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Need a distraction-free art application on Linux? Try out MyPaint

By - | Views: 37,689

If you have a Wacom-style graphic tablet and you need a simple and distraction-free painting program, MyPaint seems like it could be a really good fit.

The developer, Martin Renold, says it's a "fast and dead-simple painting app for artists" and I can certainly appreciate the ease of use to it. Very handy for doing any kind of art really. Perhaps if you're in the mood for some sketching, mockups or you're designing art for a game it's pretty sweet.

A big new version is currently in testing, with a Beta that was released back in December. This brings with it great AppImage support to run it (hopefully) out of the box on any modern Linux distribution, along with tons of new features for artists like Spectral Paint/Pigment layer and brush mode, Linear blending for non-pigment layers and brush modes, Smudge enhancements, Fullscreen improvements, "fake inputs" for pressure and barrel rotation (allowing on-the-fly expressive adjustments to your brush even while using a mouse) and loads more.

Artwork: "Pinguins" by Yumemi-chan

MyPaint Feature Highlight:

  • Infinite canvas
  • Extremely configurable brushes
  • Distraction-free fullscreen mode
  • Extensive graphic tablet support
  • Speed, simplicity, and expressiveness
  • Realistic paint-like pigment model
  • 15 bit Rec 709 linear RGB colorspace
  • Brush settings stored with each stroke on the canvas
  • Layers, various modes, and layer groups

Free and open source, so you can enjoy creating with it as much as you want without the worries of any time-trial nonsense. Check it out on GitHub and the official site.

Hat tip to dpanter.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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22 comments
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Nanobang 21 January 2020 at 1:31 pm UTC
I love MyPaint! As a consummate doodler and sometimes illustrator/cartoonist over the better part of 50 years, I can tell you that MyPaint is the closest thing I've found to working on paper, to grabbing a pencil or pen and a piece of paper. I can pretty much just open it and and begin. It really is a different beast altogether.


Last edited by Nanobang on 23 January 2020 at 12:35 pm UTC
Projectile Vomit 21 January 2020 at 3:04 pm UTC
Cool! Thank you for introducing this to us!

(edit: The FlatPack failed. I'll have to try again, later)


Last edited by Projectile Vomit on 21 January 2020 at 5:00 pm UTC
no_information_here 21 January 2020 at 5:44 pm UTC
NanobangI love MyPaint! As a consumate doodler and sometimes illustrator/cartoonist over the better part of 50 years, I can tell you that MyPaint is the closest thing I've found to working on paper, to grabbing a pencil or pen and a piece of paper. I can pretty much just open it and and begin. It really is a different beast altogether.
I have a friend who uses MyPaint quite a bit. She says similar things.

Great to see it getting a big update.
Cestarian 21 January 2020 at 7:21 pm UTC
I don't need a distraction free painting application. What I need is an actually good painting application. Close to working on paper? Is there something special about paper that I missed? Is that an actual feature? I've always found artists who strap a piece of paper to their tablets to get that paper texture feel when they draw pretty sad to look at.

A painting application that is feasible to use as a professional digital artist.

That painting application still does not exist on Linux. The one that comes closest is Krita but it falls flat for 3 reasons.
  • There's a banding issue that's been around in the software since the start, if you take a soft brush and try to create a soft edge anywhere (hell, just try to render a sphere) you'll get banding worse than anything you've ever seen anywhere in the history of computing look for yourself (make sure to go full zoom) there's a workaround for this specific issue (draw in 32-bpc depth instead of the default 8bpc) but it makes the program eat up significantly more memory (also 32-bpc? seriously? We should never even need anything more than 10-bpc, even 16bpc is overkill, who thought this was a good idea and why? And you know this problem is serious when you still get this horrible banding at 16-bpc (shouldn't be possible)) it's bizarre, it's like the banding is a feature baked into the brush engine rather than a rendering error because the screen can't display the gradient smoothly enough (Which is what banding should be...)

  • It's optimization is incredibly shitty, can't make full use of system resources, drawing at high resolutions (even if it's just 4K) with large brush sizes (even if it's just 1000 pixel diameter brush) is not feasible, it's too laggy. This is unacceptable because a professional digital artist's work resolution is at minimum double his release resolution, (e.g. you want to make a FullHD wallpaper? Then you should ideally use at least use 3840x2160 work resolution, preferably 7680x4320), as displays are getting bigger and bigger resolutions, and UHD displays are pretty much a standard now, any program that cannot work at 16K (double of 8K) is inadequate today. (To be fair though, industry standard software like Photoshop and Corel Painter hasn't caught up on these kinds of optimizations yet either, but you can at least draw comfortably in 8K resolution on these! (8k or variations on it are a very common work resolution for professional artists) there's no software that lets you do that on linux, with one exception (Paintstorm, the closest to being a viable drawing software on Linux, and it's a sad piece of software that's been stuck in beta for years) but that program has other problems of it's own)

  • Clean rendering styles (as used by some popular digital artists such as Zeronis and Sakimichan) is impossible to do. (This applies to all linux painting software) for krita the banding thing is one major part of this issue but not the only one. I'm not savvy enough to pinpoint the others though.


As for the other programs like GIMP and MyPaint and whatever else (I actually don't think there is anything else at all, it's just these 3, and Paintstorm which is super obscure and only has a half assed linux beta version so it barely counts) you can simply just browse through images made by artists in these programs, look for any cleanly rendered painting (something that looks so clean it might have been rendered in a 3D modeling program). I guarantee you will not find even one (maybe 1 or 2 in paintstorm, if you dig deep). Look through photoshop artists and you'll find them by the truckload however, for a beginner digital artist this style is the ideal one to start with when learning to paint digitally, so if you think about it, nevermind professionals, there isn't even a painting software on linux suited for complete beginners either! Unless you want to paint in a painterly style (e.g. something that looks more like it might have been painted traditionally than digitally) then there's no option for painters on Linux.

The other day I literally just threw my hands up and gave up on this. After 5 years of trying to learn digital art on linux I'm just quitting, going to windows and using photoshop, because fuck this shit I'm not dealing with it while I'm learning. Nobody should. Do you know how many years this bullshit has potentially held me back for because I didn't know any better?

So no, I don't need MyPaint, it's not a good fit for any serious artist. Why the hell are you even writing about it on a gaming site? Infinite canvas? Infinite as in lags and then crashes if you zoom out too much and the canvas becomes too big, that kind of infinite? What a joke.

Sorry for the rant, this is just a recent source of real frustration for me.


Last edited by Cestarian on 21 January 2020 at 7:53 pm UTC
Liam Dawe 21 January 2020 at 10:47 pm UTC
CestarianWhy the hell are you even writing about it on a gaming site?
I write about what ever the hell I want.

If it interests me, I write about it. If I think it might help others, I write about it. You know what games are made from right? Art.


Last edited by Liam Dawe on 21 January 2020 at 10:49 pm UTC
Purple Library Guy 22 January 2020 at 5:42 am UTC
CestarianI don't need a distraction free painting application. What I need is an actually good painting application. Close to working on paper? Is there something special about paper that I missed?
Probably.
If a whole lot of people, some of them talented, think there's something special about something, and you don't see what it could possibly be, then either they're all morons or there's something you missed. There's certainly a chance you're a genius and they're all morons who just haven't realized that they're actually getting nothing from whatever it is . . . but I know where my money would go.
CestarianI've always found artists who strap a piece of paper to their tablets to get that paper texture feel when they draw pretty sad to look at.
My, aren't we judgemental.
Shmerl 22 January 2020 at 6:37 am UTC
For drawing, try Krita. It's a lot better than Gimp for that. The later is a good raster image processing editor.


Last edited by Shmerl on 22 January 2020 at 6:37 am UTC
Shmerl 22 January 2020 at 6:41 am UTC
CestarianThe other day I literally just threw my hands up and gave up on this. After 5 years of trying to learn digital art on linux I'm just quitting, going to windows and using photoshop, because fuck this shit I'm not dealing with it while I'm learning. Nobody should. Do you know how many years this bullshit has potentially held me back for because I didn't know any better?

Did you file Krita bugs about all the above? Would be interesting to follow (performance, banding and etc.).
Purple Library Guy 22 January 2020 at 4:49 pm UTC
ShmerlFor drawing, try Krita. It's a lot better than Gimp for that. The later is a good raster image processing editor.
So where does Inkscape come into all this?
Shmerl 22 January 2020 at 4:53 pm UTC
Purple Library Guy
ShmerlFor drawing, try Krita. It's a lot better than Gimp for that. The later is a good raster image processing editor.
So where does Inkscape come into all this?

Vector graphics - the third use case.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vector_graphics


Last edited by Shmerl on 22 January 2020 at 4:54 pm UTC
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