Picnik has just rolled out some neat new features for casual enthusiasts of photo editing.
Now found on the bottom of the editing environment is something called a "photo basket," which includes a pool of photos garnered from cloud services like Facebook, Flickr, and Photobucket, as well as uploads from users' hard drives. It also doubles as the new multiphoto uploader for those looking to unload the entirety of their memory card.
Switching between your photo sources in the basket is nearly instantaneous, and more importantly, it doesn't take you away from what you're working on. The photo basket is more than just a productivity booster; it's the home of a new feature that lets users create works of art using individual photographs as layers.
Sure, it's missing the other 80 percent of what's found on something like Adobe Photoshop, but with the use of transparency, text, and the myriad of filter effects, you can create some truly good-looking creations with a very minimal amount of effort.
When Picnik CEO Jonathan Sposato demoed this for me a few months back he insisted this wasn't the first step in making Picnik compete with tools like Scrapblog or Glogster. Instead it was in response to users, who had been requesting support for layers since launch. Part of that request included contextual menu support, so if you're working with more than a few layers you can simply right click to manage what order they appear in.
One thing to note is that there are some limitations built to entice users into upgrading to Picnik's premium subscription service. One of those is in the number of photos you're able to drag up into the canvas. Free users can use up to five in any given workspace, whereas premium users can add as many as they'd like. The collage feature caps off at five photos for free users and 36 for premium. Likewise, free users can only upload five shots at a time, with premium users getting 100. These are all limitations that will eventually be lifted as other premium features filter down.
As a treat for Webware readers Picnik has given us 30 free 90-day premium upgrades to give out. The premium membership will take away the ads and give you advanced access to some of the more advanced features like the extra filters and a fonts. To get yours just enter your contact information on this form (note: this link opens as a pop-up). We'll pick the 30 winners randomly, and you have until midnight (PST) on Sunday to enter. We'll send the winners their prizes on Monday.