If you think of photo-editing, you probably think of Adobe Photoshop. It's the software that's probably used the widest. But sadly this doesn't mean it's the best out there. At least for the Mac there is a good alternative available: Pixelmator from the Pixelmator Team. One of the biggest disadvantages of (nearly) all Adobe Products is their custom built User Interface. I don't like it. That interface may work on windows, but it most certainly doesn't on the Mac. That's why I love Pixelmator. Pixelmator was specifically designed and developed for the Mac. But let's look into some of those features, shall we?

The Interface

The interface of Pixelmator is divided into separate windows. One for the image, one for the tools, one for the layers and a few others for tool-settings, color selection, etc. Since version 2.0 (released exclusively in the Mac App Store) Pixelmator also features support for the Lion fullscreen view, which I have to admit that I really love.

New Features

As I already mentioned version 2.0 of Pixelmator was only released on the Mac App Store. With it came a ton of new features like Content-Aware-Filling, Vector graphics, Lion specific features like fullscreen, auto saving and versions, and a lot more.
But they also shipped a lot of small details with Pixelmator 2.0 no one really recognized but instantly misses if they are not there. Take for example the Eyedropper tool. With that tool you can pick the color value of one pixel. Once you have done this, the color you just "picked" is not only memorized, but the icon in the toolbar changes it's color accordingly. Yes, this is a small detail, but that is what makes small software for me.

Macintosh only

Being a Mac only software, Pixelmator can take advantages of some really low level technics offered by the OS. The whole app for example is built in Cocoa, that means that it behaves like any other native Mac app. The image editing is based on Quartz effects. These effects are all done on the GPU, which means that it's super fast. This also means, that you can create your own effects for Pixelmator in the Quartz Composer (part of the Mac Developer Tools).

Sharing is caring

Once you have finished your creation in Pixelmator it is really easy to share it. You can either export your image in one of the popular formats like .jpg, .png, .psd (yep, Pixelmator can open and save Photoshop files), .pdfs, etc.
Or you can choose to directly upload to services like Flickr, Picasa or Facebook.


I really like Pixelmator, but sadly I still have to open Photoshop from time to time. But you have to keep in mind, that with 29.99$ in the Mac App Store, Pixelmator is a really good (and cheap) alternative to Photoshop, especially for beginners. So, go and check it out!

(Disclaimer: Yes I know, that it's really unfair to compare Pixelmator with Photoshop.)