For Mac users who need powerful image editing but can’t handle the price or complexity of Photoshop, there are startlingly good alternatives. So, what’s all this noise about a Photoshop-like app at 5-cents on the dollar? It’s math. Photoshop retails for a dollar shy of $700. At 5-cents on the dollar, Pixelmator begins to look like the graphics app bargain of the century.
Doing Photoshop For Less
To be fair, Photoshop is a professional tool. It’s the standard bearer of the image editing industry, used by a gazillion and twenty Mac and Windows designers.
To get the most out of it, you’ll need to fork over the full price, use it for a few years, maybe take a few classes, or buy training aids to figure out all that Photoshop can do.
Oh, swell. That nearly $700 professional price tag could swell well beyond expectations. Or, you could consider the Pixelmator alternative.
You’ll spend 1/20th the price of Photoshop, and end up with an app that has a gentler learning curve, a similar set of tools and capabilities, and is ready for Mac OS X Lion’s built-in Versions and Autosave to make your image editing life a little easier.
The floating tool palettes right away make Pixelmator familiar to Photoshop users (the seemingly annual upgrade price to Photoshop CS-whatever is $199).
Like Photoshop, Pixelmator edits images and photos using layers and tools. Over three dozen tools for retouching, painting, cropping, etc. More power is in the 150 filters and the color correction tools.
Images can be filled and stroked, in layers or selections. The built-in Photo Browser makes it easy to get to photos and images in iPhoto or Aperture (click on either image above for a larger, more-detailed, pop up version).
The new Healing Tool can remove objects in a photo so they seem to magically disappear (this is so cool you’ll need to see the video to believe it). Paint using many different brushes or a sponge. There’s a new typography tool (it supports Photoshop PSD text layers), and all the standard Photoshop basics, including Smudge, Dodge, Eyedropper, Burn, Drawing, Red Eye and more.
Pixelmator actually goes beyond Photoshop by offering full integration with Lion, including Auto Save, Versions, and Full Screen.
Among my favorite tools is the Content-Aware Fill and Shapes (it’s always nice to have a few vector tools in a bit map editor). And, I like being able to customize and rearrange tools to palettes of my choice.
Pixelmator is not Photoshop. But, as the affordable image editing app for the rest of us, it’s easily the bargain app of the year at 5-cents on the dollar compared to Photoshop.