Pixelmator for the Mac – How Good Is It?

I like to dabble in graphics.  I’ve created some pretty good pieces in my own estimation, especially considering I can’t draw a straight line with pen and paper.  I’ve watched a lot of training by experts like Bert Monroy and Deke McClelland.  I’m no pro by any stretch of the imagination but I am far enough along to appreciate pro tools.

Of course, the reigning champion is Photoshop and has been for quite some time.  I, like many others, don’t want to pay 3-6 months of car payments for a tool I don’t use to put food on the table.  What’s a person to do?  I heard David and Katie at the Mac Power Users Podcast talk often about Pixelmator.  At under US$30 and a 30-day free trial how could I not try it?  They even have an iPad version.

I was immediately shocked at how fully-featured this program was!  It has nearly all of the features of the very much more expensive Photoshop.  They do take a bit of getting used to if you are coming from a PS background simply because Pixelmator is not a Photoshop wannabe and the controls are different in areas, but it is amazing how much this program does.

They have a new version and did a demo video of how awesome the repair tool is.  I watched that and thought “I wonder how the older version does on this same thing?” so I downloaded the image they provided and tried it.  Amazingly it was almost as good, only a bit slower (images below).  Keep in mind I’m not a pro artist and have little patience for minute details so maybe with the same artist they would look exactly the same.  When I was watching the video I thought “They can’t get that right!” but they did, and so did my older version!  Once again I underestimated the awesomeness of Pixelmator.

I must say that the only tool I miss from Photoshop is the Brush Engine which allows you to do clever things like make a brush that’s a blade of grass and use the engine to “wiggle” it back and forth or rotate it to make realistic looking art.

In all, if you want to do some art then you can’t go wrong with Pixelmator!  The fact that it is affordable is a big plus too!  You can purchase your copy in the Mac App Store (link)

 

Pixelmator 3.3.2

Pixelmator 3.3.2

Pixelmator 3.3.1

Pixelmator 3.3.1

 

There is a little something off because the saturation and brightness of the image they posted is not the same as the retouched one in the video, but for a non-artist I’d say this is pretty close!

App Names to Frustrate

Some things that bug me.

10. The current trend in app names.

Have you noticed the names of apps lately? Back in the day, we had apps like WordStar, PageMaker, Photoshop, and the likes. Now it seems the popular thing to do is to name your app a single word that is a common word and nothing that stands out.

On my iPad I have apps like: drafts, editorial, mail, clear, sunrise, numerical, write, Pages, and the list goes on. What’s wrong with these you may ask. My answer is to offer you the task of looking at review articles or instructions or examples for these tools that are named like columns in newspapers (editorial) or first revision papers handed in by writing students (drafts).

To this very day I can easily find documents about WordStar, but to find workflow examples for the editorial app is not nearly as easy.

To the developers I say, “let’s not take the easy way out and instead invent creative names for our products.”

How to sort the keepers from the rest of a photo shoot on a Mac.

A great Nosilla Castaway (follower of “the Nosillacast podcast hosted over at Podfeet.com, a technology geek podcast with an ever so slight Macintosh bias™”), George from Tulsa, posted his method of selecting only the best photos from a shoot. He explained:

Step by Step to “Bart” Your Photos If you don’t know, the phrase “Bart Your Photos” pays homage to Allison’s friend, and indeed friend to the Mac community, Bart Busschots, who long ago taught us to only keep the best pics of the many a digital camera can collect.

This prompted me to post this “yet another way to do the same thing”. I love Mac because the limits placed on me seem to be only the ones of my imagination, inexperience, or laziness. There are so many fantastic ways to do things!

http://jimscomputing.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/wpid-Onewayto-Bart-photosthinthemdowntojustthekeepers-2014-05-10-10-07.pdf

Thanks to Blue Mango Learning Systems for this great documentation tool, Clarify!

Apple Wireless Settings

As I sit here at the doctor’s office with my Mom it occurs to me that there is a way the iPad’s access to wireless could be improved.

There is a free (ie unsafe) wireless access point at a restaurant nearby for their guests. If I connect to it to check the weather several things will happen including checks for email and app updates. This will send my passwords over the unsafe and unknown network! No way!

A better way is for Apple to build in a setting for such unknowns that we can whitelist apps to use. I don’t have a password for my weather app and several others but I can’t use them in this setting because connecting is all-or-nothing.

How about it Apple? Can we have a “Use any available network for these apps” list? As I sit here writing this offline, completely cut off from the Internet I think it would be a great idea!

How I Find Things With Keywords/Tags

There are two basic philosophies as far as I can tell relating to storing and retrieving information.

One is to store it in a highly classified hierarchy of folders, subfolders, sub-subfolders, etc. When I want to find something I start at the top and work my way down the chain. The other is to throw it all in one big bucket and let the computer search it out when I want to see it again. Continue reading

Upgrade to OS X Mavericks and speed

When I upgraded to Mavericks last night my computer was like it was running through molasses.  Long story short I figured the biggest part of the slowdown was Spotlight trying to index my Terabytes of data.  Here is a document I created a while back that I used to get control back and I’m posting it here in case it helps anyone else.

In my case I ran it to stop Spotlight, unmounted all the backup drives, and I’m bringing one set of backup drives back online as Spotlight gets each previous drive sorted.  I’m leaving one set offline so I don’t overwrite my last good copy of Mountain Lion before I mean to.

Turn on:off Spotlight Indexing

Opening the Right Application With Keyboard Maestro

I try a lot of new programs. I often fall prey to habits and go back to the program I’ve been using instead of giving the new one a chance.  Keyboard Maestro helps me get the right one.

One of the most recent programs that falls into this category is Sparrow. It’s a mail program that has benefits over Apple’s Mail.App program. Of course, my fingers type “mail” into Alfred when I want to see my email.

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Being a Homeowners Association Treasurer and Evernote

Evernote

I have been the Treasurer of our Homeowners Association for almost a year now.  During  that time I’ve received dues, paid bills, handled some legal issues, renewed registration with the State, prepared budget reports for the other board members, etc.

I would have a terrible job were it not for Evernote.  Here are the ways I use Evernote to keep on top of things:

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Keyboard Maestro and MultiMarkdown Redux

It has been a couple of weeks since I posted about my macro to help compose quick and dirty MultiMarkdown documents for email, web sites, etc.

I have since revised it to be a bit nicer.  If you have any changes please feel free to let me know about them via the address on the contact page.

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