Paint.net (free graphics tool)

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paintnet_thumbPaint.net is a GREAT graphic’s tool. I tend to think of it as “Photoshop Lite”. If you have a camera and are downloading your pictures to your computer then paint.net is for you. If you’ve ever tried to email a downloaded photo to a friend, you’ve most likely found that the photo is too BIG for the screen. What can you do? ┬áDon’t worry, paint.net has you covered.

Paint.net has an arsenal of tools that you will find very useful. You can resize photos or graphics to a percentage of their current size, or set the height or width and have paint.net calculate the other dimension for you. In addition, you can sharpen photos, adjust the brightness and contrast, rotate them, and add text or special effects.

Resizing Photos

resize controlsWhen resizing a photo you have the option of resizing by percentage or by setting an absolute size. Resizing by percentage works great! If the percentage chosen is too small or too big then you can always “undo” and try again. If you know one of the dimensions, width or height, and the “maintain aspect ratio” checkbox is checked, you can set either the width or the height and let paint.net set the other dimension.

You even have the option of setting the resolution of the photo. Paint.net defaults to 96 pixels per inch, which is the standard resolution for a computer running windows.

The Toolbar

The paint.net toolbar holds the SAME tools as most professional graphics programs. The paint.net help files provides a description of what each tool does and then you just need to do some experimenting on your own.

  • Rectangle – Create a rectangle around the area that you want to select.
  • Magic Wand – Select all adjacent areas that match the color clicked.
  • Paint Bucket – Fill areas which use the color clicked with the default color.
  • Shapes – Draw the selected shape using a fill color or leave transparent.
  • Color Picker – Click on a color to make it the default color.

Adding Layers

If you want to get especially artistic, you can always do some experimentation using layers.

Composite ImageLayers allow you to stack images, one on top of another, to create a composite image.

Paint.net allows you to arrange the order that the images are stacked on top of each other and also the opacity (transparency) of each image to get some interesting effects.

In the image on the left, the apples opacity has been reduced to partially show the image of the city beneath it.

Installing Paint.Net

The BEST part about Paint.Net is that it is totally FREE! Go to the download page here!

paint_net_downloadPaint.net requires Windows 7+ (7 SP1, 8, 8.1, 10). If you want to ensure that your computer is compatible, then click on the “System Requirements” link for more information.

To download the installation program click on the “paint.net 4.0.9” link (shown at left) to download a ZIP file. Download this file to a temporary folder, UnZip it, and then begin the setup process.

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