Edit images in Pixelmator
Unleash your imagination to create artwork by layering multiple pictures
Get rid of blemishes, cut out objects, and blend multiple images to stunning effect
Pixelmator is a photo editor that packs a lot of power. It’s built with the Mac in mind, supporting Force Touch, Extensions and integration with Apple’s Photos app.
One of its most powerful tools is layer-based editing, which splits an image up into slices that can be edited separately. This can take a little while to get your head around, but you can visualise it as sheets of acetate on an overhead projector, if you’re old enough to remember such things – as we are!
Each element of your composition resides on a different sheet, and they can be reordered, repositioned against each other, and have new sheets added to the stack. The final image is the one projected on the screen, which contains all the elements laid over each other, blending where they overlap and showing through in the clear spaces.
Our analogy breaks down when you start altering the way layers blend and interact with one another for creative effect, and adding details such as shadows and reflections. So, let’s start up Pixelmator and see what we can create with it. Ian Evenden
5 Add more
Extra layers can be added using images on your Mac. Select Layer > New Layer and click Choose Picture. In the Layers palette, ensure your cut-out layer is just above the background, then stack the new images you’re importing on top of it. Drag them up and down to change their order.
6 Clipping mask
Right-click each of the top two layers in the Layers palette and select Create Clipping Mask. The cut-out layer below should show through. If the strong shape isn’t in the right place, hide the layers in front by unticking them, drag it into a better place, and then make the layers visible again.
You can get a strong effect by altering a layer’s blend mode, which sets how it interact with lower ones. Multiply blends colours by darkening them, while Screen inverts them first for a lighter result. Any layer can be faded by reducing its opacity, just under blend modes on the Layers palette.
We’ve been left with a strip of sea up the right of our composition. This can be removed using the Crop tool, which provides preset aspect ratios and displays a grid representing the rule of thirds when dragged over an image. We’ve chosen a 16:9 ratio, with the kite and moon one-third of the way in.