Filter and blending effects in Pixelmator


After a week on vacations, I’m back and lots of things happened while I was off. One of the coolest things was that the Pixelmator was released and everybody can get it for 59 dollars, that is a really affordable price. However the sad part of the story is, as I was fortunate to be a beta tester, I lost the beta user’s discount because I was away.

As I said, I’ve been using it since the early versions. It has evolved a lot since then. The interface is one of the most beautiful I have seen, although sometimes I get lost because my background usually is dark and the interface seems to blend with it.

In terms of functionalities it cannot be compared to Photoshop or even GIMP, however it’s the very first version and probably the further updates will make it more powerful. But I have to say it has some very nice features, like very fast real time preview of filter effects, the gradient editing tool, and the iPhoto library integration.

Here I show a tutorial testing the Layer Blending options and some filters.

1 - Create a new document, any size, here I used 1440x900.

2 - Create a gradient: Go to Views>Show Gradients, then click on the add gradient button (+). Just drag the colors to the create the gradients. The circular controllers are for the gradient distribution.

The crazy gradient editor

3 - Add a new layer and fill with black, after that change the blending options to Color Dodge.

Adding a new Layer

The black layer

4 - Using the Ellipse Selection tool, create an ellipse and fill it with white.

Create an elipse

5 - Apply a Gaussian Blur, a sort of glow will be created.

The magic of the Color Dodge

6 - Rotate the Layer in Edit>Transform>Rotate.

Rotating the layer

7 - Duplicate the ellipse layer, resize it in Edit>Transform>Scale and change its position to something like the second photo below. After that use the Text tool.

Duplicating the elipses

Positioning the elipses

8 - Create another layer fill it with black, put it below the Text Layer. after that select both layers and merge them Layer>Merge Layer.

Merging Layers

9 - Apply the gaussian blur to the merged layer, the same as the step 5.

More lighting effects

10 - Create one more layer, fill it with black. Set the Background Color to a dark blue and the Foreground Color to black and go to Filter>Generator>Stripes.

Adding Stripes

11 - There it goes, the first effect completed.

Final Result 1

Second effect

12 - Using the same document, create a new layer and fill it with a beige. Put it in front of the others and set the blending options to Exclusion.


13 - Now it looks like a burned paper or something like that. Anyways, create a new layer and go to Filter>Halftone>Hatched Screen like the image below.

Some Halftone effects

14 - Place the image to your document using the very handy Photo Browser tool ( the image used can be downloaded here). Set the blending options to Color Burn.

The florals

15 - Create another layer, go to Filter>Generator>Random to add a bit of noise to the image. Change the blending options to Color Burn 35%.

Some random dust

16 - Using the text tool, add the tag line.

Writing the tag line

17 - Create another layer and fill it with a gradient. Put it in front of the tag line layer and go to Layer>Create Clipping Mask. Your text will get the gradient effect.


Gradient Text with clipping mask

Final Result

Final Result 2

Written by

Fabio Sasso

I'm a Brazilian product designer based in Oakland, California currently working for Google as a Staff Designer. I am also the founder of Abduzeedo, an award-winning digital publication about design and a personal project that has become the source of inspiration for millions of designers and enthusiasts.