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Create pixel-perfect digital designs

When creating icons, logos, or other designs using vector shapes, you might notice that your designs can sometimes end up a little blurry. This can happen when the vertical or horizontal edges of shapes in your design don’t align with the pixel grid of the canvas. Usually, Pixelmator Pro aligns everything for you automatically but when resizing or rotating a shape, it can be mathematically impossible to align each vector point perfectly, so you might need to slightly adjust the design yourself.

With pixel-perfect shapes, your designs will look incredibly sharp and free from any unwanted blurring or distortion. What’s more, you can often fix blurring with just single click, but we’ll also show you some how to do this manually.

At first glance, you might not notice the very slight vector misalignment but, although these small details aren’t immediately visible, a design feels much more professional when it’s pixel-perfect. To check if the lines of a shape align with the pixel grid, zoom in to the shape until you see the pixel grid. If the pixel grid is still not visible, choose Overlays > Pixel Grid in the View menu.

Automatically make shapes pixel-perfect

The fastest and most convenient way to align the shape corners to the pixel grid of the canvas is by selecting an existing shape or adding a shape to the canvas, Control—clicking it, then selecting Align to Pixel Grid. All the shape’s vector points will be automatically aligned to the nearest pixel gridline with just a click.

Create pixel-perfect shapes from scratch

When you select Align to Pixel Grid, all the shape’s points are aligned to the nearest gridline, but with multiple shapes in a design, the points of one shape might be closer to one gridline than the points of another and automatically aligning them would make their sizes become slightly uneven.

Even though these differences might not be noticeable to the naked eye, if you’re creating icons or logos, it is important than they stay the same size. In situations like this, it’s important to know how to align the outer edges of a shape to the pixel grid. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Add a shape, or select an existing shape on the canvas
  2. Choose the Arrange tool
  3. In the Size settings, make sure that both the width and the height of your shape aren’t fractional numbers – i.e. that they are whole pixels
  4. In the Position settings, make sure that both the X and the Y position values are also whole numbers

Simply put, make sure that the shape’s size and position are whole numbers and also that they’re set in pixels not some other unit.

Why are the inner edges of my shape still slightly blurry?

When setting the size and position of a shape, only the outer points of the shape will be aligned with the pixel grid. In situations like this, the shape’s inner edges would not be affected. To make the inner edges of a plus shape pixel-perfect, you can zoom in until you see the pixel grid and, after setting the size and position, you can use the one-click Align to Pixel Grid feature.

Using these simple steps, you can create pixel-perfect designs and improve the quality of the shapes in your visuals.