Picmonkey vs Photoshop: A Tale of Two Really Awesome Tools
Okay guys, I hope your holiday went great….And Happy New Year as well! Did you ever get a chance to make some cards for the holiday season? I got a nice surprise in the mail the other day…a beautiful handmade card from my first cousin (who works for a well-known greeting card company)
It’s definitely unique…and as I could see it involved use of her home computer. Let’s be honest, stuff like pens, markers, and paint are great, but messy. Ink can smear and paint can run. Enter the alternative – graphic tools!
If you like the idea of incorporating graphics into your crafting, let’s talk about a couple of my favorite tools: Picmonkey and Photoshop. Both are great for cards, as well as many other crafts that involve cardstock and paper.
How and Why I Use Both Tools
Photoshop has been around since Hector was a pup – way back in the day I used to take classes in graphics. We were expected to hit the ground running with Photoshop, and I was having to learn a lot in short order, At the time, this was the GWB years and we were working with version CS2 – which it is way beyond at this point.
Right now I use both Picmonkey and Photoshop for my “side hustle” on Etsy… In case you’re curious, I have my own line of coffee mugs. I create png file designs that can be uploaded and later printed on the mugs. A really cool drop-shipping company takes care of the rest.
But I digress a little….I have found that both tools work great in different ways; Sometimes, though, when I want to get a little more creative with my designs, I find that I can dive into the extensive library on Picmonkey and get premade designs to supplement my work as well as lots of unique fonts 🙂
Comparing The Two
I found that there are some special advantages to working with Picmonkey for my designs. They are, in no order:
- It is Cloud-based; I have nothing to download or register.
- Versatility of fonts (you can find everything from fancy-pants to Halloween-ish)
- Many backgrounds and cute add-on graphics.
- Many pre-designed templates to choose from.
Picmonkey is my go-to tool for all my infographics right here on this blog – as well as my tool of choice for editing all my pictures and adding embellishments to them. I’ve been a subscriber for about a year, and a happy one too! Prior to, I was using some other free venues, some good and some with limitations (or annoying ads).
Photoshop, on the other hand, is a software program you have to install; which may mean registering it. I actually own Photoshop Elements (version 6, I believe) which is a little bit more lightweight and easier to learn. It came included in a bundle package with my drawing tablet.
Which is Best For Social Media Images?
One thing I always hated was having to look up the recommended measurements for all the different social media platforms, and on top of it, things like banners and empty spaces (like where your icon or avatar will go and block what is directly behind it).
If you want to skip all that guesswork, Picmonkey has multitudes of templates with all of the bigwigs pre-sized, so you never have to worry about the possibility of something you spent precious time on getting chopped off in one place or being too small or too big. been there, done that!
For example, you can find different Pinterest image sizes (short medium and long) and those for Facebook, Instagram and a long list of other platforms – and yes, Etsy shop templates as well.
Templates to Save Time
You have a wide range of templates on Picmonkey to choose from, with every season and occasion, so regardless of the nature of your project, you will have dozens to contend with, and modify from a pre-designed, professional looking design.
There are business card sized (which would be great for this project), postcard, invitation, and the standard A4 letter size which I think is the biggest – so when the time comes to print out your designs you’ll know exactly what to expect them to look like first.
Picmonkey Has Been Updated and the New Features ROCK!
This past September, I found myself getting panicky because Picmonkey was suddenly crashing on me (I kept getting this message to cancel Shockwave or some nonsense) but a week later I discovered that the site had gotten a complete makeover, with all these brand new features, including new designs, new fonts, and automatic file saving – Yay, no more lost work!
Do you use a thumbdrive to store all your work? With Picmonkey you have access to something called a “Hub” where you can store all your files and works in progress.
Now I can really take it up a notch and not worry about all my work getting lost!
I Can Save and Organize My Work Like a Boss on Picmonkey!
So far, the new changes have been great – all my text and images line up perfectly with this built in grid feature that aligns and centers elements (it didn’t do that before). I also use the Hub feature, and here’s something really cool – I can create different sections for different project types. I have created one “Collection” for my Etsy shop designs and one for my blog images here.
The Collage Feature
I really dig the collage feature….It’s been under construction for awhile but as of the time of writing (1/3/19) I see that the collage layout is back in business (Yay!) I had been missing that one…it’s one of my favorite templates; lately I haven’t been creating any image collages due to it still being under way.
It makes creating image combos a snap because I don’t have to worry about whether or not this image or that one has to be sized down to fit within the frame.
Yes, for awhile I used to do all of this kind of work in Photoshop (and to some extent, Corel Draw and paint) but unless I created a one-time template that I could modify later, it kind of slowed me down. I was forever having to merge stuff, decide how much to crunch it down to conserve file size, save, etc.
A Few Quirks To Keep in Mind:)
One thing I ran into the other day, I found it tricky to select certain layers and merge them together without disturbing another layer you want to modify again, over in the Picmonkey image editor…Either it’s not present or I haven’t discovered it yet. When I work in Photoshop, I just tick off the layers I want to merge and hit “merge” from the drop-down menu.
The second quirky thing now, since the update, I keep getting longer phrase strings with missing letters….I sometimes have to go back in and retype. I think that due to the new autosave feature Picmonkey has now, maybe it is due to file caching or something??
I find that I have to counteract this by breaking down long sentences by creating a new text layer for each of them, as you can see in the work above.
Which is a Better Deal, PicMonkey or Photoshop?
Photoshop’s latest edition can be a one-time cost if you’re looking to have your own software for your personal use ( a little steep) or as my late husband once discovered, you can choose a membership that is about $20 per month, and Cloud-based storage.
Best way to get started is to choose a Creative Cloud membership plan from the proprietary company site (Adobe) to make sure you get a clean copy that wasn’t registered previously.
You can get Photoshop as part of a single-app plan
The best way to acquire a less expensive copy to call your own is to (apologies) be on the lookout for an older version. To the left is an older package deal my husband bought awhile back (and I do believe it is the version I first studied under.)
You can give Picmonkey the ol’ college try risk-free, as the first 7 days are on the house! I recommend you upgrade at some point to take advantage of all it has to offer.
So all in all, if you love scrapbooking, paper crafts, card-making, or need a fun, mimimal-learning curve way to create images and infographics, Picmonkey is your best bet. Hey I’m just a blogger, not a professional photographer (though I do my best when it comes to taking pictures) and that’s why I’m happy to continue being a subscriber. Good luck to you and let me know what you find!