If you are looking after a drawing and effect program, that can match Photoshop. Then you should read this Pixelmator review. We have tested it for quite some time now and I feel that I am finally ready to give you a review of it.

Pixelmator in Fullscreen Mode

For just under $30, this graphical program can be yours if you have latest OSX on your Mac. There is also a version for iPad, but that will be taken into another review.

The Look

Once the program have started, it somewhat reminds you of Photoshop, but as you dig deeper into all of its functions. Pixelmator makes Photoshop to a shame on several levels. One of the examples is that the icons are much clearer. You actually see what their functions should do! The GUI look is also not too advanced, which makes the whole thing perfect. Also as Pixelmator is fully intergrated with OSX functions, the function to move Pixelmator to its own screen is there also. Which makes lots of sense. Its as if Pixelmator is Photoshop without the un-necessary GUI functions. However, I miss the colour for fill and edges in the menu of Pixelmator. You do have a colour palette chooser in this program, but at this area the developers should work a little more I think.

Effect change Window

The windows look are great. The dark theme makes the program sort of lift up. The Effects window is the most impressive one. Here you have small icons showing what the effects do. Once you click on one of them, either the layer of your picture will change or you will get an additional window giving you more choices. Great. Here Photoshop is miles behind I think and this is where Pixelmator really shines.

Layers box Comments

Since the dawn of graphical programs, a good layer system is very necessary. On this part, Pixelmator does it job quite well. I really feel that the way you choose layers, merge them or even copy them is slightly better than in Photoshop. You have way better control as a beginner, but as a advanced graphical program user you find Pixelmator functions rather very useful. There are simply less clicks here and there. Easier to also convert Text or Vector Shape objects to Pixels and much easier to just tell that only one object on the desired layer should be flipped or rotated. This gives you way less frustration, which is fabulous.


Brush choosing and Drawing

For the price, I am quite stunned for what you actually get here. But there are some flaws here and there. Distrita thinks that the brush choosing function could have been made easier. Although it does have neat functions like the one showing change of brush size and the fact that when Pixelmator is in fullscreen mode, you can get to the “Brushes” window by clicking on the top bar, but there is no way of changing the brush directly without open the “Brushes” window and that confuses beginners. Photoshop let you choose the brush in a top menubar, but in Pixelmator you only have the window called “Brushes”. For daily life it doesn’t matter so much, but if you want to change the brush size fast, there should be a better solution. TVPaint and even Deluxe Paint for old Amiga have this on the Tools window on the top. Pixelmator should add this function to top of the Tools window maybe? In this way, user wouldn’t need to open the “Brushes” window to change size of the brush.

Black and White Effect

When drawing, the user should had an extra place to choose fast size of the brush or the shape of the brush tool. Maybe later Pixelmator versions will have this?


How to get it and is it Easy to install!?

If you have an App Store account. You can get it there. At the moment its priced at $29 or 239 Norwegian NOK, but when I bought it, this product was sold too cheap I think. I paid 130 Norwegian NOK for it and then I can use Pixelmator on several Mac’s that I have. There is no monthly fee like Adobe is selling their Photoshop program.

Also Pixelmator is very easy to install. Once payment have been paid, you can then download. Starting the program is quite fast and you feel sort of a feeling that the developers behind Pixelmator deserves more income. Because their software is really great.

Mirror Effect


Do not buy a Photoshop subscription. Adobe is killing the market by tricking you. In Norway a Photoshop monthly subscription costs 189 Norwegian NOK per month. Thats about 2268 Norwegian NOK a year. When buying Pixelmator, you pay once! No more payment. You pay 239 Norwegian NOK and thats it! If you are a student or a person starting up a small business. Please don’t go the Adobe way. Its actually cheaper to get a modern Mac machine and Pixelmator instead. Just by doing this, you can save lots of money.

When it comes to functionality and the way Pixelmator works, it is minor differences. Pixelmator also allows you to save in .psd format if thats what you want. Pixelmator supports export in several formats like JPEG, PNG, TIFF, BMP and also even PDF. It is a fully drawing and effect program that got something extra and I am very happy which have been writing this review for you. It is really nice to see software that can actually battle with the mighty Photoshop and Pixelmator certainly do on both functionality and price!


The Distrita Score: 8/10

Review site: 
– Pixelmator review is done on iMac with 2,8 GHz Intel Core i7 and AMD Radeon HD 6770M 512 MB graphics card.
– Pixelmator runs only on OSX for Mac and there is also an iPad version