Issue: 8.3 (March/April 2010)
Author: Dave Mancuso
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Article Length (in bytes): 3,611
Starting Page Number: 12
RBD Number: 8306
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IN BRIEF Product Pixelmator 1.5 Manufacturer Pixelmator Team, Ltd. Price $59.00 Contact Info http://www.pixelmator.com/ Pros Incredibly inexpensive, great features, extensive free upgrades, strong Photoshop competitor Cons Lack of some features Rating (1.0-5.0): 4.5
A few years ago, some new technologies appeared from Apple's 10.5 Leopard operating system. They made it easier to create cool applications from the ground up. Not long after, several applications appeared on the scene. Pixelmator was one of them. It used Mac OS X Core Image technology, but also open source technology from the ImageMagick project. In addition, it took advantage of Apple's HUD (Heads Up Display) interface. Pixelmator appeared on the scene in late 2007 with version 1.0 for sale.
The controversy grew almost instantly. Photoshop fans complained about every favorite feature they felt was missing from Pixelmator. New fans crowed about the low price compared to Photoshop's hefty price tag. For the developers, this was a very good place to be. They made $60,000 in sales on the first day.
I bought Pixelmator not long after it was released. I'm a Photoshop user, although not a heavy one, but I didn't really start using Pixelmator until I removed Photoshop from my machine ( changed jobs and lost the license for Photoshop). I've used Pixelmator for a number of jobs, and I've found it to be capable for the most part. Pixelmator is far more powerful than Photoshop Elements. It's much more of a Photoshop competitor. The times I ran into trouble were when I knew how to do something in Photoshop, but I couldn't seem to do it in Pixelmator.
In some cases I found that the answer was easy, that my "Photoshop expectations" had gotten in my way. In a few cases, I found that Pixelmator was simply missing a feature. For instance, the History palette, a much-used feature in Photoshop, is missing from Pixelmator. I was happy to use Pixelmator's multiple Undo/Redo feature instead, but I know that other users refuse to do without the History palette.
In another case, I was shocked to find that Pixelmator completely lacks a shape drawing tool. I worked around it by marqueeing an area and filling it with color, but I was very surprised that such a basic feature was missing from the application.
The application opens and saves a number of formats, thanks to some of its open source resources. This helped a great deal in some of my work.
I've received a number of free updates for Pixelmator in the time that I've owned it. So many in fact that I've wondered how the company makes money on the product. According to the website however, sales are strong and version 1.6 and 2.0 (and perhaps others in between) are on the way.
Also, the Pixelmator website is well worth checking out. It's very well done, and has excellent video tutorials among other resources. Pixelmator is an excellent image application, well worth checking out if you have a Mac.
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