Automatic Layer Naming in Pixelmator Pro

I’m writing this entry because I think the auto layer naming feature in Pixelmator Pro is good design, but it may not immediately look impressive.

Pixelmator Pro is coming! I have Adobe shortcuts in my bones, but I like to see what other companies do in the photo and design space. Pixelmator has been a great go-to option for Photoshop users.

In their newsletter, the Pixelmator Team teased an auto layer naming feature. They have a video on Vimeo that shows how it works. Drop an image onto the page and Pixelmator Pro will analyze the image and give it a name. In the image below, the hot air ballon image shown at the left was dropped on the page. Cool.

Pixelmator Pro - Automatic Layer Naming

At first it seems like this is just a nice parlor trick. Something thrown in to get some buzz and capitalize on the whole Machine Learning movement. But this is actually really good design. Sure, the name it gives may not be accurate enough for your needs, or you might want to name it something different because of the structure of your document. You can always find a reason why you wouldn’t use the suggested name. My guess is over time, users will accept those names more often than not. I would say most users don’t even bother to name their layers as they are going. Naming often happens after the fact, if at all.

This feature streamlines the workflow. It removes something the user has to keep track of and think about. Even if the user only keeps the suggested name half the time, that’s still an improvement. This is good, solid designing for usability.