Pixelmator 1.5 review
We’re big fans of Pixelmator. In a market overshadowed by Adobe Photoshop, it does its best to stand out – with a unique interface and an ever-increasing set of impressive features. In version 1.4 we got a brand new paint engine. In 1.5 there are lots of new features aimed at web designers, like slicing tools, Save for Web and Trimming, a way to crop into objects using background colours or transparency. It’s great for getting rid of selection halos – the pesky border of white or light pixels you sometimes get around a cut-and-pasted object.
There’s also a new web colours plug-in feature that’s brilliant when used alongside web-coding applications. When you need to match a background colour to an image, you can now simply cut and paste the hexadecimal notation from Pixelmator to your authoring tool.
One of the most attractive things about Pixelmator is that it’s a true Mac application, dependent upon and integrated into OS X Core technologies. That includes full Snow Leopard compatibility in 1.5. Many of the other software components are built on open-source code; features that have been refined and tweaked over many years. So, though Pixelmator is relatively new as an app when compared to rivals, its features are mature, tried and tested. And, what’s more, the attention to UI design is far from an afterthought. Open-source image editor The GIMP is Pixelmator’s closest relative, but looks like it was thrown together in the dark in comparison.
That’s one of the reasons Pixelmator works so well. It’s not just a clone of the tools you can’t afford. It’s a different approach, with a slick look and feel that echoes competitors without ever aping them. Still, if you need it, there’s compatibility with Adobe Photoshop in brushes, layers and file import – all for about £35.