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Pixelmator previews photo-editing upgrades

Developers of Pixelmator say they'll soon launch a major upgrade to their desktop photo-editing app, a product that occupies the middle ground between Apple's free iPhoto software and the much-pricier Photoshop suite from Adobe.

Pixelmator 2.0--named "Chameleon"--will contain a variety of new tools to help photographers edit and manipulate digital images. The "healing tool" can be used to smooth out wrinkles, blemishes, and other imperfections on a photo subject's face or even remove unwanted parts of a photo; a similar "smudge tool" lets you smear image colors around to obscure unwanted image details; and a "sponge tool" can add or reduce color to an image. The upgrade also includes new tools for removing red eye, and for making an image lighter or darker.

Other improvements will include a redesigned user interface, a new information bar, a customizable tools palette, and overhauled methods for editing type and pixels.

Pixelmator 2.0 launches later this summer in the Mac App Store at a price of $59 per download. Cost-conscious buyers, however, might want to go ahead and buy the current version of the program for $30--they'll get the upgrade for free when it becomes available.

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