One of the dark horse contenders among indie Photoshop alternatives is a program called Pixel (or Pixel Studio Pro). The problem is that since Beta 6 was made available in 2006 there’s been virtually no news. Well, there have been a couple of new releases recently, including a 64-bit Snow Leopard compatible release a few days ago.
The good news — well, it didn’t crash on me. It’s also pretty lightweight, and in many ways quite attractive — more attractive than, say, Photoline.
The not-so-good news — the faux Windows Vista widgets are off-putting (especially since they’re used inconsistently), the MDI-style window is ugly (but, hey, if it’s good enough for Adobe…), but the real problem is that a lot of things just don’t work well and/or as expected, starting with a UNIX-style file browser instead of standard dialog boxes. (This is one of my … er … ten biggest gripes with Blender, too.)
One thing I really like, and which I’d love to see in pretty much any program that requires users to pick fonts, is Pixel’s hierarchical font menu.
Functionality-wise, it’s somewhere in-between Pixelmator and Photoline (e.g. it has layer effects, masks, and CMYK support, but no vector layers), but not as pleasant to use as Pixelmator, and not nearly as functional as Photoline. I also wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for a release quality version, but it’s nice to know it’s not completely dead.