Add Special Effects To Your Photos With Pixo [MakeUseOf Giveaway]
Pixo is an application that allows you to apply special effects to your photos. In this case, it’s not about what you can do. You can replicate most of this functionality with numerous other tools. It’s more about how you do it. This interface is easy, simple, flexible, and a whole lot of fun. They also have a new version available, so this is the perfect time.
We’re giving away 15 copies of Pixo 2.5 for Windows. Find out how you can win a copy for yourself.
We’ve talked about some other image tools before. Varun gave us a set of ten sites that can manipulate pictures in funky ways. Aibek told us all about online image editing, and I dragged you kicking and screaming through a whole set of Picasa tutorials, starting here.
You can obtain a trial copy of Pixo from Bendigo Design, and get started trying out the capabilities. Purchase a license from the same site to free things up and make full use of the package.
It’s a little difficult to use screenshots of the whole app for this, so use the image above as reference, and let’s get going.
There are two ways to open an image to apply effects. You can use Open item in the top left of the toolbar, or simply drag an image onto Pixo. Either way, you’re going to finish up with something you can enhance.
The pictures of the flowers on the right serve as the menu for the various effects. you can turn the visuals off in the settings menu if you wish, but there’s a good indication of what is available from the flowers.
Click the small black arrows above or below the pictures to scroll through the list. Hold the mouse over the pictures to see what the effect is called. Let’s scroll all the way down to Melt and click on the flower.
Down below the selection appear all the settings related to that particular effect. In this case, there’s just a brush size. If you slide it left or right, and most the mouse over the door, you’ll see the size of the circle. That’s the brush.
And this is where Pixo differs from other packages. All you need to do now is to drag the mouse over the area you want to change. In effect, you paint on the image to get what you want.
Underneath the image are some controls to zoom in and out, and to rotate the image. In this case, we can zoom in on the area around the leaf, and then melt the wrought iron.
Before you apply the effect, you need to click on the Apply button beside the zoom controls. Then just paint on the iron.
Easy, isn’t it?
Let’s save this, and then I can show you another one. Click the save button from the toolbar at the top, and follow your nose. You can save as .bmp, .png, .gif, .jpg, and .pdf.
A couple of things about saving. First, Pixo wants to keep saving with the same filename after you save for the first time, so remember to go and rename the original file before resaving.
The second thing is that by default, Pixo will resize your larger images before loading them. It doesn’t affect the original, but the resulting image will only be 800 pixels wide by default. All of this and more is available for configuration from the settings tool in the toolbar.
One more, and then we can move on to look at some other interesting things.
Scrolling back through the effect options, choose the Colourise flower. You’ll see that for this effect you have to choose a colour as well as a brush size. Set, apply, paint. How easy is that?
Along with the main special effects, Pixo provides some other useful tools for enhancing your images. First up, frames.
This is just as easy. Select two colours you would like to use for your frame, or select the colours from the image using the eyedroppers.
If you want to keep things simple, click on the Use Same Colour option.
Decide on an appropriate thickness for the frame, and hit the Apply button.
It’s not going to be useful everywhere, but you more than likely have some images that would benefit from a vignette. It couldn’t be much easier. Choose a colour, click Apply. You can again select a colour from the image with the eyedropper.
I think I like these ones best of all. Find an image that could do with the antique treatment, and load it in the normal fashion.
Select the Aged option from the toolbar. it’s the star shape. You might have to choose the Frame option first. That’s the rectangle. Scroll through the flowers to get the one you want, and click it. No need for Apply with these.
That last one I’m uploading to my Flickr account, and there’s some help from the toolbar for that as well.
Click the button and you’ll get the usual Flickr authorisation run-around, and then you’ll be able to connect to Flickr and upload the image. Easy. Again. And that’s it. The rest is just about experimentation. Enjoy, and let me know how it goes in the comments.
How do I win a copy?
It’s simple, just follow the instructions.
Here’s our new giveaway form. Please fill it in accurately. Be sure to enter your real name and email address so that we can get in touch if you are chosen as a winner. Click here if you can’t view the form.
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This giveaway begins now and ends Saturday, 10th July at 2100hrs PST. The winners will be selected at random and announced via email.
Spread the word to your friends and have fun!
[update] Here are the 15 lucky winners who will each receive a free copy of Pixo 2.5:
- Zachary Strader
- Matthew Trifiro
- Stian Helnes
- Laurie Warren
- Beng Hooi Phian
- Andrew Lee
- Sadjak Franz
- Arlene Culpepper
- Vi Nguyen
- Jasmine Bond
- Linda Belthius
- Elizabeth Cogan
- Arlene Gregory
- Sally Asbell
Thank you for participating!