Pixelmator Pro Update Works with Photos on Mac

The new update to Pixelmator Pro acts as a massive upgrade to the Apple Photos app. With the updated Photos extension, you can can access all of the tools and features from the full application, including layers and machine-learning tools. You can also save Pixelmator Pro documents to Photos. The update has additional features (e.g., new zoom tool, improved crop tool, and a delete mode), but the story here is that Apple Photos + Pixelmator Pro just became a potent photo editing solution.

Pixelmator Pro and Machine Learning

Last week Pixelmator Pro released a new version, 1.2, including full support for macOS Mojave. As a pro app, Pixelmator Pro has always had a dark mode. So with macOS Mojave, they've tweaked the dark appearance and released a new light appearance. That way whether you're running your Mac in dark or light mode, Pixelmator will fit right in.

What is most interesting to me about this new version is reliance on machine learning for photo optimization. For years I've been fiddling with the buttons and dials in photo applications to try and make my pictures look better. But I'm just a little better than a monkey when it comes to fine-tuning images. With Pixelmator Pro, the developer has been using machine learning, having the application look at professional photos, so the application can better understand what makes a good photo and automatically tune your pictures for you. With the latest version, they have a machine learning algorithm trained on millions of professional photos. There's a video explaining how it works below. Between the iPhone and Pixelmator, the robots are making my picture look better than ever before.

Pixelmator Pro

Screen Shot 2017-12-01 at 10.47.30 AM.png

Many years ago, I spent something like $30 to purchase Pixelmator for my Mac. For years now, that application has served as that little bit extra for me when Photos isn’t up to the task. This week Pixelmator released Pixelmator Pro, I significant upgrade to the original. There’s a whole list of additional tools and an excellent video showing you the basics of Pixelmator Pro.

There is a lot to the new Pixelmator including improved layout tools, way better painting support, photo adjustments of seemingly every kind and nature, easy application of nondestructive effects, and more. Having only used the app a few days, I'm really digging the new repair tool.

As with the original, Pixelmator Pro is entirely a Mac app and takes advantage of every dirty trick Apple lets developers use including Metal 2, Core Image, use of the graphics chip for processing, and machine learning-enhanced editing features.

At $60, this is a significant investment but it is also a significant upgrade in the image and vector tools available in the original. Pixelmator seems to be holding the line about not going to a subscription model and it is nice that you pay once and you’re done. Likewise, the Pixelmator team issued a lot of updates to the original Pixelmator over the years and I fully expect them to do the same with Pixelmator Pro. I guess what I'm trying to do here is justify the fact that I spent $60 on the new Pixelmator but I expect I won’t have any regrets.

If you’re looking to get some better image and vector tools, go check out Pixelmator Pro.


Pixelmator 3.7 Mount Whitney


Pixelmator got its High Sierra update late last week. The new version lets you now launch Pixelmator directly from the Photos App and save edits back to your original image. It’s nice to have this feature back on the Mac. Pixelmator also now supports the new Apple HEIF image format. 

There are a bunch more small updates and fixes including fixing an Automator script bug. That little fix is one of the big reasons I am a Pixelmator user. They focus on Apple software and cover their bases on even the most obscure Mac-only features, even Automator.

Version 3.7 is a free update. Learn more directly from Pixelmator.

Pixelmator Now Touch Bar Friendly

Of course Pixelmator was one of the first to release a Touch Bar update for its Mac image editor. Indeed I think apps like Pixelmator are perfect for the Touch Bar. It gives users quick access to its more powerful features and speeds things up. It makes me wish there was a Touch Bar-based external keyboard for my iMac. This latest update (dubbed 3.6 Cordillera) also includes tabs (a Sierra feature), Smart Refine (which makes selections faster and easier), and Deep Images support.

If you don’t have an image editor at your disposal, I'd recommend checking out Pixelmator. It’s a one-time purchase, as opposed to the subscription-based model, and, as evidenced here, the Pixelmator team is always on top of things. You can learn more at the Pixelmator blog and there’s a cool Touch Bar video below.

Better Item Selection with iOS Pixelmator

It's remarkable to me how I do nearly all of my photo processing these days on iPad. Along that theme, the Pixelmator team just released a nice update with a focus on selecting objects.

Quick Selection Tool
Just swipe over an area to select it. This works better than you'd think. There's a video below.

Magnetic Selection Tool
This is a long time Mac feature that now exists on iPad.
Learn more at the website or on the App Store.

Pixelmator for iOS Arrives on iPhone

One of the reasons I've not got too bent out of shape about no localized editing on Photos for Mac is because for years now I've been doing all of my heavy-duty photo editing in Pixelmator for Mac. Last year Pixelmator arrived on the iPad and it's great. In some ways it's better than the Mac version. I especially like using the iPad version on my couch while fiddling with pictures. Also, iOS Photos does an even better job of integrating third party photo apps than its Mac counterpart does. 

Today Pixelmator released an iPhone version of Pixelmator. The new iOS version of Pixelmator takes advantage of Apple's Metal technology to add new Distort tools. I've been using the beta and it was killing me not to include this in my Photos Video Field Guide. In addition to bringing a very robust set of photo editing tools, there are also filters accessible straight from Pixelmator in the Photos application.

Best of all, it's universal. If you've already bought Pixelmator for your iPad, you'll get it for free on your phone.

Have you noticed how many iOS iPad-only apps are going universal and finding their way to the iPhone? I think there are several reasons for this trend including the bigger iPhone screens, better processors, and better development tools. Pixelmator is great in my pocket. The below video provides an overview.

Pixelmator Update With Photos Support and Spooky-Good Repair Tool

I've been fiddling with the latest Pixelmator update. It's pretty great. Even though Apple doesn't support external editors with Photos on the Mac (at least yet), Pixelmator can now access your full Photos library from inside the Pixelmator with its Photo Browser. They also drastically improved the repair tool. There is a video on the Pixelmator blog that demonstrates removing objects (and people!) from an image with almost no effort. It's definitely worth checking out.

Pixelmator for iPad 1.1 - Aquarelle

One of the best things about being a Pixelmator customer is reaping the benefits of their aggressive update schedule. Today, the Pixelmator team released version 1.1 of the iPad app, Aquarelle. This new version includes some amazing watercolor tools. there are 12 separate watercolor brushes and I can't wait to see what artists do with this. The painting engine is also faster and the new color picker remembers recently used colors. 

There is a reason why Apple awarded Pixelmator App of the Year. Check it out their website or on the App Store.

Pixelmator for iPad

I finally got some time to play with Pixelmator for iPad this evening. I know some of the people at Pixelmator and I know they've been working on this application for a long time. I knew it was going to be something special but not this special. For five dollars, you'll get a full features photo editor that just a few years ago would have required a Mac Pro and thousands of dollars in software. Moreover, the touch interface makes the photo editing more intuitive. I'm going to write more on this as I dig in deeper but for now, if you've got a recent iPad, just go buy this. Learn more at the website.


Pixelmator 3.0FX


Last week the Pixelmator team released version 3.0FX of my favorite pixel pushing application. When I think of the hundreds and hundreds of dollars I’ve spent over the years on other photo alteration apps, I cringe. Version 3.0 adds a liquify feature, which my kids have already used to melt my face off pictures, and layer styles to quickly apply shadows, inner shadeows, gradients, reflections, an similar alterations on a per-layer basis.

The underlying engine also got an overhaul and is noticeably faster. They also opened a can of Mavericks on this version adding support for several new Mavericks technologies including App Nap and Compressed Memory. This is a free update if you’ve already bought it. You can find Pixelmator in the Mac App Store and on the web.


Replacing Photoshop with Pixelmator

With Adobe's new subscription model, a lot of people are asking if they should switch to something less expensive. I've been using Pixelmator for years and it has a lot more firepower than I need. Since you can buy Pixelmator for $15, which is just a few months of an Adobe subscription, Pixelmator's looking even better. Michael Cohen at TidBITS did a nice article looking at this very question and came to the same conclusion I did: For most people Pixelmator will get the job done.

Pixelmator 2.2 - Blueberry

Pixelmator, my photo and graphics weapon of choice, just got a really nice update. There are a lot of new features in this update.

  • There are shape tools and pallets, with dozens of built in shapes. (Watch the video)

  • There is an intriguing new "convert text into shape" feature, to apply apply gradients, shadows, strokes, or even reshape individual letters.

  • There is a new paint selection tool to speed up selections with a brush stroke. (Watch the video)

  • They've also added a light leak effect for retro-illuminated images. (Watch the video)

It's a free upgrade if you've already purchased the app. If not, I recommend getting a copy of Pixelmator. It is a really powerful photo tool for just $15.

Pixelmator Update

Pixelmator has quietly become my photo editor of choice. Their most recent update to version 1.6 adds even more pixel goodness including layer groups, Flickr export, 64-bit support, and the ability to import from my iPhone.