Over the last few years, Pixelmator has emerged as a strong and highly affordable alternative to Adobe Photoshop for Mac users — and the latest update to version 2.1 brings a host of new features, including new effects, alignment guides, and support for Apple's latest software. The image-editing software is now fully compatible with both Mountain Lion and iCloud, so users can now save their creations directly to iCloud and have them sync across multiple Mountain Lion computers. Other Mountain Lion features include the ability to share compositions from Pixelmator directly to a number of apps and services, including Flickr, Facebook, iPhoto, and Aperture. Owners of Apple's MacBook Pro with Retina display will be happy to know that the app now supports the full 2880 x 1800 resolution, as well.
As for new photo-editing features, Pixelmator 2.1 includes a handful of new effects that we can't help but say look Instagram-inspired — though they're certainly a bit more subtle and higher quality than what you see in your typical iPhone app. There's also a new effects browser, which lets users view all 160 of Pixelmator's effects and do an instant preview; it also lets users tag and group their favorite options for easy access. Lastly, the app now supports "smart" alignment guides, which help lay out compositions and show when aspects of an image are placed evenly on the canvas.
To go along with the new update (which is free to owners of Pixelmator 2.0), the price of the app has been slashed from $59.99 all the way down to $14.99. That's an incredible bargain for a powerful piece of software — it might not match Photoshop feature-for-feature, but it represents one of the best bang for the buck apps available on the Mac today. If you want to give it a shot, Pixelmator 2.1 is available now in the Mac App Store.