Basic Image Editing with Pinta
When it comes to editing images and photos on the Linux desktop, the first application that comes to mind is The GIMP. And with good reason: The GIMP is big, powerful, and flexible.
It's also a bit much if you only need to do some basic image editing. Not everyone is a professional photographer or designer. Most of use only need to do basic tasks like cropping, resizing, minor retouching, and the like.
A good option for that is Pinta. To paraphrase Jack Tramiel, Pinta is image editing software for masses, not classes. It's reminiscent of Windows Paint, but with a few more features. Features that you might actually use.
Let's take a quick look at how to do some basic image editing with Pinta.
There are a few ways you can do that. First, try your Linux distribution's package manager or, if it has one, software centre. You can also install Pinta via Flatpak or as a snap package.
And if you really want to embrace your inner geek, download the source code and compile it yourself.
Working with Pinta
Fire up the application. If you've used paint or image editing software before, Pinta should look familiar.
Open the image that you want to edit. Pinta supports the image formats that you'll most commonly use — PNG, JPEG, BMP, ICO, TIFF, and TGA. I only use Pinta to work with PNG and JPEG files, in case you're wondering, so I can't comment on how the application handles those other file types.
So, what you can you do with an image? Under the Image menu, you can choose to:
- Resize the image.
- Reduce the amount of white space around the image by selecting Auto Crop.
- Cut a chunk out of of the image by first selecting that chunk and then selecting Crop to Selection.
- Flip or rotate the image.
From the Effects menu, you can:
- Distort the image.
- Remove red eye.
- Sharpen or soften the image.
- Add a blur effect.
- Turn an image into a sketch.
From the Adjustments menu, you can:
- Make the image to black and white or sepia.
- Change the contrast of the image.
- Change the brightness of the image.
Here's the photo I was editing above, having been sharpened, with the contrast changed, and converted to sepia:
Working with the Paint Tools
You'll notice in the screen captures in this post, and if you work with Pinta, the vertical toolbar on the left side of the application screen.
Use those tools to:
- Select parts of the image.
- Draw freehand or draw shapes and curves.
- Add text to the image.
- Erase bits of the image.
- Flood fill all or part of an image with a colour.
You can set the foreground and background colours of shapes you draw, and for flood fills, using the toolbar at the bottom of the screen.
It's all very familiar if you've worked with image editing software before.
A Few Other Features
I only use Pinta to edit photos and screen captures. That means that there are several functions that I never use, but which you might find useful. A few of these are:
- Customizing your workspace.
- Working with layers.
- Using pencils and brushes to create illustrations.
- Taking screen captures.
There are a number of things that The GIMP can do but Pinta can't. Then again, I have no idea what many of those functions are or how I'd ever use them. And I don't believe that one piece of software fits everyone's needs, not matter what some so-called power users say.
Not everyone needs a big, powerful image editing tool. For us mortals with basic image editing needs, Pinta is more than enough to do the image editing jobs that we need to do.