Pixelmator 2.0 announced, coming to Mac App Store later this summer

Today, the Pixelmator team provided a peek at the next version of their namesake image editing tool. With the code name of Chameleon, Pixelmator 2.0 is a major upgrade that is expected to ship later in the summer of 2011. Anyone who has already purchased the app via the Mac App Store for US$29 gets a free upgrade to the new version when it arrives. Along with the increase in functionality provided with the upgrade comes a new price point -- $59.

The new feature list is quite comprehensive. First, there are drawing tools (pen, freeform pen, convert, and path selection tools) that allow users to create and edit vector shapes. These tools also include pre-drawn triangle, line, rectangle, circle and custom shapes available on a new Shapes palette. The fill and stroke settings for these shapes are adjusted in a new Shape Settings palette, and shadows are easily added from this palette as well.

Probably the most anticipated new feature in the upgrade is the content-aware fill technology that can be used to delete unwanted elements in images. Want to get rid of that sunburned spot on your nose from your vacation photos? With the new Healing Tool or the regular selection tools, it will be easy to select an area and let Pixelmator fill it with nearby image content.

New retouching tools are part of the upgrade, including a Sponge Tool for adding or reducing color from image areas by dabbing at them, Burn and Dodge tools to darken or lighten portions of an image, and a Red Eye Tool for exorcising the red glow from eyes in your pictures.

Finally, there's also a new Smudge Tool for smearing paint or obscuring details by using a brush tip to do the retouching. The user interface has been streamlined and made easier to use, there's a new Eyedropper Tool for picking up colors, and a number of other toolbars and palettes that have been included.

With the announced upgrade, Pixelmator appears to be making great strides towards becoming a much less expensive alternative to Adobe's Photoshop. What do you think, Pixelmator owners? Are you looking forward to the upgrade? Let us know in the comments.