Image Editing

Introduction

With technology advancing and cameras becoming more and more frequent, the population, and college students especially, are in need of programs to edit photos as quickly and effectively as possible. College students need a reliable photo editor that can modify photos for projects, presentations and social networks. A common project form is Power Point, which requires images, along with visual presentations that require photos for posters, handouts, slideshows, blogs and web page creation. Photo editors can make life a lot easier and make school work appear much more professional. A key aspect is that these photo editors must be free because of the limited budgets most students have.They must also be accessible to both PC and Mac so that anyone can use these editors regardless of the computer they own. LunaPic, Free Online Photo Editor and Pixlr are all free online photo editors that can perform a number of different editing tasks that are useful to college students.

Three components that make for a good photo editor is the speed it can perform tasks, ease of use and quality of final product. We used these key criteria to test how effective Pixlr, Free Online Photo Editor and LunaPic eliminate red eye and crop photos. Red eye reduction is a useful tool when using photos with people in them, and cropping is a good test because college students are always needing to adjust the size of a photo to fit into the space required. These are both important components in a photo editor and provide best results for deciding which photo editor is best.

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LunaPic

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Ease of Use

LunaPic is a difficult editor for first time users and a hassle when time is limited. The site is set up with a small tool bar on the left hand side and tabs on top of the screen. Although the tool bar is small, the icons allow for simple editing that can be done quickly. The tabs on top of the page were poorly designed, making it difficult to find the tool needed.

The cropping function was located in the tool bar, making this very easy to perform. Once you click on the icon, LunaPic gives multiple options as to which shape you would like to crop the photo. It's also very user friendly because the user can control the area cropped by the mouse.

The red eye reduction tool was located in a tab above the page. This was frustrating because it's a common need when editing photos and was difficult to locate. The tabs on LunaPic each have ten to thirty different operations which make the user search for what action is needed. Overall the tabs were unorganized and not user friendly because of the broad categories and number of options under each one.

Speed of Completing Task

This program uploaded the photos very quickly, and each test took little time to perform once the button to perform the action was discovered. The execution of each task was completed in one click of a button, making the speed of completion satisfactory.

When cropping a photo, the user only has to drag over the area desired, and click crop image to complete the cropping of a photo. Since the user only has to do one step, this makes for a easier and quicker process when cropping photos. The finished product loaded instantly. One minor frustrating aspect of cropping was once the user drags over a selected area and isn't satisfied with the selection, it can't be adjusted without starting over.

Unlike cropping, red eye reduction was time consuming and frustrating to perform. The actual process of using the tool was quick, but didn't produce the elimination with just one use. In order to get rid of the red eye completely on LunaPic, the user must take much more time because of the ineffectiveness of the red eye reduction tool. To get satisfactory results it took three to five attempts to eliminate redness.

Quality of Finished Product

Editing with LunaPic was really good for cropping photos, but resulted in a terrible red eye reduction. Overall, LunaPic was inconsistent with the different tools tested. The variation between red eye reduction and cropping is very vast, which makes LunaPic hard to evaluate when it comes to finished products.

The finished product when cropping on LunaPic was satisfactory. The cropped photo had the same quality as the original pre-cropped image. The cropping tool was very exact to the area selected and didn't blur edges.

As stated in ease of use, the red eye reduction tool not only required multiple attempts, but also produced a bad final product. When the red was finally eliminated, the color from the eye was "washed out" and almost looked lifeless. LunaPic's red eye reduction performed so poorly that it was hard to determine the original eye color. Since the tool did not work properly, the final product looked modified and altered.

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Free Online Photo Editor

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Ease of Use

Free Online Photo Editor is a much simpler program than LunaPic. This creates an easier experience for the user, but also limits how many different ways the user can modify a photo. Unlike other photo editors, this site is better organized and provides the most necessary functions for simple editing tasks like red eye reduction and cropping.

The cropping tool was very easy to use and locate. There is an actual labeled tab for the tool at the top of the page in the menu bar. Once the user has selected to crop, they just have to drag the mouse over the desired area and select the "Crop Image" button. Another function that made the program easier to use was the window that told you how large the photo would be and the file size when cropped to a certain size. This is especially useful for uploading or sending photos via email, since there are many restrictions on how large photos can be.

Red eye reduction was fairly easy to locate, since it was under a tab with only four other items. Once the tool was selected, it was easy to use and was similar to LunaPic, in that you drag the mouse over the red eye area. Once the area was selected, the user only has to click the "Fix Redeye" button, and the red eye is removed.

Speed of Completing Task

Free Online Photo Editor was a bit slower than LunaPic, which may not be a problem for most people, but could take more time for people who have older computers or a bad internet connection. After a correction is made, the new, edited image takes a few seconds to load, making the process take longer.

Once the cropping tool is selected, it is very easy and speedy to select the desired area, which makes for the user's time editing to be short. One set back is that once the image is cropped, the new image has to load, unlike LunaPic. An advantage that Free Online Photo Editor has is when you select a cropped area, you can adjust the cropped area without starting over by dragging reference points on the border of the selected area. This was an advantage over LunaPic that can save the user time. Overall the speed of completing cropping was satisfactory, except for the loading.

The red eye reduction tool was very fast because the user only has to drag the mouse over the red area and click the "Apply" button. Like cropping, you can adjust the selected area without starting over. An advantage of this editor was the user only has to perform the reduction one time to get rid of redness, unlike LunaPic. The only disadvantage was the final product has to load, similar to cropping.

Quality of Finished Product

Overall, Free Online Photo Editor produced more consistent end results than LunaPic, but the quality wasn't as high as expected for a top photo editor. The cropping was very effective and professional, but the red eye reduction had flaws.

Similar to LunaPic, cropping produced a quality final product that can recommended. The final product had clean edges and looked as polished as the original scaled photo.

When the red eye reduction tool was used, it eliminated all the redness from the eye quickly and with ease. This is good for the time taken to perform, but the end result left the eye with faded colors. The eyes looked out of place because the rest of the photo was vibrant and the eyes were nearly colorless. The end result appeared edited and unprofessional.

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Pixlr

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Ease of Use

Pixlr features a large tool bar on the left hand side with colorful icons that make simple editing tasks easy to locate and execute. Although Pixlr is the most advanced and technical, it's also the most user friendly out of the photo editing sites reviewed. Although there are many items under each tab, they are very organized and user friendly.

The cropping tool is an icon located on the tool bar, which makes this very easy to come across. Once the cropping tool is selected, the user can adjust the area by just dragging the mouse over the desired area. A note to users is that there is no actual button to push to crop In order to crop, the user only has to click outside of the photo, and a window will appear asking if you want to apply the changes. A function that makes cropping easier is the grid that appears when selecting a area. This is useful for cropping symmetrically.

For red eye reduction, Pixlr has an icon on the tool bar, which makes finding the application easier than LunaPic and Free Online Photo Editor. Unlike the other editors, the user doesn't have to drag the mouse around the red area, instead the user just clicks the area. Once the user clicks the red area, it is detected by Pixlr and eliminated. This has an advantage over the other programs because it is a one step process, and Pixlr assists the user in eliminating all of the red eye.

Speed of Completing Task

Since Pixlr has such a user friendly tool bar, it takes no time to find the desired operation. Once the tool is selected, the process to complete tasks like red eye reduction, and cropping is very fast because Pixlr has a more advanced system than LunaPic and Free Online Photo Editor.

When cropping, the user has to drag the mouse over the selected area. Like Free Online Editor you can adjust size without starting over, but one aspect that is even better is that the user can completely move the selected area anywhere on the photo clicking on the boarder of the grid. That also saves time if you are happy with the size of the area, but not with the location. When submitted, the cropped product loads instantly.

Out of all the editing sites tested, Pixlr removed redness the quickest. The removal was instant because right after the red area is clicked, the redness is gone. Since the user only has to perform this action one time, this speeds up the process of removal, unlike LunaPic. Pixlr also had the quickest speed of use because the user doesn't have to take time putting a area around the redness. Instead the user just has to click on the red area, unlike the other tested sites.

Quality of Finished Product

Pixlr produced very top notch, finished photos that would be best used for college students and photo editors. The cropping feature was as good or better than LunaPic's and Free Online Photo Editor's, but what really set Pixlr apart was the quality of all tests performed.

Like the others, Pixlr produced clean edges and looked like it was an original photo. Pixlr had a slight advantage in cropping because the tool had a grid. This didn't change the quality, but it did allow the editor to perform a more exact crop.

When the red eye reduction tool was used, the redness in the eye was eliminated immediately. Unlike the other tools tested, the final product had an unedited appearance, and the color of the eye was full of the original color. This was the biggest difference between Pixlr and the rest of the competition. The final product was professional and would be best for the use of college students and others who are looking to edit photos.

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Conclusion

After precise testing and research, we found that Pixlr is the most dynamic free picture editor available. The three photo editors tested all under went the same criteria, and Pixlr performed the best in all of them. Pixlr was easy to use in both of our tests. It completed the tasks at an equal or better speed than LunaPic and Free Online Editor, along with producing superior final products. Many college students are on a small budget and in constant need of a photo editor for school and social networking that fixes small problems in photos, along with more advanced effects. In terms of quality, Pixlr is the closest free comparison to PhotoShop which most students cannot afford.

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