I remember sitting down at a computer that was connected to the internet for the first time. I was living at my Mom’s house in a small town in Oklahoma.
My youngest brother Zac had spent several weeks glued to the computer screen and taught himself the basics of html and graphic design. I thought it looked cool and asked him how it worked.
Zac showed me how to write a basic html table and add text to it. I loved it. Then he showed me a graphic design program called Photoshop – and that is when my head exploded.
Playing around with html code and Photoshop became an addiction. Within a few months I taught myself just enough to get hired by a local ISP/Web company.
That was a long time ago.
As I sit here today writing you this message a lot of things have changed. I’m still on the computer every day. But don’t do enough graphic design to need Photoshop anymore.
So when I updated my Mac software a few months ago and saw that my older version of Photoshop would no longer work I decided to look at my options.
First I checked out the newest version of Photoshop and saw that Adobe moved it to a subscription model ($29.99/month = $360/year). That didn’t seem like a great deal for my minimal needs so I looked around for an open source (free) replacement.
I found one. Today I’m passing it on to you.
After several bad experiences with lo-fi, free graphic design softwares I found a winner. It does exactly what I need it to do and more. Plus, it looks and acts just like Photoshop.
From the PIXLR website: “Experience next level, intuitive photo editing with AI-powered tools for quick yet professional edits. Designed to be easy, you can now edit images smarter and faster for Free – with PIXLR. No steep learning curve, no design experience needed.”
If you’re like me (now) and just need to make a few banner ads, album artwork, resize a photo or edit some shots for Instagram you are gonna love it.
This is PIXLR. Looks familiar doesn’t it?
If you’ve used Photoshop in the past the PIXLR interface will look very familiar. Tools on the left, layers on the right. Just where they should be.
I’m not going to teach you how to use it. If you’re a graphic designer you’ll get it. If you’ve never done graphic design… It’s a great skill to learn, Google is your friend.
Overall, I am amazed at how well PIXLR handles basic graphic design tasks. It can handle more complex stuff as well, I just haven’t needed to yet.
The only downside for me so far is that PIXLR is a browser based software. Getting used to working inside of the browser vs working in a stand alone application might take a minute.
There are two versions:
- PIXLR X. The easy-to-use photo editor perfect for quick photo edits and adding one click filters.
- PIXLR E. The more powerful version that is very similar to Photoshop. PIXLR E is all I use.
If this interests you at all I suggest you check it out. It may not work for hardcore designers. But if you just want to edit photos or are an affiliate marketer this is the only graphic design software you will ever need – for free.
Check it out using the links below.