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Extend Paint.NET with 5 free Photoshop filters

10 September 2015, Mike Williams

Paint.NETPaint.NET is a great freeware image editor, easy to use and with a stack of essential features.

The program isn’t updated as often as we’d like, but if you need more functionality then it’s easy to extend the latest 64-bit edition with free Photoshop filters.

The first step is to install PSFilterPDN, a Paint.NET plugin which hosts the filters.

Setup is manual, but simple enough. Just download the archive, unzip it, and copy the executables to your Paint.NET effects folder (normally C:\Program Files\Paint.NET\Effects).

8bf Filters dialog

Any filters you install appear in Paint.NET’s new “8bf Filter” dialog

Once that’s done, all you have to do is find some filters you’d like to use, copy them into the same folder, and they’ll be accessible from the new Effects menu “8bf filter” dialog.

Designer/ developer Richard Rosenman has a varied collection of free and commercial products, and it’s a good place to get a feel for what’s available.

Some of his tools offer improved versions of familiar effects. Diffuse is a smart filter which offers sub-pixel diffusion for smoother and more subtle results, while Pinch is a configurable distortion filter, a useful variation on Paint.NET’s “Bulge”.

Box Fitting goes a step further, transforming your image using variable sized boxes and plenty of colour control. It’s a variation on the usual pixelate and mosaic effects which produces more interesting and abstract results.

Photoshop filters can create images, as well as manipulate them. Particle Tracer uses particle trajectories to create spectacular lighting effects, your own custom electrical storm.


Some filters manipulate existing images. Particle Tracer creates new ones with some spectacular effects

Others are almost applications in their own right. Buddhabrot is a complete fractal explorer in a single filter, generating gorgeous high-res Buddhabrot and Nebulabrot versions of the Mandelbrot, Tricorn, Burning Ship and Diamond fractals.

There are thousands of other filters out there to try, and most run seamlessly in Paint.NET and other 8bf-compatible apps.

Paint.NET is a freeware graphics editor for Windows 7 and later.

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