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!