The app that’s like Photoshop at 1/20th the cost

“Just as Microsoft no longer has a lock on Mac users with the aging, bloated, and overly complex Word, Adobe no longer has a lock on Mac users with Photoshop (for the same reasons),” Bambi Brannan reports for Mac360.

“For Mac users who need powerful image editing but can’t handle the price or complexity of Photoshop, there are startlingly good alternatives,” Brannan reports. “Photoshop retails for a dollar shy of $700. At 5-cents on the dollar, Pixelmator begins to look like the graphics app bargain of the century.”

“To be fair, Photoshop is a professional tool… [but] you’ll spend 1/20th the price of Photoshop, and end up with an app that has a gentler learning curve, a similar set of tools and capabilities, and is ready for Mac OS X Lion’s built-in Versions and Autosave to make your image editing life a little easier,” Brannan reports. “Pixelmator is not Photoshop. But, as the affordable image editing app for the rest of us, it’s easily the bargain app of the year at 5-cents on the dollar compared to Photoshop.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: MacDailyNews uses Pixelmator (US$29.99 at Apple’s Mac App Store) daily and highly recommends the application.

Related article:
Pixelmator 2.0 launches on Mac App Store – October 27, 2011


  1. No doubt, Pixelmator is cool and a bargain (I own it).
    But does MDN own stock in the company or something?
    I’ve just noticed it being featured as a news article many times.

    1. We receive no compensation from Pixelmator or, for that matter, from any other companies for articles posted on MacDailyNews or for our recommendations. Ever.

      We are simply satisfied customers.

      Pixelmator articles are appearing here because the new 2.0 version was released yesterday in Apple’s App Store.

        1. ladies and gentleman…..card revealer, adobe apologist, stockholder and all-around sensitive bastard…. …….omalanskyyyyyyyyyy………….yyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!

        2. OMG, the OWS are coming after MDN. Didn’t they know making money from advertising was so not equal-wealth distribution? EARNING money is illegal, comrades.

      1. OMG

        You do read the comments! I assumed you did, but have never seen you make a comment!

        FYI you are my homepage, you shoul have that as one of your surveys,

        Is MDN your homepage

      2. I’m sorry, but Pixelmator deserves the press. MDN obviously uses it, and the price they are charging for such a sophisticated app (and the fact that it was the first App Store hit) justifies the press.

  2. I have Pixelmator and have recommended it to many people, but the constant comparisons to Photoshop are off base. Thankfully Brannan acknowledges that Photoshop is a professional tool; Pixelmator couldn’t begin to touch its feature set. Granted, Pixelmator has a few features that bring Photoshop up short, like its live Magic Eraser.

    (If one seeks a peer to Photoshop without the price, there’s always GIMP.)

    Versions and Autosave are very annoying, but then I’m an old fart who remembers when computers didn’t save until saved to.

    1. I’m an old fart that remembers when computers didn’t even remind you to save and just let you close a file and lose hours of work.

      I prefer Lion’s way of doing it with Autosave. I’d have been a bit happier with Apple leaving Save As intact alongside of it, but Autosave is just fine as far as I am concerned.

      As far as a Photoshop replacement, GraphicConverter is a wonderful app for a great price. It may not have all the tools, but for most folks, it is a really useful app.

      1. GraphicConverter contains DANGEROUS MAC MALWARE

        Doesn’t anyone else on MDN look at their Mac Sophos Virus Scanner?

        Maybe a Bing! of GraphicConverter 7 will open your eyes?

        At least Pixelmator is safe and a solid Mac replacement for the Windows Centric Gimp.

    2. I agree about Versions and Autosave. Pain in the ass. A better solution is the one used in Vectorworks. You can set a time increment to remind you to save. Can be as little as one minute. I routinely use 15 minutes. It allows “save as” so I can make multiple versions if I so desire, and can name them as I want. I sure wish we could get Apple and now it seems others are going to copy them.

      1. You have missed the point entirely about Versions and Autosave. Most people either do not know about setting the AutoSave (Word and other apps have had this function for years as well), and the default is turned off, or they never turn it on.

        Versions is like Time Machine for every document without running Time Machine on a separate hard drive. It’s what computers should have been doing all along – never losing documents due to a power outage/crash and letting people go back in time to something they deleted but realized later they still needed.

        Kudos to you for being disciplined enough to save different versions, but I bet you don’t do it for every document, nor at every change you make. Versions handles that for you, so you don’t have to worry about it.

  3. As a professional graphic designer using photoshop for the last 20 years, I can say that Pixelmator just gets better and better. I’ve been using it as a matter of principle, since I feel strongly that Adobe should die a painful, awful, death as soon as possible. DEATH TO ADOBE.

    1. Photoshop reminds me of the overly-complicated, menu-driven feature bloat monstrosity that Word, Excel and the rest have become.

      I’m very glad the touch revolution came along, and that others are beginning to take a run at Photoshop.

      And Photoshop is responding. I’d dearly love to see them rebuild Photoshop and ditch the last-century stuff as much as possible.

      And they can start with eliminating the legacy terms that just serve to confuse regular people (or make it modal — if you want legacy labels, check it, or check the common language version.)

  4. Pixelmator is a nice little image editing program, no doubt; but comparing it to Photoshop is ludicrous. Those looking for a less expensive alternative to Photoshop should also consider Photoshop Elements. I understand that some people are simply anti-Adobe, but that’s another question entirely.

    1. I agree. I alternate between Pixelmator, Elements, and Graphic Converter. Photoshop CS2 simply stopped working (even after reinstalling) since Snow Leopard update or Elements installation. Don’t mind alternating, but to date, no fix for Photoshop crashing at startup. Emotionally, I hate Adobe, but will use it if I have to.

  5. As you will see from the feedback, this forum is heavily biased against all things Microsoft and Adobe. The word “bloated” and “crash” are thrown around a lot. You simply asked a question. The response is degrading. Like you have no right to question. The fact is Pixelmator is NOT Photoshop anymore than TextWrangler is MS Word. For that matter, Pages and NeoOffice are NOT MS Word and Numbers is NOT Excel. All are great apps in a vacuum. But, none have the full power or compatibility of the market leaders. I won’t even get into Flash vs using HTML5 for ecommerce.

    So, to Ragu…it’s a free country. I can choose my own tools and you can choose yours. If I think an entity is biased, I can call them out on it. Just like you can call me out on my biases.

    One last thing. If Pixelmator does not have all of the functionality of Photoshop that I need, why would I want to use it even if it is cheaper and easier to use (because it may not have all of the features of the leading product). Jumping around from one app to another does not seem very productive to me…and time is money.

    1. Replies that have no ‘parent’ post are also a nice indication that not only is there bias but MDN’s ‘editors’ (if you can call them that) resort to deleting things they do not agree with.

      I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… this place is run by anally retentive losers.

      Now MDN please do your normal whitewash job and delete this. LOL

  6. In all honesty, I am consistently able to produce the same quality of output for landscapes, scenics and wildlife as might be done in PhotoShop, using iPhoto and Pixelmator. For my needs (and this could vary widely with others) these two are perfect. I do have Aperture, too, because some of the algorithms are said to be more precise with specific functions (such as sharpening).

  7. I need to check out pixilmator again, for the 2 times a year I need to do more than crop etc… No way in hell I’d buy photoshop. Pirate photoshop… Don’t think I could even bring myself to do that.
    Everyone has noting by praise for pixilmator, checked it out before and almost got it then.

  8. On the PC I used Paint.NET quite heavily. I always wished someone would port it over to OS X.

    I’ll def give Pixelmator a whirl. One less reason to boot VmWare.

  9. What exactly is it that Photoshop does and Pixelmator doesn’t? CMYK is useless for web and video, and I’m not sure why it’s still needed for print. The new 2.0 features eliminates any problems I had with it.

      1. A few examples would be nice . Certainly more helpful than your statement. If you know both so well, perhaps you could list a few and allow us to decide if they are important to us.

        1. No offense, but your question could have only been asked by someone who has so little knowledge of image editing techniques (beyond the simple, obvious adjustments that anyone can make using iPhoto or any other basic photo editing app) that trying to offer a coherent answer would be a waste of time. Use whatever you want and be happy.

          1. You could’ve taken less time and used fewer words to answer Bandit Bill’s question. Your answers sound like they came from someone running for political office: always dancing around the issue, but never really hitting the mark. Or better yet, like a child on the playground, “that’s for me to know and you to find out!” Grow up and give an answer!

      2. A car travels at higher speeds, making longer trips viable. Bikes can’t safely use the many roads where cars dominate. Cars are practical in rain and cold weather, and offer lots of storage for cargo or other people.

        See? That is what actual knowledge looks like. Now if you think you know something about Photoshop, then say it.

    1. If you don’t understand why CMYK is still used for print then I’m not sure you’d understand the answer, but it’s simple. Litho uses cyan, magenta yellow and black to produce a full colour image. There have been systems that add green and orange or RGB but they have a different dot structure to produce an image, and are very expensive in equipment, requiring high-end CTP systems. CMYK on the other hand can be done with a simple RIP, a photosetter outputting film with manual film planningand an old platemaker. Cheap and cheerful. For web based stuff, RGB is all that’s needed, and digital print uses RGB. Litho CMYK. Understand?

  10. I downloaded the original Pixelmator through Mac Update, then updated it through there, as well.

    Now the only version of Pixelmator on Mac Update is the demo of version 2. I cannot update version 1.6.7 through Mac Update, Pixelmator’s website or Apple’s app store.

    If I want version 2, I cannot get the free update because I didn’t buy the original through the app store, though the original Pixelmator was released before the app store existed.

    Ihave to buy it again through Apple’s app store.

    Apple and Pixelmator can kiss my ass. I’ll buy Photoshop or Elements before I contribute one red cent to Apple’s Microsoftian ripoff. And I’ll switch to Linux rather than run Lion.

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