Today we have app stores which have in-app purchases to unlock more features. There’s also a trend toward software rentals. Pay a monthly or annual subscription fee and you get to use the app on your Mac. Stop paying, and you stop using. Here’s an example.
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Here’s the way the rental game works, and Adobe is the perfect example of what amounts to a simple plan. Rent Photoshop for $10 a month and you get Lightroom, too.
Or, for $20 a month, you can choose from any major app in Adobe’s extensive Creative Suite, get cloud features, the portfolio website, Typeset for fonts, and cloud storage.
Professionals can get everything in Creative Suite for about $50 a month (or, get a modest discount by paying annually).
Think about this. For Photoshop, you spend $120 a year. Every year. Forever and ever. If your needs are somewhat more modest than Photoshop but you still need quality image processing for your graphic designs or photos, there’s a one-time-fee alternative which fills the vacuum Adobe left at the low end of the product spectrum.
It’s called Pixelmator, the app that’s often referred to as Photoshop Lite or Photoshop mini. Three months of using Photoshop’s monthly rental plan would pay for Pixelmator completely, and here’s what you’d get.
That’s about as close to looking like Photoshop as you can get without actually being Photoshop. Pixelmator comes with all the basic painting and drawing tools, photo and image retouching tools, and over 160 different effects which can be combined for an endless array of options.
Yes, Pixelmator can open and save the Photoshop basic file formats, including PSD, TIFF, PNG, PDF, JPEG, including layers in PSD, and 16-bit per channel images.
Pixelmator does CMYK, full sRGB support (if you don’t know what those mean, you don’t need Photoshop), plus, unlike Photoshop, this clever replacement app is OS X 10.10 Yosemite ‘Hand Off’ aware and has a companion iPad app.
It also works with iCloud Drive, all the built-in OS X technologies that Adobe seems to avoid, and gets a few thousand five star reviews on the Mac App Store, but, if you want to try it out first, there’s a free trial version.
The point of this is that you may want Photoshop because it’s the de facto flagship app for graphic designers and photographers, but it comes at a price. A monthly or annual price. Forever. Do the math. That adds up.
Pixelmator brings much of what’s familiar in Photoshop to a fully buzzword compliant image enhancement app that’s priced at a fraction of the real thing but looks, works, smells like the real thing.
What’s not to like? If the boss pays for Photoshop, fine. If you pay, and money is an object (isn’t it always), Pixelmator is a good choice. Now, as much as I love using Pixelmator the latest version is a bit more suspect as it migrates to OS X Yosemite. The user interface is a bit more complex, and the professional level charcoal look is less professional looking (thanks in no small part to Yosemite itself which is Fisher Price-esque).