There are some basic functions I wanted to cover before exploring Pixelmator as a tool for Photographers. I intended to publish an introduction to the gradient palette today. However, before moving forward, I thought I would give the Pixelmator User's Manual a read.
All the basic features are documented, the information easily accessible and very well organized. Most of the tools are self-explanatory so I didn't feel the need to read the 1st chapter: The Working Environment.
Chapter 2: Creating, Opening & Placing Images
While most of us can skip the part about opening a file, or placing an image, I do suggest you browse page 16 where the Photo Browser Palette is explained. Pixelmator makes it easy to integrate your iPhoto library.
Don't miss the explanation of iSight integration on page 17.
If you are new to image editing or you are unfamiliar with standard Photoshop-style tools, skim through Chapter 3: Selection which describes all the tools involved in selecting sections of an image and how to create quick masks from your selection.
Chapter 4: Painting and Retouching
Page 29 has a very description of Blending Modes. The blending of layers is the foundation of most intermediate and advanced image manipulation techniques so a clear understanding of mode is helpful.
A quick tip I learned while browsing thru the manual is the use of the Caps Lock key to toggle between the brush cursor and the actual shape and size of the brush.
Chapter 8: Color Adjustments
This chapter offers quick options for color correcting and enhancing images. I particularly like the "Colorize" options which allows you colorize the image or selection according to the foreground color.
Chapter 10: Distortion Filters
This chapter is jam-packed with a solid description of the effects and options of all the available filters. My three favorites so far are: Hole (on pg 54), Kaleidescope (on pg 62), and Color Monochrome (pg 63).
The Transition filters (pg 66) are also a great deal of fun and they offer effects I really didn't expect to find in an inexpensive image editor.
Next: A Tour of The Gradient Palette. Really.
*** Caveat: The Developers of Pixelmator have a new version of The app due at the end of February AND they are re-writing the manual. As soon as the new manual is available I will update this post.