Pixelmator Pro gains Light Leak and Bokeh effects, goes half price in a back-to-school sale

Pixelmator Pro, a very capable Photoshop alternative for Mac computers, in its most recent update has picked up Core ML-powered auto selective color adjustment and several new filters, such as the Light Leak effect and a bunch of wonderfully simulated depth-of-field looks.

Bumped to version 1.1.4, Pixelmator Pro includes a bunch of smaller but useful improvements, such as the long-awaited ability to copy your effects and adjustments between layers.

Biggest new features

The updated app lets you selectively improve an image’s individual colors via an ML-powered Auto button in Selective Color adjustments. To me, the biggest new feature is the ability to copy all effects or adjustments from one layer and paste them onto another with a single click.

Most people will appreciate the new Light Leak and Bokeh effects.

The Light Leak effect, naturally, makes it a cinch to add a bit of a sunny, old-school feel to your photographs. Developers say it was a favorite effect in the original Pixelmator.

Watch the new Light Leak effect in action below in Pixelmator’s latest tutorial video.

Also new: the DSLR-like Bokeh effect, which simulates depth-of-field by keeping the subject sharp and the background blurry (it was inspired by the Bokeh effect in Pixelmator for iOS).

There are eight stunning bokeh styles to choose from and you can layer multiple bokehs together and edit each one individually knowing you can revert your changes at any time because Pixelmator Pro is a non-destructive image editor.

Other new effects in this update include Spin Blur, Clouds, Noise, Threshold, Mask to Alpha, and several effects from the Tile and Distortion categories of the original Pixelmator. Last but not least, you can now Control-click the histogram when using the Color Adjustments tool to switch to a different type, like RGB, Luminance or Colors.

Pixelmator Pro 1.1.4 changelog

The full release notes for this update are pretty huge.

New features

  • Use the beautiful Light Leak effect to easily add a sunny, old school feel to any photo.
  • Apply the stylish Bokeh effect to emulate the look of artistic camera blurs.
  • The new Spin blur effect gives you a quick way to create a circular motion effect.
  • Create digital noise in your images using the new Noise effect.
  • More new effects — Threshold, Mask to Alpha, Clouds and a number of different Tile and Distort effects from the original Pixelmator.
  • The Selective Color adjustment can now be applied automatically to improve image colors using machine learning.
  • Change the histogram type when using the Colors Adjustments tool by Control-clicking the histogram and choosing a new type.


  • The Auto White Balance and Auto Lightness adjustments have been improved — they preserve skin tones better and are also 30% faster.
  • Added a keyboard shortcut (the O key) for the Show Original button in the Color Adjustments, Effects, and Styles tools.
  • The Color Adjustments submenu now has Copy, Paste, Reset, and Flatten Adjustments options.
  • The Effects submenu now has Copy, Paste, Reset, and Flatten Effects options.
  • You can now add, copy, paste, reset, and flatten layer styles from the Format menu.
  • With a number of new effects, we’ve tidied up the Effects submenu by splitting it up into categories.
  • When rotating effect ropes, you can now hold down the Shift key to snap them to 45 degree intervals.
  • Each of the copy, paste, reset, and flatten options are now also available when Control-clicking a layer in the Layers sidebar.
  • The Arrange tool now has an Auto Select checkbox, letting you turn automatic layer selection on and off.
  • When you Control-click a layer in the Layers sidebar, Convert into Shape and Convert into Pixels will now be available as options.
  • When you adjust the Levels or Curves of an image and open the adjustment’s pop-up menu, you’ll see which channel — RGB, R, G, B, or Luminance — has been edited.
  • When you adjust the Color Balance of an image and open the adjustment’s pop-up menu, you’ll see which portion — the Shadows, Midtones, or Highlights — has been edited.
  • You can now drag images from the Image and Pattern fill effects into the Layers sidebar or a Finder window.
  • The Touch Bar will now display whether your selected layer is locked or hidden, just like the Tool Options pane does.
  • Imported images with no edits will now be closed without asking for confirmation.
  • Pixelmator Pro will now automatically detect when new fonts have been installed while the app is open and add them to the font list.


  • The properties of smart shapes (speech bubbles, arrows) will now be scaled correctly when resizing.
  • The Grain adjustment would sometimes spill over outside of a layer after resizing an image. Fixed.
  • The interface would sometimes flicker when resetting effects. Fixed.
  • The effect rope would not work correctly in restored versions of documents.
  • When the Import JPEG, PNG, and TIFF images option was off, PXM files would not be imported correctly. Fixed.
  • When activating the Color Picker using the Option key, it would sometimes get stuck. Fixed.
  • Layer groups in Photoshop documents will now be imported with Constrain Proportions turned on.
  • A few different fixes improve the stability of Pixelmator Pro when opening certain PXD documents.
  • Using the Color Selection and Color Fill tools in very small documents would make Pixelmator Pro quit unexpectedly. Fixed.
  • Opening Photoshop documents with certain layer styles would make Pixelmator Pro quit unexpectedly. Fixed.

This update is provided at no additional charge to existing users.

Pixelmator 1.1.5

According to developers, Pixelmator’s forthcoming 1.1.5 update is going to focus on performance in terms of operations such as opening documents, zooming, moving and resizing layers, especially in large images and images with lots of layers.

To learn more about Pixelmator updates, visit their overhauled What’s New page.

Released last November as a pro-focused edition of the regular Pixlemator image editor, Pixelmator Pro features a darkened one-window interface and powerful filters, effects and image-editing capabilities that take full advantage of the latest macOS technologies like the machine learning framework, called Core ML, Metal graphics acceleration and more.

Back-to-school sale

To mark the beginning of the school year, Pixelmator Pro is having a back-to-school sale with a 50 percent discount on Pixelmator Pro.

Pixelmator Pro is a $29.99 download from Mac App Store.

The regular Pixelmator is $14.99 on Mac App Store.