How to Draw Pixel art in Pixelmator

  • By Christopher Kielty, last updated May 17, 2018

Pixel art? In Pixelmator? I'm using Pixelmator 3.3.2 and it wasn't immediately obvious to me how to paint one pixel at a time, without automatically antialiasing each pixel. I'm not saying antialiasing is bad. But if I'm focusing on pixel level detail, I want finer, or even completely manual constrol over antialiasing.

The obvious first choice, to me, was the brush tool. The brush tool can be set to a diameter of one. But the brush tool causes a lot of antialiasing. So in practice it's really one plus the extra AA.

See also: How to draw a flat, single color lightbulb icon in Inkscape

The brush tool causes antialiasing, even when set to 1

So I dug into the preferences pane and pretty quickly I found the pixel tool. This is exactly what I wanted. Awesome.

Pixelmator preferences

Just drag the tool from the preferences pane, drop it on the tool palette, and you're good to go. Ready, set, pixel art.

Drag and drop the pixel brush tool into the tool palette

Much better

The pixel brush doesn't cause any antialiasing

See also: How to draw a ruby in Inkscape

Now I wish there were a pixel eraser. I suppose I should be thankful there's a pixel brush.

I don't use pixel art a lot. I really prefer vector graphics and 3D. But on a computer monitor, for certain situations, it's tough to beat the crispness of good pixel art. The right tool or whatever it is they say.

The pixel brush keyboard shortcut is P. Switch back and forth between the pixel brush and the marque tool (for erasing exact areas) with P and M.