The transition (my hometown of Klosters to my current home of Osaka) you see on the left was NOT created with Photoshop – it was created using a free online image editor called PicMonkey. The editor is easy to use, free, and you don’t need to download it to your computer. There’s a lot you can do with PicMonkey.
Here is my easy step-by-step tutorial for using PicMonkey. I’m going to show you how to create the transition image shown above, and I’ll show you all the other editing options along the way.
Basic Image Edits
Step 1: Upload An Image To PicMonkey
In your browser, go to PicMonkey. Click the “Edit A Photo” box in the left-hand sidebar.
Select an image from your computer’s hard drive.
Step 2: Crop Your Image
When you first upload a picture to PicMonkey, the sidebar menu will be set to Basic Edits. Click the “Crop” button.
A cropping grid appears on the image. Drag the corner points to the desired crop.
When you have the grid set to crop your image as you want it, click the “Apply” button.
Step 3: Resize Your Image
Still in the Basic Edits menu, click the “Resize” button.
Set your size in the dimensions text box (1). For blog images, a width of about 600 pixels is sufficient, and you’ll often add them to your blog at about half that size.
To complete the resize, click the “Apply” button (2).
Optional Step: Rotate Or Flip Your Image
To adjust how your image sits, click the “Rotate” button.
You can easily rotate or flip images with the buttons (1). You can also adjust the angle of an image (great for those photos that were taken a wee bit off kilter) with the “Straighten” slider (2). Then, click “Apply” (3).
Optional Step: Adjust Your Image’s Exposure
If your image is over- or under-exposed, you can adjust it. Click the “Exposure” button.
Use the sliders to adjust brightness (1) and contrast (2). Note: Be careful with these, as it’s easy to go too far and make your photos look un-natural. Click “Apply” (3).
Optional Step: Adjust Your Image’s Colours
You can also adjust colour saturation and temperature. Click the “Colors” button.
Here, a slight adjustment for a warmer temperature (1) gives this image a warmer, more summery feeling. Click “Apply” (2). Note: As with exposure, be careful to avoid un-natural colours.
Optional Step: Sharpen Your Image
If your original image is slightly fuzzy, you can also use this tool to sharpen your image. Click the “Sharpen” button.
Here, you can adjust sharpness and clarity (1). When it looks right, click “Apply” (2).
Step 4: Save Your Image
After doing your basic edits, save your image from the free online image editor to your own hard drive. At the top, click the “Save” link.
Enter a filename (1) and select the center option for image quality that balances good quality with good file size (2). Then, click “Save” (3) and save your image to a folder on your hard drive.
Advanced Image Edits
With PicMonkey, you can also do many advanced edits. Note: You will see some edits with a small crown image on the button – these are only available to paid members of PicMonkey.
Add Special Effects To Your Image
In the Effects menu (1), you can add all kinds of interesting effects to your image. Turn it into a sepia print, make it look like an old Polaroid image, add dark edges or frosting, or one of many other effects. And, if at any time you don’t like the results, just click the “Cancel” button (2).
Touch Up Your Image
The Touch Up menu is especially helpful when working with human portraits. You can remove blemishes and wrinkles, reduce shine, spray on a tan, whiten teeth, and airbrush your photos. Note: Most of these are only available to paid members, but you can get a paid membership for only a few dollars a month.
Add Text To Your Image
To add some text over your image, go to the Text menu (1). Select a font (2) and click the “Add Text” button (3). A text box will appear on your image (4), and you can drag it to place it where you want. Then, type in your text.
In the text edit box that appears on your screen, you can select text colour (1), size your text (2), and perform any other text edits you desire.
Add a Symbol Or Other Image To Your Image
In the Overlays menu (1), you can add a number of symbols and pre-made images. Select an image (2) from one of the sub-menus – such as these caption bubbles found under Comic Bubbles. On the image, you can adjust placement and size by dragging the corners (3).
Create A Transition Image
To create a transition from one image to another (as I did in the example image at the top – with my idyllic hometown of Klosters, Switzerland transitioning into the bustling streets of my new home Osaka, Japan) you’ll need to place another image over the original, prior to editing it to get the transition effect.
In the Overlays menu, click the “Your Own” button and select the image from your hard drive (in this case, a picture of the busy Shinsekai area of Osaka).
Drag the corners of your new image to size it and match it to your original image.
To create the transition effect, you need to erase part of this new image. In the Overlay edit box, click on the “Eraser” tab (1). Set the size of your eraser (2) large enough to create a broad sweep across your image (2b). Set the eraser hardness to a low number (3) so you’ll have a soft transition.
Drag the eraser across the image to remove part of the new image and reveal the original.
When the image looks good, click the closing “X” on the edit box to avoid any accidental extra erasing.
Add Framing To Your Images
In the Frames menu, you can add any of a selection of framing effects.
Add Texture To Your Images
In the Textures menu, you can add such textures as papyrus, a brick wall, flaking paint, cracked wall, and other textures.
Add Holiday Effects To Your Image
PicMonkey offers a selection of holiday-themed textures, touch ups, and images. Select the currently available special effects.
You can also add a number of pre-made images – like spiders, haunted houses, jack o’lanterns, and ghosts – in the sub-menus (1). Click on an image (2) and then adjust it’s size and placement.
Have fun with PicMonkey.