Introduction to Pixelmator for Mac and iPad, Part 2

Pixelmator is the single best alternative to Photoshop on the market today. It is a tremendous value and incredibly easy to use.
In the previous Pixelmator tutorial I showed you how to remove imperfections or unwanted people, crop your photos, and add text. In this tutorial I'll show you some great ways to enhance the overall look and feel of the photo. You will learn how to add:
  • Quick image enhancements
  • Color Filters
  • Non-destructive editing with mask layers
And just as before, I will show you how to do all of the above in both the OS X and iOS versions of Pixelmator.
More often than not, there is a focus or main-subject of the picture you take. But most cameras share the focus across everything in the frame. So the focal point of the picture may not stand out the way you would expect. 
An easy solution to this problem is to add a picture enhancement knows as a blur. You can really bring focus back to a singular part of a photo by blurring out its background.
Ensure the Effects pallet is shown by going to View, then Show Effects. If Hide Effects is the only option in the view menu, then the Effects pallet is already being shown.
In the Effects pallet, click the dropdown and choose Blur. Click Miniaturize and drag it onto the picture. Use the circle inside the box to move the focus area to the focal point. Choose between an Elliptical and or Linear shaped blur, then adjust the settings for Blur and Transition amounts as needed.

Adding a blur effect in Pixelmator
Adding a blur effect in Pixelmator

Click the paint brush icon, then choose Add Effects. From the bottom list of options, click Miniaturize. Move the circle around the screen until it is over the focal point. Adjust the size using the second smaller circle. Finally, adjust the amount of blur for the background, then click Apply and Done.

Adding blur in Pixelmator for iPad
Adding blur in Pixelmator for iPad

One of the biggest reasons that Instagram became so popular was the way it made adding color filters to photos so easy. Adding gentle filters to pictures has been a long held secret to making them really pop.
In the Effects pallet, click the dropdown and choose Color Adjustments. Click Sepia Tone and drag it onto the picture. Set the percentage of saturation for the color adjustment, then click Apply.

Adding color adjustments in Pixelmator
Adding color adjustments in Pixelmator

Alternatively, you can use any of the color adjustments to adjust the color to taste. In fact, try stacking a few different adjustments onto the same picture. If you want to try one, then undo the change, just press Command-Z for a quick undo.
Click the paint brush icon, then choose Add Effects. From the bottom list of options, click Vintage. Choose Urban as the vintage style. Then click Apply. Then Done

Adding color effects in Pixelmator for iPad
Adding color effects in Pixelmator for iPad

Note: On the iPad version of Pixelmator, you can't set a specific percentage to color enhance. You must choose the preset that best fits your style.
Masks give you a way to select certain objects within a picture for editing without modifying the base layer or picture itself. They can be very useful with the quick select tool may be over or under reaching its selected target.
Choose Edit from the top menu, then Edit in Quick Mask Mode. You will notice a red layer overtop the image. In this mode, you can essentially paint the area you want to select. So as you paint with the white color over the area, it will be selected. If you over selected, switch to black and paint over the over-selected area to fix the mistake.

Using Quick Mask Mode in Pixelmator
Using Quick Mask Mode in Pixelmator

Once the proper area has been painted for selection, click Edit, then Edit in Quick Mask Mode to return to the normal picture. The area you painted will be selected and ready for any modifications you would like to make.
Pixelmator for the iPad doesn't have a Quick Mask option like its counterpart on the Mac does. But it does allow for some amazing selection options using the Quick Select Tool.
Click the brush icon then Select. Click Free Selection at the top and choose theMagic Wand. Use the magic wand to quickly select anything with obvious outlines. As you drag farther away from your starting point, the tolerance will go up and more of the surrounding objects may be selected.
Change your selection mode form Add to to Subtract from using the top menu. ClickMagic Wand and choose any of the other selection shapes to remove any extra selections that magic wand over grabbed. Once you are satisfied with the selection, grab a brush or effect and add as needed. Only the selection will be modified, just as if you had added a mask.

Easy selections in Pixelmator for iPad
Easy selections in Pixelmator for iPad

In this tutorial I showed you how make quick image enhancements including color filters, as well as non-destructive editing with mask layers. I showed you how to do these things on both the Mac and iPad.
Pixelmator for iOS and OS X is a powerful, feature-packed application with a very reasonable price tag. Give these new techniques a go and see how you get on. Post your creations in the comments below.


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