Pixelmator Review

I got my hands on a copy of Pixelmator a while ago and have been playing with it a little bit over the last month or so. My first impression of the software was very positive. I like the layout. And after using it for a little while I realized the software’s potential and a few short comings.

Here is some of the technical stuff right from Pixelmators website:

  • Image processing is powered by Core Image and Open GL
  • Built using Cocoa
  • Includes Automator actions
  • ColorSync color management
  • Spotlight support
  • The world’s first GPU-powered editor
  • And much more…

The first thing I noticed about Pixelmator is that it looked different than other image editors, but still made sense. The floating panels are great, allowing you to move them exactly where you want them. The second thing I noticed was the PDF manual. It has to be the best layed out manual I have ever seen. With lots of screenshots and images to help you find exactly where everything is. Other software companies could learn a lot on how to create a great manual from the guys at Pixelmator.

Everything a photographer needs to work on their images seems to be there. There are a couple of things missing though. I’ll get to those later. Layers, cropping, magic wand, clone, eraser, paint brush, it’s all there. Pixelmator has full range of filters and supports third-party Core Image and Quartz Composer-based plug-ins. I liked the ease of use of Pixelmator and its power for image manipulation.

The major thing I didn’t like was the inability to to white balance using an eye dropper tool like you can in PS and PSE with the levels adjustment box using the “set gray point” eyedropper. I asked them about that and this is the response I got:

We do have plans to add a way to use eyedropper once in adjustment tools, but for that every single adjustment tool must be improved. We already improved 40% of our adjustment tools. 60% left.

This is a very promising reply. With that one feature added, JPEG shooters will have everything they need in one app.

The other thing that I found annoying (in a small way) was that you had to turn on “caps lock” to see the actual brush size. Not a big deal if you are only working on the image, but as soon as you want to add text, toggling caps lock on and off can be bothersome. That also came into play when I switched to another app and started typing (again, had to turn off caps lock).

What’s the conclusion? If you shoot JPEG and don’t white balance your images, Pixelmator will work great for you and I would recommend it. However, if you shoot JPEG and DO whitle balance your images I would suggest you use something else until Pixelmator gets the white balance eyedropper straightened out. For the RAW shooter who white balances their images in their RAW conversion software and then does more work in an image editor, Pixelmator will definetly do the trick for you. Over all, it’s a good piece of software with serious potential to become a strong player in the image editing software game.

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