The 3 Best Alternatives To The Picnik Photo Editing Tools

Matt Smith 03-02-2012

photo editing softwareWe recently reported that Picnik will be closing on April 19th. The demise of the popular online photo-editing service has been met with scorn from fans, who are unhappy with Google’s decision to kill one of the web’s best free tools in the name of consolidation.


There’s no need to panic, however. While Picnik will be missed, there are some solid alternatives available that are just as free.

Google+ Creative Kit

photo editing software

If you don’t consider the actions of Google to be a mortal sin, you may receive the best results by sticking with the Google family. The company’s Creative Kit is, in essence, a port of Picnik’s functionality into Google+. Users have been able to use this feature for several months Google+ Adds Free Photo Editing Suite [News] Social networks rely on photos as a means of communication. Where have you been? What have you been doing? Who are you with? Now Google+ users can now look a little better doing whatever with... Read More , but awareness remains limited. That’s probably because the Creative Kit is easy to miss. To access it, you first need to click on a photo you’ve uploaded in Google+, then click on the rather small Creative Kit button tucked away into the upper left hand corner of the screen.

Most of the basic features of Picnik can be found here, minus the Advanced, Touch-Up and Frames categories. With that said, I’d be shocked if Google does not add in these tools within the next few months. I don’t think the company has anything against free photo editing – they just want people to use these tools through Google+ rather than a separate website.

Speaking of which, you can export all of your Picnik photos over to Google+, making it rather easy to migrate from one to the other.


Aviary (Phoenix or Facebook App)

free photo editing software

One of the better free image editing options available on the web is Phoenix, which is part of the Aviary suite of free media editing utilities Edit Images Online with The Aviary Photo Editor Suite Read More . Phoenix is not tied into any social network or any other website and it doesn’t require registration. You can load it and start editing within seconds.

The interface itself is more akin to a traditional image editing program like Photoshop, so it could be a little intimidating at first. You also won’t find some of the easy photo filtering features you find with Picnik.

Where you will find those features is the Aviary app on Facebook, which was just launched. Known officially as the Aviary Image Editor, this tool gives you the ability to open photos from your albums and manipulate them with a number of common tools. There are even stickers to add and effects to apply.


Better still, you can connect Picnik to Facebook, so you can edit and save photos now with Picnik but open them later in the Aviary Image Editor if you want to make any changes.


photo editing software

Making the choice for the third alternative in this article was tough. There’s a lot of good options out there such as Fotoflexer and Phixer. However, these simply seem to do the same thing as the Creative Kit and Aviary Image Editor, but offer an inferior interface and inferior social network connectivity.

So instead I direct you to Pixlr, a veteran of the online image editing wars. Pixlr is a lot like Phoenix. It’s a standalone photo editor geared towards advanced users. However, of the two I’d say Pixlr is without a doubt the more robust option. It simply has more features.


Pixlr also offers an easy editor called Pixlr-o-matic Capture Vintage-Looking Images Through Old Virtual Cameras With Retro Camera [Android] Who doesn’t like taking photos with their smartphone? Of course, taking the photo itself is usually just half the fun. The other half (the “larger” half, some would say) is applying funky effects to those... Read More , which is available online, via Facebook and as an iOS and Android app. However, it’s focused on adding effects and filters rather than real photo editing.

Although not directly a part of any social network, Pixlr does include the stand social network connectivity, which means you can open and edit photos stored in Facebook and Picasa (among others).


I think that Aviary Image Editor is the leader of the alternatives listed here. Creative Kit is nice, but its integration into Google+ seems a bit Frankenstein. Google has taken a stripped-down version of the Picnik software and stitched it on to their social network. Hopefully they will put more work into the feature.

What alternative will you be using once Picnik goes offline? Let us know in the comments.


Related topics: Image Editor, Photography.

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  1. kaltrina musliu
    June 26, 2012 at 7:16 pm


  2. marta
    June 8, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Creative kit disappoints me. It doesn't have the holiday feature that Picnik had. I had been writing a sci-fi story online and using the NASA feature to add space-like images--stars, nebulas--to photographs to add to the story. But now that is gone and I don't see anything that will let me do that. It seems to me that google has simply decided to make editing boring, and I thought they were better than that. I'm baffled why they wouldn't make their own app as better than what they took away.

  3. Alex
    June 8, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Now take a look at newest online app Flavion Builder ( That is not only a fun editor, but it provides new opportunities for professional developers to develop custom filters (based on Flas AS3 or Pixel Bender), and even on html5 and pply its in this editor. This is ultimate advanced online drawing tool. And absolutely for free ;-)

  4. Sri
    June 3, 2012 at 2:54 am

    Matt,I cam to know Picnik will be mereged into Google+ Creative kit, Is that right?

    Will picnik no more I fall in love with picmonkey which has almost the same feat
    ures as of picnik

    • Tina
      June 8, 2012 at 1:33 pm


      Many of Picnik's features are available in the Google Plus Creative Kit.

  5. Carolyn Adams Lowry
    May 27, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    Never used this yet. need to know how to edit pictures and send to facebook.

    • Matt Smith
      May 28, 2012 at 12:13 am

      Do you mean via this particular app?

  6. Duck Butt
    May 8, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    I was just on Creative Kit and I hate it. I couldn't even find an area to fix red eye. I loved Picnik and payed for the service for years. I hope to find something, anything to replace it... and it sure as heck won't be +

  7. Prashant
    May 8, 2012 at 3:43 am

    Thanks Jeremiah do you have any free tool you'd recommend? Photoshop is ineded fantastic, but may not be in the budget for everyone.Appreciate the appreciation Georgia! Glad to hear a vote for Picnik and that you're enjoying Skitch!

  8. editing proofreading
    April 28, 2012 at 2:45 am

    Thanks for any other excellent article. Where else could anyone get that kind of info in such a perfect means of writing? I have a presentation subsequent week, and I'm on the look for such information.

  9. Anthony Kalowski
    April 19, 2012 at 7:52 am

    Ribbet! have just announced that they are opening a photo editor that is almost identical to Picnik (built on the same platform). They are giving away a chance to win 1 of 100 free Ribbet Premium memberships if you request an invite on their site:

  10. bart
    April 15, 2012 at 12:35 pm
  11. Richard
    April 11, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    I love this app:
    Very easy to use.

  12. Fay
    April 5, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    Here's a petitions I found while trying to keep Picnik from shutting down:

    [Broken URL Removed]

    After I signed, it looked like it was pretty close to reaching it's goal, just shy of about 100 signatures, give or take. Not sure if this will make a difference or not, but I thought it was worth a try.

    As far as finding another alternative to Picnik, sadly to say, as a premium member, and an avid user, I haven't found ANYTHING out there to it's equal! This decision they've made to shut down, is simply a grievous one!!!

  13. Cindy
    March 26, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    Check out Picmonkey -- they are the picnik people. It's awesome!

  14. stag
    March 25, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    Hi.. Picnic Users... why dont you try

    A couple of former Picnik engineers, a rabbi, and a monkey meet in a bar.

    The rabbi realizes he's not in the middle of a corny joke so he leaves. But the monkey. The monkey starts raving wildly. He's slapping the Picnik engineers on the back, congratulating them for pioneering the online photo editing space 6 years ago, and for enabling a whole new class of photographers to create beautiful images and hang out together. And the monkey has more ideas about time travel, connecting people, light speed, and making Brussels sprouts taste better. The engineers, they're listening, but they're onto something new. They scribble furiously on the backs of napkins and the edges of sleeve cuffs.

    Several months later, here we are. A dynamic duo became a small dynamic team. And the world's friendliest photo editor got a chance to start again. If you loved Picnik, PicMonkey is back in town and better than ever. It's faster, more powerful, and easier to use. It's the real deal you already know, plus 78% more monkey.

    • Cindy
      April 2, 2012 at 4:42 pm

      I am so happy I found you!! I was beyond distraught when Picnik notifed me that it was going away...beyond distraught. No Google+ is not the same at all! Anyway, Congratulations! I checked your site though and I'm really hoping you put back in the frames folder -- the before/after. I loved that feature...not to send, but just to check my work. Do you think you will add that back in?

      Also do you think it will eventually get back to the way picnik was because I really liked the layout. Thanks a lot for your wonderful work.

      • Seamonkey
        June 2, 2012 at 4:55 am

        So agree!!! Can not thank you enough! Off to picmonkey! Best choice for me out of all those listed here.

  15. Chrisflateau
    February 26, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    Photoscape is a free and good alternative to Picnik. Lots of tools and simple to use. Not so many effects but has a few that Picnik didn`t have. I find it works very well and i photograph for a living.

    • Micka
      May 10, 2012 at 2:58 am

      try .. i have used it to chnage my hair color ..and eyes color and guess what . i didnt had to do anything just tell them what to do and its done for me in 7 days and a professional does it..and its FREEEEEEEE . not a software..its a service a .free service .i have used picnik before .but the quality is very poor compared to try it u will be amazed with the quality

  16. Andreea
    February 25, 2012 at 11:43 pm is close to picnik too.

    • WantedManiac
      June 27, 2012 at 9:39 am

      Exactly what I was looking. TY.

  17. Abogadodelpunk
    February 21, 2012 at 4:43 am

    picnik is a shame its gonna be closed soon...i loved the vampiric effects is there a tool that offers similar results in the vampira scope or vampire skins?

  18. Carlsond
    February 20, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    I am somewhat of a photo editing software junkie having the latest registered versions of ACDSee, Zoner, Canon's ZoomBrowser, Corel (PaintShopPro).  And, I generally keep up to date with the GIMP, Picnik (which is/was first class), and  some others.  However, for an online photo editor that I can access from anyone's computer -- it's Pixlr. And, be sure to check out the Pixlr Grabber function.  I use it all the time

    • Tina
      February 26, 2012 at 6:32 pm

      Thank you for your feedback, Carlsond!

  19. Lt
    February 20, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    I prefer GIMP; it's free and offline.

  20. Aibek
    February 6, 2012 at 7:46 am

    thanks for the links

  21. Cote Carla
    February 3, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    I am SO upset with this decision to remove my beloved Picnik.  As an avid user, I was all to happy to pay for a premium membership, and know MANY on the Flickr website (where I post all my images) that pay as well.  This is a stupid decision, and to date, I have seen no real offer of a reason as to WHY this was done.  Someone out there needs to pick up the ball and RUN with it!  Digital photography is NOT going away, and hobby/enthusiast photog's like myself NEED and WANT simple, easy to understand and accessible tools to edit our photos.  Someone could make a KILLING with this, if they just slipped into the role now left open by Picnik's absence.  Here's hoping it happens! 

    • M.S. Smith
      February 4, 2012 at 3:00 am

      It was done because Google is consolidating. They probably did not want to continue a service that was not associated directly with their brand.

      It sucks. It's business. Google will probably start something similar up under a Google brand name. At least that is what I'm hoping.

    • Tony Beeby
      February 17, 2012 at 5:47 am

      My thoughts exactly - its like `How could you do that` ? gonna miss picnik so much ! on the brighter side tho - i have found a free full programme editor called PhotoScape  and i am just starting to get used to it , allot of Picnik features are on there . Clone , Paint, etc . Have a try . its allot easier than the photoshop type editors. 

  22. Daniel
    February 3, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    I hope that Creative Kit will start allowing full-size image editing like Picnik does.

  23. Andrea
    February 3, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    I do use Pixlr now for, I think, 3 years - and I'll stick to it as long as it's available. Picnik IS in Google+ creative kit, so it's not going to be stand-alone anymore, but it will not closed as in gone forever. Aviary is not my coice at all, because it simply does not do whatever I try to do on it... so, Pixlr, the one and only!!!

    • M.S. Smith
      February 4, 2012 at 2:58 am

      Google+ Creative Kit doesn't have quite all the features of Picnik...but yea, basically it's the same. I would be shocked, just shocked if we don't hear some big announcement about "THE NEW CREATIVE KIT" between now and Picnik's closing.

      • Beth Richter
        March 24, 2012 at 10:10 pm

        Tick tick. Closing time's pretty close and so far no new creative kit. I hate the new version of Picnik that Google+ offers and so far haven't been able to find anything comparable. I used the collage feature on an almost daily basis. I am very disappointed in Google+.

        • Sherry
          May 5, 2012 at 5:10 am

          I used the premium Picnik all the time and adored every feature. Far from being a teenager or tech savy I literally cried when I loaded prom pics on computer ready to give them a better background than half of our refrigerator! I do not mind paying the reasonable price Picnik charged for its upgrade, but what's up now is almost useless. I do not use it for social networking I simply want an easy way to make my pictures better before I put them in a frame or scrapbook. Now I am lost, confused & sad. I greatly appreciate the advice given here and will try each one until I find one that is comparable. It does seem odd that Google didn't just move Picnik to Google+. Did they never hear the old, wise words, "If it ain't broke don't fix it!"