Multipaint 2020

Multipaint 2020.2 (Version 25.11.2020)

With Multipaint, you can draw pictures with the color limitations of some typical 8-bit computer platforms. The screen formats supported are Commodore 64 high resolution, Commodore 64 multicolor, Commodore Plus/4 Hires, Commodore Plus/4 multicolor, ZX Spectrum, ZX ULAplus, MSX 1, Amstrad CPC mode 0/1 (and 0 with Overscan), Sinclair QL and Atari ST low resolution.

Mode selector

Dark theme & SET GRID tool

Latest version

Multipaint 2020.2 I had broken the C64 multicolor prg export. It should work now.

Multipaint 2020.1 should fix some of the problems with Linux application window resize. Also, the close window (x) button might function correctly now. Thanks go to Marq the Javameister for both of these fixes! In addition, a few interface glitches have been fixed and the file unsaved status is more consistent with the tool effects.

Multipaint 2020 is the seventh major release of Multipaint. This version has been exported with Processing 3, with the aim to increase stability especially with newer Java versions. Hopefully the "prefs.txt" problems with mac are now a thing in the past.

This version also introduces resizable application window, Dark theme, SET GRID dialogue with arbitrary grids and grid offset, Amstrad CPC mode 0 overscan complete with export, C64 "free" mode with no attribute limitations, more informative conversions between modes, better ULAplus conversions, added dialogue for importing png images and auto border-cropping images (where relevant&possible). You can also "recall" a mode change.

See also:

A blog post detailing some of the 2020 features

Features & Download

Multipaint features common drawing tools, color clash emulation, cut brushes, dither patterns, grid / snap, 20-step undo, spare page, magnify modes, direct executable export, export as source, import/export in native formats and much more.

Download Multipaint application for Windows/Linux/Mac (zip)

Download Multipaint Processing sketch 3.4.2020 (zip, manual not included)

Multipaint manual at Google Docs. (The manual is no longer included with the zips.)

General note and the JRE

As Multipaint is written in Processing, it should run in Windows, Mac OS X and Linux 32/64 bit systems. For running the application, you need the Java Runtime Environment. It may turn out you already have it. For some systems, installing something like Arduino might also install a version without further hassle.

Processing binaries cannot be guaranteed to work correctly across all operating system versions. The ultimate solution may be to install Processing and run the sketch instead or export the application to your system.

I developed Multipaint with a two-button mouse where the wheel works as the third, middle mousebutton. The wheel zooms and the middle button works as an instant pipette. This might be the ideal mouse for using Multipaint.

For old school pixel work, it might be better to slow down the pointer movement in your system.

Keysheet with highlighted important options

NOTE to Mac users (24.11.2020)

Tested on Yosemite 10.10.5, Catalina 10.15.7 and El Capitan 10.11.6.

There may be security/ file quarantine related issues with the Macintosh. You may need to allow the file to run separetely from your privace/security settings. Depending on your Mac OS and Java version, the application may have problems with finding the prefs.txt file. This should no longer be a problem with the 2020 version. See further below for more information.

NOTE to Windows users (29.8.2021)

Windows 10: If you encounter a problem where resizing the Multipaint window makes the window unresponsive (immobile, non-resizable) or otherwise crashes the program, you may need to update your Windows. On my 20H2 it seemed to work fine.

Your security software may tag the Multipaint archive as a potential malware/virus just in principle, which ALMOST certainly is a false positive. Furthermore, like with Mac, your security settings may prevent you from running web-downloaded content. Take care!

NOTE to Linux users (24.11.2020)

The application window resize didn't work properly on some Linux setups. Marq (of the PETSCII editor fame) found a solution and it has been shown to work on various setups.

Special thanks to Compyx and Shine for testing and patience.

As an additional note, it might be good to install libcanberra-gtk-module, if Multipaint says it is missing. This reveals itself when running ./multipaint from the command line. It shouldn't be necessary, though.

NOTE to Raspberry Pi users

My experiences have shown the program can run on Raspberry Pi 3B+. Run the 32-bit linux version included. However it is not especially fast, and the new 2020 version is likely to be even slower. If there's really some need to run Multipaint on Pi 3, you could revert to the 2019 version. I believe a Raspberry Pi 4 might be fast enough to run Multipaint ok.

Running on Mac

Most of the Mac problems should have gone by the 2020 version. However, if Multipaint warns you that the prefs.txt could not be found, this should indicate something is wrong.

The prefs.txt is now situated at a Java/data/ folder, but you may need to "show package contents" instead of opening the application to access it.

If you run Multipaint through the terminal, you likewise need to get into the folder structure and launch ./multipaint from there. The console log can give some clues on where the application is trying to get its files from. However this might be different than running it from the icon!

You can try to locate the prefs.txt to your home folder, that is the ~ folder.

Running on Mac: Old information, for completeness sake.

Especially older versions of Multipaint may have problems finding the prefs.txt file, leading to reduced features. Based on Mac users' comments here are some things to consider:

  • You may try to place the prefs.txt somewhere else than how it is in the zip archive. This might be the Multipaint folder.
  • You can try to place the prefs.txt alternately to your "home" folder, the Multipaint folder, or even your "root" folder.
  • You could try checking whether the Multipaint folder and all the files are in the filesystem, and not inside the archive or as shortcut icons.
  • It might be helpful to check what folder the Multipaint load and save selectors offer you as a default. This could be the folder the program uses for reading the prefs.txt. (This does not work for me)
  • Some have reported more success in running the Linux version, after all it's a shell script for running Java.
  • If the application does not run at all, remember that the newest Java version is not necessarily the best.

Related projects

Here are a couple of related software. Especially if you now have Java runtime environment installed you can have a try at these:

PETSCII, a multi-platform text art editor

Pixel Polizei, a multi-platform graphics utility

Multipaint Gallery

Here are some works where Multipaint has been put to use.

Cem Tezcan has found an interesting use for Multipaint, when rendering a 1970s scene. Have a look at the article at MAGAZINE by Substance.

Facet told me that all his C64 pixeling from since 2018 has been done on Multipaint. Thanks!

Special thanks to Jonathan Eggelton who gave permission to include his work. Jon takes inspiration from C-64 game covers and loading screens. You can view more of his work through this CSDb page.

I have also permission to include works by Andy Green. Andy has been very prolific in creating ZX Spectrum art, both re-imagined loading screens and new images. To see more, check Andy's ZXart gallery and his Facebook page.

The demogroup GOTU made a demo on Commodore plus/4 called Promised Land, and told me they used Multipaint for the graphics. See the entry at plus4world!

There are also loading screens for an add-on to the multi-platform text adventure Hibernated 1: This Place is Death, which is called Eight Feet Under. The pictures were made by Rail Slave. Get Hibernated from here, it's quite an atmospheric game.

Stefan Vogt, the author of Hibernated, has been testing the Atari ST mode for making the screens for The Curse of Rabenstein. I'm told all the modes (Amiga, DOS, ST) are based on the ST Degas images. Thanks Stefan! Check Curse of Rabenstein.

TITAN (Eric Cubizolle) gave permission to include some of his Amstrad CPC works on this page. More of his output can be found from this page. (Scroll to the bottom to see the Multipaint images)

Davide Bucci has used Multipaint to create loading screens for his multi-platform text adventure The Queen's Footsteps. For more information, go to this page.

Inside the Box (C64) by Facet

Too Young to Die (C64) by Facet

Queen's Footsteps (C64) by Davide Bucci


Barbarian II (CPC) by TITAN

Screen from The Curse of Rabenstein (Atari ST) by Stefan Vogt

Ken 3 (CPC) by TITAN

Cobra (CPC) by Deckard

Powerdrome (ZX ULAplus) by Dr. TerrorZ

Eight Feet Under (C64 multicolor) by Rail Slave

Eight Feet Under (Amstrad CPC) by Rail Slave

Eight Feet Under (ZX Spectrum) by Rail Slave

Red Heat (C64 multicolor) by JonEgg

River Raid (C64 multicolor) by JonEgg

Toki (ZX Spectrum) by Andy Green

Doomsday Castle (ZX Spectrum) by Andy Green

Amazon (ZX Spectrum) by MacRune

From Promised Land (C plus/4) by DLST/GOTU

Für Desire (C64 multicolor) by Dr. TerrorZ

Fixertron (C64 hires) by Dr. TerrorZ

Remote (C64 hires) by Dr. TerrorZ

Queen (C64 multicolor) by Dr. TerrorZ

Infestation (C64 multicolor) by Dr. TerrorZ

Boabots (C64 hires) by Dr. TerrorZ

Lawless of the West (C64 hires) by Dr. TerrorZ

Countryside (C64 hires) by Dr. TerrorZ

Star Kerk (MSX) by Dr. TerrorZ

Imjarvi UFO Incident (C64 multicolor) by Dr. TerrorZ

Sommaren e Kårt (C64 multicolor) by Marq

Inside Job (C64 hires) by Dr. TerrorZ

Battlecat Action Figure (C64 hires) by Dr. TerrorZ

Unhanged (ZX Spectrum) by Dr. TerrorZ


Multipaint 2016-2020 by Tero Heikkinen AKA Dr. TerrorZ. Comments and queries can be sent to the address below:

Before asking for new features, please consider reading the manual first. The feature might already exist! I am also unlikely to add new modes, especially if they are 256-colour or have higher resolution than 320 x 200.