Shawty Got Skillz: Picnik

One of the guiding principles behind Nuñez Daughter and iwannalive productions and, well, the ‘Net, is that making media should be as cost free as possible.  Computers and internet access are already very, very expensive (net neutrality is good for #blackgirls).  No one should have to pay hundreds of dollars for word processing or photo editing software, blog editors, and storage on top of that.  Unofficially, 90% of the tools used to make and maintain Nuñez Daughter and iwannalive productions are free of charge.

A favorite tool of ours is Picnik.

Picnik, an online photo editing software, appeared in 2005, started as part of Flickr, and was purchased this year to be part of the Google family.  Picnik operates from within your browser (which means there is no software to download to your computer) and includes a range of photo sharing possibilities.  You can connect to your photos in Picasa, Facebook, MySpace, Photobucket, Yahoo Search, webcam, URL, and upload from your own computer.  When you are finished editing, you can save to the same places or save to Picnik (with a free account you can save the last five photos you were editing).

Once you upload an image, there are five tabs to work with.  The first two are account settings and other documentation:

HOME:  All the basics you can ask for.  A welcome page, a link to the help forums, a button to “Buzz” and enjoy the gratuitous self-promotion by the folks at Picnik), privacy policies, terms, about page and a glimpse at your account (change your password, change your photo quality, upgrade to premium).

LIBRARY:  A Start button to lead you into the photo editing process, tabs that let you upload your photos from your computer, create slideshows, go back in your history, upload from URLs, Yahoo search and more.

The last tab (SAVE & SHARE) let’s you save and share to the same sites in a range of file formats: .jpg, .png, .tif, .gif, .pdf, and .bmp.

The middle two tabs are where the magic happens.  From the EDIT tab, you can rotate, crop, and resize the image, change the exposure, adjust the color, sharpen the image and fix any red eye.  As you proceed, you will be asked to save the changes at each step but an undo button will fix the most recent edits.



From the CREATE tab, you have a range of free and premium options that let you change and add effects to the edited image.  From there, you can add frames, text, stickers, invert colors, fade, blur, blush, brighten and more.  The free options are more than enough to significantly change an image.  Here’s the same image of Lorraine, cropped, gooified, posterized, 1960s’d, with a unicorn sticker (under Mediaeval) faded to 20% & dyed a burnished red #9F2700, all in a drop shadow frame with the “iwannalive productions” copyright in white (#E1FFD9) in the lower right-hand corner:

( This image is hilarious to me for some reason.  Maybe because Lorraine is my unicorn?  Mmmm.  #BlackGirlGenius)

Once you’re done, share the image on Flickr (friend us!), Facebook, Picasa (friend us!) or save it to your computer.

Want more?  We will be sharing skillz throughout the month as Nunez Daughter counts down to the Allied Media Conference where shawties with skillz to share will be teaching each other and AMC attendees what we know.  Join us!!!

If you can’t join us, pre-purchase our ‘zine!  We will document all the fabulousness of the skills shared with a zine, dropbox folder, and cd that encompasses digital versions of the skills we shared all housed online in a dropbox or via a CD or zine we could mail to you. For just $7 (the price of a fancy cup of coffee) you can live or relive the dream that was this years Skillshare!

And if you can’t do either, but you like what you see, donate a few dollars or fifty dollars to help us get there and support our goal of spreading radical woman of color media making around the globe.

What free photo editing or image sharing software do you use?  If you’ve tried Picnik, how do you like it?



Kismet Nuñez is one of the Skillsharers of the of the 3rd Annual INCITE! Shawty Got Skillz workshop at the 2011 Allied Media Conference!  Help us get to Detroit!  Click here!


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