Over the past few months, we here at the Pixelmator Team have certainly kept ourselves busy. Around 6 weeks ago we released the second major Pixelmator Pro update this year — 1.2 Quicksilver — and we’ve also just shipped a bigger update to the original Pixelmator, bumping it up to version 3.8.
Pixelmator 3.8 Phoenix
First, let’s chat about the latest update to the original Pixelmator. As you all probably know, our main focus is now Pixelmator Pro (a.k.a. the new Pixelmator). However, we’re well aware that many people still love and use the original Pixelmator every day and it’s now approaching 8 years of free updates on the Mac App Store, which, in itself, is pretty damn amazing! In this update, we’ve added full macOS Mojave support, including some Mojave-only goodies such as dark appearances for various windows and dialogs, accent color support, colorful SVG fonts, and Continuity Camera support. Naturally, we’ve also included a range of stability fixes and improvements to keep Pixelmator running smoothly.
Pixelmator Pro 1.2.3 and the upcoming 1.2.4 update
In case we don’t say it enough, we’re all very excited about the updates we’ve been shipping to Pixelmator Pro as well as the updates we’ve got lined up for the future. The 1.2.3 update is mostly focused around painting improvements and you can now import ABR brushes into Pixelmator Pro. These features and improvements may not sound like a huge deal on their own, but changes like this make everything that little bit smoother and when you combine several such updates, it improves the overall experience a whole lot.
The next update to Pixelmator Pro will be version 1.2.4, which we’re planning to release next week. It’s going to bring a few more new features that you’ve been asking for and several really cool things that we dreamed up ourselves. One of those things is the video editing-style color wheels. You can see them live in this quick sneak peek on our Twitter profile. It may well be the most fun and intuitive way to change the mood and feel of a photo and it’s going to make the already-great photo editing tools even better. Another thing coming in 1.2.4 is resizing algorithms. We’ll be adding three for now, but we’ll see how things go and may add more in the future. Along with these two features, there’s also improved Grain quality, new Automator actions, and some interface tweaks, which would almost be enough to call this a major update, but…
Christmas is coming early this year
We’ve given ourselves a goal of shipping Pixelmator Pro 1.3 — the third major Pixelmator Pro update this year — before Christmas, so we can have a well-deserved rest over the holiday period. It’s going to be a little tricky but, for now, we’re on the right track and, if there are no major setbacks, you’ll have it before the holidays. Stay tuned for some sneak peeks in the coming weeks!
P.S. We’re also doing our very best to release Pixelmator Photo before the year is out, but as is almost always the case, new products take more time than you think, even when you think you’ve given yourself more than enough. BUT! A public TestFlight beta will be launched in December, also before Christmas. Keep your eyes peeled for sign-ups.
We get asked this quite a lot — “So, what’s the difference between Pixelmator and Pixelmator Pro? I already have Pixelmator, why should I switch?” We don’t think a comparison table is the best way to explain the difference, but since it’s a pretty common question, we thought we should take the time to answer it.
Vanlife. Illustration by Justine Shirin, created using Pixelmator Pro.
Same idea, new approach
Possibly the most important thing to start with is not a difference, but a similarity. The idea inspiring Pixelmator Pro is exactly the same as the idea behind the original Pixelmator. Making powerful but complex pro image editing tools easy to use and accessible to everyone. Even your grandparents. Pixelmator Pro is not a ‘professional’ version and Pixelmator is not an ‘entry-level’ version. Both apps are focused around time-tested image editing tools (and some innovative new ones).
So if both apps are inspired by the same kind of thinking (the Pixelmator philosophy), how come they’re different? With Pixelmator Pro, we wanted to be more true to ourselves and more trusting of our own intuition instead of relying on established approaches. Pixelmator Pro is the realization of that vision — a new approach to the same idea.
The future of Pixelmator
The original Pixelmator has been in development for almost 12 years. While it’s a fantastic image editing app, without a complete rewrite, we’d be much more constrained about the new features we could bring to it. In software development, you sometimes reach a point where you have to start from scratch to make sure you’re equipped to face the future. We now know a lot more than we did when we started and we put that knowledge to good use with Pixelmator Pro. It has a very solid foundation on which we can build without reaching roadblocks. So another difference between the two apps is that Pixelmator Pro is the new Pixelmator and most certainly the future.
Features, features, features
Alright, that touched upon some theoretical things and a little bit of history, but the most important things are features, right? So what’s actually new in Pixelmator Pro? Well, one thing that’s changed is everything (ha ha). Everything has been rewritten from scratch to be faster and work more reliably. You won’t notice that in the screenshots, but it’ll become immediately obvious once you start using the app.
As for actual features, all the things mentioned below are new to Pixelmator Pro.
Pixelmator Pro has a completely new design — it has a single-window, fully Mac-native interface. Layers are now on the left, tools on the right, and the overall workflow is much more user-centered. We’ve also added a beautiful light appearance, which was an often-requested feature with the original Pixelmator. There are smaller (but equally awesome) things as well, like the ability to completely hide the interface, intelligent auto-centering (and the ability to scroll beyond the edges of the canvas), a redesigned photo browser, and more. We also have a whole bunch of plans for improving the interface and workflow of Pixelmator Pro and having a completely new design opens up some very exciting possibilities. Things are only going to get better.
Resizing in Pixelmator Pro is nondestructive (so if you scale something down and decide to scale it back up later, you won’t lose quality). It’s one of those things you might not really notice at first, but once you get used to it, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. We’ve added completely new alignment and distribution tools to make it easier to even out the spacing between objects. The Layers sidebar has two different views — Thumbnails and List — which you can choose between based on whether you like more text or image-based layer organization. And the Core ML-powered automatic layer naming feature automatically detects the contents of images you add and gives descriptive names to your layers. All great features new to Pixelmator Pro.
In terms of painting tools, Pixelmator Pro has a completely new, Metal-powered painting engine that brings the same great painting experience we created in Pixelmator for iOS to the Mac, with customizable dual texture brushes, full support for graphics tablets (including the ability to adjust brush opacity using pen pressure), dynamic paint blending, watercolor brushes, and more.
The color adjustments have been conceived and built from scratch — they’re nondestructive and intelligently preserve color detail. There’s full RAW support, RAW layers, a live histogram (three, in fact!), plus you can save combinations of adjustments as presets, share them, and use them for batch processing. Oh, you can also enhance your photos using the most intelligent auto-enhance tool out there (powered by machine learning, naturally). Is that it? No, there’s more, but I’m running out of space…
The effects are nondestructive. There are new effects, like Box, Disc, and Spin blurs, a Bokeh filter, as well as new Image and Pattern fills. You can save combinations of effects as presets, share them, use any effect or combination of effects for batch processing, and easily copy effects from layer to layer. All things the original Pixelmator doesn’t have.
More, more, more
That covers much less than half of what’s new in Pixelmator Pro. Some other highlight features include a much more powerful Export for Web tool, which includes support for exporting images at multiple scale factors, advanced PNG compression, export presets, and a Quick Export feature. The vector tools have been redesigned so it’s much easier to combine multiple paths into shapes and work on them. Oh, there’s SVG support too! The Reshaping tools preserve image quality and sharpness much better and work faster. Live blending mode previews make it easier to pick and choose how to blend your layers.
And, of course, that’s still not everything. But that should give you a good idea about what to expect. If you use the original Pixelmator for editing your photos, there’s a whole range of awesome additions for you in Pixelmator Pro. If you use it for painting, ditto. If you use it for social media imagery for your business, YouTube thumbnails, UI designs, layouts, anything at all, really, you’re sure to find some great new features to love. And if you find something you’d like to us to improve, we’re always listening. Over the past 11 months, we’ve added so much to Pixelmator Pro already and we have no plans to slow down.
One more thing…
The price. After almost a year at $59.99, we can say that this wasn’t the right price. Obviously, we had somewhat different plans for pricing when we launched and we could leave things as they are, try to power through, but if things aren’t working, you need to change them. Today, as we’re (finally) ending our sale, Pixelmator Pro will now be sold for $39.99.
Deciding on a price for your app is a weird and wonderful thing. Despite what some people may think, it’s not motivated by greed (at least not for us). In fact, it’s mostly common knowledge that profits don’t change too much depending on your price (that’s all down to shipping good updates and continuously improving your app). A higher price results in lower sales and a lower price in higher sales, so everything evens out in the end. Essentially, the price often acts as a filter.
We make Pixelmator Pro for a particular kind of user, mostly people like ourselves. The price and the message can attract different kinds of users with different expectations — people who want every possible feature, people who want an entry-level app experience, people who want a completely pro experience, people who want the app to be similar to one app or another, and so on. If you attract users whose expectations you aren’t aiming to meet, you’re going to have a bad time.
We want people who see things the way that we do to become our users and to shape the future of Pixelmator Pro. And that’s where this new price comes in. So if you’re currently using the original Pixelmator, give Pixelmator Pro a try — we’ve got a completely free 30-day trial that you can use with no restrictions. And we hope you’ll join us in making Pixelmator Pro the kind of dream app we all want it to be.
Pixelmator Pro 1.2 Quicksilver has just been released, adding full macOS Mojave support, a beautiful new light appearance, ML Enhance, batch processing via Automator, and a whole lot more. Everyone at the Pixelmator Team is really excited about this update, so we just wanted to tell you guys about what we’ve added and why we think it’s great.
Light appearance, refreshed dark appearance, and macOS Mojave support
We all love macOS Mojave and the new Dark Mode. And in Pixelmator Pro 1.2, the interface has now been beautifully redesigned to fit right in alongside native Mac apps, like Safari and Keynote, in Dark Mode. We’ve also added support for accent colors, so the colors of various sliders and buttons in Pixelmator Pro will change to match your preferences. No less than you’d expect from the ultimate Mac app.
Of course, now that there’s a Dark Mode, there has to be a Light Mode too. So it was the perfect time for us to add a light appearance to Pixelmator Pro. It’s something we’d been thinking about for a long time and the new light appearance brings the classic Mac app look and feel to Pixelmator Pro. You can always change appearance in Pixelmator Pro preferences and even have it update automatically according to your System Preferences.
The new ML Enhance feature lets you automatically enhance photos using a Core ML-powered machine learning algorithm trained on 20 million professional photos. The idea behind ML Enhance is to balance the exposure, correct white balance, and improve individual color ranges in a photo to give you the best starting point for making your own creative edits. All in all, ML Enhance intelligently fine-tunes a total of 37 color adjustments, so all you need to do is add your own finishing touches. See it in action in the video below.
Batch processing via Automator
Automator support has been a pretty popular request over the past few months and Pixelmator Pro now has five powerful Automator actions for you to use. So you can make complex edits to many images at once without ever opening Pixelmator Pro! We’ll be releasing a tutorial about this in the coming days, which will also touch upon Automator basics. If you’ve never tried out Automator, stay tuned for the tutorial and get ready to pick up some new and useful Mac skills!
As ever, we’re always dreaming up what else to bring to Pixelmator Pro and we’re actually already working on the next few updates — we can’t wait to make Pixelmator Pro even better. For now, we really hope you love this update and if you have any comments or feedback, we’d love to hear it here, on Twitter and Facebook, via email, on the Mac App Store, and, well, pretty much anywhere else you might want to share it with us. As always, the update is free for existing users and it’s available for you to download from the Mac App Store today.
P.S. Pixelmator Pro is still on sale for another week (until Friday 26th), so if you haven’t bought it yet, now’s a great time.
Hey everyone! We’ve got a few different pieces of exciting Pixelmator news for you today — we’re having a back-to-school sale, shipping an update to Pixelmator Pro, and releasing our next update as a public beta. Read on for all the awesome details.
Pixelmator Pro 1.1.4 out now
A couple of weeks ago, we revealed a few juicy details about the next Pixelmator Pro update and gave you all a chance to try it by signing up for our beta program. The beta testing went really great and the 1.1.4 update is now available on the Mac App Store. Woohoo!
We’ve added a whole bunch of gorgeous new effects, like the beautiful Light Leak effect and all kinds of other new features and improvements. You can learn a little more about the update itself on our beautifully redesigned What’s New page. And see the new Light Leak effect in action below in our latest tutorial video.
Beta program — next update now available
Speaking of the Pixelmator Pro beta program, today we’re also making the next Pixelmator Pro update available for public beta testing. Version 1.1.5 won’t have quite as many new features and will focus most on performance — especially in large images and images with lots of layers. Performance, in this case, covers pretty much everything: opening documents, zooming, moving and resizing layers, and everything in between. You’re welcome to sign up for our beta program and help make Pixelmator Pro even better.
That’s right, we’re having a sale! To mark the beginning of the school year, Pixelmator Pro is on sale for 50% off, so, starting today, it’s available from the Mac App Store for $29.99.
What else do we have in store? Well, things have been moving at a lightning quick pace recently and we have no plans to slow down. We’re getting close to finishing up the 1.2 major upgrade (free for existing customers, of course) — it’s going to have full macOS Mojave support and some other really fantastic new additions. We’re not going to reveal exactly what’s in store just yet, but the public release of macOS Mojave is just around the corner, so you won’t have to wait too long.
Today is a very exciting day for us at the Pixelmator Team — we’re launching a Pixelmator Pro public beta program, giving you a way to test upcoming features and, in the process, help us make Pixelmator Pro even better!
To mark the occasion, we’ve also decided to show you a few things from the upcoming update, which you’ll be able to try in this beta. Point updates are usually a little smaller than major releases, but in this one, we’ve packed in tons of great new features. For example, new Light Leak and Bokeh effects, an Auto Selective Color adjustment, a way to copy Effects and Adjustments between layers, and (really!) a whole lot more.
New Light Leak and Bokeh effects
Two of the biggest new features are the new Light Leak and Bokeh effects. The gorgeous Light Leak effect was always a favorite in the original Pixelmator it’s now coming to Pixelmator Pro, giving you an easy way to add a sunny, old-school feel to any of your photos.
The beautiful new Bokeh effect was inspired by the Bokeh effect in Pixelmator for iOS and we think you’re really going to love it in Pixelmator Pro too! There are eight stunning Bokeh styles to choose from and, because Pixelmator Pro is a nondestructive editor, you can easily add multiple bokehs to the same image and edit each one individually.
Tons of other new features
The full release notes for this update are going to be pretty huge, but here are a few of the most awesome new things in Pixelmator Pro 1.1.4:
- • Tons of new effects. We’re adding Spin Blur, Clouds, Noise, Threshold, Mask to Alpha, and several effects from the Tile and Distortion categories of the original Pixelmator.
- • There will now be a way to switch histogram type when using the Color Adjustments tool. Simply Control-click the histogram and choose a different type (RGB, Luminance, or Colors).
- • We’ll be adding an ML-powered Auto button to the Selective Color adjustment. Now you can selectively improve individual colors in an image using the awesome machine learning technologies we’ve been working on and talked about in the last blog post!
- • You’ll now be able to copy all effects or adjustments from one layer and paste them onto another with a single click.
Pixelmator Pro beta program
So, this is going to be a fantastic update and, if you’re up for it, you can get your hands on it early by checking out the public beta. We’re opening it up to all owners of Pixelmator Pro as well as owners of the original Pixelmator.
P.S. We’re still big fans of big surprises, so we’re not planning to test absolutely every new Pixelmator Pro feature publicly but we’re really excited to see how this goes!
Pixelmator Pro includes one of the best collections of color adjustment tools in any app on any device. And we want to make them even better. In Pixelmator Pro 1.1 Monsoon, we added some super cool Auto buttons next to three color adjustments: White Balance, Lightness, and Hue & Saturation. Although those buttons may be small, there’s a lot of machine learning power behind them and we wanted to talk a little bit about one in particular — Auto White Balance.
Fixing white balance
When editing photos, fixing the white balance is almost always the first thing photographers do before moving on to any other edits. It’s important to get it right because all your later edits depend on it. And if you’re not used to doing it, it’s not all that easy — there are two different sliders that are influenced by each other and it’s not that obvious what they do. I mean, adding yellow cancels out a blue tint, how does that work?
So, in Pixelmator Pro 1.1 Monsoon, we’ve added the machine learning-powered Auto White Balance to make fixing the white balance in any photo as simple as clicking one little button. Behind that button, there’s a 200-layer-deep neural network trained on millions of image pairs and integrated via the awesome Core ML.
Did you know that neural networks are practically magic and no one knows how they really work? Basically, getting machine learning models to do what you want them to requires you to test them on really huge datasets. The models then make complicated, seemingly random connections based on your tests and their quality depends on how good your tests and datasets are.
In this case, we needed millions of images with bad white balance and good white balance. It probably goes without saying that there’s no giant repository of badly white balanced images to just download. Even if there was, we’d still need to get someone to fix each one and that’s not exactly efficient either. For that reason, we had to find a different approach. We decided to take millions of good images and create a separate algorithm to ‘break’ them in as natural a way as possible to mimic real-world white balance issues.
Neural network training
Once we had our image pairs, we could start training. Except there was another little problem. Most neural networks work with small, fixed-resolution images, which usually have to be square. That meant we needed to turn every photo into a uniform small square image. But if the photo is portrait or landscape, potentially important details at the edges of the image would be lost if we cropped them. If we simply stretched them, then they wouldn’t look like actual photos people edit.
To get around this, we took each image and applied content-aware scaling. This separate algorithm identified features in the original images (for example, a sky, some trees, or people) and scaled them according to their importance to the photo. The content-aware scaling makes for some pretty strange-looking images — people look a little like weird aliens — but the neural network likes them a little better. Now we could start training and getting our model to learn. And once that was done, we could start testing how accurate our approach was.
Quality and accuracy
Most image editing apps have some sort of non-machine learning automatic white balance correction tools and we compared our approach with the results you get in those apps. We measured quality using the industry standard CIEDE2000 metric and found our Auto White Balance tool to be at least 50% more accurate, and usually between 2 to 10 times better than those standard tools. And we think our approach passes the eye test even better. Just looking at the results, the Auto White Balance adjustment seems to be much more natural and visually pleasing.
One awesome feature of Auto White Balance is support for RAW images and any extended data within them. Our trained neural network uses extended-range information to correct white balance issues in RAW images with improved accuracy. Sweet!
Here are the Auto Color Adjustments getting a mention during the Platforms State of the Union at this year’s Worldwide Developer Conference in San Jose.
Better than humans
To round things off, here’s a fun fact. The new Auto White Balance correctly fixes the white balance in the infamous “dress” photo, which became an internet phenomenon in 2015. And that photo isn’t even in the training dataset! This is an especially good example of white balance and lighting issues which are tricky even for humans to solve. And Pixelmator Pro now makes it effortless with the help of breakthrough machine learning.
If you want to try out these awesome machine learning features on the dress or any of your own photos, you can download Pixelmator Pro 1.1 Monsoon — it’s available now from the Mac App Store and it’s a free update for everyone who has already bought Pixelmator Pro.
The Pixelmator Team today released Pixelmator Pro 1.1 Monsoon, a massive update to the world’s most innovative image editing app for Mac. The update adds a modern way to easily prepare images for the web, brings machine learning-powered Auto Color Adjustments, support for the MacBook Pro Touch Bar, a new Slice tool, SVG support, a new Tutorials page to help with learning Pixelmator Pro, and much more.
“Pixelmator Pro 1.1 Monsoon is an absolutely massive update with tons of great new features,” said Saulius Dailide, one of the founders of the Pixelmator Team. “With the innovative new Export for Web features, it’s now easier than ever to prepare and optimize images for the web. And Pixelmator Pro continues to push the boundaries of image editing with the new Auto Color Adjustments, which take advantage of the latest advances in machine learning and computer vision to automatically improve photos.”
Pixelmator Pro now gives you everything you need to prepare and optimize your images for the web. You can use advanced compression techniques to compress images to the smallest size possible without losing quality. Export presets let you quickly optimize images with your favorite settings. As you adjust any export settings, Pixelmator Pro displays a live preview of the optimized image right in the Pixelmator Pro window. Quick Export lets you instantly export a web-friendly image optimized with your most-used settings at any time. And the new Slice tool makes it much easier to prepare web designs by letting you divide entire designs into smaller images, optimizing each one separately.
With the new machine learning-powered Auto White Balance, Auto Lightness, and Auto Hue & Saturation adjustments, you can automatically perfect the colors of a photo with just a click. The machine learning algorithm was trained on millions of images to identify the contents of a photo, finding the best colors, lighting, and contrast to make every image stand out. Integrated via Core ML and powered by Metal, the Auto Color Adjustments deliver lightning fast performance and stunning quality.
Full support for the MacBook Pro Touch Bar gives you quick access to all your favorite tools and all kinds of useful options. You can apply color adjustment or effect presets, select colors for your brushes, and even share your image, all right from the Touch Bar. And whenever you switch tools, the Touch Bar automatically changes to put the most useful options at your fingertips, which makes using Pixelmator Pro simpler and easier than ever.
Pixelmator Pro 1.1 Monsoon includes many more incredible new features, including support for opening and exporting vector images in the SVG format, live previews when formatting text and adjusting layer blending options, a Select Color Range tool that lets you make selections of similarly colored areas in an image, support for exporting HEIF images, a new Tutorials page to help with learning Pixelmator Pro, and much more.
The Pixelmator Team today released Pixelmator Pro, a brand new Mac app that redefines image editing on the Mac, providing professional-grade editing tools in an incredibly intuitive and accessible design. Pixelmator Pro 1.0, codenamed Whirlwind, includes a modern single-window interface, nondestructive, GPU-powered image editing tools, machine learning-enhanced editing features, and more.
“We’re incredibly excited to finally release Pixelmator Pro on the Mac App Store,” said Saulius Dailide, one of the founders of the Pixelmator Team. “Its innovative, user-centered design makes editing images on a Mac simpler than ever. And with its GPU-powered and machine learning-enhanced editing tools, Pixelmator Pro is built for the future.”
The modern, dark single-window interface of Pixelmator Pro has been created exclusively for working with images. A streamlined, macOS-inspired design provides a completely native Mac app experience and is fully consistent with the look and feel of macOS. And a reimagined, user-centered workflow design makes the professional editing tools in Pixelmator Pro especially accessible, even to first-time users.
Completely nondestructive color adjustments, effects, styles, and layouting tools in Pixelmator Pro give users the freedom and flexibility to go back and modify or delete individual changes at any point in the editing workflow. Thanks to the new presets feature, you can create endless combinations of multiple adjustments, effects, or styles, save them to your favorites and reuse them in any of your images. Drag-and-drop sharing also makes it a breeze to share presets with others.
Pixelmator Pro pushes the boundaries of image editing, using breakthrough machine learning to deliver more intelligent editing tools and features. Integrated via the new, blazing fast Core ML framework, machine learning lets Pixelmator Pro detect and understand various features within images, bringing a number of groundbreaking advancements, such as jaw-droppingly accurate automatic layer naming, automatic horizon detection, stunningly realistic object removal, and intelligent quick selections.
Designed exclusively for the Mac, Pixelmator Pro uses the Mac graphics processor in tandem with the latest Mac graphics technologies, such as Metal 2, Core Image, and OpenGL, to deliver blistering fast, GPU-powered image editing. Built with Swift 4, Pixelmator Pro is a next-generation app that takes full advantage of the latest technological innovations in hardware and software.
The Pixelmator Team has packed a wide range of features and innovations into Pixelmator Pro, such as full RAW support, including support for multiple RAW layers; HEIF file format compatibility; superior support for Adobe Photoshop images; complete macOS integration via full support for iCloud, Versions, Tabs, Full Screen, Split View, Sharing, Wide Color, and others; Metal 2-powered painting tools and dual texture brushes; powerful retouching, reshaping, selecting, type, shape and vector tools; and a lot more. In addition, a number of free updates adding major new features to Pixelmator Pro are already lined up for the very near future.
Pixelmator Pro 1.0 Whirlwind is available exclusively from the Mac App Store for $59.99.
Pixelmator Pro requires macOS High Sierra and a Metal-compatible graphics card. Full system requirements and more information on Pixelmator Pro can be found at www.pixelmator.com/pro/
We’ve just released another awesome new film about Pixelmator Pro — this one’s all about the color adjustments.
Black Friday marks the start of the winter holiday and gift-giving season. And what better way to celebrate than by getting Pixelmator and Pixelmator for iOS for a huge 50% off. The sale starts today and will go on for two weeks until December 6th. If you already have and love both apps and know someone else who might enjoy image editing, let them know about the Black Friday sale. Or maybe even surprise them with Pixelmator as a gift. Learn more about the sale.