Photoshop alternative Pixelmator Pro today released a major update to its pro Mac app, bringing a significant speed boost on high-end systems thanks to further Metal and GPU optimizations. Pixelmator Pro 1.5 is fully compatible with the new macOS Catalina 10.15 software and brings with it new features such as a machine learning-powered Denoise filter and all-new Extended Dynamic Range mode with 10-bit color depth and P3 wide color gamut which are both natively supported by Apple’s upcoming Pro Display XDR.
The image editor now supports Catalina’s Sidecar feature, as well as Apple Pencil.
Thanks to this, you can extend your Pixelmator workspace using your iPad as a second Mac display and use your Apple stylus to paint, sketch, create graphic designs, and retouch your photos with support for pressure sensitivity, acceleration, tilt and the double-tap gesture. The app now fully supports Touch Bar, which means you’ll see Touch Bar controls at the bottom of the iPad screen when using Sidecar, even if your Mac doesn’t have a Touch Bar.
With ML Denoise, a new noise removal tool powered by machine learning, you can easily remove luminance and color noise created by cameras in low-light photos, reduce artifacts caused by image compression algorithms and so forth.
The app’s developers also mentioned big performance improvements:
Thanks to its Metal-based architecture and GPU-powered editing engine, Pixelmator Pro absolutely flies on the upcoming Mac Pro. We’ve been able to optimize multi-GPU support so that with multiple graphics processors in Mac Pro, you’ll see big performance boosts in Pixelmator Pro. And performance increases even more with each additional GPU.
Developers claim that the app applies the new Denoise filter up to 2.5x faster and effects up to 2x faster on Mac Pro with 2 GPUs compared to iMac Pro. Moreover, zooming and scrolling is 10x faster, effects are up to 2.7x faster and painting is up to 2.4x faster.
They’ve also added support for the upcoming Pro Display XDR so Pixelmator Pro now natively supports true 10-bit color depth and P3 wide color gamut, with a new Extended Dynamic Range mode making it easy to identify clipped details in RAW photos. “To do this, we use the display’s 1600-nit peak brightness to bring out details in the highlights without compressing the dynamic range of the rest of the photo, bringing a never-before-possible RAW editing and viewing experience,” according to a post on the Pixelmator blog.
Last but not least, Pixelmator Pro is now also compatible with Apple’s new SF Symbols font used for vector-based rendering of the iOS user interface elements like AirDrop glyphs, Share menu symbols and so forth. You can open one of the 1,500 configurable vector icons included in SF Symbols right in Pixelmator Pro, plus create your own symbols and more.