Try as I might, it’s been difficult to rid myself of Adobe’s Creative Suite of Photoshop and friends. It’s not that CC isn’t capable. What’s better? It’s that ongoing, annoying monthly rental fee that bothers me.
Yes, I’ve tried Pixelmator for the Mac; and the iPad version, too. Both are extremely capable apps, and it makes Adobe look bad that they cannot put similar Photoshop-like functionality on an iOS device. The latest is Pixelmator for iPhone. Oh boy. Where to start?
Fingers Need A Diet
Pixelmator for iPad may be the very best, most capable, most reasonably priced photo and image editor on a mobile device. Now there’s Pixelmator for iPhone. And, if you have the iPad version, the iPhone version is free. They’re a pair.
Pixelmator for iPhone only runs on iOS 8 (which makes up nearly 90-percent of all iOS users) but packs a bunch of useful features and functions into a very small screen. One of the benefits to Pixelmator on iPhone is the same as on iPad. Start working on a graphic project on a Mac, move to iPad, move to iPhone– everything just works. Mostly.
The learning curve is different on the iPhone version of Pixelmator than it is on the Mac version. The latter displays palettes of tools which are somewhat obscure in the former.
How they did it, I don’t know, but even the iPhone version sports layers, transparencies, and– from what I can see– most of the tools you’ve come to know and love on the Mac, but a bit more difficult to find due to the lack of screen real estate.
Layers are non-destructive, of course, but can be nested, merged, blended, deleted, adjusted, even rearranged– all with your fingers. And that brings me to the first of only two issues I have with the iPhone version.
Fingers and real estate. I’m a big gal with big fingers and even my iPhone 6 Plus, with all those extra pixels, can hinder subtle adjustments– when your finger becomes a spray paint can, some measure of precision is lost. Thank you, undo.
Pixelmator’s usage of brushes is remarkable, despite slightly larger than normal fingertips and nails that are just a bit too long. Retouching and repairing photos is truly a mobile experience now, and Pixelmator tops every photo enhancement app on my iPhone. There’s even a Photos extension which lets you bring Pixelmator effects to Photos.
Screen real estate size being what it is on an iPhone– not much– Pixelmator takes a bit of effort to figure out where the tools are and how they can be used. The interface is completely different than on the Mac, yet, oddly, does not feel less powerful. If you only use it to enhance photos it’s still worth the modest price.