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mtPaint – A Lightweight Paint Software for Digital Photos

Paint Software for Linux
Written by Martins D. Okoi

mtPaint is an open source paint application for both Linux and Windows developed for the purpose of creating and manipulating pixel images.

It was developed from scratch by Mark Tyler and maintained by Dmitry Groshev. If you hadn’t heard about it prior to reading this article it is probably because before its latest update in June 2016, its last update was in 2011!

Update frequency not withstanding, mtPaint has a focus on being memory friendly and its latest update came with a handful of both new and improved features.

It has a typical GUI with icon-filled toolbars for photo manipulation, and a panel on the right with several advanced creation and editing options. One might not be appreciative of its UI/UX, but if you want to do any simple/casual editing that GIMP may be too advanced for, mtPaint is a good way to go.

Features of mtPaint

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mtPaint has a focus on Pixel art creation and manipulation. For this, its features include:

  • Support for BMP, GIF, JPEG, LSS, PNG, TGA, TIFF, XPM, XBM files.
  • Support for gamma correction, user-defined gradients, Gif creation using Gifsicle, and palette shifting.
  • Contains 81 brush presets and up to 100 layers.
  • Extensive palette features – load, save, sort, quantize edit, posterize, remove duplicate colors, e.t.c.
  • Image channels with options, Alpha, Selection, and Mask (all saved in PNG format).
  • Create animations by moving layers, or shifting palettes.
  • Live preview as you transform image gamma, brightness, contrast, saturation, hue, posterize from a single dialog.
  • Multiple effects: invert, greyscale, isometric transformations, edge detect, sharpen, unsharp mask, soften, Gaussian blur, emboss, bacteria.
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Remember how rarely mtPaint gets updated? I suppose that is a huge factor as to why it doesn’t have a PPA available for installation. Thanks to WebUpd8 however, you can get install it on your Ubuntu and Linux Mint distro.

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/mtpaint
$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt install mtpaint

Windows users can download the last stable release from Sourceforge.

If you need a help manual you will have to install the handbook separately after which you will be able to access it from the app’s help menu option.

$ sudo apt install mtpaint-handbook

If for some reason (ease of use, maybe), you would want to install mtPaint via the .deb package you can download it below. Remember that you wouldn’t receive automatic updates.

Download mtPaint .deb

Remember that you can always help mtPaint progress by contributing to its source code on GitHub.

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About the author

Martins D. Okoi

Martins Jr. (Dillivine) Okoi is a graduate of Computer Science with a passion for Linux and the Open Source community. He works as a Web designer & developer, technical writer, and programmer.

  • MTPaint won’t install on 17.04:
    The following packages have unmet dependencies:
    mtpaint : Depends: libopenjpeg5 (>= 1.3+dfsg) but it is not installable
    Recommends: gifsicle but it is not going to be installed
    Recommends: mtpaint-handbook but it is not going to be installed
    E: Unable to correct problems, you have held broken packages.

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