Freeware Pick: Paint.net

aNewDomain.net – Adobe Photoshop is king of the graphics programs. It’s also priced like a Bentley coupe. What do you do when you need more than a basic photo editor but can’t justify Photoshop? You use Paint.net.

I discovered Paint.net years ago when I was in that exact situation. I had tried a number of free programs, including GIMP, but I didn’t need all that complexity. I wanted something simple but powerful enough for me to handle basic graphic work. I was willing to pay, but I ended up not having to. See, one of the joys of Paint.net is the complete lack of a price tag.

This program doesn’t do everything, but it handles filters, with a number of common ones built in. Sharpen, blur and a number of distortions are all included. I spend most of my time resizing photos and cropping them, which Paint.net handles with ease. 

Image enhanced with Paint.net’s Auto-Level

As you might expect, Paint.net includes a number of functions for improving photos. The ever-present Auto-Level is there, for automatic correction of your photographs. I find it works, but I’ve never been a fan of these automatic enhancements.

The major disappointment with the program has to do with layers. I prefer the way Photoshop handles layers, giving you far more control over manipulating them once you’ve placed elements into them. It doesn’t leave me running for my credit card and an impulse Photoshop download, but it does frustrate me at times.

Will Paint.net completely replace high-level graphics programs? Of course not. It’s free and adequate for most purposes. If you format your computer frequently, you probably know about ninite.com – and Paint.net is sitting there as one of the options. The combination of the two means I can have decent photo-editing capabilities just minutes after the installation of an operating system.

Based in Vermont, Jeremy Lesniak is managing editor at aNewDomain.net and founder of Vermont Computing, Inc. and whistlekick.com Follow him @jlesniak or email him [email protected]

Jeremy Lesniak
Based in Vermont, Jeremy Lesniak is managing editor at aNewDomain.net and founder of Vermont Computing, Inc. and whistlekick.com. Email him [email protected]
Jeremy Lesniak
Jeremy Lesniak
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