Best Free Paint Program

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Introduction

Paint programs—when we talk about them some people may interpret them generally as a raster or bitmap editor, or wrongly as vector-graphic drawing software. Even though they have some similarities, paint programs are really a different class of product.

Paint Intro ImageIf we talk about raster or bitmap programs, like GIMP or GIMPshop for instance, they give users ability to apply artistic filter effects to photos and transform them to look like works of art and save images composed of connected dots; whereas about vector programs like Inkscape, they give users flexibility to work on images composed of connected lines and scalable to any size without effecting image quality.

Paint programs even though work like bitmap programs, in general sense they are software that is supposed to give traditional painting medium feel and effects.

On the right is an example of what an artist can do with a paint program. (Image source: Wikipedia)

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Rated Products

Project DogWaffle  

A totally artistic program packed with a lot of tools and powerful settings.


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free (Limited features)
Realistic paint effects and frame-based animation tool.
Support for only Targa/BMP file formats, lacking only the advanced layer, advance undo/redo function and scripting tools, unappealing interface.
Read full review...

Pixia  

Painting and retouching software for full color graphics with lots of free plug-ins.


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free
Custom brushes, numerous layers as the PC memory lasts, popular format even PSD (photshop), language support.
Does not support GIF, unconventional tools that make it not very user friendly.
Read full review...

Krita  

An open source comprehensive painting and drawing suite good for at least intermediate artists.


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free (Open source)
Simple GUI, supports lots of file formats, packed with lots of features and tools.
Big download size, current build does not support windows xp, not very easy to use for newbie artists.
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MyPaint  

A good option for digital painters and lets artist focus on the art instead of the program.


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free (Open source)
Multiple platform, extensive brush creation and configuration options, support for pressure sensitive graphic tablets, unlimited canvas. A nice program for almost anything.
No offline help document available, lacks some important digital painting tools like fill, cut and more.
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SmoothDraw  

A feature rich natural painting program for free-hand drawing artists.


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free
Support for pressure sensitive graphic tablets,unlimited undo/redo, canvas can be re-sized while working on it, realistic paint effects, rich in features, great program for young artists.
No offline help document available, sometimes brush stroke become offset if resolution is changed while program is in use and Required .NET Framework 4.0 for version 4.
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TwistedBrush Open Studio  

Designed for ease of use with versatile and powerful brush engines.


Our Rating: 
3
License: Free (Last free version)
Quick Start Guide, Sketchbook, Features rich!
Very limited brush collection, strokes lags, GUI not very user friendly!
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Tux Paint  

Designed for children with parental and teacher controls.


Our Rating: 
3
License: Free (Open source)
Support for pressure sensitive graphic tablets, supports unlimited undo/redo.
No offline help document available, GUI is not conventional.
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LazPaint  

An open source application packed with superb features does more than just bitmap drawing offered by bigger programs.


Our Rating: 
3
License: Free (Open source)
Easy to use, Simple GUI, lightweight and small download size.
Not easy to use for newbies, no details are available.
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RealWorld Paint  

A portable and true digital painting program supports drawing natural digital and animation images.


Our Rating: 
3
License: Free
Realistic paint effects, Supports animation as well as retouching of photos, support advance undo/redo, rich in features, A nice program for painting and web development.
Limited canvas but can be readjusted, no offline help file available, little complicated for new users.
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PictBear  

An excellent paint program packed with a comprehensive set of tools and features.


Our Rating: 
3
License: Free
Support for pressure sensitive graphic tablets, supports unlimited undo/redo, supports Gif and Psd formats, highly customizable user interface because of tabs feature.
Limited canvas, no offline help document, development finished and no support is available from developer.
Read full review...

Online Paint and Drawing Apps

There are various online services available which allow users to paint and draw. The main problem with almost every online service is various limitations, watermarks and privacy. Some support no watermarks and private output but not all. Although it is almost impossible to list them all, here are some of them which I was able to find and test (in random order). (Please read their TOS before trying).

  • Sketch n Paint: It is a light weight and free online paint app with lots of good tools and features like undo/redo, paint tool, stroke modifier, eraser, colour pickup, zoom view, pan view, mask, stroke pressure adjuster, diffusion adjuster, size and fade adjuster, and opacity tuner. Also it supports basic, HSL and RGB colour groups. It includes almost everything a user expects from a basic painting tool and it gives user freedom to save and even print the creation.
  • SketchPad: It is again a great online paint app available for free. Its interface gives a very fresh and professional feel and the tools it is packed with also come with a new approach. The tools I am talking about include mostly traditional ones like brush, text, crop, marquee, eraser, fill, stamp, colour picker, shape, Gradent, Pattern, Swatch (which includes solids, Gradients and Patterns), and a new useful but uncommon tool Spirograph. The new thing here is these tools offer more settings, like in Text tool it offers "message, size and stroke"; similarly in Eraser it offers settings like "diameter, hardness, flow and opacity" and in Spirograph it offers settings like "Inner/outer size, diameter, speed, and resolution". Most importantly it supports a history feature which is very useful for serious art. This new approach attracted my attention and while writing this review I am still experimenting with it. And believe me it's FUN!!! :D
  • SumoPaint (free): The tools and features match with this app's name. They are huge and sumo, and yes I am talking about the free version. It is not a basic paint program but an advance paint and drawing tool for serious artists. Some of the important tools and features of SumoPaint (free) are layers, lasso, magic wand, move tool, ink tool, gradient fill tool, pie tool, simple/rounded/bulky start tools, symmetry tool, line/curve tool, blur/smudge tools, crop/transform/rotate tools, undo/redo, layer eraser, opacity, diameter, fill, mode, mode value, slides, shape trails, zome/info, colour picker, swatches. Also it is packed with some advance options like File, Edit, Image, Select, Layer, Adjustment, Filters, view, and help. It matches with today's professional commercial programs and the user can access it from anywhere with the help of the Internet. It is purely meant for artists.
  • Queeky Paint: It is again a nice app with some advance tools, options and features. Tools like lasso, magicwand, loupe, web, airbrush, various shapes, hand, undo/redo, etc., and options such as size, opacity, radius, mode, blendmode, fill, zoom, info pan, colour pan, layers, etc., make it an advance paint app and a good choice for many. It also has rich menus like Queeky, File, Edit, selection, Layers, Adjustments, Filters, View help, etc. Overall, it's a great online app worth trying and its Web tool is a great time killer.
  • ArtPad: It is a very basic tool with options like text, bucket, brush, undo, size of stroke and opacity. The user can set frames, save and send their creations. Look at their Term of service for sure before giving it a try.

More online paint programs

 

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Editor

This software category is maintained by volunteer editor Sahil Waste. Registered members can contact the editor with any comments or questions they might have by clicking here.

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