Pinta – A Simple, Cross Platform Free Image Editing Software

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free image editing softwareGIMP lovers may disagree, but the world’s needed a GTK photo editor with an easy-to-understand interface for a while. Featuring layers, various effects and good old fashioned editing functions, Pinta is the photo editor missing on Linux systems, as well as Windows and OS X. Think Paint.net, but cross-platform.

But even if you don’t use Linux, you just might find Pinta to be your new favorite free image editor. It’s fast, functional and gets the job done. If you’ve used Paint.net, or even Photoshop before, you’ll probably not have any trouble finding anything. But if you haven’t, consider Pinta a fantastic introduction to what photo editing software can do that’s not too cofusing to use.

Toolkit

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Fire up Pinta for the first time and the interface will largely look familar. It’s not that different, at first glace, from Microsoft Paint: toolkit on the left, layers and history on the right, image in the center.

The toolkit should be familar to you, even if the only photo editing tool you’ve ever used is Microsoft Paint. If not, don’t worry: hovering over a given tool will cause a helpful popup to appear:

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The menu is also worth browsing; you’ll find many useful things there. Rotating the image, viewing options, and various effects all await you.

You can also adjust the curves and colors, which is very useful should you need to correct a photo in this regard:

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I could go on, but it’s best to just fire up the program and explore yourself. I highly recommend playing with the various effects to get an idea of what’s possible. Whether you want to make your photo look like an oil painting or just remove red eye from a family portrait, there’s lots to explore there.

Layers

If you’ve ever really gotten into photo editing, you know that layers are essential. Whether you’re trying to add elements to photos or simply stylize, the concept of layers become crucial very quickly. Pinta supports this, putting it above the simplest image editing software.

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Even with this seeming complexity, however, Pinta is a piece of software the average computer user should have no trouble at all using. Even the way layers is done is very easy to understand and use, if you experiment with it.

History

Another indispensable tool for image editing is your history. This allows you to see all the changes you’ve made while editing your image, and to roll them back at will.

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This is self-explanatory, but very important if you like to experiment a great deal with your images. Note, however, that the current release of Pinta stores you entire history in the RAM, meaning this program will take up a lot of memory very quickly.

Installing Pinta

Want to get started? Head over the Pinta’s official web site. You’ll find installation files for Ubuntu, Mac and Windows, which is the best way to get started.

The currrent incarnation of Pinta is only the beginning, so if you’re not quite happy with what you see here be sure to check back again in a couple of months. Dynamic projects like this can be a lot of fun to watch, and really represent the power of open source at its best!

Oh, and if you’re a Linux user not quite dedicated to the idea of installation, I highly recommend you download the program over at PortableLinuxApps.org. It’s the place to find Linux downloads the work on every distro, and it couldn’t be easier to use.

So, what do you think of Pinta? Please share in the comments below. Also feel free to represent other free image editing programs, because I and our readers always love to learn about new software!

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