Review of FatPaint

Initial impressions of the online graphics editor.

First of all I have to say that for an online vector and bitmap editor it is very impressive. There is a stunning amount of things that you can do in FatPaint that paid for applications don’t have. I have Vector Designer and also I have many years of experience with CorelDraw. Seeing as Fatpaint can do so many things, functionally in terms of features, it will take you some time learning all of what it can do.

I like that you can do all the usual shape creations circles, rectangles, stars and triangles. It will also let you make spiral shapes. There are line drawing tools that give you straight lines and lines that you can manipulate with bezier nodes. It seems to come with some vector and bitmap clip art that you can put into your design. Acorn has vector tools that work on top of the bitmap editing.

I was impressed that when I reopened the interface it asked me if I wanted to open the work that I did before and left without saving. When you open up, you are offered some tutorial videos to help you get started. You will need to look at those videos and probably more than once to get the hang of all the tools and the menus to make the program do things. You can download the files to your computer to work on. Organise files with Hazel when they are downloaded to your Mac.

In the tutorial videos the guy shows you how to do use the controls and create and manipulate shapes. Learn how to use shapes to create objects from selecting in a cookie cutter fashion. The audio quality of the videos is poor and the explanations are not great for beginners, you will need patience to learn what you need to know.



FatPaint is made with Javascript and Flash and I expect you need a reasonably fast internet connection to get the best out of it. While trying it out it crashed Safari for me after about fifteen minutes. For a free editor working in a browser it is OK to use. Anyone used to using an application like Pixelmator, Vector Designer or Illustrator will not be so keen to use FatPaint.

Some of the interface is geared towards you looking at the products for sale. There are garments and things like magnets, shoes and other bits and pieces you can buy with your design printed on. It is a different way for a programmer to get paid for an application and good luck to him. We all have to eat don’t we. You can hide the products dialogue area if you want to, so it is not in your face.

One thing I am not so keen on is that you can’t arrange manually where you want the drawing area or any of the tool dialogues. If you have all of them showing the drawing area moves to the bottom of the window and you are forced to scroll to find it. It would be good to use the available space on your widescreen monitor to arrange things as you see fit.

First impression is Wow! doesn’t Fatpaint do a lot, but in terms of using it could get a little frustrating due to the lag of working via an internet connection. Vector Designer for the Mac doesn’t come close in features and Illustrator is very expensive. Fatpaint has a niche area of the market to work in and it could suit you very well, or not.