Pixelmator Pro is an excellent editing tool for professional designers and photographers who are looking for a budget Photoshop alternative. It overlaps here and there with the already excellent Pixelmator but is a completely new product.
Pixelmator Pro macOS App Review
Genre: graphics & design
Developer: Pixelmator Team
Size: 94 MB
Version: macOS 10.13 High Sierra.
In-App Purchase: No
Last Updated: Feb 3, 2018
Version Of App: 1.0.8
It has a clean and sparse interface that keeps your focus on the screen. Editing tools are on a panel on the right side of the window.
The entire left edge is dedicated to layers which are presented in a thumbnail format.
Some may find the layer interface a bit spartan. There is no indicator to tell if a layer has a mask. A double click reveals it. Hiding requires a right click and selecting Hide. To overcome this issue, changing the view from Thumbnails to list is the key. This makes masks visible and has buttons for hiding and locking layers. This done at the expense of discernible previews.
Control points for effects are shown in a unique manner. When a new effect is applied, a control appears in the middle of the screen and is connected to the effect controls in the menu by a virtual thread.
Other controls, like Perspective Transform, ties multiple controls to the effect’s sections like Top Right, Top Left and so on.
In Spite of the overall UI, floating palettes are not completely excised. Colors, Gradients, Document Information and Shapes all float freely when they are required.
Open documents are in their own windows but you can put them all together as tabs in a single window.
Pro Features. What’s New?
Almost all its tonal and color adjustments and effects are non destructive. When factors like saturation and exposure are edited, there changes are not burned into an image’s pixels. The same goes for effects like vignette. They can be removed at will on a per layer basis.
They are also nifty features like color histogram that can tell you how prevalent a color is in the photo so you can change the color accordingly in order to achieve the effect you want or to adjust them as needed.
A few selection specific tools aren’t as flexible as color and tonal adjustments as far as being non destructive goes. A prime example of this is use of the repair tool. You can use it to remove unwanted objects but doing so removes all other fixes throughout the project, specific layers can’t be targeted in this aspect.
The layer based focus of Pixelmator Pro has its problems. For example, if you want to apply an effect/adjustment to the entire image, you must add it layer by layer. It doesn’t have the specific layer adjustment functionality that Photoshop possesses. The fix for this is to combine layers and to apply the effect to that composite layer.
Pixelmator Pro takes advantage of the newer macOS developments like Wide Color support, Metal 2, restoring versions of a file using the macOS Versions feature and more. Editing was fast on our 2017 iMac and presented no problems on that front whatsoever.
Pixelmator Pro is a well rounded application that is good at what it does but suffers from the early version bugs and hiccups. It’s relatively new and we look forward to seeing how the team behind it develops and grows it.