July 20, 2007
Pixelmator Development Update
As you may have already noticed, we’ve been quiet for some time. And yup, you are right, we’re working like crazy these days. The last time we had a free weekend was two months ago and we are still very passionate about our work. I see from your emails that you can’t wait to get your hands on Pixelmator and keep asking us how the birth of our little app is going, when will the beta be released, how will some features work, and so on.
So, I guess, it’s time for a good Pixelmator development update.
First of all, I have to tell you that we are very happy with what we have done so far. Pixelmator looks great, it works great, and it really is so much fun. Although it is not yet finished, it’s not too far from being ready.
If you investigated the Pixelmator Tech Specs website, you would notice that we had some strange blending modes like Minus, Modulate, Bumpmap, and Subtract. Although they looked nice, we removed them and added those that are available in Big Brother (Photoshop). The reason for this is to ensure better compatibility with PSD files. So now, our blending mode list includes: 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, Hue, Saturation, Color and Luminosity. We compared them to Big Brother and they look exactly the same in Pixelmator. That’s good.
Other changes In Pixelmator Tech specs are about .Mac support. .Mac support is temporary removed. It’s not that we had any problems developing it—it’s just that when we done with it, we were not very happy with just being able to backup Pixelmator swatches and brushes. It’s almost useless. Another reason for this is that we would like to concentrate on the most important features in Pixelmator. Anyway, .Mac support will be back in Pixelmator version 1.1 or 1.2.
Pixelmator supports over 100 different file formats; 112, exactly. However, the most important ones are PSD, Tiff, PNG, JPEG, JPEG 2000, GIF, BMP and PXM. PXM is the native Pixelmator file format. It is the best way to store your compositions without losing layers or any other info about your file. We would love to use PSD as our main file format, but it is too closed and we don’t have as many features in Pixelmator as Big Brother stores in PSD files.
Speaking of other file formats, probably few of them (five I guess) will be removed from the list, because of some problems in ImageMagick (Pixelmator foundation). We don’t want to have any stuff in Pixelmator that is not stable. But once those formats are fixed—they will be back. We’ve prepared a little overview of Pixelmator-supported file formats. You will be able to download the PDF soon.
That’s pretty much it about the changes in the Pixelmator technical specifications. Note, however, that there are some amazing news about gradients (I will tell you in our next article) and some more new, little improvements in some corners of the app that are not mentioned in Tech Specs page.
The biggest part of Pixelmator is already done, but there are still some features that have to be finished. These days, Aidas is working on Layer masks (we should be completely done with Layers this week). Other things that are not yet complete in Pixelmator are transformations (Scale, Rotate, Skew, Distort, Perspective, etc.), Sharpen/Blur tools, the Clone Stamp tool, and Undo/Redo. Undo/Redo is the hard one. It will take 4–5 days to finish that feature. Also, we would like to improve the painting engine a bit; there is something that is not yet right.
So, our plan is: 1. Finish all the Pixelmator features. 2. Test and fix some bugs internally. 3. Release closed beta (Closed?! OMG How could we dare to do that!).
Yes, we decided not to release a public beta. Let me explain why. As you may know, we are just two guys in the Pixelmator Team (well, sometimes three), and we get many emails every day. That’s great, and we love answering emails, but we also have to spend some time creating Pixelmator. So, if we release a public beta, we think our mailboxes would be more than full; we would get a lot of feedback, feature requests, even blames. While Pixelmator is not finished and has bugs, we would like to concentrate just on improving the application. That we would do better, faster, and without chaos with a small group of people (about 2000 plus MacHeist promo purchasers). And once it is released, you would have a stable and as good an app as it should be.
I know you need some dates, and I know we promised release at the end of July. Although we will do everything we can to have a feature complete and bug-free version of Pixelmator the last second of this month, I don’t think that we will release it yet. So, the Pixelmator closed beta release date is scheduled to be the 16th of August.
Drop me an email at bugs at pixelmator.com if you would like to participate. Be sure to tell me your Mac specifications and your skills. Please note that having a lot of experience working with many design apps does not mean that you have more chances to be in beta than if you don’t know anything about graphic design or computers. We would love to see iLife fans, switchers from Windows, grandfathers and grandmothers, 6-year-old kids, and our secret friend John Gruber trying out Pixelmator beta.
I hope this helps you to understand where are we. Feel free to blame us, motivate us, or discuss anything I mentioned in this article.