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Hi guys, I am Ivan, the creator of Photopea :)

I made almost $1 million in the last 12 months, 90% from ads. The rest is from Premium (users paying to hide ads) and licensing a self-hosted version of Photopea.

When you start your own project, you never know, if it will ever make $250k a year. But if you get hired, you can be quite sure, that you will never make more than $250k a year.

Follow Photopea to see my progress :) http://facebook.com/photopea , http://twitter.com/photopeacom




I'm not a designer, but for my personal dev projects I always end up needing to do some light image editing. Not nearly enough to justify a Photoshop licence, and I've tried other apps like Pixen and GIMP but have always been met with frustration.

Photopea is one of my favourite tools on the web. Thank you for making such awesome software.

As for the comment about working at a FAANG I'm baffled. In what world would working at a FAANG, dealing with company politics, reporting to managers, having employment reviews, etc. be more desirable than the freedom and satisfaction of launching your own project and being able to very comfortably sustain yourself?


In the world where for every PhotoPea there’s a hundred other failed ideas that never materialised; to consider the idea of “just create your own product” being simpler than dealing with office politics sounds laughable either because you are not aware of how difficult the former proposition is to a regular engineer. If it comes so naturally to you, it still sounds immature to not realise how rare such an ability is.


They are talking about using PhotoPea as leverage to work at a FAANG. This doesn't apply, his project is already successful.


You seem to be basing that question on the assumption that both options offer the same pay (or at least that both off "enough" pay). Working on your own project is a tremendous risk; and for every success story like this, my assumption is that there's at least dozens who fail or don't even make enough to pay their bills.

Working on a successful independent software project is, for a lot of people, much more desirable than working at someone else's company; in much the same way owning a startup company would be. But the key there is "successful", which is certainly not guaranteed.


You seem to be basing it on the assumption that Ivan would be able to invert a binary tree on a whiteboard and get into said FAANG. I'm only half-kidding.


Plus you now don't have to work full time on it, presumably. Financial freedom Vs corporate job. I know which one I'd prefer. Also congratulations on your outstanding success


Congrats! It's an amazing story that shows that a sole developer can create a product on par with paid products from big companies. I think many people assume you always need a big team to create something great, whereas often a sole developer with dedication and talent is enough to challenge even large products.


Hey, I've used Photopea a bunch of times to help create thumbnail images, nice app!

If you ever wanted to jump on a podcast to talk about how you built and deploy it let me know. I'd love to have you on the https://runninginproduction.com/ podcast. You can click the "become a guest" button to get started if you were interested.

(Note: if anyone else wants to be a guest you can submit a request too, I just finished a huge stretch of 8 months worth of backlog episodes so I have openings again)


Ever considered having a completely offline version for those who don't want to run it with their browser?


It would take me some effort to make and maintain a separate version. Users would report bugs which have been fixed months ago, because they did not update it, etc.

I think the importance of "offline apps" is overrated today. Personally, I spend less than 10 hours a year on a device without internet, and I think this number is decreasing each year, for everyone.

People use Google Maps and Wikipedia without having them on their hard drives. On the other hand, it is nice, that you can simply close a website and there is no track of that service in your computer.


Maybe a Progressive Web App could work? If I remember correctly, it requires basically just adding a cache manifest.

Initial setup can be finnicky (test it on a separate subdomain!) but it shouldn't require much more than a correctly configured cache manifest and a few lines of code to handle updates.


there are even some frameworks that make it extra easy, like angular for example (just `ng add @angular/pwa` and you're basically done).

while it is pretty easy and doable in maybe 1-2 days, depending on how fluent you are with these kinds of things... it's not entirely in the authors best interest. if people start using it `offline`, he wont be able to get advertisement revenue after all ;)


He says in one of his Reddit comments that he does not (and probably will not) use frameworks. It's pure HTML/CSS/JS.


Careful! You can get users stuck on an old version if you configure it incorrectly


Doesn't deleting the manifest solve that? I thought serving a 404 for it makes browsers delete their cache exactly to provide a way out of this trap.

But yes, this is why I suggested testing with a separate subdomain.


Why bother. He already has very nice product and makes very nice money.


Congratulations! I think your story is very inspiring and I wish you and Photopea lots more success in the future!


If I'm doing my math right, $900,000 from ads @ few dollars CPM = few hundred million impressions - not bad!


https://www.similarweb.com/website/photopea.com/#overview

SimilarWeb says the website has had 8 million visits in the past 6 months. His CPM must be very, very high.


How does SimilarWeb obtain this data?


Congrats Ivan! Well deserved! I've always enjoyed your AMA's on Reddit.


Hi Ivan, Photopea is awesome. I'm glad to know that it's really well profitable. I was wondering, do you have other apps you want to build and you stay focused on Photopea?


> But if you get hired, you can be quite sure, that you will never make more than $250k a year.

From https://www.levels.fyi/

Google (total comp):

Level 4 - $266k

Level 5 (Senior) - $353k

Level 6 (Staff) - $484k

... and similarly at other FAANG companies.

If you're good/lucky, you can make it to Senior in 3-4 years as a new engineer.

It used to be that Level 5 -> 6 was a difficult jump, but nowadays there are many Level 6s and 7s. At Level 7, even your base salary >$250k a year.


I would be curious to know how many engineers are at senior level or higher at google.


deleted


>Edit: I just checked our systems and you're mainly XXXXX. We've given you XXXXX since the start of the year (before the ad network takes their cut)

Are you even allowed to release customer/client info like that?


You should probably delete the quoted portion of your comment as well.


Maybe not! Can you edit my comment? I've removed mine. He's not a client though.

Edit: thank you!


It‘s more than just a bit unprofessional to disclose the earnings of a client on a public forum. (I take that back if he has given You explicit permission)


What makes your product unique or better than GIMP?


IMO it's general usability.

For example a very common thing you might want to do is add text (or any other layer) on top of an image and then center that text / layer either vertically or horizontally relative to the image.

In Photopea you create a text layer and then drag it near the middle and it'll show you guidelines when you're close and then snap into the perfect center (either vertically, horizontally or both). It takes like 2 seconds and feels intuitive.

In GIMP you have to make sure you switch to the alignment tool which is hidden by default so you need to remember to hit Q to activate it or hover over the move tool and select it but if you hit Q you better make sure you're not in any text input because it'll insert "Q" instead of switching your tool, but since you're adding text chances are you will be so you need to remember to click away. Then you need make sure you click an active area of your text layer and click the align horizontal icon, then you need to click the align vertical icon. Then if you decide you want to change your text you have to repeat this whole process again.

Another example is adding a simple stroke (line) around some text or other layer effects that Photoshop has had for over 10+ years.

In Photopea, you open up layer styles, pick the stroke option and can tweak the colors and thickness very quickly. After applying the style you can change and move around your text and the styles are applied to it automatically, it feels intuitive to use.

In GIMP I spent an hour researching plugins to add this behavior and after picking one it technically works but the user experience is pretty hostile. It creates the stroke as a separate layer so you can't move your text and the stroke together unless you remember to link them, and if you decide to change your text content or size you have to delete the old stroke layer and make a new one.

GIMP is really good in terms of what it can do but using it feels like death by a thousand paper cuts because you need to do so many steps to accomplish what feels like basic things that other editors have had for years when it comes to user friendly features.

I understand creating a highly polished image editor isn't easy and honestly if I knew their code base I would open a PR for the snap to center guidelines but at this point I have to imagine if they wanted to add that feature it would have been added. From the outside it feels like it hasn't been added because they don't want that feature, but as an end user that makes me wonder why. It's such a useful thing.


That's not how to align text on gimp. The text tool has an alignment feature. It aligns the text within the text box

Outlining text is easy too. true, there isn't a magic text outline button, you must use the same method you would use to outline any arbitrary object.

The sum of your complaints are because you know how to do it in PS. I am a professional graphics designer and artist and I use gimp exclusively.


What's the point of asking if you're just going to dismiss the answers?

I used to use The GIMP exclusively, but I jumped to Photoshop when I could afford it, due to GIMP's poor UX and adjustment layers (which have been "coming soon" with GEGL since 2008).


> That's not how to align text on gimp. The text tool has an alignment feature. It aligns the text within the text box

I'm talking about horizontally or vertically aligning a layer relative to the image, not the text within the rectangle bounding box of the text input box when you have the text tool activated.

It's such a common use case to want to take a layer (whether or not it's text isn't important) and center it horizontally or vertically relative to the entire image or another object.


So, you draw the text box in the size and position you need? All of these "features" sound like training wheels for graphic designers. It's not hard whatsoever to accomplish, and assuredly not worth paying monthly for. If you know in general how to edit graphics the tool you use is irrelevant


> So, you draw the text box in the size and position you need?

I'm not sure what you mean.

If you have a 1000 x 1000 image I'd like to put the text "Hello" exactly in the middle of the image, both vertically and horizontally and let the tool determine the exact bounding box of the text input based on how much text I have.

> All of these "features" sound like training wheels for graphic designers.

In GIMP I described the workflow how to do that using the alignment tool. I also described for comparison how to do it in Photopea because it only involves dragging the layer near where it should be and it auto-snaps to perfect center with guidelines that appear when you're close.

This isn't a training wheels feature because both casual and professional graphic designers aren't eyeballing a pixel perfection alignment every time without thinking, but Photopea gives you this outcome with the least amount of effort you can ask for and its accuracy is 100%.

> It's not hard whatsoever to accomplish, and assuredly not worth paying monthly for.

There's a difference between hard and convenient. Executing a checklist of steps isn't hard but it sure is inconvenient if I need to do that every time I want to align something. It's the difference between something having a good / intuitive UI vs not.


> The sum of your complaints are because you know how to do it in PS.

Or PS is just more intuitive than GIMP.

> I am a professional graphics designer

Once you are using a tool professionally, I guess that intuitiveness is no longer a selling point. It is though for someone that only use it from time to time...


My standard example for "GIMP is unusable" is "try to draw a straight line" which I had to find a tutorial for (you need to hold some magic keys). That said, I struggled with that in Photopea too (not realizing my intended red line was there, just hidden by the blue vector indicator).


Hold shift? It's not hard


This kind of attitude in OSS is exactly why GIMP is a piece of garbage that no one uses.


I get that but hold shift for constraints is standard in almost every editor out there. (Not sure about Photoshop, it has weird behaviors for modifier keys.) Also, I find GIMP more intuitive for some things. For example, making solid-color backgrounds transparent is very easy in GIMP but as far as I can tell impossible in Photoshop.


I'm not talking about constraining a line to a 90 degree angle. I'm talking about "draw a single straight line from one point to another". Most editors have a dedicated tool for that. In Gimp, you take the brush, then shift-click start and end.

How do you do the solid color background in Gimp? In Photoshop, I'd select the background with the magic wand (contiguous or non-contiguous, depending on preference), potentially use one of those edge-improving tools, then either press delete or create a mask. It apparently also has a special tool for it that I haven't used before but seems to do basically that.


Oh, OK. Regarding the background: That works, and you do the same thing in GIMP but that doesn't handle transparency. In GIMP there's the Color to Alpha tool which is pretty much magic.


Say you have https://this.is-a-professional-domain.com/4Hhtqcf.jpg and you want that glow on a transparent background. In GIMP, I'd select the chip, Select>Invert, Color>Color to Alpha and it would just work. I tried to do it in Photoshop and couldn't figure it out.


BTW. I added Color to Alpha into Photopea: Filter - More - Color to Alpha. Works 100% same as in Gimp :)


Meanwhile, this kind of attitude in users is exactly why everyone is stuck with dumbed-down, more complex/more buggy, less powerful solutions. The more information is available at people's fingertips, the less people are willing to take a few seconds to discover it.


Gimp has made some usability improvements, but I agree it is still painful to use.

When Blender finally bit-the-bullet and overhauled their UI - in a way that more aligned itself with how other keys/clicks worked in similar tools - it totally relaunched itself and is now so much easier to use.

It would be great it Gimp (and inkscape) did a similar overhaul IMHO.


It works on any machine, including Chromebooks, without installation.

I also find it more user friendly (unlike GIMP where I constantly feel like I'm fighting the bad UX instead of actually doing what I came to do), especially if you're used to Photoshop.


better than a software that doesnt do what users want it to do? a lot of things. Why dont you go and try Photopea. It has achieved so much what Gimp couldnt. Yes, its made for business and its closed source. But considering the number of devs and the number of years spent, Photopea is an excellent replacement for photoshop. I have personally used it for most of the small image editing I needed.


Since I come from Photoshop, GIMP always has a way of pissing me off by doing something unexpected or making something trivial needlessly complicated.

While I congratulate its developers for not using ads and making it free, it remains a pain to use sometimes. I mainly use it for cropping, resizing, and image blurring, but for anything else I use Photopea.

That being said, if I took the time to properly learn to utilize GIMP through tutorials, as I did with Photoshop back in the day, I wouldn't be surprised if my opinion does a 180.


Have you looked at it? For me at least, GIMP never worked really stable on my Mac.


The Filter menu looks a bit funky to me (edit: in Firefox 87): https://i.imgur.com/S70o2eU.png ... probably one of my addons messing with it but I don't have that problem in GIMP.


Your browser is probably too old, or you use some "exotic" browser extensions


Whatever the reason is, it is not working right and Gimp is, for me.


You don't need to install it. It's huge plus for me


The UX. At least for me familiar with PS that just needs to do quick edits it's very nice.


This. The toolbars / tools are basically where PhotoShops' are so you don't have to think terribly hard if you're used to them


Congrats Ivan! Great looking app. Quick question - is this $1 million revenue from Ads alone or does it include subscription as well?


His comment, that you're replying to, literally says 90% of the $1 million usd revenue comes from ads. The rest, so 10% of $1 million, comes from subscriptions and so on.


It looks like he edited his comment to add this info. His original comment didn’t include info. Thanks!




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