Paint.NET 4 (Windows)
Paint.NET 4 (Windows)
Paint.NET has a clear and modern interface. The freeware offers far more features than most comparable freeware, apart from GIMP. It shows features that only expensive commercial products offer, normally. Paint.NET users can work with multiple layers. You can use professional graphics tools and apply effects to images. But Paint.NET does not offer as many effects as GIMP. With GIMP you may work even more professional and more accurate. You can install plugins through the Paint.NET community. After installing appropriate extensions, you can use Paint.NET to open more image formats, such as RAW or Photoshop files. Paint.NET 4 requires the free .NET Framework 4.7 or higher.
The new version promises noticeably better performance, especially when dealing with large and high-resolution images. Furthermore, the memory usage should be much lower. In general, control was improved for mouse users. In the settings, it is now possible to configure the default settings. So the program will start next time with your individual settings. In Paint.NET 4, a new menu gives you quick access to help, settings and toolboxes. Another new feature is the blending mode. You can paint directly from the blending method you prefer. A brush hardness slider is now found in the toolbar.
Disable and enable antialiasing directly from the toolbar. In the Layers menu, you can easily rearrange layers using drag and drop. Zoom settings are bottom right, now. More innovations can be discovered using the individual tools. The Shapes tool combines several old tools and provides, among other things, 297 different, freely transformable shapes. It is easy to apply various shapes like rectangles, polygons and symbols. Users may pan a photo, make rectangular, Lasso and ellipse selections, move selections or selected pixels and rotate them to any angle using right-click and apply a gradient. The gradient tool is powerful and easy to use, it offers reflected linear, diamond, radial for example, and unlimited undo steps make it easier to correct errors.
Creations can be exported in many different file formats. Paint.NET supports TGA, TIFF, JPEG, PNG, BMP and GIF formats. These formats can also be used by other image processing programs. Additionally the Paint.NET format PDN can be used. If you save a project as PDN file, all layers are preserved, so you can edit them later in Paint.NET. On the contrary, if you save a PNG file for example, all layers merge, so you can not edit them separately any more. The available plug-ins are very useful: for example, use 8BF-based filter plug-ins, which are often used in Photoshop, with Paint.NET’s 8BF plug-in and open multi-layer Photoshop files with Paint.NET PSD Plug-in.
Paint.NET requires some training, but not as much as GIMP or Photoshop. The changes to the UI in v4 have considerably improved usability and performance. Version 4 brings a lot more innovations, too. Try the nice vintage effects using the sepia and vignette filters to give your creations a trendy retro look.
Alternatives to Paint.NET
See our reviews of GIMP freeware and Adobe Photoshop CS 2 which you might get for free as well under certain circumstances. While Paint.NET is tied to Windows by the .NET programming framework, both alternatives can be used on other operating systems as well.