Pixelmator Pro for Mac gains Portrait and clipping masks, comic book effects & more

The popular Photoshop alternative Pixelmator today updated Pixelmator Pro for macOS on Mac App Store with a bunch of new features, including support for Portrait Masks that lets you open your depth-of-filed photos together with a layer mask.

Pixelmator Pro 1.3.1 also brings a new comic-book style effects and includes a number of useful new keyboard shortcuts. Here’s a tutorial video from Pixelmator explaining the process of replacing the background in a Portrait photo.

The app now opens images in tabs by default and remembers your window size and position for all new documents. Developers discussed layer tagging, filtering and search in a blog post.

In Pixelmator Pro 1.3 ‘Prism’, you can now apply colored layer tags to layers, search the layer list, and filter it out according to layer type and layer tag. These new features make it much easier to get around the layer list in compositions with lots of objects and they look pretty darn great to boot. We’ve created a few quick tips to help you get started with using them, so be sure to check them out!

Plus, this tidbit on clipping masks:

Clipping masks let you create perfect masks from existing layers in your Pixelmator Pro documents with just a click. This is a really handy feature for anyone working on all kinds of designs and illustrations. It might seem a little surprising but this feature actually took by far the longest to develop and test.

And there aren’t all that many image editing apps out there (other than Photoshop) that have proper clipping masks—the reason why is precisely because it’s nowhere near as simple as it looks.

But we’re really happy with the job we’ve done and, in Pixelmator Pro, you can effortlessly create clipping masks from any layer in your image. That includes group layers and nested shapes! Plus, you can also use any of the nondestructive effects on both the mask layer and the fill layer, so everything is super flexible.

And with additional keyboard shortcuts, you can quickly do things like select, organize and duplicate layers, press the slash (/) key to quickly lock and unlock layers, and much more.

Pixelmator Pro 1.3.1 changelog

Here’s everything new, improved and fixed in Pixelmator Pro 1.3.1.

New features

  • Thanks to Portrait Mask support, Pixelmator Pro will now open photos taken in Portrait mode on iOS 12 together with a layer mask.
  • Pixelmator Pro will now always use tabs by default and remember your window size and position for all new documents.
  • Use the new Comics effect to quickly apply a comic book-style to any image — you can find this effect in the Stylize category.
  • A number of new keyboard shortcuts make it easier to select, organize, and duplicate layers.
  • Press the Slash (/) key to quickly lock and unlock layers.
  • Option-Left bracket ([) and Option-Right bracket (]) let you select one layer up and down.
  • Option-Comma (,) and Option-Period (.) let you select the top and bottom layer.
  • Option-Arrow will now duplicate layers and move them by 1 pixel. Option-Shift-Arrow will duplicate and move by 10 pixels.
  • Option-clicking a layer’s visibility icon will now hide all other layers.


  • Zoom performance improvements speed up zooming in documents with many layers.
  • Pressing the Return key while drawing a path will now close the path.
  • Converting text to shape is now much (much) faster.
  • The Repair tool progress bar will no longer be shown when making quick, small repairs.
  • The Brightness adjustment is now more precise in images with extreme tonal ranges.
  • Previously, the Channel Mixer used our perceptual color model to make prettier adjustments. Since it’s more of a functional adjustment rather than a creative one, it now mixes channels purely mathematically.
  • Changing the rulers’ origin will now update the grid to match the new rulers.
  • Pressing and holding the Shift key while changing the rulers’ origin will now snap it to the grid and objects in your composition.
  • When you add a new, untagged layer to a tagged group, it will be assigned the group’s color tag.
  • Attempting to use the Color Fill or Gradient Fill tools on text or shape layers will now create an empty new layer and fill that instead of doing nothing at all.
  • Added an Add Guide command to the View menu’s Guides submenu.
  • Whenever possible, Pixelmator Pro will try to preserve the font face when changing font family.
  • Improved compatibility with certain kinds of text layers in Photoshop documents. 


  • Pixelmator Pro was performing slowly in the latest version of macOS on certain 2016, 2017 and 2018 Mac computers. This version includes a workaround with a fix.
  • Due to new font smoothing introduced in macOS 10.14, fonts were thicker on 10.14 than 10.13. Fixed.
  • When dragging & dropping text presets, the preview was incorrect. Fixed.
  • Holding the Z key to choose the Zoom tool would make Pixelmator Pro beep inappropriately. It’s now much better behaved.
  • Layers would incorrectly snap to grids based on non-pixel units. Fixed.
  • New documents created from text or shape layers in the clipboard would not be correctly aligned to the canvas. Fixed.
  • After dragging to rearrange parts of text within a text layer, changes would be undone incorrectly. Fixed.
  • Pixelmator Pro workflows in the Automator app were not working correctly when RAW files would be automatically converted to Pixelmator Pro format using the Auto Enhance action. Fixed.
  • The colors in the Color Picker preview did not correctly match the document’s colors. Fixed. 
  • When changing font family, the previous font’s name would sometimes briefly flicker in the menu. Fixed.
  • On macOS Mojave, tab titles would sometimes overlap. Fixed.
  • On macOS High Sierra, text in the About window was the wrong color. Fixed.

The update is available free to the existing users.

The iOS edition of Pixelmator was refreshed yesterday with support for the new 2018 iPad Pro display sizes, the double-tap gesture for Apple Pencil 2 and other perks.

Pixelmator Pro is a $39.99 download from App Store.