Pixelmator Pro Adds Full HDR Support With the Ability to Edit HDR Layers

pixelmator pro

Pixelmator Pro version 3.5 launched today, bringing with it the ability to allow editors to import, edit, and export HDR content, including HDR photos and videos captured on iPhone.

The company says the update seamlessly incorporates HDR support into existing workflows and HDR content can be toggled on and off via a single click of the “HDR” button.

HDR as a format is perhaps one of the most muddled and fragmented in the visual industry with a wide variety of competing “standards” ranging from HDR 10+ and Hybrid Log Gamma to Dolby Vision. Saying something supports HDR is only ever half the story, but Pixelmator tells PetaPixel that if macOS supports, it, so does Pixelmator.

“As a general rule, Pixelmator Pro supports what macOS supports through AVFoundation. We use these profiles only for saving, the rest is AVFoundation magic. I’ve checked the specific profiles you’ve mentioned, and it seems like AVFoundation supports Dolby Vision, HLG, and HDR10,” a Pixelmator representative explains over email.

Of course, HDR videos captured with iPhone, MP4, MOV, and video compression types such as HEVC and Apple ProRes that support HDR are supported.

HDR photo types that are compatible are those shot on iPhone and saved in RAW, ProRAW, and ISO HDR formats like HEIC (10-bit), AVIF (10-bit), JPEG XL (10-bit), PNG (16-bit), and TIFF (32-bit from Photoshop and Lightroom). Pixelmator says that OpenEXR, Radiance HDR, and photos with Smart HDR from Photomator also work.

That said, even if the footage is shot in HDR and Pixelmator supports it, editors will need a compatible HDR display to see the content correctly. The company recommends editing with the Pro Display XDR or on a MacBook Pro with an XDR Display. Users will also need to update to macOS 14 Sonoma.

“You can edit your RAW images or HDR photos and videos captured with your iPhone with the same ease as before, now with their full HDR range readily available at your fingertips with a single click,” Pixelmator says.

“All the tools and features remain the same while working in HDR mode, and you can seamlessly edit HDR photos and videos within the same Pixelmator Pro editing window, allowing you to enable HDR on or off at any time. And, we’ve completely revamped our color adjustments – they work exceptionally well when you fine-tune the colors of HDR photos.”

The app also allows editing HDR content as layers. If an editor drags and drops an HDR layer into an SDR (standard dynamic range) composition, the SDR layer will not change and the HDR layer retains its HDR data even within the SDR composition.

Full compatibility and file types for Pixelmator Pro 3.5 can be found on Pixelmator’s blog.