Continuing our huge review special, today we are reviewing Pixelmator, a beautiful and well thought out image editing application for the mac.

Pixelmator has to be one of the best looking applications for the mac. The interface, the icon and even the sales site show how much the developers consider and care about design.

It’s quite inspiring!

First thoughts and tools

Now, I could compare Pixelmator with Photoshop. But, I’m not going to. Yes, it does have alot of the tools Photoshop has, but this app is $59. Photoshop is not, so already Pixelmator is heads above Adobe’s image editor.

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Just a few of the Pixelmator tools available, they are Marquee tool, Polygonal Lasso, Freeform lasso, magic wan, pen, brush, eraser and paint bucket respectively.

Recently, Pixelmator integrated a ‘Save for Web’ feature (think image optimization for the web, aswell as the ability to slice), which is very handy. Pixelmator also supports Snow Leopard.

Before we give you a list of all the tools available, let us just say one thing. Each tool works perfectly and the range available means quite often you can forgo booting up a more expensive image editing program, because Pixelmator is feature-rich. Another thing I like is that the devs could have gone over the top, adding features to bloat out the app. But they haven’t. It has a refreshing simplistic feel and interface.

Features:

  • Use over 20 tools for selecting, cropping, painting, retouching, typing, measuring and navigation
  • Selection tools
    • Rectangular Marquee
    • Elliptical Marquee
    • Polygonal Lasso
    • Lasso
    • Magic Wand
    • Move
    • Modify selection
      • Smooth
      • Feather
      • Size
    • Inverse selection
    • Load selection from layer
    • Save selection as Mask
    • Edit selection in Quick Mask mode
  • Crop tool
  • Slice tool
  • Painting tools
    • Brush
    • Pencil
    • Gradient
    • Paint Bucket
    • Specify blend mode, opacity, brush for painting tool
  • Retouching tools
    • Clone Stamp
    • Eraser
    • Magic Eraser
    • Blur
    • Sharpen
    • Specify strength, brush. Specify blending mode, brush, opacity for Clone Stamp tool.
  • Type tool
    • Creates editable type layer
  • Measuring and navigation tools
  • Eyedropper
  • Hand
  • Zoom

Remember, this app is $59. Not $590 or $1590. $59! The developers quite rightly boast The application has everything you need to create, edit, and enhance images.”

The above list doesn’t include all the Filters (of which there are 130+) and color correction tools, as well as Automator support for actions (such as re-size e.t.c).

Feature wise then Pixelmator is way up there. We tested ours on a 2.4Ghz iMac with 4GB ram, and there was no delay what-so-ever! Performance is great. Pixelmator works so intuitively (alot of effects are generated real time on your actual image as opposed to some small thumbnail or preview).

Test

Now we couldn’t review an image editor without showing you some of the images we made with it could we?

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This image was generated in about a minute using some filters. Looks pretty cool (love the floor filter!)

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This image has been auto-enhance on the right. Note the increased contrast (less washout) and general more vividness. Note, the image was taken on an iPhone 3G.

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Testing out the blur tool and Clone tool.

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One final little play with our test image, using a built in filter. We could spend hours playing around.

Interface

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I really love the interface! It’s very Photoshop-esque, however, I think that’s because it works well. You have tools on the left, layers top right, tool options bottom left and brush settings / swatches to the lower right. And the image taking pride of place in the middle. The icons are great, very self explanatory, and everything is linked to a shortcut key (such as CMD + Shift + N for a new layer), so getting around is very easy.

Final verdict

We may just have to re-visit Pixelmator in the future to give you further impressions. We really love the app. It’s fast, easy to use and good value. What more could you want? If your looking for a lightweight, no thrills but hard-working image editor look elsewhere. Pixelmator is a thrill-full powerhouse. The price alone makes it a serious consideration for any mac user who needs a clean application to work with images. If my Granddad ever gets a Mac, and needs to edit his photo’s, Pixelmator will suit him fine. Its so easy to pick-up. However, if a power-user friend is looking for an app that keenly focuses on quick and easy image editing, I’ll recommend it to him too! An app for the masses!

Pixelmator is well worth the $59 the developers charge for it! My only minor qualm is that I’d like some sort of Vector tool. Apparently, trawling through their site it appears as though they could be doing something about that. Great!

Pixelmator is available from http://www.pixelmator.com/. For more information about the application and its features click here. For more examples of the application in use, including tutorials by the likes of Abuzeedo, you should click here.