Pixelmator a great, inexpensive image editor

Jim Dalrymple
27 April, 2009
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Whenever a company releases a new image editor, people immediately classify it as a “Photoshop alternative”. I think that’s an unfair comparison to both Adobe Photoshop and the application people are comparing it to.

Nothing is (or probably will ever be) as comprehensive as Photoshop, and don’t think companies that make applications go into the development process thinking they will take on Adobe and win.

With that out of the way, let me say that one of my favorite apps is Saulius and Aidas Dailide’s $US59 ($A80) image editor Pixelmator. It is a fantastic application that in no way competes with Photoshop for me. Each application has its uses in my workflow and I like them equally for the job they do.

I’ve been using Photoshop for years and even though I’m nowhere near as proficient as professional users, I know my way around the application. When I have big jobs to do, there is no question that Photoshop is the app I will reach for.

However, in my daily work, I often need to quickly resize an image for a story thumbnail or to put an image in the text of the story itself. That’s not a very difficult task at all and while Photoshop can easily do this, it’s not really necessary to fire up Photoshop for such a task.

pixelmator
Pixelmator’s floating tool palette.

I started using Pixelmator for daily tasks like this a few months ago, and I must say I’m really impressed. The performance of the application is great and the developer has packed it full of the most commonly used features.

For instance, Pixelmator has marquee tools, move tools, cropping, a Magic Wand, pencils, cloning, gradients, brushes, paint buckets, blur, sharpen, eyedropper, text, hand, zoom, and the ability to change the foreground and background colour. And that’s just in the floating palette.

The app is layer-based, so you have the ability to do more complex tasks without feeling like you have to move to another piece of software. In fact, it has a good collection of colour correction tools to fine tune colour levels, as well as more than 130 filters that you can apply to your images.

Pixelmator is what I imagine Apple would make if it were going to create an image editor. It has an elegant interface, it’s easy to use, it’s powerful, and it’s reasonably priced. At $US59 ($A80), it’s a steal for what you get.

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