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Visual Elements Series: Free Tools

November 2nd, 2014 by

Free Tools for Creating Visual Elements

 

Graphic design is an area most small businesses don’t invest much time or money into. Due to this most small business websites suffer from poor traffic number, and poor online conversions. As I’ve said before, visual elements can increase website page views by over ninety percent. I’m going to show you a few graphic design applications that won’t cost you anything but time. Time is money, so turn a little bit of your time into more money by creating more engaging content for your website visitors.

 

PIXLR – pixlr.com

PIXLR offers some really powerful online applications, and they offer them for FREE! I used the PIXLR Editor to create the image at the top of this post, and it took me all of about 5 minutes. The design interface is very similar to Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. If you’ve ever used either program you’ll feel right at home using the PIXLR Editor app. The app offers many features comparable to Photoshop, but there’s one major difference. PIXLR Editor is free.

 

You don’t have to start from scratch when using the app. You can open images from your computer, and edit them within the app. When you’re done, save them directly to your computer. No ads or tags are placed onto your photos, you don’t even have to be a member to use the apps.

 

Transparent Image Created With PIXLR Editor

 

Since I own Photoshop I had never spent any time using PIXLR Editor until I started working on this Visual Elements Series. After a few minutes using the app I definitely want to spend more time getting to know it better. I may even do a few PIXLR Editor tutorials in the future. Maybe even a video!

 

To check out the PIXLR Editor, visit: http://apps.pixlr.com/editor/

 

Sumo Paint – sumopaint.com

Sumo Paint - Image Editor

Photo Courtesy of Sumo Paint

 

Sumo Paint is an extremely popular browser-based image editor. The Sumo Paint editor looks very and functions similarly to PIXLR and most other image editing software packages. This app goes a little further into design functionality than PIXLR. While it does offer more design functionality, it also uses a lot more system resources. The clapped out old Dell workstation I tested these image editors on did not like playing with Sumo Paint. My workflow was continuously interrupted by screen freezes while my computer tried to keep up with the app. 

 

In fairness, if you’re going to use a browser-based image editor for graphic design, Sumo Paint is the one I would go with. The features it offers are more robust than PIXLR by a long shot, but they also take a little more getting used to. If you’re editing photos go with PIXLR, if you’re designing graphics go with Sumo Paint. The only thing that really gets on my nerves with this app is that it doesn’t automatically create new layers for text blocks like Photoshop, and PIXLR.

 

Give Sumo Paint a try at: http://www.sumopaint.com/home/

 

Side Notes

If you store images using Google+, you can do some minimal photo editing and enhancing when viewing your Google+ photos in Lightbox mode. This doesn’t give you any options for graphic design, but if you’re just looking to touch up some photos it may be right for you. Check out more information about it by clicking here.

 

What’s Next

Next time we’ll take a look at some great online tools for creating Infographics. In the meantime, see what you can create using the above tools. If you spend a little time with them, they’ll save you money and provide you with a great way to enhance the content on your website!