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PaintZ (read “paints”) is a simple program for creating and editing drawings and other images, similar to tools such as Microsoft Paint and KolourPaint. Like those tools, PaintZ is designed to to be fast and easy to use above all else. I created it because my Chromebook-using friends and I were frustrated by the lack of an MS Paint equivalent, and it ended up being useful to a lot of my friends with Macs as well. So if you have been looking for MS Paint on Chrome OS—or any platform with a modern web browser and no MS Paint—PaintZ is your solution.

A blank PaintZ document. A thought bubble drawn over a sleeping cat in PaintZ has a text box that says ZZZZzzzzzz...

I also continued to add new progressive web app features as they became available. Most exciting to me was copy and paste into and out of the app when it became available in Chrome in 2019, but I am also eagerly anticipating file handling and local font access in 20212022!

Copying images from Google Images, Micrsoft Paint, GIMP, and Photoshop into PaintZ, and from PaintZ to Twitter.

On the design side...

The first version of PaintZ was a desktop adaptation of the Holo design guidelines, but switched to Material Design when Material was announced partway through development. That led to implementing animations based on the Material guidelines to provide meaningful transitions and generally delight users. In addition to using shadows to create clear hierarchy of layers like most Material apps, I also raised the color selector to make it somewhat reminiscent of the floating action button (FAB) pattern.

A smiley face drawn in PaintZ. A hand turkey drawn in PaintZ.

I later added other Material effects, like ink ripples when you change tools.

Clearing the canvas covers it in an ink ripple of the fill color. Material ink ripple transitions when selecting tools on the PaintZ toolbar.

When designing the icon, I knew I wanted a paint palette, but also wanted the “Z” icon represented somehow. Rather than include my normal “Z” icon, I chose to create the “Z” out of painting tools. I opted to include a bit more detail and less sharp shadows than most Material icons while still keeping an overall colorful and playful feeling. I selected a theme color for the toolbar and form elements in PaintZ that would contrast with and complement the icon's primary color.

Logo sketch Final logo