Pixelmator is a Mac-only image editing app that has been a cheaper alternative to Photoshop since it began in 2007 – but described as a 'lean, mean' one. However, with the new release of Pixelmator Pro – now available to download for a one-off payment of £54.99/US$59 – it may be taken more seriously as a solid competitor.
Pixelmator Pro 1.0 runs on a single-window interface – consistent with the look of macOS – with GPU-powered image editing tools (which are non-destructive) and further editing aided by machine learning such as automatic layer naming, horizon detection, object removal and intelligent quick selections.
Use colour adjustments, effects, styles and layout non-destructively, so you can modify or delete individual changes at any point throughout your workflow. There is also a selection of presets which you can save to your 'favourites' and use them in any of your images. Drag-and-drop sharing also makes it easier to share presets with others.
Because Pixelmator Pro is designed for Mac only, it uses the Mac graphics processor in tandem with Meta 2, Core Image and OpenGL. It’s also built in with Swift 4.
Pixelmator Pro 1.0 requires macOS High Sierra and a metal-compatible graphics card.
Let’s take a look at some of the new features.
You can move, resize and arrange layers with the non-destructive Arrange Tool. Pixelmator Pro also has smart spacing guides and smart alignment tools so you can align multiple objects with one click.
Using a painting engine powered by the Metal 2 graphics technology, painting, sketching or just scribbling composition with Pixelmator Pro aims to be fluid and responsive. You can choose from a collection of brushes with dual textures, advanced brush dynamics and paint blending.
Eliminate posterisation artifacts and improve the quality of your image with the colour adjustment in this Pro version. Edit multiple RAW images as layers in a single document using all the additional image detail saved in your RAW files.
The 'Recipes' functions means you can easily save, reuse and share your favourite adjustment combinations.
Just like other features, adding 'blockbuster' (blur, distortion, sharpen etc) effects to your image remains non-destructive, so you apply multiple effects to a single layer or remove them if you wish.
Again, by using 'Recipes' you can save all the effects you develop for future projects or to share with mates.
Repair, retouch & more
Don’t forget there are over 40 different tools you can choose from Pixelmator Pro, although many of which are similarly available in Photoshop – such as a quick selection tool, shapes and drawing tools and layer styles.