MacMost Now 801: Pixelmator Effects

There are a variety of effects in Pixelmator that you can use to make subtle or extreme changes to your images. You can apply simply adjustments, or add new elements. You can apply effects to an entire image, or just a selection. Take a look at some examples and then try to play with effects yourself.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 801: Pixelmator Effects.

Hi this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode let's take a look at using Effects in Pixelmator.

Effects allows you to make subtle or extreme changes in your image. So using a sample image here let's turn on Effects. Let's go into View-Show Effects. Now we can see the Effects in the Effects Browser and we can look at them by category.

So for instance if we take a look at the first category and we get simple Blur where we can create cool blur with the image we are using. Let's double click on Zoom here and look at the Zoom Blur effect. Now you will notice that a lot of these effects have this little point here where they activate. You can drag the circle around and it kind of has this neat chain linked to the effect so you can move this effect around and move the point where it reacts so you can actually show the point there and then make adjustments to it adding more or less of the effect or making other changes. So you can make very subtle change there blurring out everything away from the girl's face or we can go and create a dramatic one like that.

Most of the effects work like this allowing you to select a point where it comes from and make adjustments to the effect itself.

It is very easy to play with effects because you can simply be doing this and then hit cancel and the effect will go away. Even if you hit okay to make the effect permanent and then just hit command Z to undo and the effect is gone. So you can try different effects out very easily so we can go from that one and then go to another effect, say the Motion Blur effect here, and then you can see in here there is no point where this activates but we can make adjustments here for radius and the angle of the blur.

So let's look at some other ones. Besides Blur we can go into Distortion. Distortion allows us to do all sorts of bizarre types of things. So for instance we can use Pinch here and create an interesting pinch effect that pinches the image wherever we wanted to and we can adjust the radius of the pinch and the scale of the pinch as well. So you can create very subtle effects with this. Just small adjustments or you can create very massive things and you can likewise go in here and create other things like the hole effect here, put another image behind there in that hole that was created, a glass ring for instance, and you can see you have lots of different types of things that you can do.

You can create a Glass effect. These types of effects affect the entire image and they don't work on point. You can see there is no point there that this works on. So you can basically adjust the glass as you want but it affects the entire image.

So of the most extreme effects are here in Stylize. You get all sorts of things in here like the Crystalize effect here or Pointilize and others like this.

What is cool about Effects is that you don't have to apply it to the entire image. You can apply it to a selected area. So you can select a box or a circular area. In this case I've traced the outline of the person in the photo here and I can apply the effect to just her. So you can see I used Pointilize there and I could apply it to just her creating a neat effect in there. Now in this case what I may want to do is to apply it to everything but her so I can do that by going to Edit and I can invert the selection here. Now when I apply it you can see she is sharp from the original photo and everything else now is changed by the effect. So you can create all sorts of cool images using that, blurring everything else out. You can go to the color adjustments and change the brightness of the background and leave her in stark contrast to that. So there is all sorts of cool things you can do by only applying the effect to a certain area of the image.

The Generator Effects are some interesting things that allow you to actually create new things in the image. So for instance we can create a sun here with the Sunbeams Generator. We can also create cool Halo effects, let's move that aside here. We can put that in there. Adjust all sorts of different parameters for it. There is all sorts of things to choose from and experiment with. The Random Generator actually fills with lots of random dots which allows you to do some interesting things.

You can also create these on New Layers as well. So I can simply create a New Layer, make it an Empty Layer and when I view the layers I can see these two and I can fill this one say with clouds there and you can see I've got the two layers. I put the clouds behind this layer, let me select this layer and make it semi-transparent there, so I've combined the two layers, the clouds and the background layer which is the original layer that we had, to create kind of a fog effect.

So that's really just scratching at the surface of what you can do with Effects. There is a lot of different things here. It's a creative tool. So what you probably want to do is take some images and play around with the different effects and see what you can discover. Or if you have a certain image or idea in mind just play around and use the Undo function, save various copies of it, and come up with something that you like. It will take some time but you can have a lot of fun while you create something cool.

Hope you found this useful. Until next time this is Gary with MacMost Now.

Comments: 8 Responses to “MacMost Now 801: Pixelmator Effects”

    6 years ago

    Excellent vid, Gary, thanks! So tell me how you selected the outline of the surfer girl so perfectly?

      6 years ago

      I simply used the lasso tool. I zoomed in, and then traced her. But it is far from perfect. Zoomed in it was pretty rough, actually. If I was doing this for real, I would have spent a long time getting it right.

    Russell Winkler
    6 years ago

    Thanks. I wish they had a list view of the effects. In the thumbnail view some of the descriptions of the effects are shortened and you can’t quickly know what that the effect is. I use Pixelmator alongside Photoshop, to do small to medium graphic edits. Its a really great program.

    Joseph Allen
    6 years ago

    Gary, please continue to teach us about Pixelmator. Can Pixelmator be used to modify an image to be printed on a T-shirt … ???

      6 years ago

      Sure. Not sure what you mean exactly, but if a service that makes t-shirts accepts standard image files, then you can use Pixelmator to build an image for that service.

    6 years ago

    Thanks for this. I’d like to see more advanced videos where you use more than one image to make something grand, combining different effects.

    6 years ago

    Hi Gary, I’ve been trying to create an image of a cropped out head with a transparent background to place in another image. Can Pixelmator do this?


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