September 19, 2007

Pixelmator Flight Plan

From the start of Pixelmator, I’ve been and still am receiving many questions about what the roadmap of Pixelmator is going to be like. What features are we going to add? Where are we heading with it, and what is our plan? Altough I can’t get into specifics, and micro features, I’ll try to answer these questions now.

If you think of Pixelmator and look at what we already have done, I think you would understand that one of our main strengths is the extraordinary support of Mac OS X. We would never be able to create something like Pixelmator in such a short time on other operating systems. Also, we would not have such exciting features as Core Image, Automator, iSight, ColorSync, Photo Browser, and many others without Mac OS X. So believe me, we totally understand that our biggest strength here is taking advantage of Mac OS X features and technologies. We will continue to do so and it is the first and most important part of the Pixelmator flight plan.

The second task with Pixelmator development is the improvement of all the tools that are already available. You can expect surprises with tools we have planned for Pixelmator. Of course, we could add many improvements now, but then we would not be able to ship Pixelmator anytime this decade. Anyhow, you will see important improvements/features to Pixelmator tools soon after the release. I am not talking about new features here; I am talking about the evolution of existing things – and there still is some work that needs to be done.

The third thing with Pixelmator that we are concentrating on is the foundation. The Pixelmator foundation is very important when you want to have the best application for image editing. For that, we have some incredible technology, which I hope you will see a few months from now. Aidas did a few experiments with it and told me that to implement that “top secret” thing, we would need a month or two. Sorry about the secrecy, but I promise – you’ll love it.

The last but not least task with Pixelmator is to carefully add new features. We know what features you guys need and we know what features we will add, but we promised ourselves to do so very wisely because we want to make those features stable and useful; we don’t need to just sound good – we need to make it good. Therefore, if you look at Pixelmator and what I’ve already told you, you may be able to guess some of those cool things we are going to add.

Additionally, regarding the new features or improvements, please take some time to drop us a message about what you really would like to see in Pixelmator because we listen, and we listen very carefully. Aidas and I read every e-mail and keep a development list in our heads. Your voice is very important to the future of Pixelmator.

To sum up everything I’ve mentioned here: We are just beginning! And our beginning is good enough to create the best image editor for Mac OS X that anyone can use.


  • Tom

    Hello !
    I am really looking forward to this application and I am amazed of what a small team can accomplish. My tiny two cents is this: Go to and check up on their community. The spirit of the forums makes Luxology feel fresh and agile, and their application, Modo 301, rocking !


  • Anthony Sigalas

    Pixelmator Beta 2 is tons better and most stable than beta 1. I use Photoshop (and now maybe Pixelmator) primarly for setting images on the web. I really like and use the “Save for Web” feature on Photoshop as it gives me visual feedback of how my image will look on various compression modes, plus I get to evaluate the final file size. On pixelmator there is only a JPEG compression slider (like on Preview) bt nothing else. I would be very happy to see improvements in this area, as web and web imaging is very important.
    Thanks from Greece

  • jan korbel

    As for the “drop us a message about what you really would like to see in Pixelmator because we listen, and we listen very carefully” be sure to stick to your vision of Pixelmator – you cannot please everybody on every crazy feature and I do not want to see the clutter it would lead to.

    Say “No” by default as 37signals put it.

    Where can I get to the beta version, please?

  • Margus Holland

    I agree with Jan about the clutter thing. Turning a great piece of software into bloatware is a very nasty thing and it seems to happen a lot. Hope you guys can make the software better, without overcrowding it with too maney features (this has happened to Photoshop and that’s why I’m looking for a fast and easy replacement and Pixelmator seems like a super candidate).

  • Kilian

    Haven’t seen the beta, but slicing images for the web is dearly needed. I guess for the beginning using Pixelmator for print might be a bit difficult, because you’ll have to deal with colour separations, UCR, GCR etc. all stuff that most likely Pixelmator 1.0 won’t be able to deal with.

    Then you need to think about who is going to use Pixelmator for what? At least during the version 1.x phase. This will be people creating stuff for the screen and for the web. For that slicing is important, also some functionality to reuse graphic elements like the reference objects Fireworks has or at least something like the smart objects in Photoshop CS 2 onwards would be something to make things more useful.

  • Will Brocklebank

    Ever since hearing about you guys on Mac Break Weekly I have been desperate for you to launch – or send me a beta 😉 – as your intentions and screenshots suggest you already know what most of us really need.

    As a couple of small suggestions can you have as much Aperture inetgration as possible? This may be evident in your “image browser” comment but I would love to have a handy, fast, totally Mac OS app to call on when my images need something beyond what Aperture can do (i.e. the ability to retouch areas of images etc).

    Also, can you try to make a quasi-Smart Objects system work for any elements on the Pixelmator canvas for non-destructive scaling and input/output?

    I third the JPEG/GIF export option viewer post.

    Anyway – keep up the good work and thanks for the hope that we can finally put Adobe’s outrageous licensing & cost aside for ever.


  • Greg Nacu

    What Pixelmator absolutely needs (in order for it to replace PhotoShop for me) is the ability to set dynamic layer properties. Such as bevel/emboss, drop shadow, stroke, inner and outer glow. Especially these things for text layers. Without them, it’s very difficult to make professional looking graphics.

  • Leendert Van Gemeren III

    I check on this site daily because I too cannot wait to get my copy of Pixelmator. I s’ppose Tablet support will be added in the final version? O and I agree with lots of other visitors, hurry up guys, the graphics at the top of this site are just too teasing for us to be patience for much longer.

    Perhaps it’s a good idea to display a list of user requests like mine with a thumbs up/thumbs down for integration in Pixelmator.

  • Lweek

    Hello! Your project looks very promise to me. In the list of features I miss only one thing. In photoshop, you can easily and virtualy add some simple effects to each layer like shadow, glooving etc and discard them from layer anytime. This feature help webdesigners work very impulsive and efective way. Add this feature to Pixelmator and your product will become completly able to compete to Adobe product. Good luck and thanks for you work!

  • geochick

    Haven’t seen Pixelmator but there is one feature that I need out of an image editor. The ability to throw a bunch of images and text on the canvas and make a composition for the web. I used to use a Imagestyler to do this and it was so easy. It allowed me to easily stitch images together with radial masks and transparencies easily again I say easily. Trying to do this in Photoshop escapes me. I can’t some of the same masks and the radial transparency tool just does not do the same thing. In Imagestyler I could specify the angle at which to blur out certain part of the images… those were the days. Since I switched to the Mac platform well neigh two years ago I haven’t found a tool that does this well… Fireworks has this fade image command that is close but not the same.

  • Tice

    September 17th: “Well, don’t be sad about that, because Pixelmator will be shipping very soon…”
    September 19th: “… the best application for image editing. For that, we have some incredible technology, which I hope you will see a few months from now.”

    Ooops, what happend?

  • TJ


    Really excited about Pixelmator! Can’t wait for the release (would love to get hold of a Beta! hehe).

    I know it’s probably been requested already somewhere, but a spot healing tool like what Photoshop has would be really good 🙂

  • Ernest Lemmingway

    I still think that pixelmator is nothing but vaporware.
    But I will also be the first one to admit that I wasn’t right when the first public release should ever see the light.

  • Mac Campbell

    Does this “which I hope you will see a few months from now.” mean that Pixelmator 1.0 won’t be available for another few months?

  • Dominik Hahn

    Ernest Lemmingway: I am happily using the Beta 2 right now but I am not allowed to tell you much about it. All I can say is that it works. 🙂

  • yann le coroller

    Hi guys,
    I worked on improving the interface to manipulate objects in a drawing program, you can find a mockup at :
    it was designed for a vector software but would work the same in a pixel one.
    The design is not completely finished as it miss the rotation part of it but I have a couple ideas on how to do that.
    I really hope you can do something with it.

  • Bart vd Belt

    The only feature I will really need being an (digital) entertainer is the well known “smudge tool”. Will this be included?

  • tripdragon

    Your still missing a key factor that photoshop has is Layer Styles for seamless effects like drop shadows bevels and crap like that. If used well can support tons of non destructive lighting tricks for designs

    Do you want to be a photoshop rip off? If so really go for all that it has, otherwise think up some new tools, Photoshop runns on other peoples filters a lot of times, then try and focus on that, making things faster. So far all you did was over inflate OSX’s crappy core image filters, of which chocoflop already had among others.

    So far Of all of the companies that have used them NO one has done anything remotely “new” with them, same stuff that was available in funhouse app tech demo.

  • Aidas Dailide (Pixelmator Team)


    I hope you’ll agree with me that development is evolving process and it’s just impossible to pack everything we want in version 1.0. We understand that Pixelmator is not perfect – it can’t totally kill Photoshop. It took Adobe 13 years (Photoshop 3.0 to Photoshop CS 3.0) to be where they are now. With technologies we have we can do it many times faster without repeating mistakes they’ve done. Layer styles, shapes, non-destructive editing – they can be done, and they will be done but not in version 1.0. We had to start with something and I hope that soon you’ll agree that Pixelmator 1.0 is a good start.

  • Tom

    From what i’ve seen so far, Pixelmator has a really solid starting ground and is already a fantastic app. Can’t really say much more about it, but I can’t wait to see it grow and evolve from what it already is! Fantastic work, guys.

  • tripdragon

    Aidas, it’s true that it is a step in the evolution, in that I hope that someday the app takes advantage of core animation. As for now however it’s just a nice start.

  • Luke

    Congrats on Pixelmator 1.0 release! I’m greatly anticipating seeing where you and the open source community take Pixelmator, I truly think it can and will go to great places. Leveraging such excellent technologies and providing us with the filter previews that apps such as Photoshop should have had years ago shows how knowledgeable you both are to what graphics editors need (I can’t count how many times I’ve had to create a radial blur through trial and error). Congratulations again and best of luck!

  • Sven-Erik Olsson

    Why did You release with a SPYWARE license? If You need information on the users tech specs, why not use a consent form approach? I really would like to try Pixelmator BUT reading the license terms (under 3.) I prefer not to.

  • Sven-Erik Olsson

    Sorry, by consent form approach I mean that NO DATA WILL BE COLLECTED AND SENT unless the user agree and is informed about what data will be sent. if I am not misinformed this procedure is utilized by APPLE when a program crashes. The user may choose to proceed without forwarding the info (at her/his own peril and a loss to the community). But then there is choice.

    To ask for a Carte Blanche as You do in the licence agreement is what I call bad business practice.

    Ask for dialogue and the force will be with You. Force the customer and You will have armys of enemies.

  • Saulius

    Sven-Erik Olsson,

    Pixelmator does not collect or send any data to anyone. Sorry about that license – this will be removed as soon as 1.0.1 comes out.

  • David Currin

    For me one of the handiest photoshop features, and one I can’t seem to find done as well anywhere else is Save for Web. A lot of applications let you save as gif, jpg, png at various qualities but actually being able to see a preview of how the image will look at the chosen quality is really useful.

    Add this feature and I’ll use Pixelmator all day long.

  • revs

    i would love to have shape tools and things like drop shadows. also, i think it would be wonderful if the project went totally open-source.

  • Elliot

    This looks really great! I’m currently using Photoshop Elements, but it is buggy, slow, and a memory hog.

    The one thing I would REALLY like to see (please?) is CMYK support.

  • Louis

    If you are working on Aperture integration, I would like to have Lightroom intergration.

  • Lauren

    As a web designer, Pixelmator could really speed up my workflow. PS is loaded with tons of print-oriented stuff and so it’s just a really BIG application, even on a fast machine. I love how Pixelmator is quick to load and simple to use, but as a web designer I make use of 3 PS features all the time… Layer Styles, Smart Objects (or in lieu of those, Layer Comps), and Save For Web. If Pixelmator had comparable capabilities, I would totally dump PS once and for all!