Susan Kare’s user interface design work on the original Macintosh sparked my interest in pixel art. In fact, some of the metaphors conveyed in those simple monochromatic icons are still used in user interfaces today!
Last year, I was tasked with designing artwork for 1-bit LCD displays. I tried finding the best tool for the job, though even great image editors such as Pixelmator didn’t feel right for the task at hand. Then I discovered Pixen, a native Cocoa application tailored toward editing pixel art at high zoom levels. I was really excited to start using Pixen, but unfortunately the app showed its age, not having received a major update in years.
While many deemed Pixen abandonware, I still felt the project had potential. Perhaps reviving it would attract new contributors to the community?
I spent the next year refining every one of Pixen’s features. The result is a much faster color management system, full support for OS X Lion, UX enhancements all around, and tons of bug fixes. Starting today, a stable release of Pixen (3.5) is available in the Mac App Store!
Be sure to check out the project’s new website and follow @pixenapp on Twitter for more information! You can also help by reporting any bugs you discover on the project’s Issues page. And developers, feel free to submit pull requests!
Share and enjoy!