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

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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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tuubi 22 January 2020 at 4:54 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?
It's an awesome vector graphics editor.
Donkey 22 January 2020 at 11:27 pm UTC
This is my favourite drawing application. It is very easy to use and it has good control over the brushes.
jarhead_h 23 January 2020 at 1:08 am 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?

Inkscape has several uses for hobby CNC machining applications. I'm sure it has art uses, but what I care about is 2.5D machining and the gear generator plugin.
Cestarian 23 January 2020 at 2:13 pm UTC
Purple Library Guy
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.
That was sarcasm, of course I didn't miss anything about paper, there's nothing special about paper, it's paper. There's no chance that they're all geniuses and I'm a moron in this case though, because no professional digital artist I've seen draw uses or even cares about stupid gimmicks like this.

'Feels like paper' is a marketing gimmick specific to wacom, it's stupid, and doesn't help anybody. The reason people latch onto it is because hand-eye coordination on a drawing tablet is hard, you're used to looking at the paper and drawing on it when you draw on paper, but if you use a drawing tablet you can't really see your hand anymore (except at best out the corner of your eye) and it takes weeks, months or even years depending on the person to get used to this hand-eye disconnect as they call it. And because of this hand-eye disconnect some very impressionable people will latch onto anything that makes drawing on a tablet feel more like drawing on a paper, but it's not that there's anything special about paper in this case, it's just that they're trying to tackle the hand-eye disconnect through completely illogical and ineffective ways. People saying that drawing in mypaint feels more like drawing on paper? Most likely suffering through the same placebos.

So no buddy, it's not I that missed something, it's you who doesn't know anything about this.

Purple Library Guy
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.

Yes, we are.
Liam Dawe
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.

Fine. It's probably not gonna help anybody, but I'll concede the rest of your points.

Shmerl
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.).

The devs are aware of the banding and performance issues, they just haven't given a about them for the past 7 years, hell, they even managed to crowdfund a performance upgrade for krita, and what did we get? A completely miniscule, borderline meaningless performance hack that only slightly works around laggy brushes at high resolutions (instant preview) the krita devs don't care about the feasibility of the program, they just care about adding more features, and I can't blame them, as a programmer I know that bug-fixing and optimizing is less fun than making new shit, but they can't use the excuse that they're not getting paid for it anymore at this point.


Last edited by Cestarian on 23 January 2020 at 2:16 pm UTC
Liam Dawe 23 January 2020 at 2:23 pm UTC
Cestarian
Liam Dawe
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.

Fine. It's probably not gonna help anybody, but I'll concede the rest of your points.
Oh get a grip. Please take this ridiculous attitude elsewhere. You're not the judge of what helps others, just because you might have heard of it doesn't mean others have.

I've already been thanked in various places, from people who didn't know it existed, there's even a comment on this very article from someone who didn't know of it.

Please try being a little more positive and respectful.


Last edited by Liam Dawe on 23 January 2020 at 2:32 pm UTC
Eike 23 January 2020 at 2:43 pm UTC
Preface: I'm not an artist and cannot judge anything of what you're saying here.

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

Well, that really shines through...

CestarianUnless 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.

Maybe that's the point why this application obviously does attract some people (see other comments) but is not the right thing for you. Different targets, different needs, different tools, all fine with that.

CestarianSo 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.

As already pointed out by somebody else above, please do report your findings with the different programs. (Especially the banding in Krita does look disappointing to me. And crashes are a no-no.) My experiences with reporting bugs to open source projects are varying from "no reaction in years" to "fixed in the repository the same night", but give it try. If not for you, then for generations to come. ;)

Good luck with your art, whichever system you're using to make it!


Last edited by Eike on 23 January 2020 at 3:28 pm UTC
Shmerl 23 January 2020 at 5:00 pm UTC
CestarianAnd because of this hand-eye disconnect some very impressionable people will latch onto anything that makes drawing on a tablet feel more like drawing on a paper, but it's not that there's anything special about paper in this case, it's just that they're trying to tackle the hand-eye disconnect through completely illogical and ineffective ways.

Are you talking about non-display tablets? Wacom has display tablets for a long time already (Cintiq series), so no hand-eye disconnect anymore.


Last edited by Shmerl on 23 January 2020 at 5:02 pm UTC
Cestarian 24 January 2020 at 11:56 am UTC
Shmerl
CestarianAnd because of this hand-eye disconnect some very impressionable people will latch onto anything that makes drawing on a tablet feel more like drawing on a paper, but it's not that there's anything special about paper in this case, it's just that they're trying to tackle the hand-eye disconnect through completely illogical and ineffective ways.

Are you talking about non-display tablets? Wacom has display tablets for a long time already (Cintiq series), so no hand-eye disconnect anymore.

Not everyone can afford these, not everyone can even afford the non-wacom digitizers, much less wacoms ones, you do realize btw that wacom is just a brand name right? Kind of like apple in a sense, they blow up their prices to astronomical proportions (really like 4-5x the actual market worth of what they're really selling, maybe even more) and their products are in a lot of cases worse than their competition, as wacom's tablets have been getting lower and lower in quality (except for the pro and cintiq; as far as I'm aware) whereas all competing brands long ago caught up with wacom in quality (at least for drawing tablets, not digitizers, though huion is super close in digitizers, the kamvas pro is quite affordable too, at least compared to wacom) and are now in general a better puchase than wacom, even if both were at the same price (but reality is wacom = 200$ other brands = 50-100$)

There are also benefits to using drawing tablets over digitizers, some highly renowned digital artists (for example artgerm) have been known to prefer it. Look at it one way you have to re-calibrate your hand movements to deal with the hand eye disconnect, look at it another and your reward for persevering is that your arm never obstructs any part of your drawing so you can always see clearly what you're drawing and where your stroke will go compared to digitizers.


Last edited by Cestarian on 24 January 2020 at 11:58 am UTC
Shmerl 24 January 2020 at 4:34 pm UTC
Cestarianyou do realize btw that wacom is just a brand name right?

Sure. But they also tend to work on Linux really well, while others are all hit and miss. Which other tablets work on Linux without issues?
mirv 24 January 2020 at 4:58 pm UTC
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Shmerl
Cestarianyou do realize btw that wacom is just a brand name right?

Sure. But they also tend to work on Linux really well, while others are all hit and miss. Which other tablets work on Linux without issues?

Staying away from anything else in the discussions, this I have to concur with: wacom tablets are very well supported on GNU/Linux, in my experience. I mostly use mine (a bamboo with wireless dongle) with gimp and blender, and it...just works. Never had a single issue of any kind (well, unless you count wanting a better gui application for system-wide configuration, e.g disabling touch input and only detecting the pen)

So I'm quite interested in trying this application out when I have the spare time (ha!), and seeing for myself how it compares to, say, gimp. I do have reasons for liking computer based drawing, but for simple stuff I still stick to pencil & paper. Right tool for the job and all that.
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