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Posts tagged with "pixelmator"

Pixelmator Pro First Impressions: A Beautiful Modern Interface with Advanced Image Editing Tools

Five years in the making, Pixelmator Pro debuted today with an all-new look and host of new features. The new interface eliminates visual clutter and anchors tools in side panels, so you always know where they are. Much of the app’s chrome has been eliminated too, putting your project in the spotlight where you can focus on it and not the app. It’s a modern, clean style that makes the app feel spacious and professional.

Pixelmator Pro adds a raft of features as well. Layer styles, color adjustments, and effects are all highly customizable, can be saved as presets, and shared. I’ve only had a little over 24 hours to put Pixelmator Pro through its paces, but based on my first impressions, it’s an impressive debut that I expect will replace the original version of the app as my go-to image editor.

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Pixelmator for iOS Adds Drag and Drop Support and HEIF Compatibility

Following just a few days behind Pixelmator for Mac, which recently received support for HEIF and editing files stored in Apple Photos, Pixelmator for iOS was updated today with the aforementioned HEIF support – Apple’s new file format for images in iOS 11 – as well as drag and drop support on iPad.

Drag and drop enables, as you might expect, moving images and graphics out of or into Pixelmator. Dropping images into a work in progress will import them all as new layers. Depending on the size and number of images you’re dropping, there may be a brief delay before they appear in your working document, but overall this action works well. When it comes to dragging content out of Pixelmator, you’ll need to do it with a single layer at a time – once you’ve lifted a layer, you can’t use drag and drop to pick up any additional layers. In a document containing many different layers, this can be fairly limiting, but there is a type of workaround: you can merge layers together in the sidebar to then drag the newly merged layer out of the app as a single image. Unfortunately, this only solves the problem if you want both layers permanently combined into one when dropping them elsewhere.

This layer merge technique is the only way I’ve discovered to drag a final image, containing multiple layers, out of Pixelmator and into another app – if you don’t want to first merge all layers together, you’ll have to use a more traditional data transfer technique like the share sheet. I would have liked to see drag and drop enabled within Pixelmator’s main image browser for moving a completed image out of the app, or for importing photos into the app to edit later. Currently, long-pressing an item from the image browser simply engages rearrange mode.

One nice side effect of drag and drop support is that when dealing with layers that don’t fit inside your canvas – such as an image you’ve dragged in that’s larger than the canvas itself – previously it was difficult to easily determine how large the full layer was. But now, grabbing the layer and watching it lift from the screen will provide a view of the full image, regardless of canvas size. Once you start dragging the layer away, it will shrink into a smaller drag preview, but until that move is engaged, the lifted image will be shown in full.

Despite its limitations, drag and drop support in Pixelmator is definitely great to have; before today I have tried several times to drag images into the app only to remember I couldn’t do that yet. Perhaps when the upcoming Pixelmator Pro arrives on the iPad, it will include a richer implementation of drag and drop. Until then, I’m grateful to have one less app limiting my iPad drag and drop experience.

Pixelmator for macOS Updated with HEIF and Apple Photos Support

Pixelmator, which announced Pixelmator Pro is coming later this year, has released an interim update to the current version of its image editor that adds full compatibility with macOS High Sierra.

In addition to bug fixes, Pixelmator 3.7 supports importing HEIF image files. Pixelmator can be opened directly from Apple Photos now too. The feature, which was added to Apple Photos as part of High Sierra, allows users to choose an image in Apple Photos, but edit it in Pixelmator. All edits made in Pixelmator will be saved back to the original file in Apple Photos. Pixelmator posted a video that explains how the feature works:

Pixelmator is available on the Mac App Store.

Pixelmator Pro Announced

Just before WWDC, the Pixelmator team teased a Mac app they’ve been working on for five years. The big reveal came today with an announcement that Pixelmator Pro will be joining the Pixelmator family of image editing apps this fall. Reimagined and rebuilt from the ground up, Pixelmator Pro promises a whole new level of power and ease-of-use.

According to the announcement:

“Pixelmator Pro provides every tool you could ever need to create, edit, and enhance your images on a Mac in an incredibly intuitive and accessible interface”, said Saulius Dailide, one of the founders of the Pixelmator Team. “And with its GPU-powered, machine learning-enhanced tools, it’s truly one of the most advanced and innovative image editing apps on the planet.”

I haven’t tried Pixelmator Pro yet, but judging from the announcement, I expect we’re in for a treat. The most noticeable thing about the new app is its striking UI. Gone are the floating toolbars, replaced by left and right-hand side panels that fade into the background, so the image you’re working on dominates your workspace. I like the one window approach a lot, if for no other reason than I know exactly where my tools are at all times. The combination of a minimalistic toolbar, sparse chrome around the panels, use of transparency, dark interface, and ability to hide UI elements give Pixelmator Pro an expansive feel that emphasizes the image in your workspace instead of the tools.

The changes announced go much deeper than just a redesign, though. The Pixelmator team has taken the opportunity to incorporate the latest Apple technologies and harness Machine Learning. Pixelmator Pro’s editor takes advantage of a Mac’s GPU using Metal 2, the graphics framework announced at WWDC that will debut with macOS X High Sierra. CoreML, also announced at WWDC, will drive much of Pixelmator Pro’s editing engine according to the announcement. There’s also support for the new HEIF image file format.

Also, editing in Pixelmator Pro will be non-destructive:

Pixelmator Pro’s color adjustments, effects, styles, and layouting tools are completely nondestructive, giving users the freedom and flexibility to go back and modify or delete individual changes at any point in the editing workflow. Thanks to the new presets feature, you can create endless combinations of multiple adjustments, effects, or styles, save them to your favorites and reuse them in any of your images. Drag-and-drop sharing also makes it a breeze to share presets with others.

I expect the ability to share combinations of effects, styles, and adjustments will be especially popular.

Pixelmator Pro will be available exclusively from the Mac App Store this fall alongside the current Pixelmator app.

Pixelmator for iOS Adds Quick and Magnetic Selection Tools

Pixelmator 2.3 for iOS was updated today to add the same Quick Selection and Magnetic Selection tools that were introduced on the Mac with Pixelmator 3.5 in May. The Quick Selection Tool lets you paint over an image with your finger to select it. Magnetic selection grabs the outline of an object based on anchor points you create as you trace around the object with your finger. Pixelmator detects the edges of the object in the image and snaps the section to them. In my brief tests, both selection tools worked well and are particularly well-suited to touch.

In addition to the new selection tools, Pixelmator 2.3 adds many small refinements and other improvements, including:

  • Apple Pencil pressure sensitivity support for the Quick Selection Tool;
  • Greater Apple Pencil precision when using the Free Selection Tool;
  • a 'tap to invert selection' button;
  • improvements to the precision and speed of the Color Selection Tool; and
  • snap to pixel precision for the Free, Rectangular, and Elliptical Selection Tools.

Pixelmator 2.3 for iOS is a free upgrade for existing Pixelmator customers and is available to new customers on the App Store for $4.99. Pixelmator 3.5 for Mac, which we previously covered, is available for $29.99 on the Mac App Store.

Pixelmator as a Screenshot Editor

Gabe Weatherhead at Macdrifter highlights something that puzzled me when I wrote a roundup of screenshot apps last December:

While there's a wealth of options on the Mac for image annotation, there are very few complete options on iOS. PointOut is wonderful for creating magnifier callouts but not much else. Pinpoint has really easy redaction, annotation and arrows but nothing more. Omnigraffle has everything plus a great deal of control but it's too many taps to do anything basic.

The problem is compounded by the fact that many screenshot apps on iOS are unable to detect a screenshot once it has been edited by another app. As a result, there is often no good way to pass a screenshot from one app to another to apply multiple edits.

Gabe's solution is clever. He uses Pixelmator, one of the most powerful image editors available on iOS, to create call-outs, redact sections of a screenshot, and draw arrows. I use Screenshot++ and Pinpoint regularly, but it's good to have Pixelmator as an option for more complicated combinations of edits. Check out Gabe's post to see how it's done.


Pixelmator Updated with iOS 9 Support, iPad Multitasking

Copying a mind map from iThoughts into Pixelmator.

Copying a mind map from iThoughts into Pixelmator.

The excellent Pixelmator for iOS – which I use regularly on my iPhone and iPad to assemble screenshots that can't be automated with scripts – has been updated today with support for 8K images and iOS 9. I've been playing with a beta version of Pixelmator 2.1 on my iPad running iOS 9, and the ability to work with the app's canvas alongside other apps in Split View is a refreshing change that saves me time when creating images off multiple assets.

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Pixelmator for iPhone

With a universal update, Pixelmator has been released on the iPhone today. I took Pixelmator for a spin last year when it launched on the iPad, and, while I don't need all the features of this app, I've been using it regularly to create simple image compositions and edit screenshots for the site.

On the iPhone, the Pixelmator team went with some interesting choices. The app feels a bit constrained on the smaller screen but you can still access all the tools from the iPad version. I like how you can view layers with a swipe on the left edge of the screen, and I appreciate the effort they put into rearranging menus when you switch to landscape (I tried the app on an iPhone 6 Plus – make sure to check out the Tools menu in landscape). As you can see in the screenshots above, I'm going to use the app until I figure out a way to automate Apple Watch screenshot generation with Pythonista or Workflow.

Pixelmator is one of the most impressive mobile adaptations of a powerful desktop app – and now you can use it on an iPhone too. $4.99 on the App Store.


Pixelmator 3.0 FX [Sponsor]

Our thanks to Pixelmator for sponsoring MacStories this week.

Pixelmator is a full-featured image editing app for OS X that takes advantage of Apple's latest technologies to make image editing twice as fast and fully compatible with Mavericks. Version 3.0 brings numerous improvements to Pixelmator, such as Layer Styles (to quickly apply non-destructive changes to individual layers) and Liquify Tools (to shape images in multiple ways).

Built exclusively for the Mac, Pixelmator 3.0 integrates with Mavericks features like App Nap and Compressed Memory to make the app consume less resource and be faster overall. Other existing OS X integrations, such as Retina display and full-screen support, are even more impressive on Mavericks and Apple's latest line-up of MacBook Pros.

Pixelmator 3.0 FX is a free update for owners of Pixelmator 2.0, and it's available at $29.99 on the Mac App Store. A free 30-day trial is available here.