Paint.Net is a fairly new player in the freeware image editor scene.
Unlike GIMP and Photoshop, it is available only on the Windows platform. This is because it needs .NET framework in order to run. This .NET framework is similar in concept to Java Virtual Machine.
Paint.NET is designed to be intuitive and easy to understand. Like Photoshop, Photoplus and GIMP, it also has layers.
Equally impressive is its ability to take in plugins. Some of the plugins for Paint.NET are simply amazing such as the incredible Shape3D plugin. This plugin allows the user to create “sphere” or “cylinder” or “box” from any image maps.
Paint.Net also sports many filters and special effects. Some of the useful tools for editing photos include red-eye removal, blurring and sharpening.
Speedwise, the earlier versions of this software is quite slow. But, the newer versions are pretty snappy now. In terms of starting up time, it loads up faster than both GIMP and Photoshop.
Generally, I like Paint.NET a lot. However, I find downloading the .NET framework a bit of a hassle. The Microsoft website, where the NETframework must be downloaded from, is frustratingly confusing to navigate. In addition to that, the installation of the Framework is irritating slow.
Also, the fact that Paint.NET does not use native machine code but is interpreted gave me the impression that it may not be as speedy as native-coded graphic programs.
Is Paint.NET comparable to Photoshop? The answer is a no. Paint.NET does not appear to have CMYK support and many of the finer features of the commercial veteran.
So how does Paint.NET compares to GIMP? In my opinion, Paint.NET is not as powerful as GIMP yet. For example, the layers properties are quite basic and lacks layer mask function. Also, the Selection options are not professional enough for serious work. This is because, it lacks feathering and smoothing functions. Selection also does not have ‘convert to border’ function. However, I must say that Paint.NET wins hands-down in terms of intuitiveness and ease of usage.
Despite some of its shortcomings, I still feel that it is a powerful and very useful tool. What is even more remarkable is that all these functions and power are available for free as an excellent graphic editing freeware.