Image Editing with Photoshop, GIMP, or Pixlr

1.Using Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is a robust image editing program available on all of the HCC computers. This software allows you to  create, manipulate, and analyze 2D and 3D images in layers or videos in frames, and create animated GIFs. It supports numerous file types as well as Camera Raw file types. In addition, Photoshop allows you to not only save finished projects, but also project files (.psd files), so you can start and stop image or video editing editing projects whenever you need to. Adobe provides a library of tutorials, projects and articles, community support and commonly asked questions support for Photoshop.



GIMP is a free, open source, cross-platform image editor. GIMP is similar to Photoshop in that you can work in layers, transform objects, manipulate your images with a variety of tools, and create animated GIFs. You can further enhance your productivity with GIMP thanks to many customization options and 3rd party plugins.  You can download GIMP here! GIMP provides thorough documentation on how to do just about everything the software has to offer for image editing.

3.GIMP: Saving Images

In GIMP, there is a difference between saving and exporting an image.

To save an image, choose File > Save from the menubar, or press Ctrl + S on the keyboard.

In GIMP, saving an image means saving your project as a whole in a way that you can open it again in GIMP, with all of the layers, paths, etc. intact.

By default, the Save Image dialog box will set the extension to XCF. This is GIMP’s native format, and what you’ll want to save your project as if you wish to preserve your work and open it in the program again.

A screenshot of the Save Image dialogue box

After you’ve chosen your desired location and named your file, click Save.

Exporting Images

To export your image, that is to save it as something other than GIMP’s native format (PNG, GIF, JPG, etc.), choose to File > Export from the menubar, or press Ctrl + E on the keyboard.

There are several extensions available in the Export dialog box. You can see a whole list of what’s available by clicking on Select File Type (By Extension) at the bottom of the dialog box. However, most projects you do will use JPG, PNG, or GIF.

A screenshot of the Export Image dialogue box

After you’ve chosen your desired location and named your file, click Export.

Depending on the extension you chose, a second dialog box may pop up. In most cases, you should simply click Export again. The second dialog box allows you to alter aspects of the file extension, including quality and file size. In most cases, the defaults should be fine.

A screenshot of the Export Image as PNG dialogue box.

To save a copy of an image using a different file name or extension, simple choose Save as… orExport as… from the File menu and follow the same instructions.


Pixlr is a free web-based online image editor.  There are 2 web applications: Pixlr Editor, and Pixlr Express, a desktop application, and mobile apps available through Google Play and Apple App Store that you can use. Pixlr Editor is most like Photoshop in that you can work in layers, transform objects, and manipulate your images with a variety of tools. Pixlr Express is more comparable to Instagram’s image editor (except it has many more options) in that it allows you to add creative effects, overlays, and borders to images. Pixlr provides tutorials and tips on how to use their various image editing platforms.

5.Pixlr Editor

You can create your own image, upload an image to edit, import an image from a url, and if you have an account you can import an image from your library.

Selecting “Create a new image,” brings you into an editor that is similar to photoshop.

screenshot of pixlr editor interface


All of the tools are on the left, the navigator, layers, and history are on the right, and then other effects or editing functions are on the top in the menu bar.

All of the essential tools are there for you to use, such as the lasso tool, select tool, cropping tool, clone stamp, magic wand, burn and dodge tools, paintbrush, fill can, dropper, and text tool.

Another feature that is similar to Photoshop is that you can open multiple images at once. The only difference is that all of your images will appear in this grey area in separate windows, instead of in different tabs.

When you are ready to save, you can save it to your Google Drive or to your computer as JPEG (you can choose the quality), PNG (for transparent images), BMP, TIFF, and PXD (layered Pixlr image for if you want to go back later and continue editing).

6.Pixlr Express

Pixlr Express is great for editing images quickly and without the hassle of using the Photoshop-like interface. Pixlr Express allows you to upload your images from your computer or a URL and allows you to edit a picture taken from your Webcam.

I uploaded a picture of the UMW Bell Tower as an example.


At the bottom are all your tools which includes adjustment functions, effects, overlays, borders, stickers, and text. At the top there is the zoom function, and the undo and redo functions.


Even though Pixlr Express does not have as many tools for adjusting the image as Pixlr Editor, they still give you a fair amount of adjustment tools like blurring, adding an additional image, rotating, resizing, cropping, contrast editing, etc.


The effect tools are also pretty helpful as well. At first they may just seem like Instagram filters, but there is quite a few of different effects that you can implement on your image that change the color and/or brightness. Within the main categories of the effects you see below, there are numerous options, so there is definitely a wide range of effects to pick from!

The biggest downside to Pixlr Express is that you can only save your image in JPEG form, but you can still set the save quality to 100% in order to maintain the best quality of image as possible.

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