I recently presented my blog to coworkers in order to not only bring attention to a resource that I think they’d find helpful, but I also wanted a sense of how my peers would respond to my blog’s content. I’m very fortunate to work in a very supportive environment. Through my presentation, I realized there are many options available for those looking to use free Internet tools to jazz up their classrooms (or whatever). Fotor was brought to my attention as a photo editor similar to PicMonkey. There are a few differences between Fotor and other photo editors, though they all offer the same types of options overall. At this point, I don’t have much of a preference for Internet photo editors, especially for my purposes. If I need to do any “professional” photo editing, I’m still likely to turn to Photoshop Elements or Lightroom. But, it’s good to have these options for times when I don’t have access to a computer with my purchased software. I have found that the free versions are likely to also be suitable for student use (as long as they aren’t in a graphic design course or the like).
Goal: create graphics to include in my online classroom, combining text and graphics; I’m also looking for an easy to use tool for enhancing the graphics I use in my blog
Defining terminology: The “Internet version” is the tool that you access through an Internet browser; you obviously need an Internet connection to use the tool. The “desktop version” or “download version” refers to the tool that you need to download from one of the links above to use the software on your computer rather than through an Internet browser. (I did not test the app versions.)
- No log in required to get started with either the Internet or desktop version.
- Font colors can be changed within the same textbox. (If I want to highlight a specific word, I can change the color without changing the color of every word or needing to create a separate textbox for the highlighted word.)
- Able to save finished graphics as .jpg or .png. (No upgrade needed in order to download the graphic to your PC.) With the desktop version, you can also save it as .bmp and .tiff.
- The graphics you create and download show up under the Import Photos section of the workspace. You can then add the edited graphics to the next graphic you create (e.g., for when you need to edit some photos before adding them to a collage).
- Several share options: Fotor Forum, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google+, or print or URL.
- There is a preview feature that shows the graphic in the style’s intended environment. I created a YouTube cover, so the preview shows me the graphic as it might appear on a YouTube channels screen on a laptop, computer monitor, and smart phone. This way, you can see where the graphic might be cropped when put in that environment.
- There is a download version of the software so you don’t need an Internet connection to use it.
- Help is available, though it isn’t extensive. There are tutorials and a blog, with further insights.
- The desktop version supports RAW image format. For those who shoot photos with a DSLR, this is a big deal since many photo editors only support JPG photo formats. (That said, most folks who take the time to shoot in RAW format have invested in Photoshop or Lightroom already.)
- You can “batch” changes in the desktop version, so if you want to add the same border to a bunch of photos, you can do it at once.
- The desktop version doesn’t seem to have ads beyond one in the right hand corner.
- Like most photo editing tools, some options are reserved for the upgraded version.
- There are ads at the bottom of the screen for the Internet version, which can be distracting with they’re flashing, but I found it easier to ignore them as compared to tools with the ads in the right margin (e.g., Pic Monkey).
- Some font colors don’t appear correctly (e.g., white font on black background). I had to change it to more of a gray-white in order for it to appear; for the yellow, I needed to slide the color picker to a brighter version of yellow. I identified this issue with the Internet version.
- The screen freezes sometimes when it’s changing to a new banner ad on the Internet version.
- Pictures over 8 megapixels cannot be uploaded to the Internet version of Fotor.
- When creating a collage, I can’t seem to add text in the desktop version.
- The Internet version sometimes doesn’t load, but reloading the page worked.
- Some of the borders in the Internet collage tool will cut into your graphic. I think this is just a result of using a template that wants the graphics to be a certain size.
- Undo in the Internet version seems to undo all the changes I made to a photo when editing it.
Insider View: In the Internet version, I generally choose the graphic style (e.g., Facebook cover, poster, card, etc.) in Design mode based on the size/shape of the graphic I want to create. Hovering over the style icon will reveal the dimensions by pixels so that you can see which styles are more vertical, horizontal, or square.
Final Thoughts: This is another free tool like PicMonkey, BeFunky, Canva, Pixlr, and others. But, I’m really liking the download version of Fotor. It’s very “professional” looking in design, and all the buttons I need are available in the right margin. Not everyone can download software if they’re using public or work computers. Since the ads in Fotor are not as distracting as PicMonkey, it’d be a toss up between Fotor and BeFunky (which doesn’t have ads).