I’m a big fan of the image editor Paint.NET. It has been running at version 3.5.x for over a year but a beta version of 4.0 has been in the works lately. Just this week, a new build of the beta was released. I’ve worked with the previous builds and decided to check this one out and provide a quick preview of some of the upcoming changes.
The best news about PDN 4.0 is that it doesn’t change that much. For somebody like myself who uses the software multiple times a day, being able to quickly navigate around makes the software that much better. Paint.NET is often listed as a Photoshop alternative. Paint.NET can do most of the image editing that a person needs to do, for free, without burying the basics.
Images are moved to begin left-to-right immediately after the tools, instead of being right-justified. They can also be rearranged by dragging and dropping. The animation is smooth and helpful to the UI experience.
In the top-right of the window, you will see quick buttons to turn off or on the Tools, History, Layers, or Colors windows. Next to those four toggles is a settings button. The new settings even improve the usability and speed of Paint.NET. You can set your default tool, in my case, I prefer the Rectangle Select. You can also set some default behaviors of the different tools. I immediately used the settings to change the shapes to be a solid fill, instead of just a border. You can also adjust brush size, fonts, and other default behaviors of the tools.
Paint.NET 4.0 also brings support to tab previews. Similar to how Internet Explorer allows you to select which tab to go to straight from hovering over it in the Windows taskbar, Paint.NET will show you a thumbnail if you are working on multiple images.
The new version seems to be smooth and bring a lot of polish to an already solid application. The final version should be approaching release soon, as more bugs get squashed with each beta release.
If you would like to try the 4.0 beta yourself, you can download it from getpaint.net.