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  1. Computer Skills
  2. Photo Manipulation
Computers

Introduction to Pixelmator for Mac and iPad, Part 1

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Difficulty:BeginnerLength:ShortLanguages:

Pixelmator is an amazingly powerful photo editing software that is only available on Mac computers or iPads. With a price tag of only $29.99 for the OS X version and $9.99 for the iOS version, Pixelmator's value can't be beaten. 

In this first-of-two-parts series, I’ll show you how to use Pixelmator to transform an average vacation photo into something beautiful that you will be proud to share with friends and family.

You will learn how to:

  • Remove imperfections or unwanted people from photographs
  • Crop photographs
  • Add text to photographs

Better yet, I’ll teach you how to do all of the above on both the iPad and Mac versions of Pixelmator.

Screencast

Removing Imperfections or Unwanted People 

In OS X on the Mac

When you come across pictures that need something removed, the repair tool is the perfect solution.

  • Click on the bandage icon to select the repair tool
  • Click the gear icon on the top left to select between Quick, Standard, and Advanced mode. 

Quick mode should be used when the object being removed sits on a plain or simple background. 

Standard mode will work best in slightly more complex backgrounds. 

And Advanced mode does incredibly well against complex background.

Using the repair tool in Pixelmator
Using the repair tool in Pixelmator

Once you have the correct mode selected, click and drag around the imperfect area. Upon release the repair tool will use the pixels around the affected area to remove the imperfections with similar background shades and colors. 

While highlighting the area, be sure not to go too far out of the affected area, or the repair tool may pull in extraneous colors or shades. Use the [ or ] keys to adjust the size of your brush as needed. If you need to zoom in to perfect your accuracy, you can use the Command + and Command - keys to adjust the zoom.

In iOS on the iPad

Pinch and zoom in on the area that you would like to modify. Click the brush icon at the top, then choose retouch. Tap Repair. Use your finger to highlight the part of the picture you want Pixelmator to remove.

Using Pixelmators repair tool on the iPad
Using Pixelmator's repair tool on the iPad

Upon removing your finger a progress bar will appear across the bottom to indicate that it is processing. Once done, the person or object will have been removed.

Cropping

In OS X on the Mac

In many situations it makes more sense to just remove a section of the picture entirely. In other words, you don’t want to resize the picture, you want to cut a portion of it out. This is what the crop tool was designed for.

Using the crop tool in Pixelmator
Using the crop tool in Pixelmator

Select the crop tool from the toolbar, then click and drag around the area of the picture you would like to keep. On release, Pixelmator will highlight the section of the picture and put a fade over the section that will be removed. Press Return to confirm and the picture will be cropped.

Play around with different crops using Command-Z to undo any that don’t turn out perfect the first time.

In iOS on the iPad

Click the brush icon, then choose Crop. Use the corner holds to drag the white outline around the area you would like to keep. When you are satisfied with the selected area, click Apply. If you aren't satisfied with the result, click Undo and try again.

Using the crop tool in Pixelmator for iPad
Using the crop tool in Pixelmator for iPad

Adding Text

In OS X on the Mac

From the Tools Menu, click the T icon. Move your cursor over the main window and click to insert text.

Selecting the text tool in Pixelmator
Selecting the text tool in Pixelmator

Click inside the text box that appears and start typing. When you are satisfied with the text, click outside the text box. The will be reset back to the hand tool

Use the hand tool to drag and resize the text box as needed. Pixelmator will automatically add suggestions or breaks for centering the text or placing it in equidistant sections.

In iOS on the iPad

Click the + icon, then choose the T icon from the top tabs. Select the font you would like to use. The text box will appear. Click into it and type the words you would like to add. Click out of the box and click/drag it to a chosen location on the picture.

Styling text in Pixelmator for the iPad
Styling text in Pixelmator for the iPad

To change the color, font size, alignment, or line spacing, click the text box to ensure it is selected, then click on the paintbrush to make any modifications.

Conclusion

In this tutorial I showed you how to take a simple vacation photo and transform it into a beautiful postcard using the repair tool, crop tool, and text tool. In future tutorials I will show you how to do non-destructive editing with masks, add color enhancements, and use filters to really make your pictures pop.

If you haven't already done so, go to the App Store and download Pixelmator—one of the most value-packed applications in the store today. Try out some of these features and share links to your creations in the comments below.

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