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Pixelmator – the 90% application

12 06 2009
  • deutsch

What does that mean? 90% Application? In my eyes the Pixelmator image editing program brings 90% of the features I’d expect from a powerfull image editor. In this review I’ll show you why.

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Pixelmator is only anvailable for Mac. This means it’s not a port of a program written for a different platform. It’s written and designed for MacOS X. It makes use of the build in CoreImage features. This means most of the image processing is off loaded to the processor of the graphic card (GPU). This GPU is highly specialized on image manipulation and much faster than the central processor. Your benefit from this is a very snappy user interface of Pixelmator even when editing big files. I tried this with some 20 MByte RAW Images from my Canon EOS 400D. All the tools worked perfect smooth which I can’t tell from Photoshop CS or The Gimp on these files. All the effects have a live previeview – thanks to CoreImage.

In the toolset of Pixelmator you’ll find everything you’re familiar with from usual image editing tools. There are hue & saturation, graduation curve, color balance and tone mapping etc. to mention only a few.
The whole user interface is nicely designed and all mac like. You will be suprised by the details of some tool pallettes and dialogues for instance the gradient settings color chooser or the lights on the ruler which follow the cursor.

Pixelmator Gradient and hoover ruler from Falko Zurell on Vimeo.

The highlights which separate Pixelmator from the others are: CoreImage usage, make new layer from iSight cam, built in Photobrowser for iPhoto library or hard disk, QuickLook plugin (now QuickLook can display all the files Pixelmator can), Automator actions and native graphic tablet support.

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But where there is light, there is shadow too. But only a little. I miss some minor features like keyboard shortcuts for most functions, drag & drop layer duplication, layer effects and more evolved text editing tool.

But hey – Pixelmator (59$) costs only about 5% of the price Adobe Photoshop CS4 does. And it’s much faster in most of the things.

The guys at Pixelmator were very kind to provide me a coupon code for their Online-Shop. So if you buy Pixelmator then use this Coupon-Code “MACGEEKS” and save 10$.

[Update 13.06.09:] I forgot to mention that there are a lot of very good tutorials and screencasts on the Pixelmator website. And you can extend Pixelmator with plugins. Either by CoreImage plugins or QuartzComposer extensions.

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