In June 2020, Pixelmator Pro, a popular image editing app for macOS, added support for the WebP image format. The Pixelmator Pro update was welcome news to web designers and developers because it made it possible to open, edit, and save WebP images on macOS with their app. Unfortunately, it was missing a crucial component; the ability to optimize WebP images for the web.
The Export for Web feature is required functionality for WebP images because it provides a slider tool that adjusts its quality and size. Without Export for Web, there is no way to make WebP images smaller than JPG and PNG images while maintaining the same or better visual clarity.
Web designers and developers will be happy to know that the next version of Pixelmator Pro, 2.0.2, will support Export for Web for WebP images. The app is currently being beta-tested. The functionality for exporting WebP images is the same as exporting JPG and PNG images.
I tested a photo from a recent Yubico YubiKey review in the Pixelmator Pro beta and exported it as a JPG and WebP image with the same quality settings, 94%. The WebP image was 22KB smaller than the JPG image, with no noticeable visual quality difference.
Now that Safari supports WebP and Pixelmator Pro supports Export for Web, designers and developers can start to use WebP for their sites and skip JPG and PNG altogether.
It should be noted that Cloudflare Polish automatically converts JPG and PNG images into WebP format if it can make the size significantly smaller and if the visitor’s browser supports it. However, it’s not a panacea for images. Since the conversion is automated, some images may not look as good or be as small as they could be. So the best practice is to export images for the web manually, and Pixelmator Pro makes that possible now.