By Matt Rajca
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Pixen is a pixel art editor designed for working with low-resolution raster art, such as those 8-bit sprites found in old-school video games. With innovative features like a unique color palette system, patterns, layers, and high-zoom support, Pixen packs all the tools pixel artists need in an intuitive, Mac-native interface. Pixen also makes creating frame-by-frame animations fun and easy.
Animations – Create and arrange image frames in the filmstrip view to piece together animations; export animations as animated GIFs or even spritesheets!
Tools – Leverage Pixen's wide array of tools when composing pixel art: Pencil, Eraser, Eyedropper, Zoom, Rectangular Selection, Magic Wand, Lasso, Move, Fill, Line, Rectangle, and Ellipse.
Layers – Take advantage of the flexibility layers provide when working with complex pixel art.
Color Palettes – Add and organize commonly-used colors into palettes.
Patterns – Define custom patterns to use while drawing with the pencil, line, or eraser tool (instead of a single pixel).
Custom Backgrounds – Pick a flat, striped or checkered background (or even a custom image) to be drawn beneath the canvas.
Grid + Alignment Crosshair – Let the grid and the alignment crosshair guide you in placing pixels just where you want them.
Preview – While editing at high zoom levels, use the Preview window to view the canvas scaled out; play back animations in the Preview window.
Left and Right Tools – Assign a different tool to the left and right mouse button. For example: pencil on the left; eraser on the right.
Tablet Support – Pixen supports pressure-sensitive drawing tablets and maps pressure to color opacity.
Hotkeys – Customize tool hotkeys to ease the transition from other image editors.
Full Screen – Work with all your favorite tools in full screen mode.
What's New in Version 3.7
- Refreshed interface for OS X Yosemite
- Animated PNGs can now be imported as animations
- Added two filters: "Invert Colors" and "1 bit"
- Multiple animation frames can now be copied and pasted
- Layers can now be shown/hidden with a menu item and keyboard shortcut
- Significant improvements to line drawing performance
- Fixed an issue where certain PNGs would open as empty images
- Fixed visual artifacts that would appear while resizing the animation film strip
- The zoom percentage is now shown next to the zoom slider in animation documents
- Various stability and usability improvements
If you enjoy using Pixen, please consider leaving a rating in the Mac App Store.
My only complaint is that when exporting to an animated gif, the images render at a 1 second per frame rate. This does not appear to be adjustable as no setting can be found in the application to adjust the frame rate and the online documentation does not discuss this topic. If a future release addresses this missing function, I would increase my rating from 4-stars to 5-starts. Looking forward to an update that addresses this...
Best Pixel Art Editor Available
For this price, this is the absolute BEST pixel art program I have ever used. I even use it for images that aren’t pixek art because it’s so easy, and nice to use.
Good, but buggy and clumsy
This is probably the best pixel art application for mac, but unfortuantely that’s only because the choices are fairly slim. It’s very bare-bones (which is good for pixel art), and all of the “art related” features are good. It’s biggest problems are in the file management department and interface.
So, if you’re doing pixel art, this is a very good app, but prepared to deal with some headaches if you use it often.
The program crashes if you open more than 1 file at once. This isn’t just an occasional occurance. its a 100% gaurantee. You can open multiple files, but you have to go to “File>Open” over and over or it will crash. It also likes to crash if you try to interact with it too soon after opening a file. (like if you click the interface half a second after the program opens). Another file-related issue is the lack of spritesheet import/splitting. The program can export an animation into a spritesheet, but it cannot import that same spritesheet and split it up back into an editable animation. You will need another program to do that and manually save off every frame and import it (one file at a time since it crashes if you open multiples) and then copy-paste them into the animation. This is a major headache. It also will crash if your try to merge multiple layers too quickly. It will also just randomly crash for no reason. Generally the program is very unstable.
The 2nd issue is the interface. It tends to be a bit clumsy. If you are zoomed into a frame and switch frames, the image will snap back to zero-position - making you go back and adjust your frame. Not a huge issue, but if you spend 4-5 hrs animating something, you do this 100s of times and it gets really really annoying. Another BIG interface problem is the layer auto-selection. It always defaults to layer1. So if you’re drawing say an arm on layer 2, and switch frames to continue the arm on layer2 of the next frame, it will auto-switch back to layer1. Not realizing it you continue to draw -likely ruining layer1. Again, a major headache since when animating, since you switch back and forth between frames over and over and over.
Overall, the barebones nature of the program does make it good for pixel art, but it’s interface and stability needs alot of work. If these issues were resolved, i would have been willing to pay twice as much for the program, but the “minor” annoyances become major annoyances when working on something for a long time and having to repeatedly deal with interface problems and constant crashing over and over.
I really hope these minor problems get dealt with because they would make this decent little program into a simply amazing program if they were.
So despite my complaints, i do reccomend this program. I have tried most of the pixel art programs for mac and this one fits my needs the best. It just does so in a very annoying clumsy-interface, unstable way. If you don’t animate, this program is 100% awesome. If you do, it’s good, but really annoying.
- Category: Graphics & Design
- Updated: Jan 07, 2015
- Version: 3.7
- Size: 2.6 MB
- Language: English
- Seller: Matt Rajca
- © 2015 Pixen Project
Compatibility: OS X 10.10 or later, 64-bit processor