is Splashup.
posted by roll truck roll at 12:50 PM on August 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


(None of which should be taken as a slight on this post, BTW - it's a neat app, thanks for showing us it!)
posted by Artw at 12:51 PM on August 23, 2008


Way too slow to do anything serious.
posted by desjardins at 12:55 PM on August 23, 2008


Way too slow to do anything serious.

Exactly. It's a neat idea, but too clumsy and slow.
posted by gemmy at 1:04 PM on August 23, 2008


No TOS or Privacy Policy?
posted by space2k at 1:06 PM on August 23, 2008


If you're looking for a simple photo editor online: Picnik. Paid tiers have limited my use however.
posted by acro at 1:09 PM on August 23, 2008


that was going to take down photoshop.

Why does Photoshop need to be taken down? Has it been eating all the donuts in the break room again?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:12 PM on August 23, 2008


There isn't much Photoshop competition that can output CMYK files (although there is a GIMP plugin). PS will rule the roost of prepress until this changes.
posted by porn in the woods at 1:26 PM on August 23, 2008


No support for RAW makes it worthless to me for starters.
If you want to fart around with some lo-res jpgs sure; but this is like saying that a john boat is going to replace an aircraft carrier.
posted by 2sheets at 1:34 PM on August 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


acro: "If you're looking for a simple photo editor online: Picnik. Paid tiers have limited my use however."

The free version of Picnik is built into Flickr, and is really pretty good for making quick little adjustments.
posted by jack_mo at 1:34 PM on August 23, 2008


How many of the people who want a free alternative to photoshop need CMYK output? I think most people just want something with whatever 20% of the features they use plus an interface they already know.
posted by delmoi at 1:49 PM on August 23, 2008


For windows users, I like Paint.NET - free as in beer, at least.
posted by anthill at 1:49 PM on August 23, 2008


Yeah, I'll stick with Gimp, personally. Used to use Photoshop CS but it just moves so slowly. For 3D objects, there's always the open-source app Blender.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:52 PM on August 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


photoshop too slow!? What were you doing?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:02 PM on August 23, 2008


photoshop too slow!? What were you doing?

Loading it. Gimp loads pretty much instantaneously and works just as fast. Your mileage may vary.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:05 PM on August 23, 2008


I have nothing to contribute except the assertion that GIMP is totally sweet and Photoshop sux.
posted by cmoj at 2:35 PM on August 23, 2008


Flauntr is big and heavy flash, but it's pretty powerful.
posted by Grimp0teuthis at 2:39 PM on August 23, 2008


Flickr has found the one compelling aspect of online photo editing; integration with a photo hosting service, which is great for doing quick edits on basic photos. I think I'll stick with GIMP for the rest.
posted by selfnoise at 2:47 PM on August 23, 2008


Photoshop rocks, and is often available in a student version for a less than totally insane price.
posted by cccorlew at 3:19 PM on August 23, 2008


Photoshop rocks, and is often available in a student version for a less than totally insane price.

People still buy Photoshop? I thought there was only one copy that different people keep upping to file sharing sites.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:29 PM on August 23, 2008 [3 favorites]


As far as I am concerned, Photoshop and even Photoshop Extended is dirt cheap for what it offers me. It works superbly well.

Of less importance but of endearing significance to me is that Adobe sustained a very significant patent infringement suit against them and Photoshop by Quantel, who, had they prevailed, were set to charge Adobe with hundreds of millions in license fees. It was also rumored that Quantel was to pursue Photoshop end-users/licensees with a reported $10,000 fee each. Not only did Adobe prevail but they had the Quantel patents invalidated and the jury even recommended that Quantel be charged for defrauding the patent office.

Yes. I'll gladly pay for Photoshop. Adobe has won my business.
posted by bz at 3:53 PM on August 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


I've realized that most people who think they need photoshop can get by with a cheap or free alternative that not only will do everything they need, but in some cases will do it easier for them. But like I tell someone every time they insist that I use GIMP because it's exactly like photoshop but free...some of us DO use things in photoshop that nothing else does. I don't know if it's still true, but before GIMP didn't do 16bit images, LAB color, color profiles period, and all manner of other things that I needed. I would LOVE for cheap competition to exist, but I've yet to see software that does the kind of stuff I need, unfortunately. Some day, hopefully.
posted by Stunt at 3:57 PM on August 23, 2008


Well i'm not sure if pixlr is open source or even if i fully understand what open source means

If you don't know what something means, you probably shouldn't ask for it without finding out first.
posted by Mikey-San at 4:19 PM on August 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Stunt: LAB color and color profiles are now supported, and 16 bit is coming soon. Being open source, the whole community thing is constantly working towards tinkering and improving. And while I personally use and enjoy GIMP, it would definitely annoy me if anyone "insisted" I use some software or another. I can sympathize. Machines are made to serve us, and everyone has individual tastes and needs. This is why, apart from the good-natured ribbing and jibing (which can be fun), I find pissing contests about apps and OS's to be really tedious.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:33 PM on August 23, 2008



Well i'm not sure if pixlr is open source or even if i fully understand what open source means

If you don't know what something means, you probably shouldn't ask for it without finding out first.


and what a great discussion we would have, eh ? I'm here to try and get my mind broadened a wee bit (ymmv).

I'll state again that i can't see photoshop being at the top forever - it reminds me a bit of those old dial up providers that charged you by the minute - i'm not too sure if there are many of them still around - or they adapted or so on.
Perhaps this web app offers an alternative way forward - although file sizes and speeds would be too much at the moment, a web app where you could have a few adverts at the start rather than an insane price for usage might just work, or even if adobe rented out that annoying start up screen............
posted by sgt.serenity at 4:36 PM on August 23, 2008


I'll state again that i can't see photoshop being at the top forever

At the top of what? The consumer market? Professional market? What has Photoshop done to you that's so awful?


As for Gimp, can't say that I've ever tried it and when I've felt the urge, I get this:

GIMP for Mac OS X

The GIMP team doesn't provide official Mac binaries. You can, however, install GIMP 2.4 easily on the Mac using the packages provided by the Wilber loves Apple community.


Why jump through hoops when I have a good tool, right now?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:47 PM on August 23, 2008


Why jump through hoops when I have a good tool, right now?

Installing packages usually takes a minute or so, which doesn't seem like "jumping through hoops" to me (but then again, here I was kvetching about Photoshop's start-up time, so maybe I should watch my glass house).

In general, I think the "if it isn't broke don't fix it" philosophy works well enough. You have no reason to install GIMP if you're perfectly happy with what you already have.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:52 PM on August 23, 2008


Photoshop will be the standard for professional applications for a long time to come. The market for photo manipulation is growing, however, as folks become more computer-savvy and more people become content creators (blogs, photo sharing sites, youtube, etc). Sites like this Pixir are angling for the casual manipulator. I think at this point the size of this market is unclear. WHAT WILL THE FUTURE BRING.
posted by wemayfreeze at 4:55 PM on August 23, 2008


I'd love the gimp if the UI didn't make me want to defenestrate my computer every time I attempted to use it. I've installed Slackware on a Pentium 100 laptop with a screwy hard drive controller from floppies and it didn't infuriate me as much as the gimp does. The functionality I want for basic editing is there but I'll be damned if I can find it half the time.
posted by mikesch at 5:06 PM on August 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


I currently use Photoshop and Illustrator for all my graphics needs, but to be honest, that's because I'm not the one paying for them. If I were starting off on my own and had to purchase my own software out-of-pocket, you can bet your britches I'd be looking at Gimp (which I have, just out of curiosity) and offerings like Pixlr. I like it when apps like this surface; it's things like Pixlr, Google Docs, JumpChart, Zoho, etc. that make it possible for talented people to succeed despite not having a well-funded company backing them up. (or making a percentage...)
posted by ThusSpakeZarathustra at 5:12 PM on August 23, 2008


I really like how Sgt. Serenity is modding his own thread here.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 5:37 PM on August 23, 2008


Kinda neat that somebody went through the trouble of doing this in Flash. Although, the only thing I think this might be useful for is smallish, compressed images. I don't see how any professional would be able to use this application unless it were hosted on their LAN over Gigabit Ethernet. Again, neat to see, though.
posted by RockCorpse at 5:46 PM on August 23, 2008


I really like how Sgt. Serenity is modding his own thread here.
Yeah, it seems a little like he's itching for a fight:

i'm not sure if pixlr is open source
It's not; it would have said so on the site if they were making the code available.

or even if i fully understand what open source means

It's pretty easy these days to find almost anything out = 177 billion hits.
posted by RockCorpse at 5:56 PM on August 23, 2008


mikesch: I agree GIMP's interface is alien to most users. You might want to try GIMPshop.
posted by benzenedream at 6:42 PM on August 23, 2008


I think most people just want something with whatever 20% of the features they use plus an interface they already know

That's what Elements is (sort-of) for.

The people who need all of Photoshop's bells and whistles are probably making money with it, so the price is likely irrelevant to them. And Photoshop's real strength is simply the network effect of everyone using it. People don't (generally) sell books or courses that teach image editing in an agnostic fashion - they sell Photoshop books, Photoshop courses, whatever. People write plugins for Photoshop. The user base is Adobe's marketing tool.
posted by rodgerd at 6:45 PM on August 23, 2008


This site/program is incredibly impressive, and I'm sure it took a long time to make, but... why? I guess it could be useful for people who are stuck at an Internet cafe as their only computer, and they don't have a USB flash drive to run a portable app off of.
posted by wastelands at 6:58 PM on August 23, 2008


177 billion hits

I think you mean 181 million, unless a large chunk of the Internet just went down.

Oh my god, the Internet is down!
posted by emelenjr at 7:07 PM on August 23, 2008


I think you mean 181 million

I take it you don't know about quotation marks in Google.
posted by RockCorpse at 7:19 PM on August 23, 2008


...million, yes...sorry, typo...my dumb. I mean, gazillion.
posted by RockCorpse at 7:21 PM on August 23, 2008


Mikesch:

"I've installed Slackware on a Pentium 100 laptop with a screwy hard drive controller from floppies and it didn't infuriate me as much as the gimp does."

I recall doing this too. Slackware 9.0 on a Pentium 66 laptop required thirty-two 3 1/2" floppies. I recall writing "I want to die." over 100 times on a notepad I kept near my desk just to keep myself busy. My girlfriend was a little worried, and don't get me started on how I got the printer working. I have never had anything like that happen with GIMP. My experience with GIMP has been generally favorable, and I do a fair amount of image editing.

This thread seems to be getting a little open source vs. professional applications, no? All in all, I would say "Wow, someone found something useful to do with Flash! It's not Photoshop, but good on 'em."

Not there shouldn't be people trying to develop specialized applications for professionals, but how about a cheer for the people who are working at giving the not-so-professionals a working application?
posted by Avelwood at 9:47 PM on August 23, 2008


Yay.

Good enough?
posted by fourcheesemac at 10:50 PM on August 23, 2008


Boo.

There is no obligation for GIMP to come to the rescue of every
pixel pusher under linux. And if there are enough desperate
painters out there who want really oil/water/finger paint in
GIMP, then they can get _their_ act together and have some
plugins written.
via
http://www.nabble.com/lgm-07%2C-GIMP-project-overview...-to10651571.html#a10780307

So if I want to make a digital painting, I'm going to have to look elsewhere. Drat.
posted by sebastienbailard at 12:54 AM on August 24, 2008


Oh i'm neither modding nor trying to start a fight (which i would win btw) - I'm just very interested in how photography is changing because of all the digital stuff, how the computer geeks are taking over from the darkroom geeks - what changes we're going to see in software
and in hardware - for example i can't see digital cameras slavishly following 35mm models for too long.
posted by sgt.serenity at 12:58 AM on August 24, 2008


If you wanna do online photo editing, Aviary is not too bad. It is invitation only still but I have 5 invitations to give out to the first 5 that ask. When I requested an invitation from the site, I received one the next day.
Disclaimer: I have nothing to do with this site other than being a user.
posted by CuJoe at 5:25 AM on August 24, 2008


mikesch: "I'd love the gimp if the UI didn't make me want to defenestrate my computer every time I attempted to use it. "

Agreed - Photoshop is not exactly a paragon of usability, but the GIMP makes it look easy, intuitive and straightforward by comparison. To me, this is where "consumer-oriented" open source software almost always falls down - usability.

<derail>

Interaction design, or even rational UI design, is a very different skillset than being a code ninja. When you're designing and building an OS (like GNU/Linux) and its attendant utilities and editors, then the primary user persona is pretty much the same persona that's building the software in the first place - a hardcore techie, for the most part. But when you're building something intended to be used by mere mortals in the open source model, like an office suite or a photo editor, you usually have an immediate and serious mismatch between the mental models, assumptions and customs of the designer and the end-user.

Adobe clearly invests a lot of time & effort (though not as much, or as profitably, as they surely could) in consulting real graphic artists and photo editors (the job role, not the software) in making sure their wants & needs are addressed in Creative Suite, in a way that will be (for the most part) readily understandable by those folks - who are, after all, the primary users of CS.

By contrast - and this is more or less inevitable in the current model of open source development - the GIMP looks like a smart programmer's idea of how Photoshop should look if they were going to use it - which, of course, it is.

In short, open source is a superb development model for many, if not all, kinds of software, but as it is practiced today, it is a piss-poor way to design products that "the rest of us" would actually want to or be able to use.

</derail>

Disclosure: I'm a techie, but one who bought Photoshop Elements for $80, and recently upgraded to Photoshop CS when Adobe offered it to me for "only" $300. I have used Picnik, iPhoto, Graphic Convertor, Pixelmator, Photoshop LE, Photoshop Elements and Photoshop CS3 to edit photos over the years. I haven't used Aperture (yet) but Pixelmator is probably the most usable editor I've used to date, but it was dog slow when I used it, and pretty stripped-down compared to Photoshop.
posted by kcds at 7:17 AM on August 24, 2008


Professionals work with files so large that an online editor just isn't practical and can't compete with locally installed software. And honestly, as the megapixels continue to climb on digital cameras, so do a lot of consumers.

So sure, this app has a place in the same niche with the Flickr image editor (and about a hundred other online editing tools), but it won't have even the tiniest impact in unseating Photoshop.

I'm just very interested in how photography is changing because of all the digital stuff, how the computer geeks are taking over from the darkroom geeks

And a single link post to an online image editor, mistakenly labeled open source, was going to start that conversation? Isn't Photoshop digital? Aren't its users already computer geeks?
posted by JaredSeth at 8:03 AM on August 24, 2008


This thread seems to be getting a little open source vs. professional applications, no?

Not surprising, considering that the initial post contained this: "but it at least looks interesting - an open source competitor to photoshop would be welcome" and then the poster continues that line of talk (Oh i'm neither modding nor trying to start a fight (which i would win btw) ) throughout the thread.

So I'll ask the OP again, what's so awful about Photoshop that it must be dethroned?


So if I want to make a digital painting, I'm going to have to look elsewhere. Drat.

Have you checked out Art Rage?

Welcome to the home of ArtRage, the easy to use, stylish painting software for Windows and Mac OS X!

With ArtRage you can paint with oils, sketch with pencils, sprinkle sparkling glitter and much more. Stencils and rulers let you create precise shapes or smooth curves and straight lines freehand. Tracing and Reference images let you load photos to recreate as paintings either by eye or by letting ArtRage select colors for you as you paint. For professional users, ArtRage offers Layers, Layer Groups and Layer Blend Modes compatible with the PSD file format.


Only $25!


This site/program is incredibly impressive, and I'm sure it took a long time to make, but... why?

Why not? It's good for people to build this stuff, even if it's just a proof of concept, if they have the idea or passion or believe they can do it better. It may not be good or good enough for a particular person to use, but these little innovations make a good competitive field.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:07 AM on August 24, 2008


Interaction design, or even rational UI design, is a very different skillset than being a code ninja. When you're designing and building an OS (like GNU/Linux) and its attendant utilities and editors, then the primary user persona is pretty much the same persona that's building the software in the first place - a hardcore techie, for the most part. But when you're building something intended to be used by mere mortals in the open source model, like an office suite or a photo editor, you usually have an immediate and serious mismatch between the mental models, assumptions and customs of the designer and the end-user.

Alright, I hate to build upon a derail, but I have to address this, as I've heard this many, many times and I think it's one of the more common misconceptions about open source apps and operating systems.

This idea that anything open sources requires great techinical skill might have been true, say, 10 years ago, but today there are far more options available. In operating systems, for example: if you just love building a system from the ground up, yeah, you can get Gentoo or Debian. However, if installing codecs and configuring xorg isn't your idea of a wonderful way to spend an afternoon, you can get Ubuntu, Mint, Parsix, or some other free open-source OS where a team of developers have done most of the heavy lifting before hand.

The process is even faster with open source apps - the community around a particular app will often be very blunt about what works and what doesn't, and there's always a few people in the community who actually enjoy creating a new plug-in, for whatever reason. So the updates tend to click along at a fairly decent pace.

I'm of course speaking generally, and I don't at all mean to say that open source trumps proprietary software and operating systems. Like I said previously in this thread, everyone has different tastes and needs. But the idea that open source apps are going to confound the average user is no longer true.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:07 PM on August 24, 2008


Used Paint.Net for a while, but gave up on it when I realised that the only way you could do a feathered selection was to ... use photoshop.
posted by JustAsItSounds at 6:53 PM on August 24, 2008


This idea that anything open sources requires great techinical skill might have been true, say, 10 years ago, but today there are far more options available.

Late to the party here, but let me pile on this derail. I think you missed kcds' point, which was about "usability" and design, not ease-of-use (though of course there's generous overlap). In the sense you're talking about, it's true that Windows is not any "harder" than Mac OS, and Mac OS is not any "easier" than Ubuntu; none require any particular technical skill. But the experiences of sitting in front of them are worlds apart. I was just reading, a few days ago, a great article about this very issue.
posted by rafter at 2:16 AM on August 25, 2008


But it must be good. It ends in an "r"!

(Five years ago it would have been called ePixel.)
posted by caution live frogs at 9:31 AM on August 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


"usability" and design, not ease-of-use (though of course there's generous overlap).

Sounds like a great deal of overlap to me, and a semantic question more than anything else.

But the experiences of sitting in front of them are worlds apart.

Having gone from Mac to Windows to Linux, I have honestly not seen "worlds" of difference in usability per se. I really don't see a hard and fast rule that open source = a more complex usability.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:43 AM on August 25, 2008


Heh. "A more complex usability" can't help but sound like a euphemism for "utterly random feature bloat", I'm afraid.
posted by Artw at 11:19 AM on August 25, 2008


"A more complex usability" can't help but sound like a euphemism for "utterly random feature bloat", I'm afraid.

Precisely. Which is why I say that more complex usability is not necessarily a trait that comes automatically with open source apps. Compare the torrent clients Transmission and Azureus, for example.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:33 AM on August 25, 2008


Have you checked out Art Rage?

I've been meaning to. It is supposed to work well under wine on linux.

But I'd rather use open source if I could. It's a pity the gimp developers are hostile to using the program for creating images, rather than just editing them.
posted by sebastienbailard at 5:45 PM on August 25, 2008


"You might say that this is technology for its own sake, and as that it is impressive indeed. And I didn’t even get into geotagging and all the products that will be satellite and web-connected. But what all this points out is that the uses of the image, and the number of people who will be using photography and images for things we never imagined, is going to change radically and grow exponentially over the next few years. Those of us who stressed shooting for image quality for prints are going to be left in the dust; the new pioneers of imaging are making advances that can only leave us breathless and amazed. Once the image became information the game changed. Now that the web is becoming a major venue for imaging—its uses and applications--the game is set to change again."
posted by sgt.serenity at 9:49 AM on August 27, 2008


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