I have mentioned before how much fun it can be to play with photo editing tools (you might have noticed I have done quite a bit of it). A few years ago you had to make a sizeable investment in computer programs in order to have access to such tools.
Nowadays, there are numerous photo editing sites online and it won’t cost you a dime to make use of their technology. And that technology makes it easier than ever to produce some really cool and professional-looking results. If a techno-numpty like yours truly can do it, anybody can do it.
These sites offer everything from inserting your photos into other images, touch-up tools and artistic tools to the ability to add text, frames, stickers, speech bubbles and more.
Now, I have more than a dozen of these sites bookmarked, but for today, I am going to focus on three of my favorites: BeFunky, www.picmonkey.com and www.iPiccy.com and show examples of just a little of what can be done with each site.
Above is the original photo I started with, a screencap from Ep3 of Strike Back.
Here is the photo after editing in iPiccy. I have cropped and flipped it, converted it into a B&W tone, added a “gritty” overlay and then a peeling paint effect, adjusting it so that the peel was not on Porter’s handsome face. A basic frame was added, and the last touch was the lettering done in the cutout letter style.
Below is a second photo edited in iPiccy.
In this second version, I used the cloning tool to erase the “Sky” logo from the background. I then lightened the exposure and converted it into a sepia tone. Over this I added the pencil sketch effect. Using the texture feature, I added a papyrus overlay to the photo. I completed the piece by adding another basic frame in tan to compliment the photo.
For a more colorful take on our sexy sergeant, I used BeFunky’s Holgaart effect, which allows for both horizontal and vertical adjustments of the repeated pattern. I began by using the cloning tool to once again remove the logo from the upper lefthand corner. I chose one of the filmstrip frames offered by the site, then picked out a font and added the text.
BeFunky also allows you to create artwork in various painting styles and mediums, among them gouache, pointillism, watercolor, oil and here, Impressionism. After playing with the exposure and intensity of the photo’s colors, I used the Impressionist effect and then completed it with a “sketchedy” frame from BeFunky’s selection of frames.
Another favorite online site is PicMonkey, which is a fun site to use. (When a glitch occurs, a sign pops up saying “Ruh-Roh, Shaggy!”) It offers basic editing along with the photo touch-up tools now found on many sites, including makeup, spray tan, adding highlights to hair, teeth whitening and even “nip and tuck” options.
Again, I started with the cloning tool to remove the logo. I used the HDR effect to intensify the details of the photo, added another overlay to intensify the colors and added a vignette effect. I finished with a filmstrip framing effect.
This time I used the Vibrance Effect (after erasing the logo with the cloning tool), added the Instant Photograph Effect using a blue background, and then added text. Stickers of the pushpin, the gold star and the lip prints were the finishing touches.
I am really just scratching the surface here, but hopefully you have gotten some idea of what you can do with free photo editing available to you online. I have been known to use the editing/artistic effects on one site, then use a frame from a different site and text from yet another site all on a single piece of artwork. If it’s something in which you are interested, then pick out some pix, check out one of these sites and get started. It’s fun–and a bit addictive.