FIXING THE PICTURE ONLINE

Photo editing doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. We’ve found a lot of free photo editors for use online.

For example, go to Pixlr.com and click the “Express” link to get some amazing photo effects without having to download anything to your computer. It all happens in your browser window. We clicked on “Webcam” to let the website use our computer’s built-in camera to snap a picture. Then we added a frame and improved the color. Amazingly, we looked younger and better, which is just the way we see ourselves. We also tried uploading a photo stored on our machine. After that, we added text and clicked “autofix” to improve brightness and color automatically. Other tools include “airbrush,” “rotate,” “red eye,” “liquify” and dozens of others.

This was so much fun we wondered why Facebook paid $1 billion recently for “Instagram.” (Oh well, easy come, easy go.) Instagram applies some interesting color filters to your smartphone photos and makes it easy to either monitor the photo albums of others or gain followers for your own photo albums. But Instagram has a lot of competitors, such as Pixlr.com/o-matic, PicYou.com and PicPlz.com, and they don’t require an iPhone or Android phone.

Photoshop.com is another free photo editor. It’s from Adobe and has all the basic fixes, such as red-eye and brightness control, and adds special effects like “pop color,” which turns your photo to black and white except for one color, say the color of your nephew’s shirt, to make it really stand out. Another tool we liked was “sketch,” which makes the photo look like a drawing.

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