From Photoshop to Pixelmator: Faster, far less expensive, built for Mac

“I’ve been a Photoshop user since 1992 starting with Photoshop 2 (that’s ‘2’ not ‘CS2’),” E. Werner Reschke reports for Three Guys and a Podcast.

“I worked in technical support for a color printer manufacturer and we needed to use and learn Photoshop because our customers were using it to print to our printers,” Reschke reports. “Sometimes customers would send their files so we could troubleshoot them and figure out why they weren’t printing the way the customer expected. This type of troubleshooting required research, working with Adobe and a lot of trial and error. With all that experimenting I became pretty adept at using Photoshop. Over time there were other titles that came and went, like CorelDraw and Painter, but nothing ever seemed to hold a candle to Photoshop, but then I encountered a game changer.”

Reschke reports, “Guy #1 (Mark) had been telling me about Pixelmator, how good it was and how he could do most things that he used to do with Photoshop (but couldn’t afford to purchase a new copy). For $59, it was almost a no-brainer to give Pixelmator a try. While it took a little getting used to, I have to say Pixelmator is a very good substitute for Photoshop. If you don’t need to record macros (aka Actions) or work for print output (CMYK), Pixelmator can do most things Photoshop can do — and often a lot better.”

Four Reasons I’ve Switched To Pixelmator
1. Speed
2. Similar Workflow
3. Price
4. Built for the Mac

Reschke reports, “I still use Photoshop for a few tasks, but it is maybe once or twice a week. I have no plan to upgrade — ever. In contrast, Pixelmator has been a great surprise on the Mac platform. I can’t wait for the next version!”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: MacDailyNews uses Pixelmator daily and highly recommends the application.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. I tried out pixelmator and its pretty awesome of a program and way cheaper.. but it is still more of a competition to photoshop elements and not photoshop CS5. It will get there though eventually.. I love how pixelmator looks and its pretty easy to figure things out.

  2. For real? I’ll give it a try… been using PhotoShop since it was called BarneyScan c. 1989…. I can’t stand Adobe’s stance when it comes to Apple pushing for bug fixes and utilizing cutting edge OS/hardware. Skip a version upgrade and you have to almost re-purchase, WOW, like everyone is making millions cleaning up a power-line in a photograph of my niece. Apple should buy them, kill half of their repetitive products and integrate whats left into maybe 3 products, Draw/Paint/Photo oh maybe layout, but i prefer Quark.

    1. Hey Douglas, I agree, except for the Quark comment. Since I switched to InDesign, I can’t imagine ever going back to Quark. And I used to love Quark. Now, if I have to open and work in Quark, I get that same queasy feeling I used to get when I had to use CorelDraw!

    2. Why in the world would Apple buy Adobe? Can you imagine the headaches of trying to clean up Adobe’s products? Didn’t Apple already (and still) go through that pain with Aperature?

      No, let Adobe slowly die off, because that’s what’s happening. Much cheaper and easier to either create from scratch or buy a company like Pixelmator Team and keep developing its products.

  3. Pixelmator is great, one rub – I’d love to be able to set the default file format to jpeg. The Pixelmator format, the default, is useless for web updates. Causes lots of extra operations.

    I wrote them, and called them.

      1. @duffman
        I’m not sure if you are a recent user of Mac, but it used to be that the Mac community was the most helpful bunch in all tech communities. Snarky comments, often mislabeling relatively not too advanced level questions as ‘n00bs’, are more common amongst certain sarcasm gun trotting Linux users.

        In the dark old days, when Apple didn’t/couldn’t offer much support (mostly related to 3rd party stuff), it was the user supported Mac community that would sometimes go out of their way even to help each other out. I would like to think, that environment hasn’t gone out of fad yet. A humble suggestion, if you can’t help someone, you don’t have to respond; or if you think the question to be less than valid or deep, there are other ways to let the poster know before resorting to the immediate name calling. It just feels like the right way to go about it, and you might even come to appreciate it one day.

        I won’t be able to offer anything beyond my immediate abilities, but here’s what I’ve found after doing a quick web search:

        It appears a Sebastiaan from the Pixelmator Team has responded to this very issue on the Pixelmator help forum thus:

        Post Posted: Sun Feb 28, 2010 10:13 pm

        I’m so sorry but this issue has already been fixed in 1.5.1. Images edited are not anymore saved as pxm-files by default. In stead, you get to choose to overwrite your original image when you have added layers. If you didn’t add any new layers the image gets saved without any questions.

        I have a copy of Pixelmator 1.5.1 myself, courtesy of MDN (I won my copy by entering MDN’s twitter promo last year, thank you MDN, please do it again for the others). I have been able to verify this fix, which was not obvious to me without reading this thread carefully. It appears if you open a jpeg file from within pixelmator, you can save the file in that same format using the ‘Save’ option directly (unless you fiddled with layers). ‘Save As’ still defaults to Pixelmator, but Jpeg is also an option from the pull down menu. The OP’s concern appears to be that he would have preferred to have the ‘Save As’ defaulted to Jpeg or anything to his choosing. That is a valid concern, particularly if you are dealing with a large number of files (it can get tiring having to manually use the pull-downs the thousandth time), and right now, there’s no setting to fix that. Maybe there are more advanced fixes are out there, maybe with Apple-script, and some more advanced users here can chime in.
        Meanwhile, hope this helps. Cheers!

  4. I have bought and occasionally use Pixelmator; it is a wonderful app. However, I have to be able to edit in 16-bit mode, I need serious filter choices such as high- and low-pass filters, and I need to be able to open some scientific image formats such as FITS. Sadly, Pixelmator cannot do these things and so I am still relying on Photoshop. There is a opportunity here for someone, but it is going to require some serious coding to create an app that can go head-to-head with CS5.

    1. the way I see it – you either need photoshop or you don’t. there’s no need to create customized versions or niche apps to fill little holes in individual workflows.

      user either under-use the feature sets of pro apps or they push the features of the scaled down versions.

      Apple’s got this figured out: iMovie >final cut express>final cut pro…..pick one….pick the wrong one, try the other one. use the one that works for you.

      if you work at NASA or the CIA doctoring(I mean enhancing) photos of the moon landing then I don’t think Microsoft paint is your app of choice

  5. I’m sure it’s a solid application, and faster, and no one can argue the price isn’t right but come on, this is not really a Photoshop competitor. If it were, it would cost at least three-times as much to incorporate the myriad features found in Adobe’s crown jewel.

    By sheer extension alone, photoshop works seamlessly with hundreds of third-party plug-ins and with applications like ZBrush and Autodesk’s slew of products, giving professionals greater freedom of choice.

    I agree with the commentor above that, Elements is more appropriately compared to pixelmator.

      1. if you want to buy from the New Amazon store…. it’s $17 right now.
        I have used it before, it’s not bad. tempted to buy it from amazon’s new store…

  6. MacDailyNews uses Pixelmator daily

    To do what? Seriously, what tasks involved with the administration of this site require the use of an image editor?

    (Okay, a few times a year you guys do something silly with Ballmer’s face. But “daily”?)


  7. What is being said about Pixelmator is true. I had the free trial of that app and Aperture 3, and still purchased Aperture 3, as its the software of my choice, but I fully appreciate Pixelmator. Newbies and those who are well-seasoned can all enjoy it for its simplicity.

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