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Easy Photo Editing - 8 Free Sites and Examples

Cynthia is a digital marketer, writer, and artist. She writes about a variety of topics, especially digital marketing, languages & culture.

Red Christmas Ornament - Unedited

Red Christmas Ornament - Unedited

Digital Photo Editing is Fun and Easy!

With photographs and images as part of so many websites, it’s always a good idea and even fun to make your images look their best. It doesn’t take much time, either!

I highlight six different photo-editing websites in this article.

I took one photo, a recent Christmas shot, and manipulated it in each of the websites to look at the multiple offerings of each site and illustrate different changes you can do to just one photo.

I also listed what I found to be the strengths of each site so that if you have a particular edit or change you want to make to a photo, you’ll know which website excels for that type of edit.

You can use a photo-editing site to help with creating beautiful images for websites, hubs, blogs, Facebook, and more.

Pictured above is the original red ornament photo that I snapped recently.

I uploaded this photo to each of the six websites to see what sorts of different things I could do to change this image and manipulate it. Read more for the results!

Screenshot using the tools on Pixlr.

Screenshot using the tools on Pixlr.

1. Free Photo Editing on Pixlr

Pixlr is a great site where you can do advanced photo editing and work with layers or overlays. You don’t have to become a member to enjoy all its benefits.

For many of us, we just want to do a quick touch-up or even add something fun to a photo. You can do all that with Pixlr.

See the sreenshot of what Pixlr looks like.

After the Edits

With the following photo, I used the “efficient” setting. I went into the “effects” screen and then scrolled over to “Ingrid” and applied that function to the photo. Then I went into the “overlay” screen, selected “default” and added the “shine” function. This is the result:

Red Ornament edited in Pixlr.

Red Ornament edited in Pixlr.

Pixlr Is Great for Bokeh and Overlays

Thus, the image looks sharper and makes the ornament pop and the glitter on the metal parts of the ornament really shines.

Pixlr is a great all-in-one site, but my two favorite attributes that it has that others are lacking is with the “bokeh” and the “overlays.” You can really create some stunning photos with those two features alone.

Screenshot of Picmokey tools

Screenshot of Picmokey tools

2. PicMonkey is Another Free Editing Site

On the second site, PicMonkey, I like a lot of the “effects” functions they have as well as the overlays. You don’t have to be a member to manipulate photos.

Here is a screenshot of PicMonkey:

Scroll to Continue

Editing the Photo

Taking my original ornament photo, I did the following: I went to “effects” and then to “tint.” I clicked on the “advanced” button and selected “darken.” Next I went to “Holga,” selected “blue” and went to 70% with a 30% grain. This is the result:

The finished product after using PicMonkey.

The finished product after using PicMonkey.

Screenshot of the tools in BeFunky.

Screenshot of the tools in BeFunky.

Photo Edited in PicMonkey

The edges have a wonderful “darkening” (or vignette) and the image is a high-contrast black and white photo. I will say that there are lots of options with PicMonkey, but many require you to pay for them.

My favorite features of PicMonkey are their “themes” you can apply to your images – I almost decided to put winter snowflakes on this image using the winter theme, but finally decided against it, thinking it would detract from the photo.

3. Photo Editing with BeFunky

A third site is BeFunky. This is a fun site that lets you manipulate photos without becoming a member of the site, although membership has its priviledges.

Take a look at the screenshot to see the features of BeFunky.

The Edited Photo in BeFunky

I took that same Christmas photo and uploaded it to the site and started manipulating it. Again, I went to the “effects” tab and selected “cross process 2.” For the “effect amount,” I went to the midpoint of the effect. Then going to the “artsy” tab, I selected “underpainting” and under the “frames” tab, I selected a basic one and chose “overlay.” This is the result:

Edited photo in BeFunky.

Edited photo in BeFunky.

I really enjoy how the highlights came out and how the borders look. My favorite features of the site are the “art effects,” such as the one I used to create this photo. There are lots to choose from and all create interesting and fun images.

Screenshot of Photobucket's tools.

Screenshot of Photobucket's tools.

4. Edit Your Photos in Photobucket

Still, another site is Photobucket. This site is neat because you can store your photos on the site and go back and edit them at a later time. You do need to be a member to upload and manipulate photos.

Look at the screenshot to get an idea of what tools they have. (Yes, they do look strikingly like those in Pixlr.)

Photo Editing with Photobucket

For this photo, these are the effects I chose to use: I started with the “effects” function, then “default” and applied “Sara.” I added a border and selected “default” and “trashly” and then reduced the fade amount to 72.

Photo edited in Photobucket.

Photo edited in Photobucket.

Photobucket Has Great Borders

Photobucket has great frames for the photos you upload; out of all the sites, I’d use this one to apply a fun frame to any photo for which I need borders.

Screenshot of Fotoflexer's tools.

Screenshot of Fotoflexer's tools.

5. Fotoflexer Is Another Great Photo Editing Site

Fotoflexer is fast-becoming one of my favorites. The site doesn’t require you to become a member to manipulate images and they have some great features.

The screenshot to the right highlights some of their fun tools and effects.

Results of the Photo Edits

For the same ornament image, I went to “text” and selected “Apple Cobbler.” I just love the variety of fonts they have.

After, I went to “effects” and selected “blueprint” but faded it to about 50%. Here is the result:

Edited image in Fotoflexer.

Edited image in Fotoflexer.

Fotoflexer Is a Lot of Fun!

“Blueprint” isn’t available on the other sites, though I’m sure you could manipulate the “effects” in some of them and come up with something near to what I have here.

Fotoflexer also has “glittering” (as in animated) text, stickers and stamps. These are great fun that can easily add a touch of sparkle to an image.

6. More Photo Editing with Flikr

Last but not least is the well-known Flickr. Many people store their images there, but they also have a photo-editing program. It’s called “Aviary.” You need to be a member, however, to use it.

Personally, I don’t find it quite as comprehensive as the other photo editing sites, but that doesn’t mean it’s without great features.

In fact, I created the following photo in this way: I went to Aviary, then to “effects” and applied the “Indiglow” function. It gives the image a border, a slight blue hue and darkens it just a bit.

Edited photo on Flickr.

Edited photo on Flickr.

This particular feature really highlights the red ornament and makes the foliage fade to the background just a bit.

After you’re finished editing, you can post images to your photostream immediately.

7. Photo Editing with Design Wizard

Design Wizard is a newer site that has some great features. You can upload photos to design and work on, and there are lots of free tools you can use. You can upgrade to get premium features, as well. You can add borders, filters, shapes, and other elements. I also enjoy their video design feature.

For the edited photo, I used only free elements in Design Wizard. I added a "polaroid" filter, changed the hue, and added a decorative border, and changed its transparency to about 50%. Refer back up top for the original photo to see the difference between that and the edited version.

The result is the image below:

Edited photo on Design Wizard

Edited photo on Design Wizard

8. Photo edits with Canva

Canva is a great way to edit photos. There are lots of free elements and others you can purchase, usually for around $.99. You can add filters, text, borders, illustrations, and much more.

For this edited photo, I selected the "edge" filter, added some snow, and a snowflake element.

One note about Design Wizard and Canva: the interface is similar and you must "size" your design before creating it. In Design Wizard, I selected "landscape photo" and in Canva, I selected "photo book."

Photo edits in Canva.

Photo edits in Canva.

Some Online Photo Editing Tips

  • The better the photo is in the first place, the better your results with any photo editing site.
  • It’s best if your images aren’t huge when you’re uploading to online sites. It’s better to resize them to 1000 pixels or less (on a side) before uploading so that you don’t have to wait around for long lengths of time while you manipulate the images.
  • Don’t be afraid to play around and do multiple things to your photos. Sometimes you can create a great image by doing two or three manipulations to an image.
  • The more you do this, the better you get!
  • Try all the sites to see which one works best with your own personal style.

© 2012 Cynthia Calhoun


Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on July 27, 2016:

JPSO138 - hey, thanks! You know, the last couple of years with going back to school and moving, I haven't been using my trusty camera as much. But...I'm at the beach right now and I am resolving and intending to get back into it. :) Hope you're well!

JPSO138 from Cebu, Philippines, International on July 26, 2016:

I"m starting out to learn taking good pictures and surely the information you provided will be a great help along the way.

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on June 19, 2015:

FatBoyThin - ya know, it wasn't long ago at all - maybe three years ago - before I heard about most of these sites. And knew less about photography. But, that's the power of the internet: it allows for fast learning at your fingertips. :) Thank you so much for stopping by and I appreciate your comments. Have a great day!

Colin Garrow from Inverbervie, Scotland on June 14, 2015:

When I come across a Hub like this, it makes me feel like a total Internet beginner - I haven't heard of most of the image sites you mention, and it's not as if I haven't been searching for stuff. Anyway, thanks for the info, very useful.

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on March 19, 2014:

Cyndi10 - thanks for stopping by! You're right: there's always something new so when I had a chance to share these, I had a lot of fun exploring these sites and writing them up. Thanks so much for coming by!

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on March 19, 2014:

Shyron - thanks for coming back! I hope you have fun trying them out. :)

Have a wonderful day!

Cynthia B Turner from Georgia on March 19, 2014:

Hi Cyndi, This is great info. I am also bookmarking this. I can always use interesting ways to jazz up a picture when I complete articles.

There is always something new on the Internet. It's hard to keep up, so it's certainly a help when someone else let's the rest of us benefit from their discoveries. Thanks so much for this information. I am also sharing.

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on March 18, 2014:

This is fantastic, I will bookmark so I can try them all. I have not tried any of these before, but I am anxious to, then I will come back and vote on the one I like best.

Thanks for sharing the information.

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on March 18, 2014:

Shyron - that sounds great! Thanks for stopping by. :)

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on March 18, 2014:

Rebecca - thank you! I really like all these sites - there are others, but these are what I work most with right now. Next year? I'll probably have discovered a whole new site, but these sites have so many exciting possibilities. :)

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on March 18, 2014:

Crystal - thank you so much! Your share generated more comments, so I'm really thankful. :) Photo editing isn't bad - I look at it as an art form and as we know with art: we're always learning an improving. :) I hope you have a wonderful day and good luck with the photo editing. :)

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on March 18, 2014:

I will be back to read this when I have a bit of time.

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on March 18, 2014:

Definitely something I need to get better at. I have jotted these down, and thanks bunches. Fantastic and very helpful Hub!

Crystal Tatum from Georgia on March 18, 2014:

Thank you for sharing these. I know almost nothing about editing photos and could do with some help! Sharing this one as I'm sure many others out there could benefit.

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on March 04, 2014:

Kalmiya - thank you for stopping by! I appreciate your feedback and I will check out iPiccy. :)

Kalmiya from North America on March 03, 2014:

I've only just discovered iPiccy, one of many free online photo editors, and feel like I've been handed the keys to the castle! I'd like to get Photoshop of course but am learning many things on this free online photo editor and improving all of the images that I use for everything. By the time I get PS, I'll have a good idea of how to do things, I hope! Thanks for your article.

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on June 17, 2013:

Rose - thank you! Have a wonderful day. :)

rose-the planner from Toronto, Ontario-Canada on June 16, 2013:

You have offered some amazing tips on photo editing. Great article! Thanks for sharing. (Voted Up) -Rose

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on June 16, 2013:

Claudia - that's awesome! *big grin* Hehe...I love doing pet pictures with Fotoflexr - they turn out great!

Claudia Tello from Mexico on June 11, 2013:

I explored Fotoflexer today and it is awesome!!! It has so many editing possibilities and cool effects that I am thrilled to have found it (thanks to you). Ended up with a great fresco picture of my dear cat Canelo.

Anita Coleman from virginia beach on May 11, 2013:

Thanks for the info... I use PicMonkey for some editing and Flickr for photos I use in some of my blogs. I will check the others out.

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on April 26, 2013:

Howlermunkey - awesome! I'm glad to hear this was helpful. Have a great day!

Jeff Boettner from Tampa, FL on April 24, 2013:

Great hub for me right now, thanks for sharing these sites, up and sharing

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on April 23, 2013:

Claudia - awesome! They're a lot of fun - and quite addictive, haha. I appreciate your feedback and have a wonderful day!

Claudia Tello from Mexico on April 23, 2013:

What a fantastic, useful hub. I didn´t know about all these photo editing sites but I am sure going to try them out.

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on April 10, 2013:

Sheri - haha, they are. I know, I use Photoshop and GIMP and I still find myself using these sites. :D

Sheri Dusseault from Chemainus. BC, Canada on April 10, 2013:

Great information. I usually use adobe photshop but these sites look like fun!

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on January 17, 2013:

KrisL - I understand about the computer stuff. That's no fun. :\ Here's to hoping that you get up and running soon! :)

KrisL from S. Florida on January 17, 2013:

I'll have to try some of these! At the moment, I'm waiting on getting a new computer to get software and reduced to using Paint to crop and add text, which is all it really does.

Voted "useful," shared and tweeted.

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on January 06, 2013:

Justateacher - that's awesome! I'm a photo-edit addict. :0) I love editing and creating digital photos. It makes for some great photos that I can add to hubs, haha. Thanks for stopping by!

LaDena Campbell from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz... on January 05, 2013:

This is great! I love taking pictures, and am always on the hunt for easy photo editing sites! Thanks for sharing!

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on January 05, 2013:

Christy - awesome! I have loved learning more about the photography to enhance my articles. It's been ENTIRELY fun! ;)

Moonlake - thank you! These are great sites for sure.

moonlake from America on January 04, 2013:

Lots of good information I have checked some of them out. Voted up and more.

Raj Lally Batala from Chicago ,USA on January 04, 2013:

good info !! i love free editor , that you can download free with lot of options and easy to use !

Christy Birmingham from British Columbia, Canada on January 04, 2013:

Excellent work here Cyndi. I am bookmarking this one. I really need to learn more about photography to enhance my posts and your tips help me. Thank-you, and I am sharing with my followers to help other writers too

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on December 19, 2012:

Terrye - hehe, see? It's not too bad, is it? LOLOL

Terrye Toombs from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map. on December 19, 2012:

I see so many uses for the end product; hubs, blogs, personalized cards, etc. Great info, CC. Now I don't feel so 'photo edit' stupid. :)

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on December 19, 2012:

Mizjo - believe it or not, there are LOTS of free photo editing sites - these are just a few, but ones I like the best. Thank you again for your feedback! Much appreciated!

mizjo from New York City, NY on December 19, 2012:

This is so awesome of you to share. I didn't know that there were free sites to edit your photos. I have tried to upload Photoshop to my Mac without success, so now I can try the ones you've drawn to my attention. Thanks so much. I'm bookmarking, and sharing everywhere. Voted up and useful.

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on December 14, 2012:

Bravewarrior - sure thing! They're addictive. Hehe.

Tillsontitan - thank you so much for your awesome feedback. Hehe. I appreciate you so, so much. Big Hugs and happy holidays to you!

Alocsin - these are great and they reduce your photo size automatically, too. Thank you so much for stopping by!

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on December 14, 2012:

The only one I knew about was Photobucket so thanks for this resource. Now I have many resources for photo editing, if I decide to take my Netbook, on which I can't really load Photoshop. Voting this Up and Useful.

Mary Craig from New York on December 14, 2012:

Awesome! You started out with a fabulous photo..that helps. Your advice and detailed information are great. This hub is a must for any photographer and I'm not only voting up, useful, awesome, and interesting but sharing and pinning cause I want everyone to get this information!!

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on December 13, 2012:

Wow. I had no idea these sites even existed. I'll have to save this and try my hand at it. Thanx, Cyndi!

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on December 13, 2012:

Melovy - hehehe, I bet your daughter knows ALL these sites already, especially if she's on Tumblr. Hehe. I've used regular Photoshop before, but not Elements. Thank you so much for stopping by!

Yvonne Spence from UK on December 13, 2012:

Wow, there's loads to take in here. I am only just beginning to get to grips with Photoshop Elements and had no idea there were so many free sites you could use. My teenage daughter spends hours playing around with photos, so I will definitely show her your hub.

Voted up and sharing.

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on December 13, 2012:

Rajan - Hi there, great to see you! Yes, these sites are incredibly versatile - thank you so much for coming by and for the votes. :)

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on December 13, 2012:

Rose - knowing you, I can just imagine the creations you'll come up with. :) You already have amazing photos! :D

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on December 13, 2012:

There seems to a lot that can be done to a photo with tools at these sites Cyndi. Thanks for sharing. This is going to be bookmarked as well. Voted up and useful.

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on December 12, 2012:

Thanks for sharing these great resources! It is amazing how much you editing you can do with free sites. Love your editing jobs, too.

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on December 12, 2012:

Raydevlin - I love these sites and do photo editing all the time - I do just fine with these sites and GIMP - and they all offer their own fun stuff. Thank you for stopping by!

Ray Devlin from Houston, Texas on December 12, 2012:

Nicely written article - it's great to see there are good resources for those that may not be in the position to invest in expensive software such as Photoshop.

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on December 12, 2012:

Om - that is great!! I also wanted to let you know that I have some hubs in the works that are inspired by you! has to do with Creative Commons stuff. They won't be published for awhile yet - doing research - but you helped me to get the ball rolling. Hehe.

Om Paramapoonya on December 12, 2012:

Thanks for these tips! I'm going to bookmark this hub and try some of these photo editing sites sometime. So far I have only used Photobucket, which is pretty neat!

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on December 12, 2012:

Hey Teresa! How's it goin'? Great to see you. :) These are but just a few sites out there, too. Yes..more time, more time! Hehe. Thank you so much for your feedback!

Teresa Coppens from Ontario, Canada on December 12, 2012:

I'll have to keep this hub on hand. Lots of great sites to explore photo editing options. Ahhhh, if only there was more time in a day! Thanks for the great back ground work Cyndi! Voted up and useful!!!!!!!!!

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on December 12, 2012:

Mperrottet - thank you so much! I appreciate your feedback. The single photo I used, I hoped, would help this seem more like comparing apples to apples, hehe. Thanks again!

Margaret Perrottet from San Antonio, FL on December 12, 2012:

Wonderful hub, and I've bookmarked it so that I can always refer back to it. Voted up, useful interesting and awesome - I love how you included examples of how the same photo can look. Excellent job.

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on December 12, 2012:

Kaili - I'm a fellow photo nut. Hehe. I think you'll like these sites. :)

Mary615 - thank you so much for the shares. All of these are lots of fun and you'll probably find one that feels more "intuitive" but all have great qualities.

Ruchira - thank you so much! I like Picmonkey, but the others have different things that I like to use as well.

Angelo52 - yes, they have an editor. The only bad part is that you have to upload the photo to your photostream first before you can edit it. Once it's in your photo stream, go to the "actions" tab and down toward the pop-up menu you'll see "edit in Aviary." Hope that helps! :)

Vicki - hehe...I used the one so I'd stay away from comparing apples and oranges so to speak. Hehe. Thank you so much for coming by, Cyber-Sis! :)

HoneyBB - thank you so much for sharing and I appreciate your feedback!

H Lax on December 11, 2012:

These look like awesome sites to manipulate pictures on. I will definitely have to check them out. I am going to share this link on my facebook fan page. Thanks for sharing.

Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on December 11, 2012:

Awesome, Cyndi! i love how you showed examples with one photo on all the different sites. BeFunky looks cool! I'm going to pin this to my Photography board!

Angelo52 on December 11, 2012:

Thanks for the info. I use flickr to upload some of my photos and now I know they also have an editor. Guess I'll have to look for it next time I go there.

Ruchira from United States on December 11, 2012:

I used picmonkey but other sites were new to me.

Thanks a lot for this useful hub. Loved it as useful, interesting and awesome!!

Mary Hyatt from Florida on December 11, 2012:

I'm bookmarking this Hub! So much good info. I've used PicMonkey and Picasa but I'd like to try these others, too.

I voted this Hub UP, etc. and will share.

Kaili Bisson from Canada on December 11, 2012:

Fantastic information. I am a photo nut, so I will try these sites out. Voted up and more.

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on December 11, 2012:

Sharon - I didn't know that about Picnik, but I can tell you PicMonkey was a spinoff of Picnik.. Hehe. I'm glad I could help!

Robie - I am SURE it will be a wonderful holiday card. :)

Maralexa - thank you so much! Yes, the better the photo is, the easier time you'll have to really make it shine. :)

Peggy - Thank you for coming by! If you know about the Windows Live Gallery, it won't take too much time to learn how to navigate any of these other sites. Even just to play around with for a little while, they're definitely a lot of fun. :)

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on December 11, 2012:

The only editing tool that I have used for photos is Windows Live Photo Gallery and I have also used Picasa 3...both of which are free. I purchased Photoshop and have still not played around with it enough to know how to use it. Thanks for these additional sites. Perhaps someday I will spend the time to learn more. I liked your photo examples. Up, useful and interesting votes.

Marilyn Alexander from Vancouver, Canada on December 11, 2012:

Great hub! I find your examples very inspiring! Your comment about starting with a good photo first, is a very good reminder. Thanks for your detailed instructions - I'm also sharing this one!

Robie Benve from Ohio on December 11, 2012:

Great hub, very inspiring, just in time for me to make our Holiday card for this year. :)

Sharon Smith from Northeast Ohio USA on December 11, 2012:

Ever since Picnik closed earlier this year, I have yet to find some other photo editing program (free) to work with. I really needed this article. Thank you so much CC. Bookmarked and sharing!

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on December 11, 2012:

Carol7777 - thank you so much for coming by! I have so much fun with photo editing, I just had to share. :) I hope you're doing well and it's so good to hear from you. Have a wonderful holiday season. :)

carol stanley from Arizona on December 11, 2012:

I am so computer unliterate..but I will bookmark this and save it until I can read it 1000 times. I am going to share on facebook for others to take advantage of this great hub with excellent instructions.

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on December 10, 2012:

Stacy - that hub is coming. I promise. There are 3 ways to do it and I will show you and then you can use the way you like. :)

Bill - hehe, you'll get there! ;) Thank you for stopping in, BB. HUGS

Janine - hehe, thank you for the votes and shares! I will keep writing more like this. I'm thinking they're helping...yes?

Gus - awesomesauce! Thank you. :) You are so kind and I appreciate you stopping by.

Gustave Kilthau from USA on December 10, 2012:

Howdy Cyndi (cclitgirl) - Someone asked me one time, "How good can things get?" The next time someone asks me that question, I think that I will point out this fine article to them.

Gus :-)))

Janine Huldie from New York, New York on December 10, 2012:

Cyndi,I have tried a few of these photo editing sites now and still learning though. Your article is great though and have pinned to totally reference. Thanks as always for sharing your vast knowledge on this topic!!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on December 10, 2012:

Great ideas and instruction! Maybe some day, huh? One can always hope!

Stacy Harris from Hemet, Ca on December 10, 2012:

Great hub... now where is the hub on how to make just one color pop out? You know the ones where you make them black and white and add just a touch of color. I have tried a few of the online sites for photo editing but never really got into it because they are really limited if you don't sign up for an account. I do have photoshop on my computer though. Might just have to go ahead and play around some more but because it is a really basic version, it is also limited. Maybe one of these days I will break down and buy the program! :)

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