If you’ve ever used the Paint program that comes baked into every copy of Windows, then you’ll know that it doesn’t do much beyond crop, resize, rotate, scribble and save. That’s enough for some users, but if you need to edit a photo or create a more complex image, you need software that has a bit more grunt.
According to its developers, Paint.Net was originally designed to replace the Microsoft Paint application. It has since evolved into a powerful, easy-to-use image editor that offers features similar to those that you’ll find in Adobe Photoshop and The GIMP.
In short, it has the grunt you're looking for.
For example, Paint.Net features Layers, enabling you to edit specific areas of your image, selectively edit, colourise it, or build up an image from a number of different layers.
There are also options to adjust an image's brightness, hue, contrast, curves, saturation and levels, not mention an array of special effects that can blur, sharpen, distort, emboss and remove that pesky red-eye effect from your photos with a few clicks.
Don’t think that Paint.Net is just another image editor. It also includes several tools for drawing shapes, including a simple curve tool for drawing splines or Bezier curves. There’s a Gradient tool too, a simple text editor, a powerful zoom function, and even a Clone Stamp tool to help you clean up grainy photos.
Better still, each and every change which you make a graphic in Paint.Net is recorded in the software’s unlimited history log. This makes it much easier to undo any alterations which were made to an image.
Verdict: Paint.Net is a fully-featured alternative to more complex and hard-to-grasp image editors like The GIMP. Its simplicity is its core strength, but it also contains advanced features that help you create better images.