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 Tux Paint
version 0.9.16
Extending Tux Paint
Copyright 2002-2006 by Bill Kendrick and others
New Breed Software
June 14, 2002 - September 28, 2006
If you wish to add or change things like Brushes and Rubber Stamps used by
Tux Paint, you can do it fairly easily by simply putting or removing files
on your hard disk.
Note: You'll need to restart Tux Paint for the changes to take effect.
Where Files Go
Standard Files
Tux Paint looks for its various data files in its 'data' directory.
Linux and Unix
Where this directory goes depends on what value was set for
"DATA_PREFIX" when Tux Paint was built. See INSTALL.txt for details.
By default, though, the directory is:
If you installed from a package, it is more likely to be:
Tux Paint looks for a directory called 'data' in the same directory
as the executable. This is the directory that the installer used
when installing Tux Paint e.g.:
C:\Program Files\TuxPaint\data
Mac OS X
Tux Paint stores its data files inside the "Tux Paint" icon (which
is actually a special kind of folder on Mac OS X). The following
steps explain how to get to the folders within:
1. Bring up a 'context' menu by holding the [Control] key and
clicking the Tux Paint icon the in Finder. (If you have a mouse
with more than one button, you can simply right-click the icon.)
2. Select "Show Contents" from the menu that appears. A new Finder
window will appear with a folder inside called "Contents."
3. Open the "Contents" folder and open the "Resources" folder found
4. There, you will find the "starters", "stamps" and "brushes"
folders. Adding new content to these folders will make the
content available to any user that launches this copy (icon) of
Tux Paint.
Note: If you install a newer version of Tux Paint (by replacing its
icon), you will lose changes made by following the instructions
above, so keep backups of your new content (stamps, brushes, etc.).
Tux Paint also looks for files in a "TuxPaint" folder that you can
place in your system's "Application Support" folder (found under
"Library" at the root of your hard disk):
/Library/Application Support/TuxPaint/
It also looks for files in the user's "Preferences" folder, e.g.:
/Users/(user name)/Library/Preferences/TuxPaint/brushes/
Personal Files
You can also create brushes, stamps, fonts and 'starters' in your own
directory (folder) for Tux Paint to find.
Your personal Tux Paint folder is stored in your "Application Data".
For example, on newer Windows (set up for an English-speaking user):
C:\Documents and Settings\(user name)\Application Data\TuxPaint\
Mac OS X
Your personal Tux Paint folder is stored in your "Library" folder:
/Users/(user name)/Library/Application Support/ Tux Paint/
Linux and Unix
Your personal Tux Paint directory is "$(HOME)/.tuxpaint/" (also
known as "~/.tuxpaint/".
That is, if your home directory is "/home/karl", then your Tux Paint
directory is "/home/karl/.tuxpaint/".
Don't forget the period (".") before the 'tuxpaint'!
To add brushes, stamps fonts, and 'starters,' create subdirectories
under your personal Tux Paint directory named "brushes", "stamps",
"fonts" and "starters" respectively.
(For example, if you created a brush named "flower.png", you would put
it in "~/.tuxpaint/brushes/" under Linux or Unix.)
The brushes used for drawing with the 'Brush' and 'Lines' tools in
Tux Paint are simply PNG image files.
The alpha (transparency) of the PNG image is used to determine the shape
of the brush, which means that the shape can be 'anti-aliased' and even
Greyscale pixels in the brush PNG will be drawn using the
currently-selected color in Tux Paint. Color pixels will be tinted.
Brush images should be no wider than 40 pixels across and no taller than
40 pixels high. (i.e., the maximum size can be 40 x 40.)
Brush Options
Aside from a graphical shape, brushes can also be given other
attributes. To do this, you need to create a 'data file' for the
A brush data file is simply a text file containing the options.
The file has the same name as the PNG image, but a ".dat" extension.
(e.g., "brush.png"'s data file is the text file "brush.dat" in the
same directory.)
Brush Spacing
As of Tux Paint version 0.9.16, you can now specify the spacing for
brushes (that is, how often they are drawn). By default, the spacing
will be the brush's height, divided by 4.
Add a line containing the line "spacing=N" to the brush's data file,
where N is the spacing you want for the brush. (The lower the
number, the more often the brush is drawn.)
Animated Brushes
As of Tux Paint version 0.9.16, you may now create animated brushes.
As the brush is used, each frame of the animation is drawn.
Lay each frame out across a wide PNG image. For example, if your
brush is 30x30 and you have 5 frames, the image should be 150x30.
Add a line containing the line "frames=N" to the brush's data file,
where N is the number of frames in the brush.
Note: If you'd rather the frames be flipped through randomly, rather
than sequentially, also add a line containing "random" to the
brush's data file.
Directional Brushes
As of Tux Paint version 0.9.16, you may now create directional
brushes. As the brush is used, different shapes are drawn, depending
on the direction the brush is going.
The directional shapes are divided into a 3x3 square in a PNG image.
For example, if your brush is 30x30, the image should be 90x90, and
each of the direction's shapes placed in a 3x3 grid. The center
region is used for no motion. The top right is used for motion
that's both up, and to the right. And so on.
Add a line containing the line "directional" to the brush's data
Animated Directional Brushes
You may mix both animated and directional features into one brush.
Use both options ("frames=N" and "directional"), in separate lines
in the brush's "".dat" file.
Lay the brush out so that each 3x3 set of directional shapes are
laid out across a wide PNG image. For example, if the brush is 30x30
and there are 5 frames, it would be 450x90. (The leftmost 150x90
pixels of the image represent the 9 direction shapes for the first
frame, for example.)
Place the brush image PNGs (and any data text files) in the "brushes"
Note: If your new brushes all come out as solid squares or rectangles,
it's because you forgot to use alpha transparency! See the documentation
file "PNG.txt" for more information and tips.
All stamp-related files go in the "stamps" directory. It's useful to
create subdirectories and sub-subdirectories there to organize the
stamps. (For example, you can have a "holidays" folder with "halloween"
and "christmas" sub-folders.)
Rubber Stamps in Tux Paint can be made up of a number of separate
files. The one file that is required is, of course, the picture
The Stamps used by Tux Paint are PNG pictures. They can be full-color
or greyscale. The alpha (transparency) of the PNG is used to determine
the actual shape of the picture (otherwise you'll stamp a large
rectangle on your drawings).
The PNGs can be any size, but in practice, a 100 pixels wide by
100 pixels tall (100 x 100) is quite large for Tux Paint.
Note: If your new stamps all have solid rectangular-shaped outlines of
a solid color (e.g., white or black), it's because you forgot to use
alpha transparency! See the documentation file "PNG.txt" for more
information and tips.
Advanced Users: The Advanced Stamps HOWTO describes, in detail, how to
make images which will scale perfectly when used as stamps in
Tux Paint.
Description Text
Text (".TXT") files with the same name as the PNG. (e.g.,
"picture.png"'s description is stored in "picture.txt" in the same
The first line of the text file will be used as the US English
description of the stamp's image. It must be encoded in UTF-8.
Language Support
Additional lines can be added to the text file to provide
translations of the description, to be displayed when Tux Paint is
running in a different locale (like French or Spanish).
The beginning of the line should correspond to the language code of
the language in question (e.g., "fr" for French, and "zh_tw" for
Traditional Chinese), followed by ".utf8=" and the translated
description (encoded in UTF-8).
There are scripts in the "po" directory for converting the text
files to PO format (and back) for easy translation to different
languages. Therefore you should never add or change translations in
the .txt files directly.
If no translation is available for the language Tux Paint is
currently running in, the US English text is used.
Windows Users
Use NotePad or WordPad to edit/create these files. Be sure to save
them as Plain Text, and make sure they have ".txt" at the end of the
Sound Effects
WAVE (".WAV") files with the same name as the PNG. (e.g.,
"picture.png"'s sound effect is the sound "picture.wav" in the same
Language Support
For sounds for different locales (e.g., if the sound is someone
saying a word, and you want translated versions of the word said),
also create WAV files with the locale's label in the filename, in
the form: "STAMP_LOCALE.wav"
"picture.png"'s sound effect, when Tux Paint is run in Spanish mode,
would be "picture_es.wav". In French mode, "picture_fr.wav". And so
If no localized sound effect can be loaded, Tux Paint will attempt
to load the 'default' sound file. (e.g., "picture.wav")
Stamp Options
Aside from a graphical shape, a textual description, and a sound
effect, stamps can also be given other attributes. To do this, you
need to create a 'data file' for the stamp.
A stamp data file is simply a text file containing the options.
The file has the same name as the PNG image, but a ".dat" extension.
(e.g., "picture.png"'s data file is the text file "picture.dat" in the
same directory.)
Colored Stamps
Stamps can be made to be either "colorable" or "tintable."
"Colorable" stamps they work much like brushes - you pick the
stamp to get the shape, and then pick the color you want it to be.
(Symbol stamps, like the mathematical and musical ones, are an
Nothing about the original image is used except the transparency
(from "alpha" channel). The color of the stamp comes out solid.
Add a line containing the word "colorable" to the stamp's data
"Tinted" stamps are similar to "colorable" ones, except the
details of the original image are kept. (To put it technically,
the original image is used, but its hue is changed, based on the
currently-selected color.)
Add a line containing the word "tintable" to the stamp's data
Tinting Options:
Depending on the contents of your stamp, you might want to have
Tux Paint use one of a numer of methods when tinting it. Add one
of the following lines to the stamp's data file:
"tinter=normal" (default)
This is the normal tinting mode.
This is ???.
This is ???.
This is ???.
Unalterable Stamps
By default, a stamp can be flipped upside down, shown as a mirror
image, or both. This is done using the control buttons below the
stamp selector, at the lower right side of the screen in Tux Paint.
Sometimes, it doesn't make sense for a stamp to be flippable or
mirrored; for example, stamps of letters or numbers. Sometimes
stamps are symmetrical, so letting the user flip or mirror them
isn't useful.
To make a stamp un-flippable, add the option "noflip" to the stamp's
data file.
To keep a stamp from being mirrored, add a line containing the word
"nomirror" to the stamp's data file.
Initial Stamp Size
By default, Tux Paint assumes that your stamp is sized appropriately
for unscaled display on a 608x472 canvas. This is the original
Tux Paint canvas size, provided by a 640x480 screen. Tux Paint will
then adjust the stamp according to the current canvas size and, if
enabled, the user's stamp size controls.
If your stamp would be too big or too small, you can specify a scale
factor. If your stamp would be 2.5 times as wide (or tall) as it
should be, add the option "scale 40%" or "scale 5/2" or "scale 2.5"
or "scale 2:5" to your image. You may include an "=" if you wish, as
in "scale=40%".
Windows Users
You can use NotePad or WordPad to create these file. Be sure to save
it as Plain Text, and make sure the filename has ".dat" at the end,
and not ".txt"...
Pre-Mirrored Images
In some cases, you may wish to provide a pre-drawn version of a
stamp's mirror-image. For example, imagine a picture of a fire truck
with the words "Fire Department" written across the side. You probably
do not want that text to appear backwards when the image is flipped!
To create a mirrored version of a stamp that you want Tux Paint to
use, rather than mirroring one on its own, simply create a second
".png" graphics file with the same name, except with the string
"_mirror" before the filename extension.
For example, for the stamp "truck.png" you would create another file
named "truck_mirror.png", which will be used when the stamp is
mirrored (rather than using a backwards version of 'truck.png').
The fonts used by Tux Paint are TrueType Fonts (TTF).
Simply place them in the "fonts" directory. Tux Paint will load the font
and provide four different sizes in the 'Letters' selector when using
the 'Text' tool.
'Starter' images appear in the 'Open' dialog, along with pictures you've
created. They have a green button background, instead of blue.
Unlike your saved pictures, however, when you select and open a
'starter,' you're actually creating a new drawing. Instead of being
blank, though, the new drawing contains the contents of the 'starter.'
Additionally, as you edit your new picture, the contents of the original
'starter' affect it.
Coloring-Book Style
The most basic kind of 'starter' is similar to a picture in a coloring
book. It's an outline of a shape which you can then color in and add
details to. In Tux Paint, as you draw, type text, or stamp stamps, the
outline remains 'above' what you draw. You can erase the parts of the
drawing you made, but you can't erase the outline.
To create this kind of 'starter' image, simply draw an outlined
picture in a paint program, make the rest of the graphic transparent
(that will come out as white in Tux Paint), and save it as a PNG
format file.
Along with the 'coloring-book' style overlay, you can also provide a
separate background image as part of a 'starter' picture. The overlay
acts the same: it can't be drawn over, erased, or affected by 'Magic'
tools. However, the background can be!
When the 'Eraser' tool is used on a picture based on this kind of
'starter' image, rather than turning the canvas white, it returns that
part of the canvas to the original background picture.
By creating both an overlay and a background, you can create a
'starter' which simulates depth. Imagine a background that shows the
ocean, and an overlay that's a picture of a reef. You can then draw
(or stamp) fish in the picture. They'll appear in the ocean, but never
'in front of' the reef.
To create this kind of 'starter' picture, simply create an overlay
(with alpha transparency) as described above, and save it as a PNG.
Then create another image (without transparency), and save it with the
same filename, but with "-back" appended to the name. (e.g.,
"reef-back.png" would be the background ocean picture that corresponds
to the "reef.png" overlay, or foreground.)
The 'starter' images should be the same size as Tux Paint's canvas. In
the default 640x480 mode, that is 448x376 pixels. If you're using
800x600 mode, it should be 608x496. (It should be 192 pixels less wide,
and 104 pixels less tall than the resolution.)
Place them in the "starters" directory. When the 'Open' dialog is
accessed in Tux Paint, the 'starter' images will appear at the beginning
of the list with a green background.
Note: 'Starters' can't be saved over from within Tux Paint, since
loading a 'starter' is really like creating a new image. (Instead of
being blank, though there's already something there to work with.) The
'Save' command simply creates a new picture, like it would if the 'New'
command had been used.
Note: 'Starters' are 'attached' to saved pictures, via a small text file
that has the same name as the saved file, but with ".dat" as the
extension. This allows the overlay and background, if any, to continue
to affect the drawing even after Tux Paint has been quit, or another
picture loaded or started. (In other words, if you base a drawing on a
'starter' image, it will always be affected by it.)
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