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Pixelmator for iPad review: The best image editor on the iPad

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Touching the Paint and Erase option gives you tons of different artistic tools so you can draw with pencils, pens, crayons, markers, paintbrushes and more, with several styles for each type. To give you an idea of your options here, there are 12 different styles for each type of tool. There are even 12 eraser types so you can fade and obscure parts of your project with just the right look. I've used a lot of photo editors as well as paint apps on iOS, but I've never seen an app with this many tool options.

The retouch selection gives you nine different tools so you can lighten or darken specific areas of an image, sharpen the focus, fix red-eyes, desaturate and more, all applied with a swipe of your finger.

Adjusting colors is particularly cool, because it pushes your photo to the left, and brings up several color presets with thumbnails so you can see their effects along with color level sliders for more precise adjustments. You also have sliders here for brightness, contrast and saturation.

When you touch the Add Effects button, you get a large selection of thumbnails across the bottom you can scroll by swiping, but each type opens up into another group of thumbnails so you can select the style for that type of effect. Once you select an effect, the app gives you onscreen controls to adjust the size and intensity of the effect with a neat radial control system. Of course, there are many photo apps that give you tons of effects, but Pixelmator has really high-quality selections and you can customize the look further with onscreen controls not found in most other apps.

In other words, Pixelmator seems simple on the surface, but you really see how it stands apart with its flexibility and feature options when you dig a little deeper.

Layer manager

Working with layers can be tricky on the desktop, but with Pixelmator on the iPad it's easy. You can add a layer by hitting the plus sign in the upper right to import another image. Once your second image is selected, you can go back to the paint brush button and select format to adjust the layer opacity.

To switch between layers, you can drag your finger in from the left side of the screens to bring up thumbnails for each layer. Touching a thumbnail on the left makes that layer active so you can make edits on it without effecting the other layers.

The layer system is really easy and intuitive so creating masks and double exposure projects are much easier than other apps with similar tools.

No iPhone version

I was already a big fan of Pixelmator on the Mac and (if you can't tell) I'm very impressed with it on the iPad, but the only problem is, I can't use it on my iPhone. I suppose I can see how the smaller screen might get a little crowded with all the tools in the app, but this image editor is so good that I think it should be on every device.


Pixelmator for iPad is the best image editor I've seen yet on iOS. It's loaded with features usually found in pro-level image editors like Photoshop, but the interface makes it easy to do advanced edits with your photos on the touch screen. It's not just the feature list that makes it stand apart from other apps though; its the way the features are organized making hundreds of different potential tweaks only a couple of taps away.

It has amazing amounts of tool variations and styles, beautiful font selections, and the customization options for each tool are virtually endless.

If you're a photographer or just like to play with your images, Pixelmator is a must-download. The only problem that will quickly become apparent after using it is that you can't get it on your iPhone.

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