8 days ago

Major update adds AI-powered background removal to Pixelmator Pro

Not even a full month since our last major update, we’re bringing you another huge update with some truly amazing new features. Pixelmator Pro 2.3 – codenamed Abracadabra (because it’s totally magical) – brings a new automatic background removal feature, automatic subject selection, a new Select and Mask tool, and more. Not just that, starting today, Pixelmator Pro is also going on sale for 50% off!

Magic Background Eraser

With today’s update, you can now magically remove the background from any image with just a click. We’ve trained a convolutional neural network to find the subject in pretty much any image and automatically remove its background. In fact – we’ve created three separate machine learning models to each do its little bit of magic. If you’d like to learn more about where to find this feature, we’ve got a super quick tutorial on it that you might enjoy.

Built-In Quick Action

In addition to being available in Pixelmator Pro itself, the Remove Background feature is also available in the Finder app as a Quick Action!

Decontaminate Colors

When you remove the background from an image, the object left behind can often have traces of the previous background around its edges. The (AI-powered) Decontaminate Colors feature automatically removes these traces so objects blend seamlessly with any new background. Although this is usually done automatically when it makes sense, you can also apply it yourself to any layer – even ones that have been cut out in other apps.

Select Subject

Another totally magical new feature is automatic subject selection – with just a click, you can make a selection of the subject of any image. And if you’d like to refine that selection down to the tiniest detail, we’ve also got a…

Select and Mask Tool

To make it possible to make incredibly accurate selections of any object, we’ve created a new Select and Mask tool. This is designed to make it easy to select the most difficult areas of all – hair, fur, and similar objects with very complex edges. Here, you’ll find a completely redesigned Smart Refine feature and other tools that make it a breeze to select even the most challenging areas of an image. To help you get the most out of this tool, we’ve got a great tutorial on it – check it out on our YouTube channel.

Smart Refine

If you have a rough – or even quite accurate selection – you can refine it automatically using the totally redesigned Smart Refine feature. Again, with just a single click, you can go from a rough outline to a perfect selection.

Refine Edge Brush

For anyone who wants absolutely pixel-perfect selections of every single area in an image, we’ve added a Refine Edge Brush. This brush is designed to be used specifically on tricky edge areas – create accurate selections of those areas by simply brushing over them.

How the magic happens

All this is powered by a set of machine learning algorithms that we’ve spent the last 12 months developing. Because Pixelmator Pro does much more than just simple background removal, we decided to create three algorithms – one for detecting the subjects of images, one for refining selection edges, and one for decontaminating the colors at the edges of objects. If you’d like a closer look at how this all works – read on!

Step 1: Find the subject of the image

First, we need to find the subject of the image. In the comparison below, the image on the left is the original and the one on the right shows the mask created by the subject detection feature. In this case, the mask is already pretty accurate but the edges aren’t fully refined.

Original image

Mask created by subject selection algorithm

Step 2: Refine the edges of the selection

The next step involves refining the edges of the selection. The image on the left shows what the mask looks like after the subject selection algorithm has done its magic and the one on the right shows what the selection looks like after it’s been processed by the edge refinement algorithm. Much better!

Selection after subject selection

Selection after subject selection and selection refinement

Step 3: Decontaminate the colors at the object’s edges

The last thing we need to do is decontaminate the colors at the edges of the object. This is actually a massively important step – without it, the object wouldn’t blend naturally with backgrounds of different colors. In this comparison, we’ve changed the background so you can see what the image would look like both with and without color decontamination.

Without color decontamination

With color decontamination

These new features are going to completely transform pretty much every image editing and photography workflow in Pixelmator Pro, so we’re incredibly excited to be able to share them with you. The update is totally free for existing Pixelmator Pro users and on sale for 50% off for anyone who doesn’t yet have a copy. Visit the Mac App Store to make sure you’re all up to date and enjoy all the additions!

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The update includes some other little things, like the ability to specify custom export sizes and scales in the Export dialog. For all the details, check out our Updates page. And lastly, although 2021 is drawing to a close and we’ve shipped some really fantastic updates this year, we’ve got a few more surprises under our belt. Stay tuned for more news in the coming weeks!

October 26, 2021

Pixelmator Pro 2.2 adds full support for macOS Monterey and Shortcuts

Hey everyone, Pixelmator Pro has just received an awesome major update and we’d love to tell you all about it! Pixelmator Pro 2.2 brings support for macOS Monterey and the new M1 Pro and M1 Max-powered MacBook Pro devices, adds 28 actions to the new Shortcuts app, includes a Split Comparison view for easily comparing edits, and a whole lot more.

macOS Monterey

Thanks to full compatibility support for macOS Monterey, Pixelmator Pro works perfectly with the latest and greatest version of macOS. Go for it – get the upgrade!

M1 Pro and M1 Max

As a Universal app, Pixelmator Pro is fully equipped to harness all the power of the latest MacBook Pro devices featuring the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips. This means that you can expect features like ML Super Resolution to be up to 15 times faster compared to the most recent Intel-powered Mac devices!

Shortcuts

Shortcuts makes its grand entrance to the Mac and boy do we love it! So much so that we’ve added 28 dedicated Pixelmator Pro actions, including all our ML-based tools (Super Resolution, Enhance, Denoise, Match Colors, and Crop). We’ve also got some new, Shortcuts-exclusive features, like automatic background removal for photos of people! And to learn more about using our actions, make sure to watch our tutorial on Shortcuts and Pixelmator Pro.

Split Comparison

Pixelmator Pro now includes a split-screen comparison view, so you can see all your edits more closely than ever. You can turn on the split comparison view by Option-clicking the Show Original button or force clicking the canvas when using the Color Adjustments and Effects tools. You can also press the Control + C keyboard shortcut or add the new compare button to the Pixelmator Pro toolbar by clicking View > Customize Toolbar.

Other Additions

As for additional new features, there’s also an all-new Bokeh blur effect, you can now open Pixelmator Photo files in Pixelmator Pro, maximum brush spacing has been increased from 100% to 1000%, and there’s a few other things you can find in the full release notes.

The update is totally free for all existing Pixelmator Pro users and $39.99 for those of you who don’t yet have a copy. Head on down to the Mac App Store to make sure you’re all up to date and enjoy all the great new features!

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September 29, 2021

ML Super Resolution gets an update

Our machine learning models practically live a life of their own. For most of our apps, features and improvements have to be worked on for each app separately. But when it comes to ML models, we can include improvements everywhere at once. And that’s what has just happened with ML Super Resolution – the algorithm has been refined to work much better with illustrations and graphics, especially those that include semitransparent areas – and those changes are available in both Pixelmator Pro and Pixelmator Photo as of their most recent updates.

Our ML Super Resolution algorithm is pretty unique because it supports transparent images and this adds an extra level of complexity to the algorithm. In images with transparency, upscaled edges weren’t quite as sharp as we’d like. So we made a few tweaks and have some pretty big improvements that we’re very proud of! Check them out below.

Old ML Super Resolution version

New ML Super Resolution version

And in other ML news, the sixth-generation iPad mini is now available. It sports the new A15 Bionic chip with a 16-core neural processor, which is around 40% faster than the previous generation. We ran a quick test that we’ve done previously and the iPad mini came in at 0.41s to upscale a 0.3 megapixel image. That’s faster than the 2017 iMac Pro!

Mac
Compute time*

MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2012)
61.6s

MacBook Air (13-inch, 2018)
13.7s

iMac Pro (2017)
0.56s

M1 MacBook Air (2020)
0.51s

iPad mini (Sixth generation)
0.41s

* For this test, a 300,000 pixel image was upscaled to three times its original size. The iPad mini was tested on iOS 15, the M1 Mac on macOS 11, and other devices on macOS 10.15.

September 2, 2021

Pixelmator Pro beta with Shortcuts support now available on TestFlight

Pixelmator Pro 2.2 Carmel will be released not too long from now, when the wonderful new macOS Monterey becomes available. We’ll be adding full compatibility support for macOS Monterey and really extensive support for the all-new Shortcuts for macOS with over 24 new shortcuts! And today, we’re making it available for beta testing through TestFlight.

We’ve really been looking forward to TestFlight for macOS for a while now so we wanted to be one of the first apps available on it, even if TestFlight itself is still in beta. If you’d like to join our team of TestFlight beta testers, you can do so at the link below. Please bear in mind that you need to be running the macOS Monterey beta and download the beta version of TestFlight from the Apple Developer downloads page. We’ve opened up 500 beta testing spots for now, so grab yours fast!

JOIN TESTFLIGHT

Note

macOS Monterey is in beta, TestFlight is in beta, and Pixelmator Pro 2.2 is also in beta. That’s a lot of potential for things to go wrong and beta testing software means you will see bugs. So, please, only join the beta if you know and accept the potential risks.

August 19, 2021

Pixelmator Pro 2.1.3 brings huge improvements to PSD support

After a short summer break, the entire Pixelmator Team is back at work, continuing our quest to create the world’s best image editor! And boy do we have some great stuff in store for you over the coming months. Today, we’re releasing Pixelmator Pro 2.1.3, which includes a huge update to our support for Adobe Photoshop files – in fact, we’ve rewritten the entire engine that handles this from the ground up.

All-new PSD engine

First of all, what’s the PSD engine? It’s what we call the part of the app that handles reading, opening, and writing PSD files – in a nutshell, everything to do with PSDs. And we’ve completely rewritten it to be faster, safer (crash-free!), and much more advanced.

This was a really big project and took us almost a year to complete. A cool note is that for the reading and writing part of this project, we used the Rust programming language. Also, we dived really deep into the PSD format itself and have a much better understanding of it, with some fantastic internal documentation and a great foundation for even more improvements in the future.

Support for PSD shapes

There are so many things that have been improved with regard to PSD support, but one of the most important ones is support for shapes in PSDs. Previously, PSD shape layers would be opened as image layers in Pixelmator Pro. Now, they’ll be opened as vector shapes, which is a really big deal. They’ll also be exported as shapes from Pixelmator Pro, bringing much improved compatibility!

Layered TIFFs, PSBs, improved effects, and more

In addition to this, there’s a whole lot more that we’ve added. This includes support for PSB files (very large PSDs), layered TIFF files (which actually include embedded PSDs), way better support for effects, and even support for some adjustment layers (such as Hue/Saturation, Exposure, Invert, and Channel Mixer). Support for text layers has also been improved a great deal – there’s now support for advanced features like SF Symbols sizing and improved handling of line height, spacing, and indents.

Optimize for Apple pro apps

A really nice extra detail is that you can now optimize exported PSDs for Apple pro apps like Final Cut Pro and Motion. This was needed because Pixelmator Pro now supports some much more advanced features in PSDs that these apps don’t.

A quick example

Below, we’ve got a quick visual example of how certain PSD files with some advanced PSD features (smart filters with masks and certain layer styles) would be opened in the previous version of Pixelmator Pro. This was inspired by a real-world case – the template files you can find on the Apple Design Resources page. The differences are pretty huge! And the new PSD engine is an ongoing project, so we’re certainly not done – we’ll be making more improvements as we continue to develop Pixelmator Pro.

Pixelmator Pro 2.1.2

Pixelmator Pro 2.1.3

Today’s update is free for all existing Pixelmator Pro users and is available from the Mac App Store right now.

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Stay tuned for more news over the coming weeks and months – we hope to surprise and delight you with some incredible new features!

June 29, 2021

Pixelmator Pro 2.1 Coral out now

Good day, Pixelmator fans! Today is truly a fantastic day because we’re releasing Pixelmator Pro 2.1 Coral, our latest and greatest major update, which is packed full of awesome new features and improvements.


Machine learning-powered intelligent cropping

The first new feature (at least in the What’s New window) is ML Crop, which provides suggestions for eye-catching ways to crop your photos. Simply click the new ML Crop button in the Crop tool and see what happens!

This tool isn’t designed to take the creative side out of cropping your photos, but getting a good composition can be tricky for beginners and getting a new perspective on this common task should be useful – especially when there’s machine learning magic involved. By the way, in the Crop tool, you’ll find that we’ve actually redesigned quite a lot of the tool itself, adding perspective correction, crop overlays, and more.


Quickly fill areas using drag and drop

The new Quick Fill feature lets you drag and drop colors from colors wells onto layers to quickly fill them with colors. It’s incredibly fun and so convenient when you want to quickly change the color of a shape, some text, or even an image layer.

You’ll find there’s also a brand new color well in the Pixelmator Pro toolbar that displays your foreground and background colors and lets you quickly switch between them. That’s a feature for which we’ve had quite a few requests and we’re excited to be able to add it.


Paint perfect brush strokes along paths, shapes, and selections

In the Paint tool, you’ll find a brand new Stroke with Brush button that lets you automatically paint brush strokes along paths, shapes, and even selections! We’ve even got a new tutorial about the feature – it’s very easy to use, so the tutorial is a quick one. You can find it here.


An improved Type tool

The Type tool has got itself a makeover, making it even more powerful and easy to use. It’s got a handy new text size slider (this sounds small, but you’ll find yourself using it all the time, trust us), a way to adjust paragraph spacing and indents, and more.

These are just the features that we could fit into the What’s New window, but there’s way more than that. To get you up to speed with all the changes, we’ve also created an overview video about the update, which you can find on our YouTube channel. And for those of you that want to see a line-by-line list of the changes, you’ll find them on our Updates page.

The update is now available (and is free for existing users), so open up the Mac App Store to make sure you’ve received it, and maybe leave us a nice word there too. If you feel like it, of course.

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As for us, once an update like this is ready to ship, we’re usually already working on a whole bunch of things to surprise you with in the future – and boy do we have some goodies in store for you later this year. Speak soon!

June 14, 2021

Pixelmator Pro and the new Shortcuts app

Now that WWDC has finished (much love, again, to the new virtual format!), we just wanted to share one very quick update with you: Pixelmator Pro will absolutely be getting Shortcuts support. And we’ll be doing our best to make sure that support is first-class – second to none.

That’s it. That’s the blog post.

Until next time!

P.S. If you have any ideas for cool workflows that you’d like us to support, we’re always listening.

April 29, 2021

Pixelmator Pro update adds support for LUTs

It’s time for another awesome update to Pixelmator Pro – today’s update adds full support for LUT files, which are universal presets that let you instantly change the look of images and video in a wide variety of different apps. You can think of them as filters that are compatible with all kinds of creative apps. We’ve also partnered with some awesome LUT creators to offer special discounts on LUTs for Pixelmator Pro users. Read on for all the details about Pixelmator Pro 2.0.8!

Support for LUTs in Pixelmator Pro

Pixelmator Pro now includes a new Custom LUT adjustment, which lets you apply a LUT to any layer in your image, changing its colors and transforming its look. Our support also has a few great features that you won’t find in other apps – like the ability to convert a LUT into color adjustments using machine learning! Here’s a quick rundown of what we’ve added:

Import and apply custom LUTs

You can now import custom LUTs that you’ve downloaded or purchased from LUT creators and apply them to your images. This transforms the colors of an image just like a preset or filter would.

Convert a LUT into color adjustments

A LUT is simply a set of instructions that tells an app how to edit the colors of an image or video and cannot be edited with other apps once it has been created. But using the magic of machine learning, we can turn LUTs into Pixelmator Pro color adjustments that you can fine-tune yourself.

Export LUTs

If you create a look you like in Pixelmator Pro and want to apply the same look to other images or video in other apps, you can export adjustments from Pixelmator Pro as a LUT file.

Built-in LUT collection

To make it easier to get started with this, we’ve included a number of different LUTs, ranging from cinematic look LUTs and LUTs that create duotone effects to technical LUTs that convert images to grayscale or apply certain photographic filters.

Scripting support

Pixelmator Pro has some of the best (quite possibly THE best?) AppleScript support out there and we’ve also added a way to script both applying LUTs and exporting them from the app.

Learn more about LUTs and how to use them

We wanted LUTs in Pixelmator Pro to be super easy and super enjoyable to use. Part of that was about making LUTs easy to import, export, and apply – in other words, creating a really great experience. But another part is about creating easy-to-understand user materials. So we went all out and have a very detailed text tutorial as well as two video tutorials!

Using Pixelmator Pro to color grade video in Final Cut Pro

Watch video

An in-depth look at 3D LUTs in Pixelmator Pro

Learn more

Special offers on LUTs for Pixelmator Pro users

To celebrate this occasion, we’ve also partnered with some really great LUT creators to offer free LUTs and special discounts to Pixelmator Pro users! To receive discounts, use the promo code PIXELMATOR on each page. You’ll find links to all these below:

UPDATE: The promotional offers have now ended.


Lutify.me

5 completely free LUTs and a 30% discount on Professional 3D LUTs Package

Learn more


IWLTBAP

20% discount on Cinematic LUTs pack

Learn more


Cinecolor

30% site-wide discount

Learn more


SpectrumGrades

Additional 10% discount on CineVision Pro LUTs set (on top of existing 40% discount)

Learn more

Download the update

The update is out now and you can make sure you’ve received it by visiting the Mac App Store.

Download Now

We think you’re going to love this update and we’ve got more really great stuff in store for you in the coming months. It’s an exciting time to be a Pixelmator Pro user.

April 1, 2021

Sneak peek at Pixelmator Pro 2.1

Hey everyone! We’re getting closer to another great major update to Pixelmator Pro and we wanted to share an early look at one of the new features we’ll be adding.

In the video, you’ll actually notice two new features – the ability to quickly see and set your primary and secondary colors and a way to change the color of any object in your document using the magic of drag and drop. It’s so fun to use!

This is just one of the awesome new features coming in Pixelmator Pro 2.1 and there should be another three or four more. Development is going well, although we still have a little way to go. So, stay tuned for more news and, in the meantime, now’s a great time sign up for our newsletter to be the first to know about any big Pixelmator Pro announcements.

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March 8, 2021

Quick video tooltips come to Pixelmator Pro

One of the things we love most is working on features that make our apps easier and more fun to use. And today, we have an update that includes exactly that! The newest version brings a selection of gorgeous video tooltips that make it easier to see, at a glance, what exactly you can do with each of the powerful image editing tools in Pixelmator Pro.

You’ll see these when hovering over tools in the Tools sidebar and, alongside a description, you can also choose to learn more about the tool, which will take you directly to its entry in the Pixelmator Pro User Guide.

The update also adds the WebP format to the Change Type of Images action in Automator, so you can now use Pixelmator Pro and Automator to batch convert images to WebP. You’ll find all the details about the update on our Updates page.

And last but by no means least, we have a quick new video tutorial about how to crop a photo in a circle using Pixelmator Pro. This particular technique uses clipping masks and features an appearance by the Trim Canvas command, so even experienced Pixelmator Pro users might learn something new!

Pixelmator Pro 2.0.6 is available to download now, so head on down to the Mac App Store to make sure you’re all up to date.

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