For Mac users, there’s Photoshop at the top of the food chain, and dozens near the bottom; apps that cost little to nothing, and a few free tools that are useful, fun to use, but come with a built-in hook into Adobe’s subscription model. Here’s one. It’s free. Almost.
Free, Free, And Not
The app I’m using now is called Pixlr, which runs on both Mac and Windows PCs. It comes from graphic giant AutoDesk and is one of a dozen or so graphic and photo apps they publish.
Pixlr is a bit of an oddity, though. The Starter version is free and gives you a handful of tools to enhance photos on your Mac.
You can use Pixlr to adjust focus on photos (Focal Blur Tool).
the floating tool pallets use familiar slider bars and numeric controls for precision.
Single-click options add effects, including dapple, crosshatch, halftone and others– overlays, stickers, borders and much more. Even text can be dropped onto a photo and fully controlled with font, size, opacity, and color.
I find the controls to be simple and straightforward.
Effects are easily applied to photos to create unique results. Here are a few samples from Pixlr.
What’s not to like about Pixlr?
Not much. The Starter app is free. Sign up for a free account and you get a few more features added to Pixlr in the Essentials version. Access to all the features comes with an annual subscription to the Pro version.
The only real problem with fishing near the bottom of the price barrel for photo effects apps is the selection. You’ll need plenty of free or nearly free apps to reach the capability of, say, Pixelmator, not to mention the monthly subscription to run Photoshop on your Mac.