VERDICT: PicMonkey is a user-friendly online photo editor you can use for free. It is a good image editor for bloggers and Instagram photographers. You can make image editing (use color filters and effects, white text, etc.), create templates (for collages, business cards, or personal projects), and do basic designing (create designs from scratch, add bold graphics or fonts).
But PicMonkey still lacks advanced features, even though It doesn't position itself as advanced software. If you are new to photo editing or just want to prepare a photo for publication on social media - PicMonkey will be an excellent choice.
PicMonkey editor can boast of is its analog of Cloud storage, called HUB. This is quite an interesting feature that allows you to store and organize photos by libraries in an unlimited quantity.
There are hundreds of fonts in various styles that can be customized as you wish. Change the text color using the color palette, apply effect, make the text translucent, or create a watermark. In addition to the already available fonts and styles, you can also download them online and add to your library.
Like other online photo editors with free access, PicMonkey has ads all over the interface, which, by the way, distracts a lot from the image-editing process. Only premium members can work without advertising.
PicMonkey photo editor is not available as a separate PC software, it is an online photo editor. This program is available for any platform like Windows, Mac OS or Linux, and you can use it on your smartphone (both iOS and Android).
PicMonkey editor provides several types of subscriptions, but the basic functions like cutting, color correction, and text work are available for free. You can also try out a free premium subscription for 7 days.
The first step to start with is the registration. Although you can process photos without it, it’s still better to spend a few minutes creating an account, because you will get access to a trial premium subscription, which in turn gives access to some photo retouching functions.
So, after you’ve registered, you can go to the editor window or create a layout, design, and upload a photo from your computer or social networks: Google+ or Facebook. You can also take and upload photos using a webcam, or simply specify the address of the image on the web.
It has a very simple interface and tools, which are divided into several thematic tabs and can be switched between using tabs on the left side of the desktop.
In the first tab called “Edits,” you’ll find the following tools:
Canvas edits, which help resize, crop, and display photos.
Basic edits – the tool allows you to make a basic retouch using the “exposure,” “colors,” and “sharpen” settings.
Advanced edits, offers several brushes to duplicate a selected object, select, or delete it. There is also the curve of three colors: red, green, and blue, as well as the "levels" tab, with which you can perform minor color correction.
What I really like is that each tool has individual settings. I tried to slightly change “exposure.” The initial photo editing will be done with the help of several sliders that I saw when I opened the necessary tab. Each tool comes with additional settings.
The sliders work quite accurately but they greatly affect the photo, so I do not recommend you increase the value of each more than 5-10%. I did not need colors and sharpen tools, but they also work flawlessly. I should note that the sharpness of the sliders remains the same.
In the “Effects" tab there is a fairly large number of effects, both paid and free. Each effect is absolutely customizable with the help of three sliders – bloom, brightness, and fade. The sliders effect is really sharp, without smooth transitions.
If we talk about the possibilities, the “Effects” tool offers a wide range of photo effects to age a picture, make it black and white, pixelated, mosaic, and much more. But I did not like that 80% of all effects are closed in free access, so it is better to look for third-party free photo mosaic software or another program for creative tasks.
However, PicMonkey online editor has an option designed exclusively for portraits and beauty selfie photography. This tab is called “Touch Up” and comprises several tools: skin, mouth retouch, eyes, the rest. They help to whiten teeth, tint the lips, smooth the skin, and remove the red-eye effect.
The “skin” tool allows you to smooth the skin, remove acne, and emphasize makeup with the help of brushes. The tool is pretty well-developed, but I had problems with zooming.
When I zoomed in a photo, in order to edit those parts of the body that are difficult to reach, the photo editor simply “froze” for some time, probably because the photo is quite “heavy,” about 8MB. After several lags, this effect disappeared.
Work with text is one of the advantages of PicMonkey photo editor. There are hundreds of different fonts and styles available. Users have a chance to change the color of the text, center it on the page, make it bigger or smaller, and place it behind or in front of the image.
Also, when you change the color of the text, PicMonkey uses a simple but proven method, similar to Photoshop. You can instantly select a color by typing or inserting its color code.
In addition to the various fonts and styles, color, size, and layout settings, you can also apply various effects to the text, which, by the way, are available for free. This is surprisingly strange. The "Text" tool worked out quite well and has only positive reviews.
PicMonkey photo editor also offers a huge overlays menu. The overlays are grouped in the “Add graphics" tab and include stickers of small animals, stars, fog, hearts, lines, labels, and banners.
You should remember that graphics overlays can be changed. You can move them around the page, change transparency, or change the color. Overlays are ideal if you wish to create and design thumbnails. I liked the Add graphics tool because you can use all the available overlays for free.
Using the “Frames” and “Texture” tabs you can add any of the available frames and apply a texture to the background. Still, I don’t really like this tool and there are several reasons.
The available frames aren’t developed very well. You can’t increase them to fit the photo, and as a result, in my case, the upper part of the photo is left without a frame. Besides, they are available only if you have a subscription.
The “Texture” tool also lags. There is no slider, which regulates sharpness, color, or transparency. Also, half of the textures are available only after the upgrade, similar to the “Frames” tab.
The last tab of PicMonkey editor is called “Themes” and allows you to apply ready-made inscriptions, with beautiful texts and fonts. This is quite an interesting tool for those who want to create something unique and attractive.
I liked the tool because all functions are available for free and each of them has a number of sliders, with which you can edit size, transparency, etc.
Another important advantage of PicMonkey photo editing app is the “HUB” tab. In addition to a convenient cataloger, this tab is the analog to the Cloud storage, where your sketches, photos, and design projects will be stored.
In addition, using this tab, you can share albums, upload them to a social network, or give access to friends to view the album. The “HUB” tool is well-developed, without any complaints.
If you’ve read our review about the Canva photo editor, you will probably notice some similarities, opening the “Templates” tab. With the help of this section, you can create banners, brochures, various logos, plan various design projects, etc.
There is a huge collection of ready-made photos that are available on subscription, but if you do not want to overpay, you can create your own unique picture using lots of available tools.
In general, the “Templates” tool works effectively if you need to draw and create photos, but I can’t understand why more than 50% of all the functions it offers are available only after an upgrade.
After opening, the image editor offers to upload pictures from the gallery, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, or Hab storage. I downloaded a photo from the gallery, then the photo editor asked if I would like to upload another photo for the collage, or proceed to image editing.
Opening the app, I saw a very familiar and typical for mobile editors’ interface. I can’t say that it differs from the others, but for this type of editor, to my mind, the simplicity is the most important thing. The main interface has such a tool – crop, adjust, effects, touch up, cut up, text, graphics, and draw. The tools are completely identical to the older version, but let’s check how they work.
The “Adjust” tool allows you to perform basic photo retouch: adjust the shadows, contrast, brightness, curve, and more. Unlike the older version, where I did not really like sliders, which worked quite sharp, this effect isn’t noticeable. The tool is well-developed.
Using the “Cutout” tool, you can paint over or blur the background, thereby removing unnecessary elements from the photo. The tool works perfectly, but I have the same problem as in the older version. After the photo is zoomed, the editor “freezes” for a while and when you try to perform the same action again, everything works well.
The “Text” tool remains one of the advantages of the PicMonkey photo editor. As well as in the web version, you get more than one hundred different fonts and styles. You can easily change the color of the text, add an effect, move it to the desired place, and edit the size. The tool works without any delays.
The “Color” tab is ideal for those who enjoy drawing. The tool provides a pencil, eraser, and color pallet.
After completing photo retouching, you can save the image to the HUB, your gallery, or directly to a social network.
PicMonkey photo editor is not available as a separate PC software, it is an online photo editor with a free trial period. After a quick registration, you get access to all the functionality for 7 days.
When the trial period ends, you can purchase one of the available plans.
To give a more accurate assessment of PicMonkey, my team and I decided to try out a few more photo editors and compare their capabilities.
A peculiar characteristic of these two photo editors is that they allow inexperienced users to create images that can compete and even exceed the work of pro designers. Canva offers two pricing structures. You can create any design you like for free, or add a selected item from the library to your design for $1.
This means that you can create projects using only available free elements without additional expenses. PicMonkey photo editor, like Canva, offers a free or basic plan that gives you limited access to the tools. Another important factor while choosing a graphic design tool is the usability feature.
Canva is easy to use and all its functions are quite simple. PicMonkey is a bit less user-friendly and difficult to understand, but as soon as you understand the terminology used (overlap, fading, etc.), this is a good tool with many options. Paid design elements are mixed with free, similar to Canva, so you have to make sure that the elements you choose are included in the basic or free plan.
Speaking of color correction and photo retouching, Canva is greatly inferior to PicMonkey photo editor, because it is mainly aimed at designing various banners, logos, and more.
Spark is a free tool with a large number of social network layouts and a variety of templates. PicMonkey also offers many ready-made layouts, but mainly paid ones. The important advantage of Spark is the Creative Commons library. There are millions of images at your disposal that can be used for your projects.
PicMonkey photo editor also offers such a library; however, it is available only after you get the subscription. In general, Spark surpasses its competitor, because the functionality that is available in the free version is much more powerful than PicMonkey offers. The only drawback is that all your images will have Adobe watermarks in the lower right corner.
Gimp is primarily open source software with an intuitive interface and completely free tools. Although PicMonkey photo editor also offers a very simple interface, image editing in Gimp is much more convenient. It is important that Gimp is available only for Windows, and you will not be able to run it on Mac OS and Linux.
PicMonkey requires only a browser that can be installed on Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. In terms of functionality, Gimp is far ahead of PicMonkey, because it allows you to work with several images. Besides, it has a perfectly developed tool to work with masks and layers, a lot of brushes, etc.