Pixlr brings desktop flavor to Web-based photo editing

Edit your photos on the Web with Pixlr, a desktop-like photo-editing application that runs right in your browser.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn
2 min read

My favorite types of Web apps are those that try to emulate the look and feel of software. Cutting-edge UI can be useful, but sometimes you just want something that feels familiar. In the case of Pixlr, a new browser-based photo-editing tool, the target is clearly Adobe's Photoshop.

Pixlr lets you grab photos from your hard drive and edit them in a software-like environment. Included are some advanced tools like customizable brushes and multiple layers. Most people won't need these features, but they're there--and free of charge. There's also a small collection of filters and adjustments. The results are a little more polished than other Web photo-editing tool offerings, but some are harder to tweak. I was able to create some truly brilliant looking effects on a bland photo without too much work. It helps if you've used Photoshop or something like Paint.net before, as some of the menu structure is the same.

After editing a shot the only way to get it off is to download it back to your hard drive as a JPEG or PNG file. There's no uploading to other services, nor does it yet have the capability to pull down shots from photo hosts you're already using--two things that have become a bit of a standard.

When stacked up to Fotoflexer, Picnik, or Photoshop Express, Pixlr shows some of its early age. It's a crowded market and these tools have been stacking on cool and useful features at a rapid clip. The inability to crop, add text, and redo anything you might have undone is a bit of a deal killer for me. Also missing is a history tool, something which, after having worked with Photoshop for a few years, I find to be an absolute necessity--especially when working with layers. Still, despite its shortcomings, I've got high hopes for this photo-editing app. It's very fast, free, and amazingly developed by just one person.

Pixlr looks a lot like a desktop application, but it runs right in your browser. All you need is Adobe Flash. CNET Networks