November 4, 2008

New Goodies in 1.3 Tempo

Although Pixelmator 1.3 Tempo is not completely about adding new features, there are many exciting new things that fit perfectly with those major performance improvements on which we focused. I am just about to tell you about the new things that I am sure you will love using a lot because a) I promised to do that a few weeks ago, and b) Tempo is to reach your hands a few days from now. So let’s get started.

Feature #1: Magic Eraser (a.k.a. Instant Alpha, click-and-drag tool)

Magic Eraser does exactly the same things as Instant Alpha in Keynote. The feature is useful for removing an unwanted background or any other colors in an image. Many people asked for this, and we couldn’t help but include it. It looks and works great in Pixelmator.

To use Magic Eraser, you will have to select the Magic Eraser icon in the Eraser Tool Options palette or simply click the E shortcut twice.

Feature #2: Magic Wand (click-and-drag)

We took the Instant Alpha idea even further with the Magic Wand tool. It works exactly like Magic Eraser, except that it doesn’t remove anything, but selects a portion of an image when you click and drag your mouse cursor. We believe it’s the only Magic Wand in the world that is so useful and fun and still keeps all the functionality of the classic Magic Wand. No one else has this. In addition to click-and-drag, the new Magic Wand also brings anti-aliasing and an ability to sample all layers.

Feature #3: Paint Bucket (click-and-drag)

This one is really fun and also very useful. The click-and-drag approach of Paint Bucket in Pixelmator makes it the coolest Paint Bucket tool in the world. When using Paint Bucket to fill areas, you see the results instantly by dragging your mouse, even when filling in any blending mode. The look and feel are amazing. Paint Bucket in Pixelmator also gained anti-aliasing.

Feature #4: Hue and Saturation

As you may have already noticed, we are adding or improving adjustment tools with every single major update—and it was time for Hue and Saturation, Colorize, and Replace Color to get some improvements in usability and fun. The main task was to make something really interesting and fun, and I believe we did it. The new Hue and Saturation tool is gorgeous. It now features a color wheel with color buttons nearby. When you spin the color buttons, you see what is changed as those buttons go with other colors in the wheel (e.g., red is replaced with green, green is replaced with blue, etc.) In addition, it is now possible in Hue and Saturation to adjust a specific color component in an image and to specify the range for it.

Feature #5: Colorize

Colorize now features a user interface similar to Hue and Saturation, and some other minor improvements have been made.

Feature #6: Replace Color

Replace Color has now gained the same Hue and Saturation interface. In addition, a new feature makes Replace Color much more fun and useful: the Radius preview slider, which makes an image dissolve to black and white when you click on it for radius preview purposes.

Feature #7: Smart Palette Hide

This one is a very important innovation for Pixelmator users. We have received feedback from people who say they have too many palettes open in Pixelmator, and when they use adjustments or filters, they would like to focus just on that filter or adjustment tool. That’s where Smart Palette Hide comes in. Whenever you launch any adjustment or filter, unnecessary palettes that you won’t be using now temporarily dissolve. Once you’re done with that adjustment or filter tool, palettes that were hidden come back. I’ve been using this feature for five months now, and I must say I can’t live without it anymore.

Oh, and there is a second reason for this feature: we don’t believe in a one-window user interface image editor.

Feature #8: Action Tooltips

This one is mostly for those one-click menu items that you choose sometimes but can’t see any changes—and then you wonder if you did really choose it. So now when you choose any tool that does not have a palette, it will show a nice action label just so you know you did choose something. It is very good for working using keyboard shortcuts (especially undo/redo ones).

Feature #9: Type Tool

Because the Type Tool was on our board of shame, we had to do something about it. Type Tool in Pixelmator 1.3 Tempo brings an ability to draw the text box, some new type features, and a bunch of bug fixes. Well, not exactly bug fixes—we have completely overwritten it.

In addition to mentioned features and improvements, Version 1.3 brings a bunch of bug fixes and other minor improvements. Stay tuned for the update to be released (as I told you, it will happen in the next few days—we just want our little image editor to be perfect).


  • Lucky

    Awesome! 🙂

  • tai

    I love it. I still can’t make a full time switch from Photoshop, but each release seems to bring me a little step closer. Can’t wait to see what the future brings!

  • Ed

    Looks great! Can’t wait.

  • Lucky

    It’s great that you made all the video demos. I can better understand the new features. I’m more of a visual person.

  • Helmut

    Great features, I like the hide option the most. But don´t forget, we need speeeeeeed.

  • dropbot

    How about adding a Magic Comment feature to this blog? You click and drag in the message window, the more you drag the the more positive the auto-generated comment. Here is me dragging to the right… “You Guys ROCK!”

  • fluffy

    It’s good to hear about all those added features, but there’s still one thing which I consider basic functionality which I’m concerned about, namely subpixel precision and pressure-based sizing on brushes. That’s the one thing which absolutely keeps me using Photoshop instead of Pixelmator. (Although now I’m using more and more complex things in Photoshop for my art which will likely make it even more difficult for me to switch to Pixelmator even when those features are finally available.)

  • Riccardo Pareschi

    As web designer I use Pixelmator every day with great satisfaction. Is one the best tool I’ve purchased for my job. This new release is amazing!
    Thank you again Team, i’ve done a great job. Riccardo.

  • Adrian

    Sweet! 🙂 Check ScreenCast Online for full version of Pixelmator video.

    btw – Does “some new type features” also mean support for OpenType ligatures, glyphs etc.? If not – Do you plan on implementing them in future version?

  • Matej K.

    Nice! Any chance Pixelmator will get multiple views of single document?

  • Nick

    Puts me in mind of the cynics who, some months ago, were complaining that changes weren’t happening fast enough, if at all. Sure, at some time we have all had issues with speed and features, but didn’t some of us say at the time, “Just give the team another 12 months and the we’ll be amazed at how far Pixelmator has come.”?

  • Stefan

    Man, really awesome – can’t wait to work with it. I love Pixelmator, you guys rock – just go ahead because you are creating one of the most impressive image editors in the world!

  • Kristan Kenney

    Will the text tool now support the ability to change the spacing between lines and between letters? That’s one of the things I actually miss most about Photoshop.

  • Alex

    Pixelmator is my favourite software ever, and it keeps evolving in amazing and innovative ways.

    Thanks so much for an amazing application!

  • Alex

    Nice, but pixelmator still is missing one vital tool for any graphic designer, the pen tool, please include this, if you add that photoshop can die for all I care

  • foofoorabbit

    But pen tools are vector tools and shouldn’t *really* belong in Pixelmator. Just because Photoshop has it doesn’t mean it should exist in Pixelmator. You know what they say…jack of all trades, master of none. That’s what Photoshop is considering it tries to do too much.

  • BogdanGC

    I dont agree with foofoorabbit, the pen tool is a very usefull tool for creating precision selections. I dont use it for drawing shapes, but i tend to use it a lot when i need replace backgrounds that cant be deleted with the magic eraser.

    So, the pen tool and the type tool really need to perform better in pixelmator.

  • gnome06


    Tks for all, and for providing a French version !

  • Anthony Pronk

    Love the new Pixelmator and it’s new tools and the video’s.

  • Monkle

    The new Magic tools are fantastic to use. Nice job on the new text tool as well.

    Thanks for the nice update.

  • Starburst

    Great App!

    Must add Pen Tool (or something better) for making precise selections.

    -Adobe is the new Microsoft-

  • Peter

    The colour picker _still_ doesn’t work properly with dual screens.

  • John Cumming

    Long time photoshop user. I am looking for a little weight, but very capable OS X application to use on a netbook and to recommend to friends.

    Pixelmator is getting very close. For me to switch, I would need some nondestructive layer effects such at drop shadow, gradient, stroke, bevel. If you are looking for inspiration check out Adobe Fireworks. Effects should be stackable and arrangeable. Better text tools for kerning and paragraph spacing would also be needed in order for me to do some serious work.

    Great product, I will buy a license to help you continue your good work. i am looking forward to what you may have in store.

    Follow me on Twitter @gotwiki

  • Alex S

    I really like pxelmator. But I cant switch with out a Pen tool. It is hands down the best way to do complicated selections (I just spend a hours trying to select people with all the tools Pixelmator comes with but nothing comes close.) I do this a lot in at work and in my freelance and it is the only thing stopping me from buying pixelmator.

    I like the idea of the layer effects and a better text tool would be ideal but I can live with out those.