Paint.NET is an application for free image and photo editing for Windows. It has been designed to look like Microsoft Paint, a simple and intuitive application, while offering advanced features of high-end graphics software such as layers and effects. It can be extended with the help of plugins.
Paint.NET began as a university design project under Microsoft's tutelage and is now managed by Rick Brewster. He has great popularity online with a lot of support. If you are looking for a free application with all the power of Photoshop, this app is not for you. But if you want a powerful and free application, simple to use and able to do the majority of image editing tasks, read on.
- 1 Characteristics of Paint.NET
- 2 File Types and Quality Parameters
- 3 Plugins
- 4 Documentation and Download
- 5 Pinta – A Paint.NET Alternative
- 6 End of Thoughts
Characteristics of Paint.NET
This is the workspace after loading the application. Each of the tools can be moved or closed. The menu looks like a standard Windows application before designing Microsoft Ribbon. File and Edit include the tools you expect. Edit adds a feature to paste into a new layer or image.
The View menu includes zoom, grid, rules, and options. Here I have opened the image pack for the Interior Design layout pack.
The image includes size and rotation options. The resize menu allows you to resample the image for the best quality, bicubic, bilinear and nearest neighbor. Resize by percentage or enter a pixel size. Unfortunately, it does not do batch resizing. You can copy the resize value to paste in the field, but batch resizing would be a better choice.
The Layers menu includes tools to add a new layer, duplicate a layer, merge, import, flip, rotate, zoom, and more. You can see the individual layers, move them, disable them, copy them, and so on. the Layers tool to the right of the screen. You can add as many layers as you want.
I use this tool to create a gray overlay with 125 opacity as part of beautifying images for tutorials. I fill the layer with the color, select the part of the screen I want to browse and delete the selected area of the layer (as in the picture above).
Rather than removing what I have selected, other options are available in the toolbar to replace, add, subtract, recut or invert. Layers can also be used to create masks.
The Adjustments menu includes tools for adjusting images, including auto level, black and white, brightness, contrast, curves, hue, saturation, inverse colors, levels, posterization, and sepia.
Here, I adjusted the saturation and lightness. If I click OK and then re-open this tool, it retains the settings. This is useful when setting multiple images that require the same or similar settings. The same goes for most tools.
The Effects menu includes artistic elements, blurs, distortions, noise, photos, renderings, and styles. Everyone has a lot of options and features and are fully adjustable. They work on any part of an image you select. Each of the adjustments has several parameters.
Artistic includes sketch with ink, oil painting and pencil sketch. Here is the cute pillow done in an artistic sketch with ink.
Here is a painting with artistic oil.
How about an artistic pencil drawing?
Blurs include fragment, Gaussian, motion, radial, surface, blur and zoom. Here is a motion blur.
Deformation includes bulge, crystallization, dents, frosted glass, pixelate, polar inversion, tile reflection, and twisting. This one is a crystallized distortion.
How about a pixelate distortion?
Or a polar inversion?
Noise includes adding noise, median and noise reduction. This one adds noise.
Photo options include glow, red-eye removal, sharpness, soft portrait, and thumbnail. This example is a vignette.
The rendering includes the clouds, Julia's fractal and Mandelbrot's fractal. This one is clouds.
The fractal Julia of this one.
And here is the Mandelbrot fractal.
The Stylize option includes contour detection, stamping, contour and relief. This one is in relief.
Here is the outline. This would be useful for creating a sketched look.
The tools include typical selection tools such as the rectangle, the lasso, the ellipse and the magic wand. It also includes a paint bucket, gradient, brush, eraser, pencil, color picker, recolor, text, shapes, pan, gradient, line / curve, and more.
In this example, I use the rectangle selection tool. I've copied part of the picture and pasted it in a different place. Select anything to make a copy using the selection tools. Paste it everywhere, move it. Stretch, resize, recolor, etc. You can also move the selected pixels.
Here is an example of selection using the magic wand. I've selected parts of the candles and added some red with enough opacity to make it look like wax. I've also chosen the bottom of the vase and added a shade of darker red to make it seem like a little of its content is still in the background.
Brush widths range from 1-2000 and you can set the hardness to any percentage you want. It has dozens of fillers (brushes). It's limited with its brushes, but you can install a lot more brushes with plugins. It has 15 blend modes that include dodging, burning, multiplication, overlay and more. It also has 2 selection clipping modes.
Pencils and text
Pencil has only one tip, but you can choose colors and gradients to help you mimic the different types of pencils. You can also add text, which includes many fonts and modes.
Create 27 different shapes, choose style, colors, sizes, etc. Stretch them, slide them in any direction, and so on.
The cloning tool allows you to choose a part of the image to clone, then you can paint the image with the cloned area. In this picture, I cloned the floor and I use it to move the wall a few meters to the right side.
It has an unlimited history, so you can go back to each step and undo or redo at each point.
File Types and Quality Parameters
Save as Paint.net, BMP, JPEG, PNG, TIFF, TGA or Surface DirectDraw. When you save, you have quality adjustments, which vary depending on the type of file you choose. This example is a JPEG file. It provides a preview so you know if you like quality. It also gives you the file size, which is great for making decisions about the quality of your image.
Here are the settings for recording as PNG. I can choose the bit depth. If I choose 8 bits, I can set the dither level and the transparency threshold.
Here are the adjustments for a GIF. I found GIF difficult to process because it does not show animation. He will open and save them if.
Paint.NET can be developed with plugins. There are nearly 1000 free plugins (over 800 assets) available in the plugins index in the forum. You can add masking, liquefaction, brushes, more blending modes, more selection tools, processing tools, pens, and more. The plugins are installed manually. The index plugin includes step by step instructions. This is not difficult, but it is not robust like WordPress.
Documentation and Download
The documentation is provided on the website and is accessible via the help button at the top right of the Paint.NET application screen. The site also includes a forum and a lot of tutorials. Here you can access the plugins. You can follow the news on the blog Paint.NET .
DOWNLOAD – You can download free from the site of the publisher: GetPaint.NET
Pinta – A Paint.NET Alternative
An alternative, which was inspired by Paint.NET, is an application called Pinta. It is available for Windows, Mac and Linux, and is also free. It does not have the community that Paint.NET has, but it does include many of the same features (its code fit and effect filters actually come from Paint.NET) and is also worth it. 39 be considered – especially if you are a Mac or Linux user and want something like Paint.NET.
End of Thoughts
I do not consider Paint.NET as a replacement for Photoshop for high-end graphic designers, but for Windows users who just need good photo editing tools that go beyond brightness, cropping and resizing. as brushes, layers, blending modes and cloning, this could be all you need.
Paint.NET is light and fast. I have been using it for basic image editing for several years now and I am satisfied with its performance. In fact, most of the images you saw in my articles were edited with Paint.NET. I use it on a laptop (an Asus i7 with GeForce 940M) and I often have 30 or more open images without problems.
My favorite aspects of Paint.NET are its ease of use and the amount of functionality it has. It has a small learning curve, making it an excellent choice for drawing and editing images without having the impression of having to take a course. The essentials for most needs are here and you can add more features with almost 1000 free plugins. Not bad for free.
We want to hear from you. Have you tried out Paint.NET? Tell us about your experience in the comments.
Picture of the star by MatiasDelCarmine / shutterstock.com