The Pixelmator team today released an update to their premier Mac app, Pixelmator Pro, with a new app extension, new zoom tool, updated crop options, and more refinements.
Impressively, the entire Pixelmator user interface is now available as a Photos editing extension. This means you don’t have to launch a separate app to perform complex edits when browsing your library in Photos. All layers, effects, and adjustments are available in the extension.
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It’s certainly the most ambitious editing extension for Photos that I have seen. You are essentially getting the full power of Pixelmator Pro inside of the Photos app. You can access all the same selection, effects, and drawing tools from the main app. All the Pixelmator Pro keyboard shortcuts work too. Of course, edits and changes are saved nondestructively and synced with iCloud.
With Pixelmator Pro 1.4 installed, find an image in Photos and enter Edit mode. Press the ••• extension button in the top-right toolbar, and select Pixelmator Pro. The Photos interface transforms into the Pixelmator Pro experience. The only difference is the top toolbar, which uses the standard Photos app extension interface with Cancel and Save Changes buttons. This means the crop toolbar button is not visible; you can still access the mode by pressing C on the keyboard.
Available in the main app and the extension is a new zoom tool in the sidebar, featuring a draggable thumbnail to indirectly move around the viewport. This offers a more convenient way to pan and zoom around a large canvas, particularly useful for mouse users that do not have the luxury of pinch-and-zoom gestures.
Pixelmator Pro 1.4 also features a redesigned crop panel with new size constraints. You can now constrain crops to exact pixel dimensions, rather than just ratios. There is also now a Delete mode for cropping. In the default Hide mode, cropping simply hides portions of the canvas: if you dragged around an object, you could reveal the hidden parts. With Delete mode, the objects themselves are clipped so the cropped region can never be made visible.