Pixen First Impressions

I bought Pixen the other day from the app store. It cost me about $10 something AUD I finally got around to using it today. So far all I’ve done is made a little purple cube. For anyone who doesn’t know, Pixen is a  pixel art editor for mac OS. It’s not that bad but could do with some improvements.

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 3.09.57 pm

So the biggest problem I have with Pixen is that it doesn’t have panning. As someone who uses a lot of photoshop I just expected that I could hold space bar and be able to move around the canvas, this was not the case. While zoomed in I needed to use the scroll bars, which isn’t a bad thing but I feel like it slows me down. Pixen does have a “move” function but that moves the image.

My second problem with Pixen is probably stupid. On the top left there are two little icons a clock/timer and a little graph. These are the Recent Colors and Frequency Palette. They are alright in their own way and the frequency palette isn’t that bad. The frequency palette will store whatever colours you have been using, this is neat unless you are indecisive and can’t choose which shade of purple you want to use and end up with the frequency palette filled with 5 million shades of purple. I do wish I could hide the recent colors and frequency palette. I’m not sure if you can, so far it looks like you can’t. 

Thirdly (and finally) another thing that annoys me with Pixen is that you can’t hide the cursor while in pen mode. It’s a little distracting and hard to explain.

Anyways, on the plus side of things pixen is pretty damn good for what you pay. Here’s a few things I like about Pixen:
1. Live preview (lets you see your image at size 100% while you are zoomed in working on your pixel art)
2. Custom colour palettes, unlike the Recent Colours and Frequency Palette you can create and store the colours you want and will carry on into any new files you create.
3. Background settlings! Comes with Flat colour and checkered background. Also allows you to use an image as a background.
4. Layers!
5. Animations!
6. Grid!

That’s it for now. This is just my first impression. I’ll update again after I do a few more things. So far it seems pretty good value. But if you want to try pixel art you can also do it in Photoshop and MS paint, maybe then get Pixen if you find yourself enjoying doing pixel art (or keep using whatever you were using).

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