Pixelmator got an update a few weeks ago to version 2.2 called Blueberry. I didn't write about it at the time because I wanted to have a chance to play with it for a bit first. It was only a point update, so I wasn't expecting much. In my view, it's a mixed bag.
Let's start with the good stuff.
The new Paint Selection Tool is a welcome addition to the tool set. It makes the selection process much faster and is, for the most part, accurate enough. Obviously, it's not as powerful as Photoshop's multiple selection tools (for those wondering), but that's ok. It gets the job done and is a pleasure to use. This is my favourite feature of the new version.
The Light Leak Effect is fun to use and the Instagram crowd will love it. It's like Instagram on steroids with endless possibilities to customise the effect, so it's easy to create your own look. Personally, I don't think I'll use it much because it's not my style, but it's really nicely implemented and fun to play around with.
Pixelmator is still a normal buy-a-license kind of app, as opposed to that BS Adobe is doing with their subscription-only model. Sorry, had to vent on that one a bit.
Now with the not so good.
Most of the other new features are for graphic designers, not photographers. I fear Pixelmator is heading down a "let's be Photoshop and Illustrator combined" road. I believe this is a way to be kinda ok at both, but not great at anything. That's not a good place to be.
What I liked about Pixelmator was that it felt like a true photo editor for photographers. Sure, version 1 was buggy and it was missing many features, but it was heading in the right direction.
Now they're all excited about their new shape tools and vector features. They even "sneaked a feature" that turns Pixelmator into Vectormator. What. The. Hell?
Sure, the designer features are good and work remarkably well. But seriously, how many photographers add squares and butterfly shapes to their photographs? Text, maybe. Sometimes. At the very end of the process. I still think text should be at the bottom of the feature list in an photo editor for photographers.
Where are features like non-destructive adjustment layers? Or real PSD and TIFF support? Or 16 bit? Or a Liquify Tool?
They actually hinted that layer styles were coming in 2013 back in December 2012. Whilst that would be awesome, their communication back then suggested they were putting their efforts into non-photography related features. I even said I felt they were going to "follow the Photoshop path and become a bloat trying to please everyone".
I have to say I'm slightly disappointed with Pixelmator 2.2 Blueberry. It seems Pixelmator is no longer a photographers application. The question will no longer be photographers asking "how good is it as a Photoshop replacement" but it'll be web designers instead.
Still, I'm hopeful. And for $15 bucks I still think everyone should buy it. Maybe if enough of us support the developers they'll have an incentive to add the features photographers want.