I am a long time graphic, app and web designer. I learned how to design using Adobe Photoshop 7 (before there was such as thing as Creative Suite, much less Creative Cloud). So I’ve seen a lot of changes come to Photoshop over the years. I’ve also been on the lookout for a cheaper alternative.
I quickly learned that that cheaper alternative was NOT Gimp. Give me a break. I mean, just look at the website. A designer can’t use a poorly-designed interface. Plus, Gimp has plenty of limitations. I don’t even like talking about it, honestly.
For years I assumed there was no competitor that could ever crop up and effectively takedown the monster Adobe has built. Aviary was no real competitor—it was built on Adobe products. Web-based photo editing tools just can’t cut it yet. I mean Pixlr is fine for people who want to edit Facebook photos I guess, but not for a real designer—at least not for me (not yet).
But I recently tried a Mac app called Pixelmator that is an honest-to-goodness Photoshop alternative that costs just $29.99—once. Photoshop, on the other hand, costs $49.99 PER MONTH for the full version.
I’m sure there are die-hard photographers out there who are stuck in their ways and do, in reality, benefit from some of Photoshop’s unique and advanced features but for graphic, app and web designers Pixelmator will be more than fine.
I was skeptical, at first, of Pixelmator’s chops. How could such a “cheap” app compete with such an established competitor?
So I dug right in and began getting my hands dirty.
The first thing I tested was the paint selection tool. OH YA. I immediately liked it better than the photoshop equivalent. It’s fast, highly accurate and uses nearly identical keyboard shortcuts for painting/unpainting selections. Brilliant.
Well, as long as I had something selected I thought I’d try giving it a fill. Again, similar keyboard shortcuts (holding option or command + delete). Plus, it’s easy to fill with a gradient. Cool.
Next, I decided to try the repair tool (similar to the heal function in Photoshop). Wow. Works awesome. So far, Pixelmator is performing as good or better than Photoshop in each of these categories.
Clone stamp? Check. Works like a charm.
Whoa—what’s this? A “magic” eraser. What does this do… Oh, wow. It’s like the paint selection tool except it literally erases ...