AMITIAE - Thursday 3 December 2015

Patina: Simple Drawing Application for the Mac, based on Windows Paint

apple and chopsticks


By Graham K. Rogers

Patina logo

I love it when an application that looks simple on the surface reveals a relatively complex set of tools. Not only does this allow a user to access more sophisticated features, but it is also a good indication that the developers have thought carefully about what to include and how this should be done. Although I am mostly using the iPad Pro currently, my Macs also figure strongly when I am working and I was pleased to see a new arrival this week of a drawing app, Patina. This is currently free in the Mac App Store, but will cost $2.99 in a few days time.

The developers of Patina are Atek. Their website features the application, with links to the FAQ and the MacApp Store as well as some explanation about the app itself. The screenshot links to demo and tutorial files.

Patina takes its design philosophy from the Windows program, Paint (an anagram of Patina). That might not seem a suitable source, but some of the early applications on Macs, MS DOS and Windows were nice and easy to use, before users started demanding excessive features and developers thought they had to oblige. This is a refreshing example of simplicity with the right balance.


The opening screen shows the tools available along with a number of text explanations: what is available; and how each of the tools works. A new file has the identical interface (without the text of course) as users can start work right away with the brushes, shapes and other tools available. That opening screen can be viewed at any time by using the "Show Tutorial" item in the Patina menu.

The basic tools are shown to the left side of the screen. At the bottom are controls for colour. A basic set of 7 is available along with black, white, transparent and some colour-adjusting tools. 7 colours is not a lot, but clicking on any one of them twice (once makes it the current selection), reveals a standard palette selection tool with color wheel, color sliders, color palette, image palettes, pencils and RCWeb (a color picker that displays RGB values).


Selecting any of the drawing tools, activates a slider at the bottom left to increase or decrease the size of the line. The same slider is live when the bottom Magnify tool is selected, allowing a good level of adjustment to the size of the image shown in the panel. Editing at the pixel level is possible at maximum magnification.


The default file format is PNG, although this is easily changed in Preferences to one of the others available (including JPG and TIFF). Dragging in shapes, changing colours, drawing were all easily accomplished: the relative simplicity of the toolkit not producing any confusion as to the options available.

I have a number of drawing and graphics apps on the Mac, including the excellent Affinity Photo. I also have Pixelmator which can synchronise with the iOS app of the same name. The toolsets that these provide, put them on a par with some of the applications available for professional users, although they are considerably cheaper.

Patina is currently free. Even at its planned post-introduction price of $2.99, Patina is a must, with its tools for drawing that will appeal to many sophisticated users. I also expect this would be accessible to younger users.

Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life.



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