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Pixelmator 2.1 Cherry Review

Pixelmator 2.1.1 Cherry Review – Mac App Store



Available exclusively through the Mac App Store Pixelmator 2.0 is a graphics and image editor for Mac OSX and has a number of attractive features, including an impressive array of retouching and paint tools, and sleek interface. Packing a raft of effects filters, paint and retouching tools it is a well-specified utility. That said, it’s not a full blown application to rival Photoshop and lacks some fundamentals such as layer styles and adjustment layers (effects filters largely take care of the latter) but there’s a huge demand for a user-friendly yet nimble application that can cope with a number of day-to-day image editing tasks, while also being able to handle more complex jobs if need be. One other obviously attractive feature is its low price of just $14.99 instead of the usual $59.99.

Non-Destructive Image Editing

As Pixelmator leverages Apple’s Core Image technology it has a number of shared features namely non-destructive image editing using filters, GPU accelerated processing, and a useful plug-in architecture. More importantly perhaps for photographers is the built-in support for Raw files. While maintaining Raw support is the responsibility of Apple, any camera that’s compatible with iPhoto (or Aperture) will also be supported by Pixelmator. For a look at current camera Raw file compatibility, see here.


While the basic layout resembles most graphics editors the inclusion of floating palettes for filters and effects give it the look and feel of a more consumer orientated and more user-friendly utility than a lot of rivals. Version (2.1) added support for OS X Mountain Lion, seamless syncing with iCloud and optimized the display for Apple’s Retina models. For now that means the outstandingly detailed Apple MacBook Pro Retina high-resolution display laptops, but it’s also hoped Apple may roll this new hardware technology out to new iMacs and Cinema displays. A minor revision to 2.1.1 sees a welcome performance boost to the healing brush that works particularly well for removing large objects, though, oddly, not so well for small items often sampling from dissimilar areas.

The Brushes Palette


Although this is a highly versatile utility, most image adjustments are made through the effects filters while painting, drawing selecting and retouching tools are made from the usual tools palette not unlike rivals such as Photoshop. One particular standout feature that most paint pros will welcome, however, is the extended feature set of the brushes palette.



Most image editing tasks can be achieved using the filters. You simply click on one of the thumbnails and make adjustments from a dedicated palette. The majority have sliders – much like Lightroom or Aperture – that make it easy to assess changes due to the near real-time response. There are over a 160 filter effects to choose from, and while many won’t be used on an everyday basis (there are a number tiles and stylizing filters that are more likely to appeal to graphics professionals than photographers) the essentials are covered.


Pixelmator will mean different things to different people but it’s quick, efficient and practical for so many image manipulation tasks that it will likely become your first choice of utility for a range of corrections. The only real downside for photographers is that handling and adjusting large quantities of images can be slow, unlike a Raw workflow utility. But even then, thanks to Pixelamator’s photo browser it can integrate seamlessly with iPhoto, or Aperture if you have it.

Pricing And Availability


Pixelmator can be downloaded here for $14.99 (time limited offer only, normally $59.99).

Kevin Carter is Head of Technical Hardware for as well as ED of Digital Journal of Photography (DJP). Not one to sit still for long, Kevin is also a Professional Photographer and Technical Editor/Lens Guru for a number of technology and photography titles. These include the British Journal of Photography, Professional Photographer, Digital Photo Pro, DSLR User, Digital Photographer, CNET UK, PhotographyBLOG, MacUser and PC PRO, as well as PC Format and MacFormat, among others. Recently he became the Lead Technical Editor for DxOMark.