Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pixelmator 2.0: A Viable Alternative to Photoshop?

If the price point of Adobe's Photoshop ($699-999 MSRP), Lightroom (MSRP $299) or even Elements ($90 MSRP) has you a little gun shy about pulling the trigger (okay, I'll stop with the gun metaphors now), but you still need something to touch up your photographs, then perhaps Pixelmator might fit the bill. At a current $30 price point, it certainly should be more acceptable to your pocket book than any of Adobe's offerings.

So what do you get for $30 (which will rise to $60 soon)? Well you get a truly beautiful GUI that allows for easy creating, editing, and enhancing still images. But the GUI isn't everything and it hides a powerful engine designed to utilize many of the features of Lion such as  full screen and autosave. It does it very nicely too. Pixelmator has always been a good option for the budget minded or budget restricted image manipulator but version 2.0 has added a lot of features, namely:

  • New look and feel
  • Drawing Tools and Shapes
  • Healing Tool with Content-aware fill
  • Smudge, Sponge, Burn, Dodge, Eyedropper, Pixel, and Red Eye Tools
  • New Type Tool
  • Auto Save and Versions
  • Red Eye Tool
  • Pixel Tool
  • Column and Row marquee tools
  • New Gradient editor
  • New Brushes editor
  • Shadows and Highlights
  • New, easier color choosing
  • Numerical input for palettes
  • Content-aware Fill for selections
  • Improved Quartz Composer support
  • Improved Transforming tools
  • Support for PSD text layers
  • Mac OS X 10.7 UI support new scrollers, gestures, buttons, menus, and more.
  • Many more improvements

Use of Pixelmator is intuitive and the potential is terrific but let's be honest, it doesn't match up to the feature set offered by the Adobe products (well, maybe Elements). But what Pixelmator does offer is a surprisingly rich feature set for a fraction of the price. Of all the software that isn't offered by Apple as part of the OS and fills a gap, this is one of the most Apple-like and I could easily see Apple buying this application and offering as part of a future OS; it's that good.

Very affordable, great value and highly recommended.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Pixelmator is a nice application, but not yet (to the authors knowledge) ready for serious applications. For instance the color picker is broken. If you fill an area with any given color, the picker will report back a different color that is slightly different. This reduces the usefulness of Pixelmator to zero, at least for some applications.