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  • Pixelmator VS Photoshop article

  • Joseph W. Bourke

    March 5, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    Let me preface this by saying that I’m a satisfied, dedicated Photoshop user (CS6 at this point, but I’ve recently worked at a facility for 6 months which was on CC 2014, and loved it). I am also a firm believer in using the tools which do the job best. In addition to Photoshop, I use ArtRage when I need the look of traditional art media. So…I believe that no one tool does it all (although Photoshop is the closest I’ve found).

    I ran across an article on LifeHacker this morning, for those who are jumping ship from Photoshop/Adobe. It’s a pretty even-handed view of Pixelmator (Mac only), and compares it favorably to Photoshop. I’m on the PC, so my interest in it is purely academic; I like choices, and don’t limit my design tools by platform or product. That said, read on:

    Joe Bourke
    Owner/Creative Director
    Bourke Media

  • Herbert van der wegen

    March 9, 2015 at 5:11 am

    Pixelmator is so-so. Although fine for general image editing, it lacks important features which make it unsuitable for more serious work: no Lab colour space, no 32bpc, no EXR support, no HIS workflow (which is neither supported in Photoshop, btw), no standard Photoshop plugin support, the curves dialog is simplistic, layers cannot be instanced, a layer mask is still intrinsic part of a layer (same issue in Photoshop), …

    And only available for Mac.

    If anyone is on the lookout for a viable professional alternative, Photoline will provide what you seek:

    – full 16 and 32bpc Lab, RGB, CMYK, and greyscale support,
    – 47 non-destructive adjustment layers,
    – 18 layer effects,
    – multi-layered EXR import and export (not available in Photoshop, and the ProEXR plugin has issues with large EXR files),
    – instanced layers that update in realtime when the source layer is edited,
    – layer masks that behave as regular layers(!) (can be grouped, and instanced!)…

    All functions, adjustments, effects, filters, layers and masks work with 8-bit, 16-bit, and 32-bit images. Liquify is non-destructive and stackable. Bitmaps can be converted to vector.

    Layers in Photoline can be any bit-depth and colour space COMBINED in the same layer stack! No more need to switch image mode!

    All transformations are non-destructive by default. All the retouching tools of Photoshop are available, and some original ones as well (filter brush).

    And colour corrections (curves, levels, etc.) can be made in RGB, Lab, HIS, and HSV colour spaces without the need for image mode switching as well. This alone offers such a freedom compared to Photoshop.

    And multiple page support!

    Downsides? No 3d or video components. Painting is not as good as Photoshop. Photoline works really well with Krita (open source, and Krita arguably offers a much improved painting and drawing experience compared to Photoshop).

    And Photoline can turn just about any other image editing tool (including vector applications such as InkScape) into a “plugin” through its round-tripping app connection functionality.

    It IS on par with Photoshop in terms of image editing power. And outpaces it in a number of vital areas (layer system, HIS workflow, and others).

    All that, and for some obscure reason it is still one of the web’s best kept secrets.

    Inexpensive, and a full license to own for both Mac and Windows. Photoline runs off a USB stick, if required. The website looks horrid, but the tool is excellent.

    System: Win7 64bit – i7 920@3.6Ghz, p6t Deluxe v1, 48gb (6x8gb RipjawsX), ATI 7970 3gb, EVGA 590 3GB, Revodrive X2 240gb, e-mu 1820. Screens: 2 x Samsung s27a850ds 2560×1440, HP 1920×1200 in portrait mode

  • Joseph W. Bourke

    March 10, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    Hi Herbert –

    Thanks for the info on Photoline. While I’m not in the market for a new image editor, it’s always good to know what’s out there, and that there’s competition out there for Photoshop. It keeps Adobe from getting too complacent.

    Joe Bourke
    Owner/Creative Director
    Bourke Media

  • Leslie Bee

    November 24, 2015 at 12:23 am

    So let me get this straight – there is an inexpensive and easy to use program giving the almighty Photoshop a run for it’s money. It’s so good, in fact, that many people are actually giving up Photoshop altogether. Wow! If I were the makers of Pixelmator, I’d be honored by such praise. If I were Adobe, I’d be concerned I was still charging far too much for an old, bloated, overly complicated application. (Albeit feature-rich and sophisticated.)

    Now all we peons need to do is pray Adobe doesn’t notice the little ankle-biter nipping at their heels! 🙂

  • Herbert van der wegen

    November 25, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    To be fair, the photographer’s plan (Photoshop and Lightroom) is quite affordable. $10 a month is not that bad.

    Myself, I just do not like to be come a serf in Adobe’s digital Serfdom. So I decided to switch to alternatives years ago.

    Anyway, another good alternative is Affinity Photo (together with Affinity Designer). Available for Mac only, and extremely affordable.

    For digital painting and HDR painting work, Krita is free and open source, and beats the pants out of Photoshop’s painting tools.

    Photoline is the only alternative which deals with 32bpc images, and even open multi-layered EXR files. Arguably the most powerful alternative, and deals blows with Photoshop – some things better in Photoshop, other things better in Photoline.

    Pixelmator is quite okay as well. But lagging behind a bit behind both Photoline and Affinity Photo. It seems to have lost its momentum somewhat since Affinity was introduced in the Mac market.

    System: Win7 64bit – i7 920@3.6Ghz, p6t Deluxe v1, 48gb (6x8gb RipjawsX), ATI 7970 3gb, EVGA 590 3GB, Revodrive X2 240gb, e-mu 1820. Screens: 2 x Samsung s27a850ds 2560×1440, HP 1920×1200 in portrait mode

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