I’m anything but a graphics pro. I have a copy of Photoshop CS4 that I use occasionally — more often I use Illustrator and Photoshop to check the files from graphic artists and ensure everything is right or make small modifications. (I’m dreading the day I have to bite the bullet and upgrade to the latest version of the apps) Like most people I find loading up Photoshop is far from ideal. It has a big memory footprint and it takes a long time to load. Honestly, for most things I don’t find it hard to use. However when you’re just wanting to crop or reduce an image it’s really overkill. When I can I use Automator routines for those sorts of things. Frequently though you have something too complex for Automator but not worth using Photoshop for.
Pixelmator 2 came out with a really low price — about $30. It’s a very nice looking program. It just has that attention to detail that I think is characteristic of a certain class of Mac developer. You can tell they sweated the details. There are several pre-made filters although not quite as many as I expected given the popularity of Instagram and related apps on iOS. I kind of wish they had Applescript support as it would be fairly easy to automate that sort of thing. Photoshop has its Actions and many people have created Actions for Instagram, Hipstamatic and Camera+ filters. (If you really want them, there are plenty of stand alone apps that do this sort of thing) While Pixelmator doesn’t have Applescript support there are a few Automator actions you can use. (Mainly just cropping, trimming, changing types, and watermarking)
Edit: I was an idiot and missed the crop tool. That part of the review I removed. My only real complaint (other than scripting) of Pixelmator was there the whole time. It’ll be my main editor of choice.
The old faithful Graphic Converter. I don’t remember when this first came out. It was back before I abandoned the Mac platform for several years. The UI for Graphic Converter isn’t the greatest. (It’s still much improved from where it was a few years ago) It’s very utilitarian. However what GC does well it does very well. Pretty much you’ll be able to open or save in a variety of formats. That’s less of an issue now than back in the days when there were literally dozens of bitmapped formats. Still occasionally you’ll come across something obscure and GC usually does the job.
More significantly the sort of common editing features are done very well by GC such as resizing, basic filters, and importantly cropping.
There’s more traditional editing tools as well. The basic ones that any bitmapped graphic program is apt to have. The price isn’t bad either — only $40.
As I said the UI has improved significantly. If you haven’t used GC recently you probably should check it out just to see the new UI. I bet for most people it does 90% of what they need. It doesn’t wow you like Pixelmator does, but everything is where you need it. They’ve upgraded the UI into a very nice workflow.
Back in the day what made Graphic Converter nice wasn’t just the file format features but its scriptability. It continues to impress there. It comes with a wide range of Automator actions but also fully supports Applescript. And by full I mean full. You can swap colors, run a scan, trim, scale, hide and show tools, change comments, and do a whole lot more.