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With the recent furor over Adobe’s decision to move to the Creative Cloud subscription based-model, many Photoshop users are in an uproar over having to pay a monthly fee to use the software. Especially for the casual or infrequent user, having to keep a subscription current for occasional use is making many users question “Do I really need Photoshop? Are there any alternatives?”

Yes, there are alternatives.

Here at HSW, we have been looking at several different image post-processing options available on the market, and we like what we have found with Pixelmator.

When we first downloaded and opened the application, we were surprised at how “familiar” it felt and the ease of quickly navigating the tool menu for those tools used most often. Same tools as Photoshop, same names, same look. And it works pretty much the same.

All the edit functions are placed into a floating palatte, that makes for quick easy sorting of the post-process function needed. The software runs native in 64-bit, and uses the Apple Raw processing engine for all raw image editing.

Good news: the app only costs $14.95. There isn’t a misplaced decimal point there. That’s 15 bucks for an application that works nearly as powerful as Photoshop for all the standard, basic image post-processing needs done by 99.99% of the photographers out there.

What could be an issue is that the software is Mac-only. It is available for online download through the App Store, as well as an option for a free trial version direct from the company website. According to the Pixelmator blog, the latest version of the software was downloaded 500,000 times in just the first two weeks of release, also holding the highest ranked app on the store currently, with all 5-star ratings.

And we agree.