I've always been a photoshop user, i know the ins and outs and know my way around all the tools i need for my webdesign work. But now i'm faced with a dilemma, for my new job i haven't got the budget for a full photoshop license so i'm wondering, is pixelmator a good alternative?

I use Photoshop mainly to slice a design into separate images so enable/disable layers is a must, PSD compatibility too, ...

Anyone has experience with Pixelmator?

  • I would look into purchasing a used license for an older version of Photoshop (CS2 is still very adequate for web design), or get Photoshop Elements. You should be able to get Elements 10 for $70 (or get Elements 9 for just $40) or free with a tablet. And a second-hand CS2 license is around $130. Many colleges also get huge discounts for the full creative suite--typically for less than a normal Photoshop license. You could potentially buy one of those from/through a student or just enroll in a design class. Feb 20, 2012 at 16:12
  • Near duplicate of: graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/631/…
    – e100
    Feb 21, 2012 at 14:21
  • I have used Pixelmator in the past (version 2) and was a nice alternative, but had problems rendering PSDs correctly. Now that version 3 is out, I'm curious if many of my issues have been resolved.
    – Andrew
    Aug 15, 2014 at 19:46

2 Answers 2



Pixelmator is quite nice--especially for the price. And I've been using it for a while for my own personal side projects. 2.0 came out and added some nice features.

Alas, it has issues. The big ones:

  • it's buggy. I think it's a bit premature to call it '2.0' IMHO. Still feels a little beta.
  • doesn't support full range of PSD layer information. It can open PSD files, but since it can't bring over all the layer effects and styles, it's really not practical.
  • very limited export abilities. The big one is PNG files. If you let it compress them, you get big color shifts. If you export it as a non-web PNG, it's huge, and then you have to use 3rd party tools to further compress.

I think it has a lot of potential, and eventually will be a great runner-up, but it still won't be PhotoShop.

As for slicing, it does do that (aside from the PNG issues). (I'd suggest not using a 'slice n dice' workflow anymore, but that's a different discussion...)

  • Do you know if Pixelmator 3 has corrected the PSD rendering issues?
    – Andrew
    Aug 15, 2014 at 19:48
  • @Andrew I don't know for sure. But v.3 does now include it's own layer styles, so it may do a better job at it now.
    – DA01
    Aug 17, 2014 at 17:24
  • @Andrew as of September 2018 I still get incorrect rendering of layer shadows when opening PSD files in Pixelmator 3.7.3. Also some text layers get displaced. It's also generally very slow.
    – Oleg
    Sep 26, 2018 at 8:52

If your job isn't too long you could rent PS:

I tried Pixelmator for about an hour, then i switched back to PS.
For me it was too confusing because very much is a little different there.

  • Thanks! i've seen the subscription models Adobe offers, they certainly are an option. My question isn't really answered though, is Pixelmator up for the job when i'll need slicing tools?
    – ChrisR
    Nov 18, 2011 at 12:31

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