Pixa is the new Mac app that makes image organization smarter than ever before. A must-have piece in the tool belt of every designer, it pays a great deal of attention to the details and to the graphic design work-flow.
After giving the app a spin, the first thing we noticed is the care with which it was developed; the designers truly took care of every little subtlety in the designer workflow. Because the look of the platform matters, the clean and elegant appearance of the app makes its use extremely pleasing and intuitive.
Until now, there was that missing slot in the designer’s app needs, and we’re now sure that no professional will be able to do without it. The purpose of the application is to keep all your images in the same place, organized and easy to retrieve. Not only will Pixa deliver all of the common organizational tools of other programs, but adds that extra magic through unique options such as auto-tagging to all the imported images by color and size. With an app like this, working on new projects and designs becomes that much easier.
Test, test, test
The first thing we tested in the app was importing our full images library. By simply dragging our folders to the sidebar, we obtained the representation of our Finder folders in the Pixa’s folder/project structure. What is surprising is that even ZIP and RAR archives were imported without effort.
Types of supported files:
– Photoshop (PSD)
– Illustrator (AI)
One of the particularities of this organizing jewel is the aforementioned auto-tagging of the imported images. By looking at the Tag sidebar (by the switch in the upper left corner of the window) immediately after the import, we easily found all our images organized by color and size.
At this point, trying to search for images from the Library the result was exactly what we had expected.
As designers, when we approach a new work we want to collect inspiration. Pixa comes to the rescue once again. For example, if we’re looking on the Internet for ideas, it automatically inserts the url of the image grabbed from the browser on the fly so we don’t have to note down where we’ve got the image from and we can concentrate on the creative flow.
Pixa has an integrated tool for taking screenshots which we used to create the image content of this review. We particularly appreciate the fine tuning with the arrow keys of the screenshot area to move it exactly where we want it.
The information for all of the images can be found all together in a drawer (‚åòI). Along with the basic image information, Pixa displays the EXIF and TIFF data, which are useful details for photographers and image voyeurs, as well as tags and notes. Users can also bulk rename and tag multiple images at once while using the drawer feature.
After brainstorming for a project and collecting images, Pixa easily helps you to analyze the retrieved data. Using the Loupe Tool, users can get the RGB color information on the fly. Just clicking on the image allows the Loupe Tool to copy the color in the selected format (html, css3 rgba, etc) to your clipboard, quickly and easily.
To open an image for editing in an external program, users select the “Open With” menu. From there, you will notice that all thumbnails are updated as soon as they were saved–no lag at all. That is surprising, as generally there is a lapse in time before it is saved. This is another indication that programmers for Pixa tried to bring the most pleasant user experience to Pixa users–and succeeded.
Designers know that the final goal of a design work is to present the results to someone. To help with this, Pixa has included a feature called Quick Export, which allows users to export the chosen images in just a drag and drop. From the quick export drawer (‚åòE) users can choose from different buttons – each representing a different export preset. If the embedded presets are not enough for you – there is a way to create new ones; you can chose all of the settings, including the maximum dimensions, and Pixa can create an archive with the exported files. Once you have chosen the preset, drag it on the desktop and the file is ready to be sent to the client.
Pixa will easily flow into your daily way of working. Out of the “box”, it is set to use its managed library, meaning that every imported file will be copied in a secure place and organized for you. However, this behavior can be changed to suit your needs; using the preferences tab, you can select for Pixa to only reference the files that we want to modify and organize instead of choosing them all.
There are other handy additions that are just created to make the program easier to use. For example, renaming images not only renames the main files, but also the linked files and tags and notes are added to the originals. This allows them easily found in Spotlight, as well.
In addition to the ease of the built-in library, there are is also multiple library support. Users can create multiple libraries across their hard drive or external drives, which allows even more control over the organization – and switch through them from the preferences panel. Another useful aspect is the “Recent” sidebar element, which helps find the last imported files or the last images that were worked on.
We tried pushing Pixa to the limits by importing as many images we could at once. After topping 20k+ images, we discovered that it still maintains a good speed, even in the General Library where all the images are shown together.
We also carefully noted the memory consumption – very important for those who work with graphics – and Pixa surprised us: the consumption of RAM is below 250 Mb.
Our approach was straightforward and exploratory, and we had our fun finding out Pixa’s secrets. As designers, we know that each person has a different way of working and Pixa is a versatile tool that adapts to the needs of everyone.
The versatility of the program is also in its target. Besides professional designers, this app is perfect for those who just need to keep a gallery of images organized or take and manage screenshots with simplicity.
Currently, the application is in public beta so do not miss your chance to try it out for free from http://www.pixa-app.com and maybe suggest some features to developers for the final release.
The application is young and still growing, but without any doubt it already has a solid base for the main functions: the organization.
Certainly it provides solidity and security for our pictures – and we know how important it is to entrust an application with the fruit of our hard work.
Because of this, its ease of use, beautiful platform, and top performance, we recommend the application to graphics professionals.