Edit images in Pix­el­ma­tor

Un­leash your imag­i­na­tion to cre­ate art­work by lay­er­ing mul­ti­ple pic­tures

Mac Format - - IMPROVE -

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.


Blend modes

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.


Fi­nal touches

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.

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