Image design programs are hard to get right. Photoshop seems to be the bigger winner in front however there are a lot of small image programs bring up the rear. Todays app, Pixelmator is an image manipulation program designed for the Mac, on its own its a really good application and for people who haven’t used Photoshop its everything your want. It looks awesome and has plenty of features.
I must first state that I may end up comparing the application to Photoshop since I have used that app for many years. However Photoshop is very expensive and very good at what it does. Pixelmator is a lot cheaper, however it is designed for the every day user. So if I end up saying it doesn’t do a feature very well, i’m just being padantic. Its like comparing a family car to an Aston Martin. To get the best feeling for this app, download it and try it out.
Pixelmator is an image manipulator. It is designed for you to take an image (or a blank canvas), and have the tools available to you to change it and convert it as you see fit. This means you have brushes and erasers to make basic manipulations, and more advance tools such as Levels and Curves to tweak and adjust the image. Pixelmator has all of these.
The app is designed around lots of small floating palettes. Each of these palettes is designed to feature as something specific. For example the layers is in one palette, the Swatches is in another palette. All of these palettes have the same basic feel and operation making it easy to understand what each bit does. As a result working with the program is dead simple. It takes a while to learn what each bit does, but you soon master the operations of the app.
You can use the app for a variety of different pictures and images. Although the image shown above is rather poor, if you actually dedicate some time to developing your image there is lots of tools to help you. For example you have the Levels Tool, Curves, Exposure, Hue & Saturation plus plenty of Filters such as Distortion, Blur, Sharpen, Stylize and Half Tone. There is more small features which help you work with your image.
One of the biggest features of this program is the way it works and interact with the user. For example if you click on a tool in the palette it will enlarge as your select it, there is lots of highlights and shadows to help you user the program. Take, for example, the palette on the right to control Hue and Saturation. Its probably one of the best designed palettes. The controls move smoothly as your rotate the sliders round and there is lots of options to control how the image looks from a couple of simple options. This type of features are present throughout the program.
Overall this app runs very smoothly. Its designed to run from your graphics card, so the bigger your graphics card, the faster it will run. I really like this app after using it for a while. The $59 price tag is great for practically anyone. If you are in to image manipulation, download this app and try it out.
The only downside to this app is the learning curve. Once as you get the hand of how to use it, its a lot easier to use. Getting used to how the palettes change and works takes a while but you soon pick it up.
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Mac OS X 10.5
Simple, easy, and very poweful.
Big learning curve. Not as good as Photoshop.