Open an image from Photos

What features would you like to see in Pixelmator Pro?
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2021-03-25 14:09:01

When I want to open an image from Photos on my Mac (not using the Photos extension but the Pixelmator menu), by default the browser shows all pictures in Photos with the oldest ones on top. Hence, I need to scroll down to the latest pictures all the time. Is there a way the browser opens with the latest pictures by default, like Photos does?
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2021-03-25 21:15:01

I suggest to not use the Pixelmator photos picker feature and to instead right click (control click) a photo in the Mac Photos app and click "edit in" it will open the unmodified original in a photo editor of your choice.
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2021-03-25 22:09:06

Indeed. However, that way a heic photo will automatically be overwritten when saving. Using the option to export back to Photos as another photo, will save the photo in the much larger png format (is there any way to manually select a format? It seems to me this can only be done by first exporting the photo as a file in e.g. jpg format, and then import into Photos, but that requires more steps.).

Also, it appears I have no other option but to use the Photos picker when I want to import a photo from Photos as a new layer to another photo. So, my initial question still stands.
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2021-03-26 13:39:19

When I want to open an image from Photos on my Mac (not using the Photos extension but the Pixelmator menu), by default the browser shows all pictures in Photos with the oldest ones on top. Hence, I need to scroll down to the latest pictures all the time. Is there a way the browser opens with the latest pictures by default, like Photos does?
It isn't possible to change the order of photos at the moment but we are aware that it would be a helpful feature so we do have it in mind for future Photos browser updates.
Using the option to export back to Photos as another photo, will save the photo in the much larger png format (is there any way to manually select a format? It seems to me this can only be done by first exporting the photo as a file in e.g. jpg format, and then import into Photos, but that requires more steps.).
This part of the saving process is fully handled by the Photos app. We don't have the ability to choose which file format will be used when saving back to Photos, so at least for now, your workflow is the best way to make sure the original image format is kept.
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2021-04-08 23:05:20

I have looked into further, in particular relative to RAW file editing from within the Apple Photos app (I have an iPhone 12 Pro Max with RAW capability). There are 4 options to edit a (RAW) photo in Photos with Pixelmator.
1. Open a photo, select Edit, and select the Pixelmator extension. After editing, select Save Changes. HEIC will be stored in Photos as HEIC, and RAW/DNG as DNG; there’s no option to choose another format, so no way to save DNG as JPEG to save storage space. Not a good option for RAW files.
2. Right/control-click on the photo in the Library, and select Pixelmator to edit with. The Pixelmator app will open. After editing, select the Share option Add to Photos; the photo will be saved to Photos as a (large) PNG file, and certain metadata are lost, like date shot and location. Not sure why this happens; anyway, it's not a good option.
3. As in 2, but now the edited (RAW) file is being exported as a JPEG file, and imported back into Photos. Also in this case, metadata like date shot and location are lost. Not a good option, either.
4. Open Pixelmator and select New from Photos, and select the (RAW) photo from the Photos library (will unfortunately present oldest files first, so need to scroll down to latest photos every time). After editing, export photo as JPEG and import back into Photos. Now the metadata are preserved.
Conclusion: the Pixelmator extension is fine for editing and saving HEIC files, but not so much for RAW files (at least, if you want to save storage space). For RAW files, the 4th option is the best choice for now, but it would be helpful if Pixelmator would open the most recent files first, as requested earlier. In addition, it would be helpful if the Pixelmator extension would have the option to save changes to a RAW file back to Photos in JPEG format.
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2021-04-13 08:10:11

Thanks, Wilbert. I can definitely see some missing links in your workflow. I've shared your suggestions with the team and we'll see what we can do here.

By the way, the missing metadata in export methods 2 and 3 could be the result of exporting images through Quick Export or Export for Web. These two methods optimize images for the web, clearing them of any additional metadata that could add to the larger file size. In the meantime, exporting via File > Export should keep the metadata.
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2021-04-13 16:36:26

Thanks Aurelija. Unfortunately, exporting a file as in method 2 or 3 will save this file without the (correct) metadata. Upon further investigation, I believe this is not due to the exporting process; where it goes wrong is when importing the file from Photos by right-clicking a photo in the Photos Library. The metadata photo creation date and location are ripped off, and the new creation date set is the date/time of import. To be more specific: while the creation date is wrong, the Info pop-up window also shows "Date Time Digit..." that is accurate, and "Date Time Origi..." that is also wrong. This must be a bug. Also, both DNG and HEIC files are being imported as TIFF files, where the HEIC file info correctly shows 300dpi, but the imported DNG file (same photo) erroneously shows 72dpi instead. Please check this out.

In summary (for your convenience), what I request is the following:
- Fix the metadata bug when importing a photo into Pixelmator by right-clicking a photo in the Photos Library.
- A possibility to save an edited photo in other formats than the original one when using the Pixelmator extension in Photos.
- A possibility to export an edited photo in other formats than PNG when using the Share - Add to Photos option.
- When using the Open from Photos (in de Welcome pop-up window) or the New from Photos (in the File menu), the most recent photos, instead of the oldest ones, should show in the file picker by default, as when you open Photos.
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2021-04-16 14:58:21

Thanks for the extra details. I've been able to reproduce the metadata issue and it looks like it is coming from the system level rather than Pixelmator Pro itself. I've also tested this with Preview and could reproduce the same issue there. So this very much suggests a system issue or a peculiarity of some sort. I could be mistaken, but I believe that instead of showing the original time and date, the date on which the image was last modified in Photos is displayed instead.

As for the other feedback — if technically possible, we'll do our best to take it into consideration in future updates!
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2021-04-18 14:27:13

Agreed, it seems to be a system level issue, rather than a Pixelmator one. I have noticed that when you change the format of the image when exporting from Pixelmator, either to Finder (e.g. RAW to JPEG or HEIC) or directly back to Photos (currently PNG format only), a new 'creation' date/time is erroneously set at the time of such event. If you do not change the format of the image when exporting to Finder, it seems as if Finder sets a new creation date; however, if you import the image back into Photos, the image is saved back into Photos with the original creation date preserved. Very strange.
By the way, as reported earlier, this only occurs when you export a photo to Pixelmator via right-clicking a photo in Photos, not when you open a photo from Photos via the photo picker menu in Pixelmator. You can then change the format when exporting, and still keep the correct creation date. This also indicates that the issue at hand is an Apple one, indeed.
Also peculiar, when you export an image from Photos to Finder in another format (e.g. RAW/DNG to JPEG), Photos preserves the creation date, but deletes the location data, as shown when you import the image back into Photos.
Is this something for you to report to Apple, or is it up to me?
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2021-04-19 20:15:55

A correction: when exporting, Photos does export the location data, but only when you check-mark Location Information in the Export window.
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2021-04-20 10:29:29

Is this something for you to report to Apple, or is it up to me?
I'd suggest dropping Apple Support a line and we'll take this up with the Apple engineers, too. The more reports — the more likely the improvements.
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2021-04-20 20:43:20

Will report to Apple.
Further to the date metadata issue, I've been looking into other metadata handling, as well, and found the following. Photos seems to use (proprietary?) metadata properties that are allegedly stored by iOS outside of Photos; the mechanism of metadata storage is not understood by me. Making edits in editable metadata in Photos seems to delete the original EXIF/IPTC data, as the related EXIF/IPTC properties are empty after editing (as checked with a metadata editor); if you export an unmodified original, the EXIF properties are empty (no apparent match between Photos and EXIF properties). However, the EXIF/IPTC properties again show up after exporting the photo to another format, so apparently they are still being stored by Photos/iOS somewhere in the background. The Photos AppleScript properties do not seem to match with the EXIF/IPTC properties (as the Pixelmator AppleScript properties seem to do). Any thought why is this, and is it only up to Apple to fix? Or is there any way you can establish a match between the Photos and Pixelmator metadata properties by improving the mapping between these properties? How does Pixelmator map properties between Photos, EXIF and IPTC (as some EXIF properties show up as IPTC properties in Pixelmator)?