A $59 Alternative to Photoshop for Mac Users

I spent a nice walk through town thinking of what kind of tip I would give to you guys today.  I’ll be honest, it wasn’t a productive walk.  And just know, it hit me.  A great resource for any video editor or also needs to make some kick-ass stills for a project.  Only catch, it’s for Macs only.

The program in question is Pixelmator.  It’s billed as “Image editing for the rest of us,” by it’s creators, and from my experience, I must say that they’re right.  I found out about Pixelmator by participating in the annual celebration of mystery, intrigue, and  indie Mac programers, MacHeist.  Pixelmator retails for $59 (US), and can be directly downloaded from the website.  It’s been some time since I used it, but I find it to be highly comparable to Adobe’s CS3 Photoshop.  The maker offer’s a free 30-day trial of the software, so go download it and give it a few laps around the track.

What I like most about Pixelmator is that it combines what I regard to be the best of both worlds from Photoshop and Mac.  All the tools you’d exepct to find in Photoshop are present, while some of the sliders and settings are more reminiscent of the shadow boxes used in native Apple software such as iPhoto and Aperture.  And some of the features built in, such as the ability to import from a Mac’s built-in camera and integration with Automator, I haven’t found a parallel for in Photoshop.

In terms of filters, Pixelmator supports both Core Image and Quartz Composer.  It’s also capable of utilizing your video card and graphics card VRAM to take stress off of your processor.

The Pixelmator team makes a large amount of training material available at their site, as well as on their training blog, which can be accessed through a link in the training section, or their training Twitter account.  If you’re already familiar with Photoshop, you should have an easy time adapting to this guy.  I’m convinced that my own rapid acclimation to Photoshop was in part directly caused by my experience with Pixelmator.

That’s about wraps up the basic overview of Pixelmator.  For a more in-depth idea of what the program is capable of, head on over to it’s website and take advantage of that 30 day trial.  If your budget is tight and you need a good, solid, image editor, I don’t think you can go wrong with Pixelmator.  It’s also a great option if you’re just expanding into image editing and aren’t sure if it’s something you want to stick with.  For $59, you really can’t ask for a better image editor.

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