Pixa is the file management solution for designers.
Good file management is the key to success with any project-driven profession. I’ve been involved in print, video, graphic and even photo management throughout my professional life and one certainty I’ve seen with each is that poor element organization costs time, money and sometimes clients. With the amount of files that one works with in those professions, it can be difficult to find a file management solution that makes sense and doesn’t end up costing you more time. Pixa is that solution.
Pixa is a file management app for Mac designed to assist those working with graphic files such as jpg, png, gif, eps, etc. The developers bill Pixa as an image organizer, but it really is so much more than that. Not only will it organize your image files, but it will also read your design files from Photoshop and Illustrator. Pixa works similarly to iPhoto in that it will copy images into its own database. From the database, users can organize files into folders and export quickly via Pixa’s presets – 50% jpg, original size PNG and original size zip. Pixa also make it easy to open image files in editing program like Photoshop. One thing to understand about this app is that it is meant to organize, not to edit.
One of the more advanced features of Pixa is the use of Live Folders. Live Folders reference folders that are already built on your computer. Pixa reads the modifications to that folder in real-time as changes happen. Live Folders make it possible for image to be tagged, searched and organized without modifying the original files on your computer. Users can even drag files from the Pixa database into these Live Folders and it copies the files directly into them. I would caution users to do this with care. It can become very easy to duplicate files unnecessarily. When I was testing Pixa for this review, I made one of my work folders with many image files in it a Live Folder. I had also used some of those same image files to import into Pixa’s database. I was then able to copy the same images back into the Live Folder. This could be problematic for organization.
Another awesome feature of Pixa is Screen Shooting. While Apple has a native shortcut for screenshots, Pixa has its own options for Snap Area, Snap Window and Snap Full Screen. Instead of saving the screenshots to the desktop, Pixa saves its screenshots in its own database without cluttering your desktop. They are then available to organize into projects, folders or Live Folders.
Like many apps these days, Pixa also has an option for Cloud export to either Dropbox or Cloudapp. Images are easily exported to a Cloud or shared through email, Twitter, Facebook, Flikr, Message, Airdrop or even to iPhoto. This is a great added bonus for users.
One of the features that Pixa includes to assist with organization is auto-tagging. Pixa will automatically tags images by size and major color. For example, if an image is primarily blue in color and large in size, Pixa recognizes these attributes and tags the image. This helps in searching out images when you aren’t sure of the title or even what project they were used in. Let’s say you designed a business card for a company that had brand colors that were mostly red. Five years done the road, the company comes back to you with requesting a new set of cards be made because they just hired a new manager. Unfortunately, you can remember what the file name was. Pixa’s auto-tagging by color can help you find it because you can look at the images that are tagged ‘red’. The same is true for the size auto-tag. If you remember that an image you designed is large enough for a billboard, but don’t remember the file name, you can search by size and make it easier to find the file.
Another great feature Pixa provides is the Loupe Tool. The Loupe Tool magnifies an area of an image and shows the color values of the area. This can be extremely useful to designers when trying to ensure consistency across designs. I know there are many times that I am working on a project across different platforms and need to utilize the same color across all programs. This tool makes it simple to identify the color.
Pixa is a great app for file organization. I highly recommend it to anyone in the design field. Pixa developer, Shiny Frog, has a full 10-day demo available on their website. The app retails for $30 and is currently on sale for $24.99 through the Mac App Store.