Major Pixelmator for iPad update brings new watercolor painting mode, brushes and more

Pixelmator for iOS 1.0 (iPad screenshot 008)

Pixelmator for iPad, the closes thing to a full-blown Photoshop tablet alternative, today received a massive update. Aptly codenamed Aquarelle, it’s all about bringing watercolor painting features based on some pretty unique technology that can replicate real-life watercolor brushes.

In addition to a dozen artist-designed watercolor brushes and watercolor painting technology which allows creating real-life-looking watercolor paintings, Pixelmator 1.1 sports an optimized engine with up to two times faster painting performance, support for third-party styluses with enhanced pressure sensitivity features and much more. 

Supported styluses include the Adonit Jot Script, Jot Touch 4 and Jot Touch with Pixelpoint. Each brush in Pixelmator can now be previewed while adjusting its settings.

“Watercolor painting is magic,” reads the blurb. “It takes advantage of our new super advanced blending techniques to paint watercolor on your iPad as realistically as in real life.”

Pixelmator for iOS 1.0 (iPad screenshot 015)

Pixelmator can also open and edit RAW image previews, import an image as a new layer from your iCloud Drive and open Photoshop files with layer masks, as well as 16-bit RGB, CMYK and grayscale Photoshop images.

There’s a brand new color picker with the color grid to pick colors precisely, images can be now scaled without constraining proportions, PDF files can be imported from Mail and other apps using the ”Open In” feature and so forth.

I love that the eyedropper tool finally displays precise color values, that nearly all effect sliders now allow way nimbler values and that images can be zoomed into while still tweaking the effect’s settings.

“The new watercolor brushes that come with 1.1 Aquarelle are also simply amazing,” developers said.

“Even if you are not that much into painting, just by simply playing with the new brushes, you will most definitely create some awesome artwork. And, if you are good at painting, you will create magic – that’s for sure.”

Pixelmator 1.1 for iPad changelog:

  • Unique watercolor painting technology allows creating real-life-looking watercolor paintings
  • 12 new beautiful artist-designed watercolor brushes
  • The new Color Picker now features the history of your previously used colors
  • Use the new Color Grid in the new Color Picker to pick colors even more precisely
  • Optimized Painting Engine gives you up to 2 times faster painting performance
  • Now you can open 16-bit RGB, CMYK and Grayscale Photoshop image previews, as well as Photoshop images containing layer masks
  • Insert an image as a new layer right from your iCloud Drive
  • Use the Lock Alpha feature to paint on the non-transparent parts of a layer
  • Preview of your brush while adjusting its settings
  • Open and edit RAW image previews
  • Full support for Adonit Jot Script, Jot Touch 4, Jot Touch with Pixelpoint styluses
  • Enhanced stylus pressure sensitivity with all styluses

Attention to detail

  • Scale images without constraining proportions: Tools > Format > Arrange > Constrain Proportions
  • Invert image colors with the new Invert color adjustment preset
  • Open PDF files from your email or any other app
  • See precise color values while selecting colors with the Eyedropper
  • Adjust the settings of an effect more accurately with enhanced slider sensitivity
  • Zoom into your image while still tweaking the effect’s settings
  • Rotate text more accurately with the new text rotation slider: Tools > Format > Arrange
  • Toggle between full-screen mode more easily
  • Optimized memory use allows to undo much faster while painting
  • Cleaner Eyedropper Interface
  • Refreshed look of the Gradient Picker
  • Auto Save improvements
  • Updated Wacom Stylus SDK for even more precise painting


  • Memory leak fixes
  • Fixed Eyedropper crashes that happened while rotating the device
  • Fixed adding layer from Photo Stream
  • Fixed transforming maximum-sized layers
  • Paint freely without affecting locked or hidden layers
  • Smoothly transform maximum-sized layers
  • The image no longer dims when adjusting the effect’s strength

This update is provided free of charge to existing Pixelmator users.

The 98.6-megabyte app is iPad-only and requires iOS 8.1 or later.

Pixelmator for iPad is $9.99 on the App Store.