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Pinta Photo Editor - Paint.NET Clone for Mac OS X

Introduction to Pinta the Free Pixel-Based Graphics Editor for Mac

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Pinta Screen Shot

Pinta is a clone of Paint.NET for Mac OS X. | View Larger

Text © Ian Pullen, Screen Shot © Pinta

Pinta is a free pixel-based image editor for Mac OS X. One of the most interesting aspects of Pinta is that it is based on the Windows image editor Paint.NET. The developer of Pinta actually describes it as a clone of Paint.NET, so any Windows users familiar with that application may find Pinta to be ideal for their needs on OS X.

Highlights of Pinta

Some of the key features of Pinta include:

  • A clear and straight forward user interface
  • Support for multiple layers with transparency options
  • Good selection of tools
  • Simple image enhancement features for improving your digital photos
  • Small range of image effects to allow quick creative results
  • Very shallow learning curve for Paint.NET users

Why Use Pinta?

The most obvious reason to use Pinta would be for Paint.NET users migrating to a Mac, but still desiring to use an editor that they are familiar with. One downside with making such a move is the apparent inability to open .PDN files in Pinta, meaning native Paint.NET files can not be worked on using Pinta. Pinta uses the Open Raster format (.ORA) to save files with layers.

Like the application that Pinta emulates, it isn't the most fully featured image editor, but within these limitations, it is a very effective tool for beginner to intermediate level users.

Pinta offers the basic drawing tools that you'd expect from an image editor, as well as some more advanced features, such as layers and a range of image adjustment tools. These features mean that Pinta is also a viable tool for users looking for an application to allow them to edit and improve their digital photos.

The Limitations of Pinta

I have touched upon the fact that Pinta has some limitations and for me one of the biggest is the lack of a bezier line type tool to allow complex manual selections to be made. That is partly personal preference and there are some quite powerful selection tools that allow you to select pixels based upon color values, that, combined with the basic selection tools, will probably fulfill the needs of many users.

One omission from Pinta's feature set that some Paint.NET users will miss is blending modes. These modes can offer some interesting ways to creatively blend layers and they are certainly a feature that I regularly use in my favorite image editors.

System Requirements

To run Pinta, you need to download Mono, which is an open source development platform based on the .NET framework, itself a pre-requisite for running Paint.NET on Windows. This is over 70MB which may be problematic for any users still restricted to dial-up internet connections, though the relatively slow download speed from the server means that it may take 20 minutes to download, even with a broadband connection.

With regard to which versions of OS X that Pinta will run on, I was unable to find any information on the Pinta website so can only state that it will run on OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard).

Support and Training

This is one aspect of Pinta that at the time of writing is very weak. There is a Help menu, but this just links you to the official Pinta website that includes the most cursory of information on the FAQs page. It is possible that you may be able to find some support at the Paint.NET forums as it is closely based on that application. Otherwise the only options are to experiment and find your own answers to any issues that you may discover, or attempt to contact the developer.

Pinta can be downloaded from the official website.

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