Smiley in silk

Smiley in silk

What Is Pixlr?

Pixlr is an image editor from Autodesk, where it has some amazing engineering and entertainment software siblings : AutoCad, Maya, and many others. Adobe’s Photoshop is still the top ranking image editor, and trying to make any comparison between Pixlr and Photoshop is like comparing a bicycle to an F-18 fighter jet. However, once you accept Pixlr for what it is, the little image editor has a lot going for it.

So what is Pixlr? For me, it is a tool I use to put the “finishing touches” on an image or graphic project. Photoshop is still the tool of choice for all the “heavy lifting” for my graphic work. Practically all the things Pixlr can do, can be accomplished in Photoshop as well. It’s just that Pixlr can carry them out easier, and as a result, unless you are a real Photoshop Guru, faster than I can do in Photoshop. In addition, the many options Pixlr offers with its simple, mobile-device styled interface, almost entices you to test different effects on your work, – by so doing, Pixlr enhances the creative process.  In the above graphic, Pixlr was used to enhance both color and contrast, add a “silk” overlay, and create the vignette.  Total time:  Maybe, 3 or 4 minutes.

Here is what Autodesk says about its Pixlr[1]:

  • Over 2 million combination of effects. Add your personal style to photos with over 100 effects, 340 overlays, and 200 borders. Adjust transparency, resize, and rotate each element to create the perfect touch.
  • Selection made easy. Influence Masks give you precise control over how effects are applied to specific areas of your photo, allowing you to be creative and original in completely new ways.
  • Blend two images for unique results. Add an image using Double Exposure tools and select from 11 different blend modes.
  • Turn you photo into a work of art. Add effects like crosshatch, halftone, and dapple with a single click. Apply other effects and filters on top just for the look you want.
  • Fix and fine-tune any image. Apply quick fixes to your photos with features such as crop, straighten, resize, and more. Auto fix features balances out colors and adjusts for poor lighting conditions in a simple one-click fix.

Screen Shots

The five screen shots that follow show a few of the many options available in Pixlr.  Note:  I did not edit the “Smiley” graphic in any of the screen shots.  The only changes you will see are in the drop-down boxes shown on the Left side of the screen.

Smiley edit with Pixlar basic


Second Level of “Fast” Options


Refine Option
First Level of “Refine” Options


Pixlr Example
Second Level of “Effect” Options


Pixlr Example
Second Level of “Overlay” Options



Pixlr is available for desktops (Windows and Mac versions), iOS mobile devices, and online editing.  It has a simple, uncluttered interface making it easy to use, a lot of options, and finally it is FREE!!!!

There are only a few downsides: You can’t work in layers, and there is little support……but again, these negatives seem almost petty, as you get a lot for free in this program.


1. Pixar for Desktop |

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