Photoshop? Try the $30 Pixelmator Sandstone for Mac instead

“Pixelmator has long been my graphics editing program of choice,” Dennis Sellers writes for Apple Daily Report. “The app has only gotten better with the recently released version 3.2, which changes the name to Pixelmator Sandstone.”

“The Pixelmator toolbar is very Mac-like. It’s streamlined, clean and easy to use after a short learning curve,” Sellers writes. “The software is also very Mac friendly, working with iPhoto and Aperture. For example, the Photo Browser palette in Pixelmator lets you access your iPhoto Library, albums, Smart Albums, as well as pictures in your Pictures folder. You can drag and the images as layers in a Pixelmator composition.”

Sellers writes, “Pixelmator actions in Automator allow you to enhance, resize, or transform images, add special effects, and export images. Pixelmator also utilizes Core Images, ColorSync and Spotlight. Core Image and OpenGL technologies use your Mac’s video card for image processing; this frees up your Mac’s CPU for other tasks… Pixelmator 3.2 is available exclusively from the Mac App Store for US$29.99 for new users.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Pixelmator Team releases Pixelmator 3.2 Sandstone – May 22, 2014
Macworld reviews Pixelmator 3.1 Marble: New tools, expanded capabilities nudge photo editing app into pro arena – January 27, 2014
Pixelmator 3.1 Marble released; fully optimized for new Mac Pro – January 23, 2014
Apple shuns Adobe Photoshop in favor of Pixelmator 3 to show off Mac Pro performance – October 23, 2013
Pixelmator unveils Pixelmator 3.0 FX – October 22, 2013


    1. I’ll try anything to allow me to get away from Adobe. Competition from Pixelmator is great.

      They and MicroSoft only want monthly subscription fees.

      Damn near no one, except publication professionals, needs anything more than CS5-6 and Word97, so Adobe & MS have nothing more useful in real terms to offer of substance to a supermajority of users.

      1. Good point – also I believe Adobe said CS7 was the end.
        That slight tweaks to the online subscription software would be all Adobe does to CS from here on.
        Meaning no chance for a CS8.

      2. Totally agree with your take.

        CS6 full blown professional suite and MS 97 will fill my needs for decades.

        You can only take software so far and its all been done. For example, the wheel will not be any better next year nor will milk taste any different.

        I will have to buy a few extra refurb Macs to last that long before Apple cripples the OS in the name of progress rendering me obsolete.

        Meanwhile, thrilling the Tweens with shiny new things … beat it, just beat it!

        Oh yeah, Snow Leopard still rules in functionality and Panther in eye candy … IMHO 🙂

  1. It’s great software and keeps getting better.

    Still using Phot-plop at work – however really enjoy Pixelmator since the first version.

    Give the demo a try.

  2. Pixelmator is awesome, with one caveat:

    Am I somehow not seeing any way to use sliders or numbers to pick a color? There is a “colors” palette, but it only gives you a set of lists.

  3. more buttons does not a great app make… as a power photoshop user and former photo editor for a magazine i can tell you there are only a bout a dozen photoshop tools and filters you should use less is more and photo shop needs a light touch i am actually fine with cs 4 i do not want to loose access to my work because i like most artists fell on lean times and could not ante up the subscription to get it done. the demos of the new features work great in controlled images and optimum situations but in real life give me a bezler pen and turn me loose . the best filter photoshop has (luminosity mask ) is hidden in a short cut (command option 5 in photo shop 5 command option ~ in 4 or less (after you disable the apple keyboard shortcut )

    try it yourself with a command j to paste in on its own layer then change mode between multiply and overlay and see why it is so valuable . so can pixelmator make a luminosity mask ?

  4. Pixelmator shows great promise. I can’t use it yet because one feature I use all the time is Smart Objects and the ability to place linked files inside other files. Smart Objects lets me make changes non-destructively. I don’t think they should duplicate that functionality though. They could use a different paradigm, nodes to enable non-destructive editing.

  5. We sure love to hate Adobe, and I totally understand. Yet, I still use Photoshop as my go-to, along with Lightroom. I am cheering Pixelmator, and love many of the things the company does and includes in the app. But lack of support for CMYK limits the app considerably. Add to that the fine tuning of adjustments in Photoshop are simply better.

    When trying to paint an image from scratch, as many of my illustrators do with Photoshop, or making very subtle corrections to a photograph, Photoshop wins out over the excellent Pixelmator. As mentioned, lack of CMYK support is a deal-breaker for us, as it’s essential for offset and screen printing. RGB is nice, but CMYK is essential. I can only hope that the Pixelmator team will make this, along with adjustable palette support for custom color mapping, high on their future to-do list.

  6. I use Pixelmator and I have found it to be all that I need right now. I do not work for a magazine, hence no need for CMYK or other things. My main need was the use of layers. I have been able to make a lot of great projects with this.

    The new version has been even better for the most part. Having just accessed a new iMac, the response times are great and my work flow has improved considerably. Add to that, the response to questions and support has been fantastic.

    If you need this for light work, I highly recommend it.

    By the way Adobe, when I bought my computer, I was looking forward to getting Photoshop only to find out about pricing and subscription models. Not my cup of tea. Pixelmator is mine for a fraction of the cost and I think that anything else that I need will still be less than the subscription to CS.

  7. Pixelmator is a nice little app for amateurs
    it is not a Photoshop replacement. thats laughable.
    Gimp, which is free, comes closer but still isn’t there
    as much as i hate adobe, photoshop is irreplaceable

  8. Pixelmator is to Photoshop what a sub-compact is to a Ferrari. Those who are happy using Pixelmator should never even consider using a program as powerful as Photoshop. Those who are looking for a genuine Photoshop replacement should look elsewhere.

    1. Agree that it is mainly for amateur work, but perhaps you could guide us to others who are making graphics software that does layers? As far as I can see only Pixelmator does this well. Gimp is just plain awful.

      Again, for most of us who are doing light work, Pixelmator and either Adobe Lightroom or Apple’s Aperture should be fine.

      1. Photoshop Elements is definitely worth a look. At first glance, it seems to have most of the same basic tools that Photoshop has and can be purchased at Amazon for $79. I agree with you that those doing light work may not need anything more than Pixelmator. Lightroom, of course, is aimed specifically at photo editing, but is very capable for that purpose and can do layers with the help of a plugin.

      1. Why not? It makes the point. Photoshop is a Ferrari compared to budget-priced apps like Pixelmator. There’s nothing wrong with driving a sub-compact if that’s all you need or can afford.

        1. Given that Pixelmator addresses most common needs I wouldn’t say it is like a sub-compact car. Maybe a better comparison would be a sleek and modern SUV compared to a Hummer. Photoshop is kind of big, bloated, and clunky but does it all.

          Rather than cars, Photoshop feels to me a lot like Office. It’ll do it all but ugh.

            1. Oops, guess you weren’t scherzoso. I must have struck a nervo.

              Ah, I think you are shooting for a metaphor or probably hyperbole rather than an analogy. As a metaphor describing the differences I can see where you are coming from but I would not call it an analogy.

              Now, I own and use both products. I would not put the bloated and clunky Photoshop in the same category as a luxury hand-made Italian car. I also wouldn’t put the beautiful, efficient, and sometimes-faster Pixelmator in the same category as a Yugo.

              I say Pixelmator is to Photoshop what a Ferrari is to an F1 racer. A handful of people need it but most people would much rather drive the Ferrari.

  9. taojones2013 what do you see wrong with your following sentence: “…as a power photoshop user and former photo editor for a magazine i can tell you there are only a bout a dozen photoshop tools and filters you should use less is more and photo shop needs a light touch i am actually fine with cs 4 i do not want to loose access to my work because i like most artists fell on lean times and could not ante up the subscription to get it done….”.

    If you truly were a photo editor at a magazine, you obviously did not write for the magazine. Your writing, your grammar, and spelling is not at all professional. Among the smaller mistakes is one glaring mistake, your use of loose, for lose. In case you do not know, loose means something is not tight. Think of lose as in lost, losing, notice each has one letter o.


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