A while ago

Pixelmator 1.6.4 Is All about the Details

With the Mac App Store launch and the Pixelmator transition to it running at full throttle, we worked tirelessly for the last few days to finally bring Pixelmator 1.6.4 to everyone – not just the Mac App Store.

The update is clearly one of the most significant refinements we’ve ever made to Pixelmator, even though it is all about the details. In fact, you can think of it as massive enhancements and modernization of things in the app that are not visible at a first glance, but that are definitely felt once the app is brought into play.

Gradient Tool

The Gradient Tool has been revamped completely. For a combination of major performance improvements and high-quality smoothness (or dithering, which basically means no banding between colors), we had to do a complete rewrite of gradient kernels (the most low-level, foundational stuff of the gradient engine). We think we’ve got the world’s best Gradient Tool – very high quality, very fast, and alive, since you see the results instantly when drawing a gradient with the Gradient Tool.

In addition to all of the Gradient Tool improvements, Pixelmator has introduced a new collection of gradient presets in the gradients palette and gradient sharing.

Gradient Sharing

This one is very cool. Sharing gradients in Pixelmator is as simple as dragging and dropping them from the gradients palette onto your desktop, and vice versa. Even more, the exported gradients icon shows a preview of the exported gradient. We created a special Quick Look plug-in (built into Pixelmator) for this purpose – a detail that is a lot of fun.

Selection Tools

We also did a complete revamp of all the selection tools in Pixelmator: Magic Wand, Lasso, Polygonal Lasso, Rectangular Marquee, and Elliptical Marquee.

In addition to major (I mean it) performance improvements for the selection tools, a great deal of attention was paid to the details… lots of details. A few examples:

  • When you start moving the selection around, the selection border dissolves until you release your mouse. It helps you to clearly see where you are about to place the selection.
  • The selection border also dissolves when you add an adjustment or filter onto it for a better preview of the final result.
  • By pressing the Space key on your keyboard you can now temporarily switch to the Hand Tool whenever you like when drawing a selection with the Polygonal Lasso Tool.
  • Shift-click with the Polygonal Lasso Tool to draw a selection border every 45?.
  • Command-press when drawing a selection with Polygonal Lasso will show you a preview of a closed selection and, with the Command key still pressed, you can close it (the selection) with a single mouse-click.
  • All the selection tools now have the intersect mode, which basically does what it says: allows intersecting selections with each other.

Oh, and the click-and-drag-technology-based Magic Wand Tool is very, very fast now.

Although I am not saying that we already have a complete package of selection tools, I am very confident that those that we have now are the very best selection tools in the world. We will continue to add more of them in the future.

JPEG Turbo

Pixelmator 1.6.4 is first in the world to add a new JPEG compression/decompression engine, called the libjpeg-turbo. JPEG Turbo, as we named it, brings 2x faster JPEG compression via Pixelmator’s Export for Web feature. Remember, Pixelmator has a real-time preview for optimizing images or slices for the Web, so JPEG Turbo makes that preview even more instant.

Refine Selection

Three months’ worth of scientific-caliber research and development went into the new Refine Selection tool. Refine Selection delivers quality results when enhancing your selection borders, whether that be smoothing, feathering or resizing. A noteworthy ease-of-use of the Refine Selection tool in Pixelmator remains exactly the same as before.

Tutorials

In addition to a wonderful update, we’ve got some supplements for you to play with – new and inspiring Pixelmator tutorials covering Lasso, Polygonal Lasso, Magic Wand, Marquee Selection Tools, and a Gradient Tool.

Users who purchased Pixelmator through the Mac App Store are already using Pixelmator version 1.6.4, while non-Mac App Store Pixelmator users can get version 1.6.4 from our website or through Pixelmator’s built-in software update.

Those of you who haven’t yet picked up your copy of Pixelmator can download a trial on our website or, if desired, purchase the complete app from the Mac App Store.

Thank you so much for using Pixelmator. We really hope you will enjoy using version 1.6.4 as much as we enjoyed creating it.

A while ago

The Mac App Store Transition FAQ

The Mac App Store is an absolute hit. What’s even more, Pixelmator is an absolute hit on the Mac App Store. We couldn’t be happier about it. I’ll tell you more about that a bit later.

For now, since the Mac App Store is a new and a very big thing, there is some confusion about it. Let me try to clarify things by answering some questions about the recently launched Pixelmator transition to the Mac App Store:

If you own a non-Mac App Store Pixelmator license:

1. What is the Mac App Store transition?

It is a great, limited time offer to purchase Pixelmator at the Mac App Store for the reduced price of $29 and get the Pixelmator 2.0 upgrade for free later this year.

2. Why did you do the transition?

We think it is not fair that our existing customers would be charged the full $59 price again in order for them to use Pixelmator with the Mac App Store. Instead, we decided to help our existing customers to transition to the Mac App Store by lowering the price to $29 for a limited time and sweeten the transition with a free Pixelmator 2.0 upgrade.

We had to post the offer for everyone, not just our existing customers, because there is no way to distinguish between new and existing customers on the Mac App Store.

In addition, we think that the Mac App Store is the future of software sales and distribution, and we think it’s great.

3. Do I have to buy Pixelmator from the Mac App Store again to continue using it?

No. You can continue using Pixelmator without having to purchase it again from the Mac App Store.

4. Do I have to buy Pixelmator from the Mac App Store again to get free 1.X updates?

No. You will be getting free updates until Pixelmator 2.0 becomes available.

5. I want to switch to the Mac App Store. Do I have to buy Pixelmator from the Mac App Store again?

Yes, but only if you want to enjoy the benefits of the Mac App Store and get a Pixelmator 2.0 upgrade for free as an extra for transitioning to the Mac App Store.

6. Why can’t I just convert my Pixelmator license to the Mac App Store for free?

Unfortunately, there is no way to convert our existing customers to the Mac App Store.

7. The Mac App Store shows some software apps from other Mac developer companies as “Installed” while Pixelmator doesn’t show as “Installed.” Why?

The “Installed” app state, unless you purchase from the Mac App Store, doesn’t count as a Mac App Store purchase and, because of that, you won’t be able to enjoy the Mac App Store benefits. You will not get application updates through the Mac App Store, for example. This is how the Mac App Store works, and we can’t do anything about it.

The folks at Bare Bones Software have an in-depth explanation of the same issue.

8. Why would I want to purchase Pixelmator again from the Mac App Store?

You will be able to enjoy all the Mac App Store benefits and get a free Pixelmator 2.0 upgrade when it comes out later this year at the Mac App Store.

9. Will Pixelmator 2.0 be a Mac App Store-only purchase?

Yes.

10. Why will Pixelmator 2.0 be a Mac App Store-only purchase?

We think it is the best way to purchase and install software on a Mac. Also, instead of worrying about how to reach our customers or manage a web store, we will finally be able to focus completely on Pixelmator improvements, quality, and new features.

Other benefits of being in the Mac App Store include the fact that we won’t need to spend time and energy developing our own update systems, web store shelves, licensing systems, anti-piracy measures, and other things like that.

We are good at creating the best Mac apps – and should do only that.

11. Will Pixelmator 2.0 cost more than $29 once it is out?

Yes. It will definitely cost more than it does now.

12. The Mac App Store Pixelmator listing shows version 1.6.4 as current with some new features, whereas your website version lists 1.6.2. Does that mean that, even if I already own a non-Mac App Store Pixelmator, I have to purchase it on the Mac App Store to get the 1.6.4 update?

No. You will be getting all future 1.X updates simultaneously from both our website and the Mac App Store.

As for the 1.6.4 update on our website, we’ve been extremely busy working on the transition because the Mac App Store was released earlier than we expected. Pixelmator 1.6.4 is scheduled for a public, non-Mac App Store release next week.

13. I own more than one Mac – Do I have to purchase additional copies of Pixelmator at the Mac App Store to use it on my other Macs?

After you purchase Pixelmator at the Mac App Store, you can install it free of charge on every Mac you use.

14. Why is there so much confusion about the transition then?

Some other applications were recognized as “Installed” apps (see the answer to this question above) on the Mac App Store, and our customers thought that we are the only ones who are charging for the application again even if they purchased the app before the Mac App Store launched, but that is not true: we not only lowered our Mac App Store price for our existing customers but we’ve also practically given away the 2.0 upgrade. The majority of other developers do not offer any transition at all – you have to re-purchase applications for the full or a slightly lower price.

• If you’ve just purchased Pixelmator from the Mac App Store:

Will I be getting the Pixelmator 2.0 upgrade (including 1.X and 2.X updates) for free once 2.0 is out on the Mac App Store later this year?

Yes.

• Other:

If I have some more questions about the transition, what should I do?

Feel free to simply drop us an e-mail message at info@pixelmator.com.

If you have any concerns regarding the Mac App Store, please visit the Mac App Store support website for more information at www.apple.com/support/mac/app-store/.

A while ago

Transition to the Mac App Store

We are right there on the Mac App Store! Woohoo!

What’s even more is that we just announced something very cool in celebration of the launch of the Mac App Store. We call it the “Pixelmator Transition to the Mac App Store”.

The transition basically means that if you buy Pixelmator on the Mac App Store now for only $29, you will get the totally awesome Pixelmator 2.0 for free once it is out on the Mac App Store later this year.

Yup, that’s true, and yup, it is totally worth it.

I told you many times that we believe that the Mac App Store is a future of software distribution and sales, that it is going to be an absolute hit and, of course, that we are very excited to be a part of it.

And, since there are so many benefits for everyone, we are fully committed to supporting the Mac App Store. We plan to completely move Pixelmator sales and distribution to the Mac App Store as soon as possible.

Therefore, now is the perfect time for you to click this button:

P.S. Even if you decide not to move to the Mac App Store, we will continue to provide you with free Pixelmator 1.X updates until version 2.0, just as promised.

P.P.S. Oh, and to be sure everything is clear – there is no way of transitioning Mac apps to the Mac App Store for free as of yet. If there was such a way, we would have definitely give it for free to our registered customers. That’s why we are reducing price and giving Pixelmator 2.0 for free once it is out.

P.P.P.S. Look at the bottom of the “Panic on the Mac App Store” article about the update policy. Everyone has that issue: http://www.panic.com/blog/2011/01/panic-on-the-mac-app-store/

A while ago

Our Web Store

The Mac App Store is on its way, and once it is out we hope we won’t need to worry about the selling and distribution of Pixelmator to Mac users anymore. However, we still care about our own web store (we think we will keep it for special buyers such as educational institutions, businesses, etc.).

The recent news about our Web store is that we have just moved from an eSellerate- to a FastSpring-based Web store. Even though eSellerate served us extremely well in the past, we are very excited to transition to FastSpring due to FastSpring’s more modern look and feel, and its being more Mac friendly. Here is the difference so far:

Thanks to FastSpring’s taking great care of us, we have a much easier-to-use Web store—a store that should have been in place years ago. What’s more, we are still working with them to make it even simpler.

So if you are a third-party Mac developer, FastSpring is highly recommended as an addition to the forthcoming Mac App Store or as a main web store for those of you not bringing your apps to the Mac App Store (are you crazy?).

By the way, The Beatles are now on iTunes and iOS 4.2 is out!

A while ago

Interview, iOffice, and More

I just love giving interviews—especially when they ask interesting questions. I recently had an honest interview by the Mac.AppStorm crew. I talked about the Pixelmator Team, the things we do, what we use, and stuff like that. I also revealed the code name of the next major update of Pixelmator, and Mac.AppStorm took a sneak peek at our iOffice.

The article with the interview is available at Mac.AppStorm. Enjoy!

A while ago

Little Things

In a geek world, little things matter. For us—we are Mac geeks, right?!—things matter especially if they come from (or at least are somehow related to) Apple.

Little things that were delivered to the Pixelmator Team Factory this week:

Love all that cheerful stuff.

A while ago

The Mac App Store

You’ve surely heard of that new Mac App Store coming very soon to Macs near you. It’s a new way for us (developers) to distribute and for you (users) to discover, install, and update all those great Mac OS X apps we create.

All the crew at the Pixelmator Team is very excited about the new Mac App Store, as users and, especially, as developers. I believe (and it’s not just me) that the Mac App Store is going to be an absolute hit.

Specifically for us, the good thing is that once we are in the Store, we will finally be able to focus completely on Pixelmator improvements, quality, and new features instead of worrying about how to reach our customers (we need as many customers as possible to continue or even boost our innovation march), build the best website, or manage a Web store. We would be very happy to be able to simply focus on creating the best image editor for the Mac.

Other benefits of being in the Mac App Store include the fact that we won’t need to spend time and energy developing our own update systems (though I really do like our software update), Web store shelves, licensing systems, anti-piracy measures, and other things like that. We are good at creating the best Mac apps – and should do only that.

So, I just wanted to clearly state that the Pixelmator Team is very excited about and will totally support the new Mac App Store. Pixelmator will definitely be there.

A while ago

Pixelmator in Steve Jobs Keynote

I am sure you watched Steve Jobs’s “Back to the Mac” keynote yesterday. It was very nice, wasn’t it? Each of them—iLife ’11, FaceTime, the Mac App Store, Mac OS X Lion (where is the version number, anyone?), and MacBook Air—are all just so awesome.

However, there was one tiny detail that directly relates to us. I am not sure if you noticed, but Pixelmator was one of the few apps that made it into the Steve Jobs keynote! Yay!

Actually it was visible multiple times in the keynote: a few times in the Mac OS X Lion screenshots when Steve spoke about the Launchpad as well as in the Craig Federighi (the guy who presented the demo of the Mac OS X Lion features) slides.

Having the Pixelmator icon in Steve Jobs’s keynote is something we dreamed of for years (see how fragile we are?). And once it finally made it there, it feels so great … so inspiring; it’s definitely a huge bonus reward for our hard work.

Also, kudos to the developers of Coda, Delicious Library, Tweetie, OmniGraffle and OmniOutliner, NetNewsWire, and, of course, Courier for also making it into the keynote. Everyone aforementioned is so worth it.

A while ago

Save for Web Goodness in Pixelmator

Nearly everyone is aware of the fact that Pixelmator has a built-in Save for Web feature. But few know that Pixelmator’s Save for Web tools are actually the best in their class.

Almost every website contains some sort of image, and there is a good chance that the image has been touched-up by image editing software. The reason why we prepare (or optimize) images for the web is so our browsers can open websites as fast as possible.

Save for Web is a process of preparing images for use in websites. Usually, Save for Web workflows look like this:

1. Slice images (if required);
2. Optimize images;
3. And then save (optimized) images.

For this post, I’ve decided to remind you about Pixelmator’s Save for Web tools, since those truly deserve your notice.

The easiest-to-use Save for Web. Ever.

The whole Pixelmator Save for Web experience consists of a single consistent palette which you use to optimize your images. Once you decide to prepare an image for the Web, even without knowing how to use Pixelmator, simply choose File > Export for Web.

And—surprise—the Export for Web palette that pops up is the only thing you will ever need to completely prepare any of your images for Web sites!

The palette has everything—a preview mode option, optimized image file size options, a file format pop-up menu where you choose between standard web file formats (JPEG, PNG, PNG Indexed, and GIF, or even the new WebP, if you wish), and optimization settings for the currently selected file format.

As you can see, anyone can easily take advantage of the pro-grade image optimization tools in Pixelmator. That’s the whole of Save for Web. Simple, isn’t it?

Yep. But there is more goodness…

Fast and Powerful (and Slice Tool)

Pixelmator’s Save for Web feature is extremely fast. When you experiment with different optimization settings (using the Export for Web palette, as mentioned above) Pixelmator instantly shows you the preview of the image or image slice you are optimizing.

Yup—image slicing is right there as one of the choices. Just use the Slice tool in Pixelmator to divide an image into smaller images and to optimize each part of an image with its own optimization settings. Slicing is particularly useful for web page layouts that feature different elements such as buttons, logos, layouts with different backgrounds, and other objects.

Pixelmator’s powerful Slice tool allows you to easily do just that. It works hand in hand with the Export for Web palette and shows an optimization preview for each slice in real-time.

Fun

But again, there is more.

In addition to a beautiful Slice tool and extremely easy-to-use Export for Web palette, Pixelmator’s Save for Web works just the way you would like it to work. It has all that OS X goodness built-in. For example, once your image or slice is optimized, you don’t have to go through an entire Save As process. Instead, you can simply drag and drop the thumbnail of an image or image slice with some optimization settings onto your desktop to instantly save the optimized image. Now, that’s handy! You won’t find any other apps that can do that.

But again, there is much more.

Save for Web Accessories

There are many more features built into Pixelmator that are useful for you as a web developer. (Yep, you’re already a web developer if you use Pixelmator.)

Trim and Reveal All

I know many web designers use these. Even I find that I use these two features a lot. Trim allows cropping of an image by trimming the surrounding transparency or background pixels in a specified color. Reveal All does exactly the opposite of the Trim feature: it reveals images that are hidden somewhere under the canvas area. Try them—these two are real time savers.

Web Colors

Web Colors is a plug-in for the Apple Colors palette that allows you to select and copy hexadecimal colors quickly to the HTML or CSS apps.

If you use Pixelmator, Web Colors will automatically be there for you—no need to do any additional installation.

Image Size

You know what Image Size does, right? You use it a lot to change image dimensions (Image > Image Size). The good thing for web devs is the Fit Into feature, which allows you to quickly fit the image into desired dimensions by choosing the size from a presets pop-up.

Everything Else

And Pixelmator has almost everything else you might ever need, not only to create, edit and enhance your images, but also to quickly and easily prepare your images for the web.

For more specific information about using Save for Web or other tools in Pixelmator, please see the Pixelmator User Manual or in-app Help.

Have fun creating your next great web site!