One of the most popular advanced web-based image editing programs is the Pixlr free photo editor. If you are used to working with Photoshop, PaintShop, or Gimp, then you will find it easy to use Pixlr. But even if you are a beginner with zero photo editing experience, Pixlr free online editing tool is a great place to start your journey.
Pixlr comes in two versions:
- Pixlr E (editor) is the traditional version with advanced features.
- Pixlr X (express) is the newer and more playful version.
To launch the editor, visit the site here. Note that you need a reliable internet connection to enjoy using the software because it is a web-based photo editor. Once you start the program, you can open an image from your device, load one from a URL, or use the Stock Search option to look for royalty-free images to begin editing.
Now, let’s dive into the 6 essential editing tricks to make your work easier. This tutorial will use the Pixlr E version.
1. Working with Layers
Layers allow you to add images and text onto another image. Each layer can be edited separately without affecting the others.
Here’s an example to illustrate how layers work in Pixlr free photo editor.
This photo below is on a layer labeled “Background,” as can be seen on the Layers tab on the far-right. When you add another image to the photo, Pixlr creates a new layer for the new image.
Pro tip: If you can help it, always add a PNG image to your photo. The transparent background of the PNG image saves you a lot of editing and makes the image blend nicely with your original photo.
To add an image on a new layer in Pixlr free editor:
- Click the “+” sign in the Layers tab
- Click Image. (To add texts, click the Text button)
- Locate your preferred image
The image will be added to your photo on a new layer. You can use the Arrange Tool to adjust the size or location of the PNG image.
In the photo below, the PNG image of flying birds has been added to the original photo.
2. Replacing Colors
The Pixlr free online photo editor allows you to repaint your photos quickly using the Color Replace Tool.
To do so:
- Import your photo
- Click the Main Color icon (the two round buttons at the bottom of the toolbar) to pick the color you want. Alternatively, use the Picker Tool to select a color from your photo
- Select the Color Replace Tool and adjust the brush settings (size, opacity, tolerance, and so on)
- Paint over the area with the new color in one continuous mouse movement. If you release the mouse during painting, your output will be patchy. If you make a mistake, use CTRL + Z to undo your action.
3. The Clone Tool
The Clone Tool is used for removing blemishes from a photo. It is particularly suited for complex images and puts you in control of editing.
To clone one part of a photo onto another area (perhaps to cover a blemish or an unwanted item):
- Use CTRL and + to zoom the photo so that you can have a clearer view of the area
- Select the Clone Tool and choose a smaller brush size
- Press and hold the CTRL key and click on an area on your photo with a similar pattern or color that you want
- Carefully paint over the unwanted area to replace it with the selected pattern or color
4. The Heal Tool
The Heal tool has a similar function to the Clone tool because it also removes unwanted parts of an image. However, the Heal tool works better with simple images and does the heavy lifting for you.
To use the Heal Tool:
- With your photo loaded, select the Heal tool
- From the tool properties at the top of the window, adjust the size of the Heal tool to match the unwanted objects to be removed
- Start clicking on the objects to be removed. That part of the photo will be replaced with the surrounding color or pattern
5. The Magic Wand Tool
The Magic Wand Tool selects areas with similar colors on your photo. You can then delete or recolor the selected portions.
To do this:
- Click the Magic Wand Tool
- Click on the area with the color pattern
- Now, you can delete or recolor the areas as necessary
In the example below, the sky in the first image used to explain Layers has been deleted using the Magic Wand selection. New background can be inserted or repainted.
6. The Cutout/Mask Tool
The Pixlr free photo editor offers the option to remove or hide backgrounds and objects using the Cutout/Mask tool.
To cut out objects or remove backgrounds:
- Select the Cutout/Mask Tool (the icon is a pair of scissors)
- Click the “Lasso Mask” and the “Add from Mask” options at the top of the window
- Start to trace the edges of the portion you want to keep. This will give you a transparent background like a PNG image
See how the photo above looks after using the Cutout/Mark tool on it below.
You can play around with the Magic Mask or Draw Mask options to tidy up the edges of your image. Alternatively, you can use the AI AUTO option to make the Pixlr free tool do all the hard work for you, like in the result below.
Now, click File, Save, and select the PNG format to download your cut out image to your computer.
Improve Your Photo Editing Skills
With several Photoshop alternatives now available for free, you can quickly take your photo editing skills to the next level. Play around with these tricks on the Pixlr free editing tool. In time, you will be pleasantly surprised at the simple yet fantastic photo edits you can create.