GrafX2, a program for working with bitmap images

about grafx2

In the next article we are going to take a look at GrafX2. This is a program to paint bitmap free and open source. With this software and some time, users can create pixel art, game graphics, etc. It is published under GPL-2.0 and CECILL-2.0.

GrafX2 is a bitmap painting program inspired by Amiga’s Deluxe Paint and Brilliance programs. It specializes in 256-color drawings, and includes a large number of tools and effects. The program is primarily developed on Haiku, Linux, and Windows, but it is portable on many other platforms as well.

In its beginnings it was a program for MS-DOS developed by Sunset Design. It was distributed as freeware, being one of the most used graphic editors in the world. demoscene. Development was stopped due to lack of developer time. So they released the source code under the GNU GPL license.

grafx2 running

In 2007, a project began to port the source code of the original MS-DOS version to the SDL library (Simple DirectMedia Layer). The goal was to provide a pixel art editing tool for GNU / Linux, but SDL also allowed easy porting to many other platforms, including Windows. Project development continued on this new version adding features that were missing from the original release..

General characteristics of Grafx2

help grafx2

  • Nowadays it allows to work with the image editing in indexed colors (with trowel), up to 256 colors.
  • It has classic tools; lines, circles, text, multiple undo / redo, built-in brushes, etc. It also offers other less classical tools as they are; airbrush, splines, gradient filled shapes, custom brushes.
  • As well allows to use layers.
  • They can perform multi-frame animations and export as GIF.
  • Count with one dual view mode. View and draw zoomed and real-size views at the same time.
  • It has an extensive palette editor: RGB and HSL color systems, color group editing, in addition to defining and creating color ranges.
  • The program will allow to reorder colors without altering the image, and generate a common palette to merge two images.

grafx2 effects

  • We can also use different modes, such as; shading mode, grid mode or stamping mode. We will also be able to use unusual screen modes: wide and tall pixels, restricted palettes, or special drawing modes, replicating the restrictions of the custom modes ZX Spectrum, Thomson, Amstrad CPC and others.
  • We will also have the possibility to use advanced effects like transparency, smoothing, blurring and some others.
  • The program us allows you to control everything with the keyboard and disable the menu to draw full screen.
  • Includes scripting with integrated Lua engine, to automate operations and perform powerful image manipulation and analysis.
  • This program allows working with different formats, such as: PKM, BMP, CEL, KCF, GIF, IMG, LBM, PCX, PNG, Scx, NEO, C64, CPC, JPEG, TGA, TIFF, RECOIL. It can be used to load many native file formats from obsolete computers.

These are just some of the features of the program. They can consult all of them in the project website.

Install GrafX2 on Ubuntu

Like Flatpak

The GrafX2 Bitmap Paint program is available as flatpak package for Gnu / Linux. We will be able to install it from the terminal, but we will need flatpak and flathub. If you still do not have this technology in Ubuntu 20.04, you can follow the guide that a colleague wrote in this blog a while ago.

Then we will only have to open the terminal (Ctrl + Alt + T) and run the GrafX2 install command:

program installation as flatpak

flatpak install flathub com.chez.GrafX2

Once the installation is finished we can look for the pitcher of our team, or you can also run GrafX2 via the following flatpak command:

grafx2 launcher

flatpak run com.chez.GrafX2


Remove this flatpak package from our system, it is as simple as opening a terminal (Ctrl + Alt + T) and executing the command:

flatpak uninstall com.chez.GrafX2

As AppImage

Another possibility to test this program is to use its AppImage package. To download the corresponding file, we can use the web browser and download it from the following link. It must be said that it is an older version than the one that can be installed as Flatpak.

Once the download of this package is finished, we only it remains to give you the necessary permissions. We can do this by placing ourselves in the folder in which we have saved the file and using the command:

sudo chmod +x GrafX2-2.5.1943.glibc2.14-x86_64.AppImage

After giving you permissions we can double click on the file or write in terminal (Ctrl + Alt + T):


For more information about this program, users can go to the project website, where its documentation can be consulted.

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