A while ago
Pixelmator 1.6.4 Is All about the Details
With the Mac App Store launch and the Pixelmator transition to it running at full throttle, we worked tirelessly for the last few days to finally bring Pixelmator 1.6.4 to everyone – not just the Mac App Store.
The update is clearly one of the most significant refinements we’ve ever made to Pixelmator, even though it is all about the details. In fact, you can think of it as massive enhancements and modernization of things in the app that are not visible at a first glance, but that are definitely felt once the app is brought into play.
The Gradient Tool has been revamped completely. For a combination of major performance improvements and high-quality smoothness (or dithering, which basically means no banding between colors), we had to do a complete rewrite of gradient kernels (the most low-level, foundational stuff of the gradient engine). We think we’ve got the world’s best Gradient Tool – very high quality, very fast, and alive, since you see the results instantly when drawing a gradient with the Gradient Tool.
In addition to all of the Gradient Tool improvements, Pixelmator has introduced a new collection of gradient presets in the gradients palette and gradient sharing.
This one is very cool. Sharing gradients in Pixelmator is as simple as dragging and dropping them from the gradients palette onto your desktop, and vice versa. Even more, the exported gradients icon shows a preview of the exported gradient. We created a special Quick Look plug-in (built into Pixelmator) for this purpose – a detail that is a lot of fun.
We also did a complete revamp of all the selection tools in Pixelmator: Magic Wand, Lasso, Polygonal Lasso, Rectangular Marquee, and Elliptical Marquee.
In addition to major (I mean it) performance improvements for the selection tools, a great deal of attention was paid to the details… lots of details. A few examples:
- When you start moving the selection around, the selection border dissolves until you release your mouse. It helps you to clearly see where you are about to place the selection.
- The selection border also dissolves when you add an adjustment or filter onto it for a better preview of the final result.
- By pressing the Space key on your keyboard you can now temporarily switch to the Hand Tool whenever you like when drawing a selection with the Polygonal Lasso Tool.
- Shift-click with the Polygonal Lasso Tool to draw a selection border every 45?.
- Command-press when drawing a selection with Polygonal Lasso will show you a preview of a closed selection and, with the Command key still pressed, you can close it (the selection) with a single mouse-click.
- All the selection tools now have the intersect mode, which basically does what it says: allows intersecting selections with each other.
Oh, and the click-and-drag-technology-based Magic Wand Tool is very, very fast now.
Although I am not saying that we already have a complete package of selection tools, I am very confident that those that we have now are the very best selection tools in the world. We will continue to add more of them in the future.
Pixelmator 1.6.4 is first in the world to add a new JPEG compression/decompression engine, called the libjpeg-turbo. JPEG Turbo, as we named it, brings 2x faster JPEG compression via Pixelmator’s Export for Web feature. Remember, Pixelmator has a real-time preview for optimizing images or slices for the Web, so JPEG Turbo makes that preview even more instant.
Three months’ worth of scientific-caliber research and development went into the new Refine Selection tool. Refine Selection delivers quality results when enhancing your selection borders, whether that be smoothing, feathering or resizing. A noteworthy ease-of-use of the Refine Selection tool in Pixelmator remains exactly the same as before.
In addition to a wonderful update, we’ve got some supplements for you to play with – new and inspiring Pixelmator tutorials covering Lasso, Polygonal Lasso, Magic Wand, Marquee Selection Tools, and a Gradient Tool.
Users who purchased Pixelmator through the Mac App Store are already using Pixelmator version 1.6.4, while non-Mac App Store Pixelmator users can get version 1.6.4 from our website or through Pixelmator’s built-in software update.
Those of you who haven’t yet picked up your copy of Pixelmator can download a trial on our website or, if desired, purchase the complete app from the Mac App Store.
Thank you so much for using Pixelmator. We really hope you will enjoy using version 1.6.4 as much as we enjoyed creating it.