Table of Contents

About layers

Pixelmator Pro is a layer-based image editor. This means that instead of simply editing one image at a time, you can add and combine multiple elements of different kinds — images, shapes, masks, text, color adjustments, or effect layers — to create your compositions and designs.

Each layer type is displayed differently in the Layers sidebar to help you quickly and easily distinguish between them.

You can think of layers as stacked transparent plastic sheets. If you add a completely empty layer (an empty sheet) and draw on it, the parts you draw over will no longer be transparent, but the parts you don’t touch will stay transparent. You can also add images or photos as new layers — if an image is smaller than the canvas, around the image, you’ll be able to see the layers below (if there are any).

You can use layers for a wide variety of different tasks in image editing, but a few of the more popular ones are adding text and shapes, copying parts of one image to another, and creating posters or collages.

A new image in Pixelmator Pro contains one layer — either the image you opened, or an empty layer if you chose to create a graphic from scratch. To create new layers, you can add photos or other pictures as layers, create layers from selections, add shapes or text. Pixelmator Pro can even add a layer to your composition directly from your FaceTime camera.

To work with layers, you should have the Layers sidebar visible. In the Layers sidebar, you can select layers, create new layers, remove layers, show and hide layers, arrange layers in the layer stack, group layers, add layer masks, create adjustment layers, and more.

Tip: The layer you are working on is highlighted so you can easily identify it. It’s a good idea always to check which layer is active — for example, if you choose a command and nothing happens, check whether you’re editing the right layer.

Pixelmator Pro User Guide