Thursday, December 30, 2010

Gimp Paint Shop

If you are looking for an open source natural paint application why not use Gimp? MyPaint is good, but it doesn't run on OS X and it requires you to use multiple software packages to accomplish some tasks. Gimp works very well as a paint app, but it lacked brushes and tools to really make it shine. You could spend time making them yourself or now you could get Gimp Paint Studio. These assorted brushes, tools, textures make Gimp a full featured painting tool and you still have all the great features of a high end photo editor. Best part of all, it's free to use and contribute so what are you waiting for?

For Macintosh installation just move all contents of the zip to:

/Users/YOUR_USER_NAME/Library/Application Support/Gimp/

Launch the GIMP.

Go to

Edit->Preferences->Image Windows/Mouse Pointers
disable the “Show brush outline” option and make sure you have “checked” or enabled the “Show pointer for paint tools”. This will increase the speed of brushes when you are painting.

Go to

Enable the three options.

Go to

Edit->Preferences->Tool options/Paint options shared between tools
Disable the three options.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Writing Tools, open and commercial, For OS X

I recently decided to write a book, just for fun of course as I’m not the greatest writer in the world, but I am a software junkie, and I really wanted to see the tools available to me. The obvious thing to do was to search for “book authoring” software. It took some time, but I found a fair amount of products for Macintosh and Windows, most were affordable at around $25.00 to $100.00.

Linux was an odd man out with only two products within the search criteria. I found StoryBook, which looked promising and even has a Windows version available. Unfortunately, I’m currently running OS X, which is the primary focus of this article. Luckily there is another open source product that runs on all three platforms called Celtx. With Celtx you can write a Novel or even a movie script with similar features to the commercial products I found.

I then tried all the big guys, Scrivener, StoryMill, Ulysses, Stoyist, CopyWrite, WriteItNow, etc... Honestly, they all were good. I liked StoryMill the best because it had a cool timeline feature and a nice layout, but they all had strong and weak points. I suppose it will come down to personal preference and style that will make the decision for users, but for me I had to ask, do I really need to buy these tools?

At this point, I searched for some word processors and found a few of these as well. Bean is a superb editor with great features. The best part, it’s free and open source. It’s a great alternative to Apple’s Pages product if you’re on a budget. For Windows and Linux, I found Abiword to be a really nice tool. I had used it for years on Linux before switching to OS X this year. There is an OS X binary, but it’s outdated.

I'd like to make a quick note on Open Office, KOffice, and MS Office. These tools are heavy and I really don’t like writing with them. Open Office is an awesome project, and it would be my first choice if I had no other. The writing tools are good and they all have great features so again it’s a matter of choice. I do love iWork. I think Pages is the best Office word processor I have ever used, and it works well for creative writing.

Pages is a solid editor with all the features I need to write, like word count, proofreading, and full screen writing. Not only does Pages have an awesome toolset built in, but OS X has the best Spelling, Dictionary and Thesaurus software I have ever used, and it's easily accessible by right clicking on a highlighted word. What makes this even more useful is that the dictionary tool can be used outside of the editor so you’re not limited to using it inside Pages.

I also use the Omniweb browser, which uses another OS X utility named Summary to summarize web pages. Omniweb has become a great tool for research, and the tabs are unobtrusive. I can summarize and paste the text into Pages or a note application very quickly. With web-sites like Wiki and Behind The Name the internet can be your greatest tool.

The last thing I looked for was a note taking and organizational software. Some people like mind mapping tools like Free Mind, but I dislike them all. I prefer simplicity so after testing a plethora of note tools. I finally found one that I really liked called Notational Velocity. Apple includes a sticky note application for post it like notes on the desktop and it’s was no worse than the others I tested. I honestly saw no benefit to using a third party post it over Apple’s. Between these two tools, my note taking is covered.

If you prefer something a little more powerful I would suggest trying Evernote. You're able to sync notes from your external devices like smart phones, and It has exceptional organization and multimedia features, including voice notes. Evernote reminds me of Journlr, but Journlr appears to no longer be in development and it’s not clear if updates will be released for future OS X releases. Sad, it’s a really superb product.

My preference for writing on the Macintosh is use the preexisting tools in the OS, use simple and solid open tools, and find a great word processing you enjoy working in. You don’t need expensive creative software.

Here are a few applications worth mentioning that I omitted if you’re interested.

Ommwriter (Dāna I & II) Dāna is a distraction free full screen text editor. It comes in a free and pay version. Pay version includes more music and themes.

Chandler Is a powerful notebook with tons of features.

Slidepad Note tool which is hidden from view until needed.

ClipMenu Clipboard history. Record 8 clipboard types, from plain text to image.

Amazon Self Publish Publish your book on Amazon Kindle.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Photo POS Pro has become freeware

Photo POS Pro reminds me of Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro. Grab a copy if you're looking for a full featured photo editor that runs on Windows with similar features and functionality of Photoshop.

Photo POS Pro (Windows)

Creative Writing Tools

If you're a writer looking for tools to help you keep your ideas and thoughts together in one convenient place while you write you have two pretty good choices. First is Storybook, which is an open source creative writers tool that helps keep all the details, like characters, places, research and plot-lines, easily at hand while working. Celtx is another with similar features. Celtx is freeware and has commercial plug-ins, which were not really needed, but may enhance the core product. Celtx supports many nice features and can be used for many types of writing including scriptwriting and comics.

Celtx (OS X, Linux, and Windows)
Storybook (Windows and Linux)

Saturday, July 24, 2010


If you need a tools to create 3-D landscapes similar to Terragen, Bryce or Vue Despirit then you're limited to commercial, until now. Picogen is an open source outdoor ray tracing system, targeting large-scale terrain with realistic day/night-illumination and detailed plant populations. I haven't had a chance to use this one, but I will soon.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

MyPaint + Wine + OS X 10.6

I wrote up some simple instructions to install MyPaint 8.2 via Wine (Bottler) on OS X 10.6.
Download it here: 
MyPaint 8.2 on OS X install instructions

Download the icon: OS X MyPaint Icon

I have an updated version for Lion using Wineskin. Works flawlessly!

Monday, May 24, 2010

My latest web project

If you're looking for great open or free software on Windows or Macintosh give my appShooter a try.


- Mohawke

Thursday, May 13, 2010


A wallpaper I put together a couple of weeks ago. I based this off an older image I created. Full size is 1920x1200

Lightworks Video Editor going open source.

This is pretty cool! An industry level award winning non-linear video editor soon to be released as open source! There are a few good editors for Linux, like Lives, OpenShot, and Cinelerra, but another choice never hurts. I'm assuming it will be a Windows based application, but maybe it will get ported to Linux and OS X. The application is Lightworks and it's won Academy® and Emmy® awards! Wow, I'm impressed!!! Not really.

Currently the download isn't available, but sign up so you get notified when it's released; and read the specs, pretty nice for an open source app!

Visit Lightworks

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Creating a simple planet/moon in Gimp.

Someone left a cool picture of Mars on my desk at work and as I looked at the image I thought it would be cool to make one in the Gimp, because I typically use brushes or actual planet pictures.

Amazingly it took me only 5 minutes and really requires no real skill in Gimp or Photoshop so I decided everything in the file itself should be the tutorial. It's pretty self explanatory, even for someone fairly new. Obviously if you do not understand layers, or the Gimp, you may need to get Grokking The Gimp, which is a free book on the Gimp and a great starter. The Gimp is also free and can be found here and runs on Windows and OS X, as well as Linux\Unix.

The tutorial is of a simple moon, which contains three layers, a circle selection filed with a white to black gradient, a texture for the surface, and a second circle selection with a darker white to black gradient. The file can also be used as a template, add your own texture(s) \ colors and play with the layer settings, I have it set to "overlay".

Download the template, around 1.6mb (includes both Gimp XCF and Photoshop PSD formats)

Published in Italy!

I have a few images published in various papers but never a newspaper and never anything in Italy. I thought this was rather cool. The full image can be found here and it's original purpose was to be a desktop wallpaper.

Pano iPhone App

Pano price reduced temporarily to $.99, pretty damned cool!

Adobe Ideas for iPhone

Adobe released the iPhone/iPad application called Ideas, which is a free photo editor and drawing application. It's very well laid out and the output looks really good. It lacks tools and features like smudge and layers, but it lets you draw onto photos and is clean, plus you can't beat a good tool for free. Not sure how long this is going to be free, maybe forever, but I would get a copy while you can just in case.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Poser & Photoshop. I created this after playing with Poser for a minute. I dislike Poser figures because they generally look so fake so very little editing was actually done in Poser, aside from the Poses of course.

This image is very simple to create and consists of four layers, the demons each had a layer, but I'm not counting them. The layers are the texture, which also textures the demons, the wall, the floor, and the framed picture. Some very minor editing was done to get the shadows and demons to look more natural.

If you're looking for an open source alternative to Poser, you will want to take a look at Make Human. Available for OS X, Linux, and Windows. For a freeware alternative see Daz Studio.

The meaning is simply this, as evil and nasty as mankind can be, we can still join together and do kind things from time to time.

Lovely Charts

Lovely Charts is a web based application for creating charts and diagrams. I needed something like Visio to diagram and see program flow, but I don't use these types of tools enough to warrant installing or buying something. Lovely Charts does what I need and it's free, requires no install, is powerful, and has no weird problems.

Moved to Macintosh full time.

After years of running Linux and occasionally Windows I've made the switch to Macintosh. My wife has been using Macs for years and I have used them every now and then so it wasn't a big change, plus I supported them years back in a technician role, but I do believe I was missing out. My only complaint is the window management is lacking, and the fact that you can't do a lot of theming. Besides that, I'm in heaven.

First, there is plenty of open source software so I have just about everything I need. I have the power and security of Unix and the purchasing power of a commercial OS. The best of both worlds! I still have to watch when I buy strange hardware or a game, but Linux made me used to this type of lifestyle so no big deal. I still have more options with OS X and I haven't spent anytime fixing anything! My one complaint with Linux was I constantly had to fix or get something working every time I installed it.

I am a programmer by trade so of course I'm spending some time with XCode. I have about four iPhone apps that will soon be in the works. Objective-C is a little different from the world I come from and XCode/Interface Designer has a bit of a learning curve but I'm liking it so far; although, it's a very tedious language/process. Of course Python is far superior and I already wrote a bundled Python/Tk GUI tool to get data out of a SQLite database created by an iPhone application...

So I am happy with my decision and love it so far. I would recommend a Mac to anyone who wants to be productive and secure with a clean way to manage everything, including software. One thing about Macintosh the haters miss, it allows you to be as technical as you feel comfortable with. If you want to program, it's there. If you want to dig deep into Unix commands and software, it's there. If you just want drag and drop pictures with red eye removal, it's there. I do all of the above based on my mood. One day I only want to create art, the next I want to play around porting some Linux app in x11.

One thing is for sure, Macs are a little higher priced than the cheap ass crap at the local best buy. I call those consumer throw away machines. We have eight year old Macs still in use here, but I can guarantee those cheap HP, Dell's, whatever will be collecting dust within four years and you will feel the pain if they're not... That should not be an argument. I have some old HPs and I can't stomach using them. Honestly, I looked at laptops that would be about the same level of power and features as the Macbook and the price wasn't all that much different if you're out to buy a good machine that will last you awhile. If you're looking for the cheapest thing you can get, you will get what you pay for, period...

Before I start getting labeled a "fan boy" let me suggest if you have a nice laptop and want one hell of a killer Linux distro that has some of the same look and feel of Mac, get a copy of eLive! I am putting a copy on my son's laptop and I don't even mind donating to install, because it really is nicely done.

Whatever your opinion of the various operating systems, you have to admit they all have their strengths and weaknesses. I've used them all including Novell Netware/Windows/DOS/SCO, Linux (too many flavors), Solaris, BeOS, Amega, OS/2 Warp, etc... My opinion is the same, early 90s Amiga was ahead of its time, mid 90s BeOS was ahead of its time, early 2k Linux was on it's way (hasn't changed), now OS X is what I consider, not ahead of its time, but certainly in time...

Sunday, February 28, 2010

La Macchina

This is an edit of an older piece I created in Cinema 4D and The Gimp. I used Pixelmator to do some editing to see how it works. Decent little app, but lacks a lot of features. This edit was done in Photoshop CS mostly...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Vector Web Apps

I've been poking about the web looking for on-line graphics tools. Last time I looked around there were a few emerging tools for photo editing and drawing, these areas seem to have advanced nicely (Here's a really nice list of tools), but there wasn't really any decent vector solutions worth the time. That's changed a bit.

Raven is a Vector editor similar to Inkscape that runs in the web browser. The company delivering this tool, Aviary, has an image editor and other tools available as well. I created a quick eight ball to see how well the tools work. Things went well until I went to use the gradient. This tool is very limited in movement... To get around this you could do all of your high lighting and shadows with shapes, applying gradients then transparency on their layers, which is how I would do it 99% of the time anyway. Not a bad tool for a web app!

For another nice looking vector tool, not as polished, but appears to be open and allows direct editing of svg, check out svg-editor on Google code. It's very fast and once it's gets some more tools a features it could be a contender to installable applications.

Have fun and if you see any cool on-line vector tools let me know.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sumo Painter 2.0

Sumo Painter is a web application for illustration, photo editing, and painting. After launch I was presented with a fairly intuitive interface. If you're a Photoshop user you'll be right at home as it's similar, but anyone with image editing will likely be up and working in about a minute.

Speed was really good! I ran it in the Chrome browser on Windows XP. My laptop is a hyper-threaded 3ghz machine with 1.2gb ram and an old ATI 64mb video card. I can't wait to give it a go on my new Mac Pro!

The features are dead on! Has a great plug-in set, which is what I mostly used to create the image you see. It has layers, including layer effects and can save to most formats. Good complete toolbox, nice assortment of brushes, standard adjustment filters, and selection tools.

I've played around with this a bit today and like it. You can use it as a guest, but for $20 a month you can go pro. You can save images to your machine and I noticed no limitations on the guest version. If you don't need a dedicated tool, but want something fairly similar to Photoshop this may work out for you.