I’m a professional graphic designer, and since 2004, I’ve been using Adobe Photoshop for most of my graphic design work. From my first entry-level job, to my senior graphic designer position, and then in my own business, Adobe’s Photoshop has been the lifeblood of my career. I never thought that I would ever be able to operate a business or provide professional service without using Adobe’s graphic design and image editing software. I loved Photoshop and relied on it for the majority of my image editing needs. From photo manipulation, to corporate identity design, and graphic design for web and print; Photoshop was my tool of choice.

Then the MacBook Pro with Retina display came along, but Adobe didn’t update any of the Creative Suite applications for Retina Display right away. In fact, it took them so long to release a Retina Ready version of Photoshop that many graphic designers were forced to either work with a blurry interface, or try alternative image editing software such as Pixelmator. Adobe did eventually release a Retina Ready version of their Creative Suite, but alas it was part of the subscription based Creative Cloud. The only way to get a Retina Display compatible version of Photoshop is to subscribe to the Adobe Creative Cloud.

I bought Pixelmator as an alternative, but unfortunately, at that time, it still lacked some major features, and I was basically forced to subscribe to the Adobe Creative Cloud. The Pixelmator Team started updating their app, and with each new update came great new features that had me using Pixelmator more than Photoshop. Then came the Pixelmator update with vector drawing support, also known as Vectormator. Using a keyboard shortcut, you can easily switch between the Pixelmator and Vectormator interfaces. I found myself no longer using any of the Adobe software for my personal or professional work.

Pixelmator is now my go-to graphic design and image editing tool of choice, completely replacing Photoshop and Illustrator. And unlike Adobe’s monthly subscription requirement; Pixelmator comes as an affordable once-off purchase with free updates. You can even get Pixelmator for iPad with full iCloud Drive and Continuity support. Watch this short video to learn more about Pixelmator for Mac OS X…

 Full Pixelmator Tech Specs

User Interface

  • Interface designed for working with images
  • Tools palette customization
  • Transparent HUD (heads-up display) palettes: Tools, Layers, 
Brushes, Gradients, Shapes, Styles, Effects Browser and Photo 
Browser palettes
  • Tool Options bar
  • Info bar
  • Info labels
  • Full-screen mode
  • Vectormator mode
  • Quick Mask mode
  • Use rulers, guides, alignment guides and grid
  • Adding layer from FaceTime dialog shows preview
  • Action tooltips

A powerful, pixel-accurate collection of selection tools

Paint Selection, Elliptical Marquee, Rectangular Marquee, Column Marquee, Row Marquee, Lasso, Polygonal Lasso, Magic Wand

Top-notch painting tools

Brush, Pencil, Pixel, Eraser, Paint Bucket, Gradient—Specify blending mode, opacity, and type of brush.

Retouching tools

Warp, Bump, Pinch, Twirl, Smudge, Clone Stamp, Healing, Sponge, Blur, Sharpen, Burn, Dodge, Magic Eraser, Red-Eye—Specify strength, and type of brush for most of the retouching tools

Drawing tools

Pen, Freeform Pen, Rectangular Shape, Rounded Rectangle Shape, Ellipse Shape, Triangle Shape, Polygon Shape, Star Shape, Line Shape, Custom Shape

A real effects machine

Over 100 different breathtaking effects you can play with
  • Blur: Gaussian, Motion, Zoom, Median, Soften, Miniaturize
  • Distortion: Bump, Linear Bump, Pinch, Hole, Ripple, Page Curl, 
Capsule, Glass Ring, Circle Splash, Displacement, Glass, Bar Swipe, 
Twirl, Vortex, Circular Wrap
  • Sharpen: Sharpen, Edges, Unsharp
  • Tile: Kaleidoscope, Triangle, Brickwork, Hexagon, Pinwheel, Bug 
Eye, Shutters, Windmill, Snowflake, Funhouse, Tessera, Perspective, 
Affine Clamp, Affine, Mirror
  • Stylize: Crystallize, Honeycomb, Pixelate, Pointillize, Noise, Rain, 
Snow, Vintage, Light Leak, Twilight, Fog, Gloom, Spotlight, Coating, Edge Work, Sketch, Edges, Comics, Threshold
  • Halftone: Circular, Hatched, Line, Dot, CMYK
  • Generator: Chess, Bars, Stroke, Halo, Sunbeams, Star Shine, Fill, 
Clouds, Random
Other: Black and White, Sepia Tone, Gamma, Swipe, Vibrance False 
Color, Mask to Alpha, Mosaic Flip, Fall, Wall, Defocus, Image Hose, Travelator, Grid, Floor, Gradient, Forms, Projectile, Photocopy, Cube, Dissolve, Mask, Mod, Push, Swing.
Use custom Core Image units

An elegant collection of professional-grade color correction tools

  • Use any of the 13 color correction tools: Levels, Auto Enhance, Curves, Color Balance, Brightness, Hue, Desaturate, Colorize, Replace Color, Channels, Exposure, Invert, Light & Dark
  • Designed with friendly interface features for intuitive ease of use


  • ColorSync support
  • Soft-proofing feature for previewing images with different color profiles 
  • Select colors using Apple Color Picker
  • Web Color plug-in for Apple Colors Palette for quickly copying hexadecimal colors to HTML or CSS applications 
  • Eyedropper allows picking colors from images


  • Layers-based image editing
  • Create new, duplicate, delete, rename, load as selection or hide layers
  • Create editable text and shape layers
  • Use New Layer from FaceTime feature to add pictures as layers from FaceTime camera
  • Change blending mode for layer: Normal, Dissolve, Darken, Multiply, Color Burn, Linear Burn, Darker Color, Lighten, Screen, Color Dodge, Linear Dodge, Lighter Color, Overlay, Soft Light, Hard Light, Vivid Light, Linear Light, Pin Light, Hard Mix, Difference, Exclusion, Subtract, Divide, Hue, Saturation, Color and Luminosity
  • Adjust layer opacity
  • Preserve layer transparency
  • Create clipping masks
  • Add, remove, edit, show or hide layer masks
  • Link, unlink or select linked layers
  • Convert Text/Shape layers to pixels
  • Convert Text layers to Shape layers
  • Merge layers
  • Merge all layers
  • Group layers
  • Arrange layers
  • Drag-and-drop layers onto OS X desktop to export as PNG
  • Drag-and-drop pictures into the layers palette or a Pixelmator image to place them as layers

Layer Styles

  • Easily add non-destructive layer effects like shadows, outlines, color, gradient fills, or reflections
  • Combine a set of effects to create and save your own unique Layer Style presets
  • Or use any of the Pixelmator Team-designed Layer Styles
  • Applying any of the Layer Style presets is as simple as drag and drop


  • Send your images directly to iPhoto or Aperture
  • Open and save images using PSD, TIFF, JPEG, PNG, PDF, and many other popular formats
  • Open and save Photoshop images with layers

iCloud, sharing, and saving for the web

  • Let iCloud automatically store your edited images and seamlessly take your work to all your Macs
  • You can completely skip manual saving of your documents thanks to Auto Save.
  • Email your photos right from Pixelmator
  • Publish your images to social applications like Flickr, Twitter and Facebook
  • Optimize and save images for use on your web pages, blogs, photo albums, and more

Built exclusively for Mac

Pixelmator uses a number of OS X features and technologies like Cocoa, OpenGL, OpenCL, Core Image, Grand Central Dispatch, 64- bit, FaceTime camera, Automator, Full-Screen, Sharing and much more. And Pixelmator’s beautiful interface and image editing engine are fully optimized for the Macbook Pro with Retina display.

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