If you’ve ever explored the world of photo editing apps on iOS, you’ll undoubtedly have come across Pixlr from Autodesk. The app offers powerful editing tools and more fun things like stamps and styling effects. Now the app is finally on Mac, and you can grab a slightly limited version without having to pay a penny. Just like on iOS, the interface is only there when you need it. Click the Fast Editing button and it will slide open to reveal Crop, Straighten, Heal and more. Choose one and the rest will disappear, so you can focus on the adjustment you’re making. It’s a really simple but very useful design that helps keep your focus exactly where it should be – on the photo.
All the tools you would expect from a photo-editing app are present and correct, from Saturation to Sharpen, although we did find that even a single step on some sliders made big differences to our shot. For example, clicking from 0 saturation to -1 saturation made a huge difference, and meant lost detail in darker areas. It’s nothing too serious, but those who want to be very subtle with their edits might get frustrated.
Alongside basic editing tools, there are over 600 effects included, and you can register for a free Pixlr account to unlock more if you wish. What we particularly liked was that effects aren’t actually downloaded until you need them. Unlike most photo editors, the initial download is actually quite small, but if you want to add a border, click the Borders button and you’ll see that a lot of the options have small cloud icons. Click any one and
the border effects will download within seconds, ready for you to apply. This isn’t an app that’s going to bloat your Mac with hundreds of megabytes of effects you don’t even need – you can pick which downloads, and when. It’s a great way of managing effects.
What we love is how everything is within easy reach. Whether you’re adding text to an image or viewing metadata for your shot, it’s all just a click or two away. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced editor, Pixlr Express is well worth downloading. A clear, easy-to-use interface combined with powerful effects and fun options make this essential for photography fans. 5/5