Pixelmator 2.0 vs. Photoshop

“Photoshop is the most feature rich photo editor on any platform, but that does not mean it is always the best tool for every job,” Karl Johnson reports for T-GAAP. “Just recently the developers of Pixelmator released version 2.0 of their photo editing application.”

Johnson reports, “The question this article will attempt to answer is ‘Can one use Pixelmator instead of Photoshop?’ not whether Pixelmator is better than Photoshop.”

Despite its lower price, Pixelmator does have a number of advantages over Photoshop and those include:
1. Interactivity
2. Mac-only App
3. Price (US$30 vs. $600)
4. Simplicity
5. Hardware Cost

Johnson reports, “Pixelmator has come a long with since it was first released. For many users, it can replace Photoshop in their workflow, especially if one is willing to learn Pixelmator’s way of doing things.”

Much more in the full article here.


  1. Yes, Pixelmator is great, I love it and use it every day. But as a PRO you still need Photoshop for color separation, 16bit and a lot more. Photoshop sure is bloated spaghetti code, on the other hand there has been no competitor at all. I wish there would be one. But it seems not to be that simple otherwise the others like Ulead’s PhotoStyler (decades ago!) and Corel’s PhotoWhateverIForget would not have completely lost against Photoshop.

    1. I concur. It’s like having a master set of Snap-On sockets and someone telling you that you can do the same work with one adjustable wrench.
      I’m no big Adobe fan but PhotoShop it is still the best tool for working on images.

  2. Pixelmator is great! Or it would be if it could stop crashing. Every (crash) time (crash) I (crash) try (crash) to (crash) use (crash) it (crash) it (crash) crashes. (crash) Yes, (crash) it (crash) sends (crash) a (crash) crash (crash) report (crash) every (crash) time. It definitely needs airbags.

    That’s how irritating it is. However, it takes longer to figure out how to do something in Adobe’s stuff than it does to actually do it in Pixelmator, all those irritating crashes notwithstanding.

      1. Ummm read his post again. He said pixelmator is the app that keeps crashing.

        However, I have no problems at all with my pixelmator app. So I concur that the crashes are probably due to something else on the Mac.

        1. or some people buy it as a crutch to do the actual shooting for them. Rent a 6×9 and use the movements, shit you can even get a tilt shift lens and scheinflug to get everything in focus. all without photoshop! I use photoshop everyday but not to do the work for me.

          1. And I agree with you that people should do their work properly.

            But Photoshop is a tool to retouch photos, and if people frequently use and value a specific retouch operation, it’s valid to criticize another retouch tool for the lack of this spe and thus dismiss it.

  3. Pixelmator is easier to use than Photoshop.

    If it’s too hard to learn Pixelmator’s way, then maybe you need a psychiatrist or physical therapist to unlearn the convoluted contortions of Photoshop.

    1. Maybe easier to use, but it in no way does anywhere near as much as Photoshop. That’s just a fact. Professionals need what Photoshop offers. I would love options to Adobe’s offerings, but there really aren’t any that have the power of Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.

  4. I think Adobe is beginning to feel the competitive pressure from Pixelmator and the other apps, particularly those appearing on iPad.

    But what we’re all really hoping to see is a complete re-think and re-design using today’s tech instead of 1990’s conventions.

    Jobs’ assertion (modified here): If Adobe isn’t willing to disrupt themselves, someone else will. Adobe is responding, but will it respond enough and in time? They’ve got a pretty deep moat of technological development and patents to last a long time. I just hope we don’t have to wait 5-8 years before they can take it to the next level, or that it takes that long for a competitor to catch up.

    I’ve always felt that it is an indictment of Photoshop and Adobe that their spagetti bloatware and UI systems have necessitated an ecosystem of 3rd party trainers (like Kelby, et al) in order to explain how to use the product. Kelby and others are excellent resources and provide a real service, but if Photoshop was done right, Kelby and others would be out of business for the most part.

  5. Adobe is suffering from WordPerfect syndrome. WordPerfect had an idiosyncratic, chaotic user interface. It was very hard to learn, and they retained it because it had its advantages. First, it prevented people from switching to other word processors, because they were terrified the new one would be just as hard to learn. Second, they actually believed that their product was so important people would put up with it, and third, they were catering to their legacy users.

    Boy, were they wrong. For one thing, new users began to outnumber legacy users and wouldn’t put up with the mess. F3 for help indeed!

    Adobe has its on UI that conforms neither to Windows nor to OS X. They do allow the user to customize the keyboard in the code editor, but not design view. Clearly it would be easy for them to conform to whatever platform they are running on, but they keep it a mess for their legacy users. In Dreamweaver you edit a lot of text, and the cursor movement keys are royally messed up. Press a key and it’s where’s Waldo with the cursor.

    This insult of a UI just makes the software worse. I have Design Premium, but that’s the end of it. I’m gradually collecting substitutes. Then I’ll take garlic and a crucifix to my computer and exorcise all the Adobe crap.

    1. “This insult of a UI just makes the software worse. I have Design Premium, but that’s the end of it. I’m gradually collecting substitutes. Then I’ll take garlic and a crucifix to my computer and exorcise all the Adobe crap.”

      Good luck finding a better alternative for Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, After Effects, Lightroom, Acrobat, Indesign…

      It’s quite clear that you’re not a professional, but just someone who downloaded the whole suite illegally.

      1. You seem to take his opinion personally. I don’t understand why people like you get so upset when people don’t agree with “your” software choice.

        Ken makes some very good points. Adobe’s UI is awful and it does cater to legacy users. That’s really a moot point.

        Further, claiming someone isn’t a professional without knowing anything about their work makes you look quite silly. I suppose, though, dying platforms rely on rabid fanboys like you to keep shelling out $2500 every couple years.

        Every talented professional in every field knows the tools do not make the professional. Tools are nothing without a professional to wield them.

        Don’t be so scared. Try and experiment with the other tools out there. You’ll surprise yourself what you can do without the Adobe crutch you’ve been leaning on for so long.

  6. I LOVE photoshop, but get irritated at what they charge for it. Probably a lot of upgrades that I never use. I WILL be buying Pixelmator which should work great for me, as I use it for photo touch up and coloring sketches.

  7. At $30, Pixelmator is clearly aimed at home/casual users that want to touch up a snapshot or make a funny picture (switching heads of subjects, etc.). It is not intended to meet Pro standards and should not be judged as such. Compare it to Photoshop Elements, not Photoshop.

    1. That’s what I thought too until I tried it.

      Yes, Pixelmator is missing features of Photoshop. But for web designers like me, who have been using Photoshop since the 90s, Pixelmator does a splendid job. In some ways far better than Photoshop and in some ways far worse.

      As creative professionals, I believe we owe it to ourselves to try all software available to us. Sticking to a single software title under the blanket notion “that’s what professionals use” is neither healthy nor wise.

  8. “Mac-only” is an advantage it has over Photoshop?

    I’ve been a Mac user for over a decade, but sometime I think I should switch, just so that I don’t get confused with some of you people…

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