Vintage is the new modern, they say, so get dressed accordingly and start taking pictures of it, or better yet, stick with your regular wardrobe and take your photos for a retro spin with Pixlr-o-matic! Offering a large selection of filters and frames, with the possibility of editing live webcam images, it’s the latest trick in terms of effects and style.
Pixlr-o-matic was designed as a reminder of old and simpler times, when a Polaroid worked more magic out of a picture than Photoshop could ever make possible. Back then, the default graphic effect was monochrome, and even though ages went by and it’s gotten to the point where colors can be mastered in majestic ways, black-and-white is still in the charts. Somewhere, in anyone’s scrapbook or photo album, there will always be a picture in grey shadows that has timeless written all over it.
The recipe to obtaining a vintage flavored picture is Pixlr-o-matic and a little time on your hands, not because it’s complicated to work with or requires professional skills, but because it’s fun and really addictive. Don’t expect advanced editing techniques or unseen or unheard of graphic filters, because you will be disappointed. In return, you’ll get a stress-free, shiny and cool piece of software that comes with plenty of built-in effects, just enough to make your time worthwhile.
Aside from allowing you to process existing photos, you can also work with images live via webcam if that appeals to you more and at the end of the editing operations, you get to upload the results to an image hosting service and share them with your friends in an easier, effortless way.
Did we mention it’s totally free? Also, it has the benefit of being a multiplatform application due to the fact that its engine is Adobe Air based (this is a compulsory prerequisite for its installation). The first acquaintance with its interface is pleasant to say the least; it’s stylish and kind of in accordance with the vintage factor, while maintaining the features in plain sight and within reach. The only disadvantage that you’ll quickly notice is that the main window is not resizable and this can turn into an aesthetic problem when working on computers with a wider display.
Understanding how it works is not a tricky business; even though the complete lack of menus might seem like a downside, you can still put your instincts to work, assisted by the hints offered by the program. For instance, you cannot miss the two giant buttons from the main window, which allow you to access the webcam live feed or to select an existing photo for further processing.
Whichever you opt for, the destination is the same: a section where proper editing can be performed, which includes a bunch of effects and frames divided into three categories. Switching between them can be done easily from the bottom of the window, where the arrow of a speedometer-like gauge will guide you through the stages of adding some magic to your photos.
The first step resembles very much to a darkroom, it has a graphical design that shows your picture soaking in that water formula that photographers use for processing the photographic film. To make things look even more real, the developer even threw in a watery effect that can be seen when you move the mouse over the image, which is really cool and unique.
Apart from that fun twist, this stage also comprises 25 effects, carrying names such as: Sophia, Peter, Melissa, Ivan, etc, which is a little different from the regular labels that graphic filters have, but it’s also more personal and a lot cooler, especially if one of them has your name. This set of effects performs mostly on the color level and they will be applied as soon as you click on each of them. There is no possibility to mix these, but instead, you can combine them with the ones included in the second editing stage. There are 30 effects here, more prominent aesthetically then the previous ones, because they contain graphic elements that really stand out, such as bubbles, rays of light, stripes, waves, to name a few.
The final touch can be done in the last step, where you get to pick frames for your photos from a selection of 31 stylish borders. They enhance the vintage appearance and really give your pic that last sprinkle of magic that it needs to be called a work of art.
The time and all the hard work you’ve put in the editing process can finally pay off once you save the result and get to show it off to your friends. There are two options for the saving section: one of them allows you to upload the image to an online uploading service (imm.io), thus facilitating the process of sharing pictures, while the other one enables you to save the result locally, on your computer, in whatever format you like (the saving dialogue doesn’t impose a specific format – you can actually write the extension name yourself).The Good
Pixlr-o-matic stands for an image editor that is fun to spend time with. It is able to process images from your webcam or from your computer and the result can be saved in any format or uploaded to a service that will allow it to share your work.The Bad
The set of built-in effects that Pixlr-o-matic offers is not rich enough to make it your software of choice. What could make up for this is a wider selection or the possibility to allow you to design the effects yourself and save them for later use.
Also, the support for input image formats is poor: only JPG, JPEG and PNG are available at the time. The Truth
Even though Pixlr-o-matic started off as an online image editing service, we applaud the initiative of turning it into a desktop application. The effects are ready out of the box, which on the bright side, saves you the time of conceiving them yourself, but on a more realistic note, it also restricts you to a limited selection that you will eventually learn by heart.Here are some snapshots of the application in action: