I tried to open a file or image and got an error #2030 or #2124 message

Pixlr Editor wasn’t designed to be compatible with PSD files. You will find that some very simple PSD files may open in Pixlr Editor, but more complex PSDs with layer masks or large files probably will not work. In many cases, an error #2030 will indicate that you are trying to open a PSD file that Pixlr cannot open or it may indicate that a .pxd file you are trying to open may be too large for our online editor to parse and read.
Similarly, an error #2124 may indicate that you are attempting to open an image with a file format that Pixlr Editor does not recognize. For example, some proprietary RAW formats (e.g., Nikon’s NEF format) will not work in Pixlr Editor.

I tried to open an image from Google Drive and it failed

One handy integration for Pixlr Editor and Pixlr Express is the ability to open images directly from Google Drive. However, if you tried to open an image from Google Drive and ended up on this page, it is because you clicked “Deny” when given the option to connect your Google Drive to Pixlr Editor or Pixlr Express.
Not to worry. This is easy to fix. Simply open Google Drive, choose “Open with” and select the Pixlr app you want to use. When confronted with the choice to enable this integration, choose “Allow”.
Need help? Check out this article which walks you through it step by step.

Can I curve text in Pixlr Editor?

Pixlr Editor has a lot of tools to do a lot of graphic design tasks, but the text tools do not have the option for creating curved text along a path.

Why am I seeing an empty grey or blank screen?

If you open up Pixlr Editor or Pixlr Express and see a grey or blank screen, you’ll want to reinstall Flash.

Pixlr Editor and Pixlr Express are Flash-based apps, and from time to time Adobe updates Flash.

If your computer is running an older version of Flash and you see only a grey screen, a quick update or reinstallation of Flash should get you back up and running.

Visit this page on Adobe’s site, which will show you which version of Flash you’re running. You may be prompted to update Flash on your computer.

Note: You will need to restart your browser before launching Pixlr Editor or Pixlr Express.

Note for Chromebook users: You may not be able to reinstall Flash manually. Flash may be tied to an automatic Chrome update for Chromebook users.

Is there special pricing for nonprofits or educators?

Pixlr Editor is used by a lot of nonprofits — and especially educators. We get questions from time to time from educators and nonprofits asking if we offer discounted licenses or if we have built our software to comply with special policies that address privacy concerns. We hope this article helps answer those questions if you have them:

  • Pricing: We do not offer any special pricing for educators. In fact, we don’t offer Pixlr Editor for sale at all. We strongly encourage educators to use the free online Pixlr Editor app. It’s the right app for teaching graphic design basics.
  • Ads: Sorry, but we don’t offer a way to remove ads from our online Pixlr Editor app.
  • Privacy: We don’t track users or market to them or share user data with third parties. It’s simply an online tool for basic graphic design. It’s open to anyone who wants to use it.
  • Accounts: If you wish, you can create an account and save images to a Pixlr Library for convenience. You can also create an account via Google. Or, don’t create an account at all. It’s up to you.
  • Chromebook: Pixlr Editor works on Chromebooks, but it doesn’t work offline. It’s a Flash-based app so it requires Flash and the ability for Flash to save to a local directory.
  • COPPA: Pixlr Editor is not COPPA compliant and may not be ideal for you if you require a lot of special certifications, but it’s a great tool for kids to learn graphic design basics.

Why use Pixlr Editor for teaching?
Ultimately, it’s up to teachers or nonprofit heard to decide if any software works for them. A lot of educators like using Pixlr Editor because its free; it works in virtually any browser; it doesn’t require an account; and it doesn’t share out images to third-party social networking services. In fact, we don’t host any public user generated content.

Making a grittier, more intense portrait with Pixlr Editor

We love grungy street photography, but we don’t always know how to get that look out of just a camera. Here’s a little secret: You usually can’t. Many of the gritty, urban street photos you see have some post-processing work done on them. We don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. In fact, we’re going to show you how to add a little gritty intensity to your portraits using Pixlr Editor. 

First, of course, you’ll need a portrait. If your portraits subject looks a little menacing to begin with — even better. Ours certainly does: 

Open your image in Pixlr Editor. You’re going to want to duplicate your background layer. You can do this from the Adjustments menu, or just right click on the layer in the Layers toolbar and choose Duplicate layer. Next, we want to knock out the color in this layer. Choose Adjustments > Desaturate and you’ll see that this will turn your layer into black and white: 

Next, we’re going to blend these two layers together. This will add intensity to the photo’s details, but the key to getting this right is controlling the intensity. For our image, we want to dial back the opacity of the added layer to about 80%. Then, we’re going to use one of the layer blending modes to give this layer some additional lighting treatment. You’ll see that you have a number of blending modes to choose from, so try them out to see how each works. We’re using Hardlight, which is what we suggest you start with. This blend mode works great with our black and white layer and gives it a deeper tone. 

Those are the basics for blending two layers together. As you experiment with these blend modes, you’ll see that you can get some quite good and subtle effects. But what if you want to keep going and not be so subtle? You certainly can. 

Going further

We wanted our image to be a little lighter in the face and darker at the edges. We changed the exposure from the Exposure option in Adjustments menu to lighten up the bright areas. 

One thing that we add that helps our street portrait look dark and gritty is to use a vignette effect to darken the edges of the photo and put the spotlight on this man’s face. We choose Filter > Vignette and set it at 50%. This made our outside edges darker. 

Finally, we aren’t satisfied with how grungy this guy is. More, please! We add a little “noise.” You’ll find the Noise option in the Filter menu. If you ever used to shoot with high speed film, you’ll notice that this noise effect can give you that kind of grainy look that really works great for street scenes. 

The end result is a pretty gritty homeless looking fellow, but he’s probably a softie on the inside. Undoubtedly, he just needs a good hug. 

A quick guide to selective coloring in Pixlr Editor

Pixlr Express has a Color Splash option that makes it easy to transform a photo into black and white with areas of color shining through, but you can do this in a more thorough and detailed way in Pixlr Editor. To distinguish between the two processes, we generally think of the more advanced Pixlr Editor process as one of “selective color.”

(One thing to note before you jump in: This article is about how to take a color image and playing with areas of black and white and color in combination. This process requires you to begin with a color image; this isn’t about adding color to a greyscale image. Images that begin as black-and-white images cannot be turned into full-color color images in Pixlr Editor.)

Stacking layers and erasing one layer

The general idea is to double up your layers and then erase part of one layer so that the bottom layer shines through. First, open your image in Pixlr Editor. Then, duplicate the background layer, which you can do by right clicking on the layer itself in your Layers toolbar. Or, look for the Duplicate layer option in the Layers top menu.

Next, simply use the Desaturate option in the Adjustments menu to turn your top (duplicate) layer into a black and white image.

Now, you’re going to simply use the Eraser tool to erase the areas that you want to show up as color. You’ll be erasing the top (duplicate) layer in specific areas with the Eraser, and the Eraser works as a brush. So, choose the best brush tool for the job. If you need to do detail work, consider using a soft brush and increase the hardness. You can also create your own brush if you want.

This image has a fairly clear area we want to color, but if you are working on a more detailed area, try starting with a large brush and working your way to a smaller brush to work on the edging.

Storing images in a Pixlr Library

You don’t have to create an account to start using Pixlr Editor, but there’s one reason you might want to — you can save your work to your own Pixlr Library. Even better, your Pixlr Library lets you pull in photos from popular photo-sharing services Facebook, Flickr, Picasa, and Google Drive.

To get started, simply sign up for an account by clicking on “Open image from Library.”

You’ll be prompted to either sign up or sign in.

Once you’ve created a Pixlr Library account, you can save your images in folders and create new folders to house sets of images. You can even connect to services like Facebook and open and save images from those services back to your Pixlr Library:

A few things to note about a Pixlr Library:

  • Many services are supported with the ability to save both ways. Google Drive images can be opened from Google Drive, but they can’t be opened from your Pixlr Library.
  • The Pixlr Library is only available for use with images edited in Pixlr Editor.
  • A Pixlr Library account is a separate type of account from an Autodesk ID account (that you might create for a Pixlr Desktop Essentials or Pro membership). You are welcome to create both types of accounts, and you can use the same username and password for each separate service if you prefer.

How to use the clone stamp tool in Pixlr Editor

The clone stamp tool in Pixlr Editor, as you might imagine, does one simple thing: It copies image details and pastes those details in the place of your choosing on the same layer. But, the clone tool can be used for more than just straight copying. Many people use it to create natural-looking blending when they are touching up a photo they’ve manipulated. Here are a few instances that illustrate some of its uses:

  • You want to add a dozen golf balls to the shot of your uncle concentrating on sinking that one golf ball that’s currently on the putting green.
  • You like the clouds in your landscape shot, but you want more of them — and they need to look authentic.
  • That close-up of your daughter smiling looks great, but those two scratches on her cheek from the briar patch in the backyard need to seamlessly be painted away.

Using your brushes

What’s handy about this tool is that you have all of the brush options at your disposal. You can even use brushes you’ve created and saved before for other purposes. It’s a good idea to use a soft edge brush unless you want a very hard line where the cloning happens. Likewise, you can lower the opacity for a light blending touch.

A quick note about the “aligned” option

One sometimes confusing detail about the clone tool is how to use the “aligned” option. When aligned is not selected, your sample point will remain where you initially sampled until you sample again. Every time you use your brush, you’ll paste the original area again and again. When align is selected, the sampling point follows your mouse as you move it.

Cloning, step-by-step

  • The tool looks like a rubber stamp. Once you choose it, your clone options will appear at the top of your image. Adjust your options if you wish.
  • Place your pointer in the exact location you want to sample. Hold the Alt (Command on Mac) button down. You’ll notice the mouse pointer has turned to a target to indicate that it’s time to pick the target area you’d like to clone. Click on the location you want to sample. Let go of the Alt button.
  • Move your brush to the area you want to apply what you’ve cloned and hold down the mouse button to paint. You’ll want to experiment with this tool to get the hang of it. Try small circular motions until you become more confident.

Examples of usage 

Let’s say we’d like to add a second “T” next to the one at the bottom of this graffitied oil drum. The radius of 180 pixels is about the right size for our brush, which we can specify in our options. 

The background behind the T is relatively solid, so we don’t need to worry about using hard edged brushes. In this simple instance, we can completely copy and paste the T. Very easy.


Now, let’s say we want to remove some of the graffiti — to essentially erase it by pasting over it with the background color of the oil drum. We choose a softer edged brush (50 pixels) and a lower opacity (70 pixels).

If you move your mouse to a new area and paint, you’ll paint on the same thing you originally cloned. You can sample a new clone area at any time, but notice how we can begin to remove the blue-and-white sticker on the oil drum by using the clone stamp tool: