Pixelitor is a compact Java-based photo editor which comes packed with features.

The authors point out that "it's intended to be powerful rather than simple", and they're right; Pixelitor isn't for image editing novices. If you know what you're doing, though, you'll find it a capable tool which can handle all kinds of tasks.

The program comes with tools to adjust image colour, brightness, hue, saturation, levels and more, for instance. And you get a reasonable degree of control over all of these. The Colour Balance dialog, for example, can apply your tweaks to the entire image, or just the shadows, midtones and highlights.

Of course you get plenty of filters, too: categories include Blur/ Sharpen, Distort, Light, Noise, Find Edges, Artistic and more. And again there's more control than you might think. So, for example, there are no fewer than 7 blur options here, and choosing any one of these reveals a host of settings (Lens Blur allows you to control the blur radius, aperture sides, bloom factor, bloom threshold, and high-pass sharpening).

And there's plenty more. You can of course crop, resize, rotate or flip an image; you can add text to an image, or draw on it with a few brushes; there's good layer support; an Optimized JPEG Save option helps you keep your final image size to a minimum; and there are batch resize options, a screen capture tool and more.

There are also a few shortcomings. The program only supports the bare essentials in terms of file formats, for instance (BMP, GIF, JPG, PNG, PXC), it's short on selection types, and so on. Still, Pixelitor crams a lot of power into its 1.04MB JAR file, and if you're familiar with image editing basics (and have a copy of Java 6 installed so you can run it) then the program could be very useful.

Version 3 brings these changes/improvements:

- Starting with this version, Pixelitor requires Java 8 or newer
- New Clone Tool
- "Ping pong" option for both the layer-based and tweening animations
- Batch processing: apply a filter to all images in a folder
- Reseed parameter for the "Add Noise", "Brushed Metal", "Smear" filters
- "Show Original" option for "Levels"
- "Randomize and Normalize" button for "Channel Mixer"
- "One Pixel" Brush (like the pencil tool in other programs, but also available for Eraser Tool)
- "Central 3" mirror option for Brush Tool and Erase Tool
- "Stroke with Current Brush/Eraser" in Selection Tool considers the mirror setting of brush/erase
- Minor bugfixes


Small, cross-platform and packed with powerful editing features, there's a lot to like about Pixelitor. You'll need some image editing experience to make the most of the program, though.