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The Horror that is Known as Picnik

By: A.Woah
Nov 15, 2009

You’ve seen them before. They are the ones that incessantly abuse the horror that is known as Picnik.

Picture after picture is distorted with a myspace-esque high contrast or strange whitish fog that may/may not be accompanied by, but not limited to: lyrics from bad pop songs (referencing hooking up with boys, being drunk, or being drunk and hooking up with boys), a white Polaroid border, a phrase to the likes of “babbiii”, “friends forever <3” in an annoying font that is all lowercase and squished, and quotes so long pertaining to the sheer awesomeness of the abuser’s friends or team sport that there is more text than picture. Unfortunately, full albums are dedicated to these “works of art”. But perhaps the worst thing is that these abusers are praised for their horrid work, being commented on Facebook that they’re “so gooood at picnikkkkkkk” and that they “should make me onnneee”

Good God, is there no end to this madness? As someone who edits photos with Photoshop CS3 and has been involved in graphic design for three years, it truly sickens me to see these picnick’ed photos surface on my news feed and to see that there are actually people out there that actually think that these picnics are “so coooolll!”. Any designer would agree that when text dominates a photo, that photo is no longer a photo but merely a background for a really long quote no one cares about. You might as well have made it as a PowerPoint slide. Furthermore, the effects used are reminiscent of a Myspace-mirror shot default pic with the contrast so high the only facial features visible are the eyes and mouth.

I can hear a pack of screaming Picnik abusers calling for my head to be guillotined right now. They may argue that “picnik is just for funn!” and “I’m not a serious designer and if you don’t like what you see, then don’t look at it!!!” All valid arguments, but you might as well argue that everything is just for fun and people should ignore anything they don’t find pleasing. My problem is that these hardcore picnik abusers see themselves as actual pro photo editors. I do not bestow the label of ‘pro’ upon myself, but I know that I am better than these abusers. Pretentious as it sounds, it is true and I know hundreds of other amateur and professional designers out there would agree with me on my standpoint.I think that it is perfectly fine to change the black/white levels of a photo to dramaticize it (to a degree) and to colorize it so it looks all cool and retro, but really, inverting a photo's color, using that weirdo motion blur filter and dumping text onto an otherwise appealing photo is just plain ugly.

There are parts of the program that aren’t so awful. Picnik does offer basic functions such as crop, auto adjust etc and for those familiar with Photoshop or even GIMP (another free image manipulation program), there are curve and level adjustments. However, it is the awful, epileptic inducing effects that are featured that totally destroy whatever good Picnik has to offer.

My final stance- as a basic photo editing program, Picnik isn’t horrible, but the users who abuse the effects that are offered take horrid to a new level. They have created a new phenomenon that in due time will bestwoed with its own Encyclopedia Dramatica page. I do look forward to that day. If it has already come, then please let me know.


mugglescholar5's picture

Harsh, but warranted

dun-yell's picture


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