Pixelmator Tools: Learn the Sponge Tool

Tools: Using the New Sponge Tool in Pixelmator


In this short tutorial we will take a look at the Sponge Tool and how it can be used to selectively saturate and desaturate an image.

sponge example 01

Before we begin we need to understand what saturation is. Saturation is the colorfulness or intensity of a color, increasing the saturation increases the intensity of the color. Desaturation on the other hand reduces the intensity of a color and will eventually leave a completely grayscale color.

Unlike selecting Hue and Saturation from the Image menu, the Sponge Tool allows you to paint the areas that you wish to adjust.

Selecting the Sponge Tool from the tools palette reveals our available options in the tool options bar.

  • Brush - Our brush settings.
  • Mode - Whether to saturate or desaturate.
  • Flow - Set the strength of the brush, the higher the number the more color that is added/removed.
sponge 01

We will begin by increasing the saturation of the field. Select Saturate and set the Flow to 50%. Using a large brush, paint over the area you wish to saturate. Notice how the colors of the field increase in intensity.

sponge 02

Now let’s completely desaturate the sky. Select the Desaturate option and set the Flow to 100%. Paint over the sky.

sponge 03

It’s as simple as that! I have also adjusted the levels slightly to enhance the tone of the image.

sponge 04


Often, the difficult part when using the Sponge Tool is deciding how exactly to use it. Here are a few creative examples to get you started:

sponge example 02
A common effect found in Wedding albums.
sponge example 03
As seen on the Color Splash Studio page found in the Mac App Store.
sponge example 05


There we have it, a short concise look into the Sponge Tool. It really is such a simple tool and when used correctly can produce some striking results.