Last week, Mitch M. (one of my advanced photography students), mentioned an amazing little online editor called Pixlr. The layout, floating palettes, and editing tools are very similar to those found in Photoshop. After experimenting with it a bit I found that is does have its limitations but for those that are a bit savvy with Photoshop (but don't have the funds to drop for the full program), Pixlr is an awesome alternative!
To use Pixlr, go to http://pixlr.com/ and click on the link
"-> Open image editor <-":
Once the image editor loads, you can choose to create a new image from scratch, open images from your computer, open images from another website with a specific URL, or open images from other online libraries (such as previously saved photos to Pixlr or Facebook).
The layout of Pixlr is very similar to Photoshop including a tool palette, a navigation thumbnail, layers palette, and best of all a history palette!
Especially for the photographer Pixlr has included several pull-down menus that include a variety of image adjustment tools and filters.
Many of the included filters can add a creative uniqueness to your images before posting them online or sending them to friends and family.
For my very first edit using Pixlr I chose a photograph taken during my last visit to the Rocky Mountains. The "before" image is taken straight from the camera. After using three simple editing tools (Levels, Color Balance, and Hue & Saturation) I was quite pleased with how quickly Pixlr rendered my image and made it more colorful and presentable.
I also played around with a few of the included "Filters" such as Cross Process, Desaturate, and Mimic HDR.
After finishing the edited image I had the option to save the file directly to My Computer, to a Pixlr Library (that needs to be set up with an account name and password), or to several other photo libraries such as Picasa, Flickr, or Facebook.
If you are displeased with the image editing software that came pre-installed on your computer or you don't have access (or funding) to powerful programs like Photoshop I would recommend giving Pixlr a try!