As a graphic designer, I learned the basics of Photoshop very early on in my career. It is one of the primary applications designers use to modify and enhance images. Some would even call it the ‘premiere’ application for such work. For many years, Photoshop has been at the forefront of graphics and has always been sold at a premium. As technology advances and more and more companys utilize cloud-based services, consumers will be forced to make certain choices – either stick with the application they know and pay a higher premium than before or find a comparable application through another service.

Adobe Creative Suite is making this move to subscription, cloud-based applications. Photoshop will be effected and anyone who wishes to use and upgrade Photoshop past CS6 will have to pay this subscription fee. After much consideration, I decided to look into other application possibilities. In the era of the App Store, there are many new options and I thought it would at least be worth my time to investigate. That’s how I found Pixelmator.

Pixelmator is an easy-to-use image editor built specifically for Mac OS. It is optimized for Retina displays and takes full advantage of the latest Mac technologies. The app was recently updated to version 2.2 and includes features like:

  • Painting Tools
  • Selection Tools
  • Drawing Tools
  • Retouching Tools
  • Over 150 Filters
  • Professional-grade Color Correction Tools
  • Compatilbility with iPhoto or Aperature (can even save files as PSD)
  • iCloud Sharing

Pixelmator is an award-winning app and to be honest, after testing it I can see why. It won “Best of Mac App Store” in 2011 just four years after the Pixelmator Team developed it.

falcon-originalIn testing the app, I was completely in awe of what this application can do. I took a photo of an original model of the Millennium Falcon that I saw at the Indiana State Museum (if you are a Star Wars fan, I recommend visiting the exhibit this summer). As you can see in the original image, there is a seam in the display that goes directly through the middle of the ship. As a test, I decided to take the seam out – something I would normally do in Photoshop. This is actually something I’ve done many times in Photoshop and was ecstatic to find the same tools available in Pixelmator.

falcon-editI used the ‘clone’ tool to copy pixels of the area around the seam and then paste over the actual seam in the image. This made it possible to ‘take out’ the seam. Then I used the blur tool to go over those areas to help blend the pasted pixels into the rest of the image. Then, I changed the image from color into sepia tone to give it a more polished look. Like I said, these are all tools I would use in Photoshop to complete this task – and they are all available in Pixelmator!

One of the best things about this app is that the developers knew their target audience. They knew they were catering to Photoshop users and they wanted to develop an app that would appeal to them. They also realized that those designers that were familiar with Photoshop spent years mastering their art form. So, the Pixelmator Team made the icons for the tools and the shortcut keys the same as what is available in Photoshop. This was a brilliant move because it makes it easy for those of us who use Photoshop to transition to this wonderful app.

In case you can’t tell, I am a fan of Pixelmator. I originally found it when I was looking for a solution for the Photoshop-subscription problem and got so much more than I thought a $14.99 app would offer.

If you are a little leery of whether or not you will be able to make the move to Pixelmator, the developers have given us the chance to try the full version free for 30 days. I would suggest you download it and give the app a try for yourself.