The popular and increasingly powerful macOS photo editor Pixelmator Pro has released a major update that adds full compatibility with macOS Catalina (sorry Adobe), allowing users of the latest MacBook Pros to use their iPads as a high-end photo editing tablet for retouching.
The update—version 1.5, AKA Avalon—was released yesterday and includes a general performance boost, support for macOS Catalina, the unreleased Mac Pro, and the unreleased Pro Display XDR, as well as the addition of AI-powered noise reduction.
Support for the Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR seem strange, since the products aren’t out yet, but Pixelmator says the software can now “take full advantage of the power of the new Mac Pro thanks to multi-GPU support and an optimized Metal architecture,” supports the Pro Display XDR’s “true 10-bit color depth and P3 wide color gamut,” and adds a new Extended Dynamic Range Mode that “lets you display clipped details in RAW photos” that are only visible thanks to the display’s incredible 1600-nit peak brightness.
Also new in Avalon is the addition of ML Denoise: a machine-learning based noise removal tool that “effortlessly removes luminance and color noise created by cameras in low-light photos” and “reduce[s] artifacts caused by image compression algorithms.”
However, the update that will probably have the biggest impact on the largest number of photographers is the addition of full support for macOS Catalina, including support for the new Sidecar feature and Apple Pencil.
Sidecar allows you to use your iPad as a secondary display on any (2016 or newer) Mac. When paired with the Apple pencil, that will turn any compatible iPad into an incredibly capable, high-resolution Wacom tablet competitor. Thanks to this latest update, all of the features of the Apple Pencil are supported, including “pressure-sensitivity, acceleration, and tilt support, as well as support for the double-tap gesture,” the last of which allows you to switch between brush and eraser or double-tap to undo.
Finally, the update brings the standard spate of performance gains, taking advantage of an “end-to-end Metal pipeline” to deliver significant performance improvements. Zooming and scrolling is “at least 10x faster,” effects are “up to 2.7x faster, and painting is “up to 2.4x faster” in Pixelmator Pro 1.5 Avalon than in the previous build.
To learn more about this latest version of Pixelmator Pro, head over to the app’s website or pick up your own copy from the Mac App Store. Users of older versions of Pixelmator Pro get this update for free, while new users will need to pony up a one-time fee of $40 to get access.