Review: Pixelmator

3 02 2008

For those of you who are unaware, Pixelmator is an inexpensive alternative to Adobe Photoshop that includes many of the same tools and filters found in the aforementioned. The standard price of Pixelmator is $59 but recently had been included in the Mac Heist bundle for $49 as well as being on the Mac Update Promo for $29.

Almost every tool found in the younger versions of Photoshop such as the clone stamp tool, the magic wand and eyedropper are included in the package. Also things like levels, masks, hue/saturation and blend modes for layers are there as well. The graphical interface of pixelmator is quite stunning. Every pallet and toolbar is displayed on a HUD thats semi-transparent, which gives it a very modern look. There are a lot of subtleties throughout the program that make it quite visually appealing, even more-so than Photoshop, itself. An example of this is when you select a tool in the toolbar, its icon will become larger than the others, indicating that it is in use. Finally, almost every keyboard shortcut that is in Photoshop is identical in Pixelmator with a few exceptions.
Now that all of the good things are out of the way, it’s time for some of the bad things about Pixelmator. For one, there is no history pallet. This doesn’t mean that it doesn’t save your history (you can always use cmd+z) but there is no visual way to go back to a specific point like Photoshop. Another gripe that i have is the fact that there is no polygonal lasso tool. The polygonal lasso tool is one of my favorites in photoshop and I miss it dearly in Pixelmator. Also the outline that is normally encompassing your brush or pencil is gone completely. I found that to cause choosing the correct brush size the first time quite difficult. But also don’t forget, Pixelmator is only at version 1.1.2 as of right now and will hopefully see many updates over the next couple of months.
Overall, Pixelmator carries a much larger bang-for-its-buck compared to Photoshop which retails for around $800. Hopefully, over the next little while Pixelmatr will see some updates that may very well bump this up to four and a half or even five stars. But as of the current program, I would have to give it three and a half stars.


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