If Adobe’s big hit­ter is be­yond your bud­get, this al­ter­na­tive is cheaper and just as good

ImagineFX - - Art Tools -

Price £23 (Mac) £4 (iPad) Com­pany Pix­el­ma­tor Team Web www.pix­el­ma­tor.com f imi­ta­tion is the sin­cer­est form of flat­tery then Pho­to­shop cre­ator Adobe must be pos­i­tively blush­ing. Boot up Pix­el­ma­tor and it looks very familiar, with a slate­grey colour scheme, and float­ing tool menus, palettes and ef­fects. Drill down through the menus and you’ll see familiar com­mands such as Trans­form and Stroke. Regular users of Adobe’s soft­ware will feel right at home here, and it even sup­ports Pho­to­shop’s preva­lent PSD file for­mat for those look­ing to jump ship.

But Pix­el­ma­tor has a dis­tinct ad­van­tage over Pho­to­shop: it’s ridicu­lously easy to use. The icons are chunky and bold so you can work out ex­actly what the Eye Drop­per or the Brush will do be­fore you’ve clicked it. There are quick fixes avail­able for red eyes and a re­pair tool for rapid re­movals, while more com­pli­cated im­age ad­di­tions such as vec­tors, re­flec­tions and gra­di­ents are eas­ily achieved by novices.

As with Pho­to­shop, Pix­el­ma­tor also has a dinky ver­sion of its soft­ware in an iPad ver­sion. It’s wisely been built from the ground up to work with the iPad,

Iand the team has done a great job with proddable icons and pinch-to-zoom con­trols. It’s not as fully fea­tured as the Mac in­car­na­tion, but the real beauty here is the seam­less hand-off be­tween the iPad and Mac apps, so you can quickly sketch some­thing on a train and then pol­ish it off at home.

Ad­mit­tedly, it does lack Pho­to­shop’s more pro­fes­sional fea­tures, such as CMYK colour space and ad­just­ment lay­ers – but we re­ally wouldn’t ex­pect those on a piece of soft­ware which costs a mere £23 all-in.

It’s also strictly Ap­ple-only, so Win­dows and An­droid users will have to stick to Adobe’s cre­ative prod­ucts for now. But for Mac users it’s es­sen­tial soft­ware, and makes the per­fect first step on a long adventure into the world of dig­i­tal art for many.

Au­gust 2015

The iPad ver­sion’s ad­vanced edit­ing

tools are pow­ered by the same en­gine used to cre­ate 3D iPad games.

The iPad ver­sion in­cludes won­der­ful wa­ter­colour brushes, per­fect for dab­bling in dig­i­tal plein air.

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