There are many tools available for organizing bits of information on your Mac, but if your goal is to get a grip on those many images and screenshots you assembled, there’s a new player on the horizon you should check out.
Pixa is a companion app for all designers and graphic artists who scavenge the web for inspiration and images of all kinds and then lose track of them on their hard drives. With Pixa, a whole new level of organizing your image files is possible.
Pixa – The Smarter iPhoto for Image Clippings
Pixa for Mac is an image organizing app, but while it is even easier to use than iPhoto in certain aspects, it’s not really meant for your average photo library. Instead, Pixa helps you to keep track of screenshots, icons, Dribbble shots and other inspirational or creative work that you store on your hard drive.
There’s nothing that will stop you from putting your photographs in there as well, but that’s just not what the app was intented to do. iPhoto, with its importing capabilities and Photo Stream integration, or Lightroom or Aperture are much more suited to handle that.
As a designer, I quite often surf the web to get some inspiration. If I find something, I have bookmarked it until now or dragged it into Little Snapper (which is a screenshot app, originally, but can also help with organizing images), but tagging them was painstaking and not really fun. Now, I can simply drag everything into Pixa and the app, which is still in beta status at the moment, will do the work for me.
Depending on how much of a control freak you are, you can either store your snippets according to your own file structure – meaning: manually – or you can ask Pixa to organize everything for you. The “downside” of having Pixa manage your files: at the moment, they are stored in Pixa’s own file format in the library (pretty much like iPhoto puts everything in it’s library file). If you manage the location of the files on your own, they remain as they are.
Learn, Tag, Organize & Export
Don’t let that last bit of information discourage you. If Pixa is storing your images for you, it’s not garbling them – on the contrary, it allows you to export them in a variety of formats. There are three presets: .jpg, .png and the original file. Exporting is as easy as clicking the icon of the file format you desire.
You can also create your own preset, but that feature is a bit buggy at the moment (seing that the app is still in public beta, I’m certain it will be fixed soon). Once it will work, you can set the desired file type and set the size of the export: either original file size, specific dimensions (in pixels) or percent of the original.
But while the file is inside of Pixa, why not learn something interesting about it? The most obvious information are of course file type, size and dimensions. Additionally, Pixa displays when you added the file and where you grabbed it (it just does, you don’t need to do anything manually) from plus even more meta data. I love you being able to see everything at once instead of having to open the file inspector for every single file – it’s fast and quite efficient.
But one of the best features of Pixa is it’s tagging feature, which happens automatically in the background, with you having nothing to do. The moment you add a file to Pixa, it will be tagged according to its dimension and primary color. Additionally, you can assign your own tags.
If tags don’t get you excited enough, files are also organized into folders and projects. Folders can hold individual files or projects; the nesting is a great way of organizing large and complex collections.
Taking A Closer Look
If you’re considering Pixa, you are probably a designer or graphic artist. Which means you’ll care about colors and details. ShinyFrog, the developers of Pixa, have taken care of that as well. Bringing up a file will allow you to zoom in and use the loupe tool to figure out pixel perfectly which color is used where. Depending on your needs, you can have the color exported in a variety of different formats (simply clicking a portion of the image while in loupe mode will copy the color code into your clipboard).
Granted, Pixa still stumbles here and there, being in beta status, but if you can look past that, it’s a very promising app. It will help you keep your inspiration and creativity organized with very little input required from you.
How do you manage your graphical bits of information? Share you experiences with us in the comments.