The days of having to spend big to edit photos on your PC have long gone. Now you'll find all the functionality you need exists in free software, and one of the pioneers of this growing market was Paint.NET. It's been years since it received a major update, but now version 4.0 is here at long last.
The program has a beautifully clean and uncluttered interface, with tabbed files access making it easy to work with multiple images at the same time. One immediate advantage over commercial rivals such as Paint Shop Pro and Photoshop Elements is that it's also lightning fast, although from version 4.0 you'll need a dual-core processor to go with Windows 7 or later to run it.
With support for layers, a wide range of image formats and image editing plugins, everything you need to get started with image editing can be found here. A selection of filters and special effects are built into Paint.NET, and these can be used to enhance image or to get creative with your artwork. The program includes everything you would expect to find in an image editing package, but there are plenty of surprises when you consider that this is free software. The gradient tool is powerful and easy to use, and unlimited levels of undo make it possible to try out several ideas without worrying about losing the original image.
Paint.NET is the personification of what free software should be. The program is of a very high standard and features and automatic update facility so you can always be sure you are working with the latest version - and with a dedicated team of developers, updates are fairly frequent. The program has a large and active following, and there are a range of helpful hints, tips and tutorials to be found in the Paint.NET forums. This may well be the only image editor you ever need.
Few programs are as pleasing to use as Paint.NET - the updates are all welcome, and the long wait has been well worth it. Install today.
What's new in Paint.NET 4.2.15 (see the changelog for more info)?
- New: "Tolerance Alpha Mode" toggle button added to the toolbar for the Magic Wand, Paint Bucket, and Recolor tools. This permits switching the algorithm for color comparison between premultiplied (default) and straight. "Straight" will distinguish between transparent pixels with different color values, whereas premultiplied will see them as equivalent.
- New: Holding Ctrl while using the Color Picker tool will sample from the merged image (vs. just the current layer)
- New: The file name in the title bar will now have a prepended asterisk when it has unsaved changes
- Changed: The image close 'X' button can now be clicked for images that are not currently active
- Changed: In the Text tool, Ctrl+(Backspace, Delete, Arrow Keys) has been improved to work more like Microsoft Word. Thanks to @Bruce Bowyer-Smyth for the patch!
- Fixed: The Rectangle Select tool, when used to draw a constrained, fixed ratio, or fixed size selection, will now correctly clamp the rectangle to be within the canvas
- Fixed: Layers -> Move Layer Up/Down/Top/Bottom was not working for images with fewer than 3 layers
- Fixed: Edit -> Erase Selection will now fill with transparent black (#00000000) instead of transparent white (#00FFFFFF)
- Fixed: Custom Shapes will now be displayed in a consistently sorted order
- Fixed: ".pdnSave" ghost files should no longer linger when saving to the desktop. This was due to a bug in Windows and File Explorer.
- Fixed crashes due to DXGI/Direct3D "lost device" or "device removed" errors that can happen for various reasons (duck/undock, driver update, low memory, etc.)
- New: Plugins can now use the IArrayPoolService, a wrapper around .NET's ArrayPool, to optimize their array allocations
- Updated bundled AVIF FileType Plus to v1.1.6. See the pdn-avif releases page on GitHub (https://github.com/0xC0000054/pdn-avif/releases) for more information.