From Adobe’s expensive and complicated Photoshop or Illustrator to simple pixel grabbing color pickers, Mac users can choose from a rich variety of quality apps and utilities to design the next great image.
Yes, I’m into Photoshop, but I don’t brag about it. What I brag about are the utilities I’ve assembled through the years to assist me in a graphic design; elegant tools that do what Photoshop and friends do not do so well.
Tops On The List Of Tops
What self respecting Mac graphic designer does not have a color picker app? It’s probably a requirement and most of us have more than one installed and a click away.
In fact, beyond Photoshop and Illustrator, most of us pixel pushers have a dozen or so additional apps, many one-trick pony tools that we cherish and use.
At the very top of my list (beyond the bread and butter graphic design applications from Adobe) is xScope.
This is no one-trick app, despite the fact that there’s a pixel grabber color picker built in. xScope is actually eight tools in one Menubar or floating palette app.
Mirror: This is a new tool to xScope. It syncs with your iPhone or iPad so you can work on a design on your Mac and see how it looks on the iDevice screen.
Dimensions: The shortest distance between two points is a straight line and dimensions measures the pixels from here to there and in between (grab dimensions of any screen element).
Rulers: Most graphic apps have built-in rulers and guides, but xScope lets you mark and measure in those that do not.
Screens: Not all screens are created in an equal number of pixels, so the Screens component displays templates to match any screen.
Loupe: Is there a major graphic app without a built-in Loupe? The xScope loupe is one of the best and features adjustable magnification.
Guides: See Rulers above. Guides display onscreen above other apps for precise measuring and placement of graphic elements.
Frames: Like Guides, Frames float on screen but are comprised of adjustable, custom boxes.
Crosshair: Find any point on the screen or withing a graphic element by using the Crosshairs to find the pixel you need.
xScope can be accessed via the Mac’s Menubar, one tool at a time. Or, use the floating palette of tools, again, one at a time. Nearly everyone I know in the Mac graphic design scene uses xScope and with good reason.
Now, what if you’re on a budget? There’s a similar app with a much lower price. It’s called PixFit. It works well and is good for those on a severe budget. But PixFit doesn’t garner the same number of five star reviews on the Mac App Store.