A friend of mine recently told me, ‘I spent the full lot on Adobe Photoshop, and I don’t need anything else. When that one outdates, I don’t want to pay rent for something I used to own’. After I told him my arguments I said before in our Adobe CC review, we agreed to disagree, and continued working.
However, it kept me thinking, what if you want to quit Adobe. Of course you have GIMP, but while many Linux fans love it, I can’t seem to work with it. I’m an Adobe user since I was 12, so I never bothered with alternatives. However, these days, there is a gorgeous Mac alternative: Pixelmator.
I’m sure that the fine people at the Pixelmator Team find their product is not just a copy of Photoshop, but a full fledged image editor on their self. However, for the sake of this review I will be comparing the two.
Available in the Mac App Store for $14.99, Pixelmator aims to offer almost everything Photoshop has, and beyond. Winner of the Apple Design Award AND the Best of Mac App Store, this app is sure to please the eye. With a gorgeous retina-ready interface, full of easy floating panels, great 3D icons, and an effect browser that shows you what to do, it is ready for you to play, or work. Whatever it is that you do on Photoshop, or in this case: Pixelmator.
The interface itself is filled with little fun details, like floating windows that are connected with a string, search fields in filters and more. These things, aimed at beginners, also makes it easy for seasoned Photoshop users to find their way. The same with keyboard shortcuts, which mostly remain the same.
One of the great features of Pixelmator are the effects, whom out-do Photoshop in several ways. One of the biggest features are dirtying up your pictures in a quick and easy way. Which is of course very popular these days with photographers and camera owners (there is a difference), who hark back to the old days of bodged film, scratched negatives, and broken lenses. An included Vintage filter adds many options for discoloration, and a great Light-Leak filter makes it all even easier and faster.
Also interesting is the addition of Shapes. Calling it Vectormator, it is already included in every up-to-date copy of Pixelmator, and with a few clicks, your pixel based app is also ready for vector art. However, don’t expect to take over Illustrator work to with this application. (If you do look at the updates the Pixelmator team is pushing out, I take that wouldn’t take too long tough.)
Some things are different of course, and switching to a completely new app requires time and training. Saving is also different, replacing Photoshops propriety PSD with its own .PXM file extension. The application does offer support to open layered PSD files. It also can open RAW files, but will not have a special RAW editor available.
If you want to own a rather cheap in price, but very well built application that will take care of most of your Photoshop work, check out Pixelmator!
A free trial version of Pixelmator can be found on their website. If you are convinced, Pixelmator 2.2 Blueberry is available at the Mac App Store for $14.99.