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Paint.NET is a fabulous program for designers as well as average computer users who need to edit their photos. It seems to be the best alternative for the market leader but also expensive product Adobe Photoshop. Paint.NET can still do most of the job, and only some more advanced options are there in Photoshop that it might not perform as well.

Is Paint.NET really the “Photoshop Killer”?

If you’ve been searching for the very best digital photography solution available on the market today but have absolutely no intention whatsoever to spend $1000 or more on industry leader Adobe Photoshop you are nowhere near alone.


People all over the world have been looking for functionality strikingly similar to what Photoshop brings to the table without having to incur that gigantic price tag – and many of them (millions in fact) have jumped at the opportunity to use Paint.NET in its place. Widely regarded as maybe the best of the best when it comes to Photoshop replacements (and that’s certainly saying something), you’re going to want to pay close attention to this Paint.NET review to determine whether or not this piece of (100% free) software is worth your time and attention.

Let’s dive right in!

It might not be a Photoshop Killer, but it’s as close as any have ever come

The truth of the matter is that Paint.NET is not a Photoshop killer, but it is still just as close as the industry has ever come. A Windows only desktop application that offers many of the same tools and technologies that Photoshop does – but not nearly as many – this is as close to a next generation solution as you’re going to find without dropping hundreds and hundreds of dollars in the process.

A little bit less resource intensive (and not nearly as capable when it comes to 3-D or video editing as Photoshop) this is the kind of high level solution you can count on day in and day out regardless of whether or not you’re a professional photographer, editor, or just a hobbyist looking to mess around.

Setup and installation for Paint.NET couldn’t be simpler, thanks to the use of the framework that the system has been built off to. Available as a 100% free digital download, it’s difficult to argue with the price – especially after you’ve seen all of the incredible advantages that this specific set up brings to the table. Some people try to download the software through a torrent program (Chillitorrent), though it’s a freeware so it’s really the choice of each one to either download it off the webpage or search for it on some torrent website. Also important to note that much of the “graphical flair” that the user interface has will only be installed on solutions running Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, 8.1 and 10 – XP users get a little bit more of a streamlined interface to keep resource involvement at a minimum.

The closest competitor to this specific set up on their outside of Photoshop, of course would have to be GIMP – but this set up in Paint.NET absolutely blows that out of the water.

Streamlined and easy to use interface like all other Microsoft tools

The first thing that you’re going to notice when diving headfirst into the interface behind Paint.NET is the fact that it is just as easy to use as any of Microsoft’s other software solutions. Taking big design cues from the Windows office package (while at the same time making sure that all of the tools you’ll need are easily reached with just a few clicks of a button), this is a next generation solution through and through.

The tabbed interface that you’ll be able to play around with feels just like Photoshop (and maybe even a little bit quicker when it comes to switching from canvassed canvas), and definitely a big productivity benefit that you’ll enjoy.

Quick importing of digital files that are instantly ready for use

The other real big benefit that you’re going to notice when using Paint.NET right off the bat is just how easy it is to bring photos into the system to begin editing and playing around with.

Sure, you could go for the “traditional” method of opening a file – actually clicking the file tab, browsing to the open button, and then collecting all of the pictures you want to bring into the picture – but why go through all of that extra effort?

All you need to do now is simply go into the folder where those files are located, select them all using your mouse, and then drag-and-drop them right into the interface. Again, it’s a subtle little shift and change from most of the photo editing solutions available – but it’s a big productivity booster and something you’re really going to appreciate.

At the same time, organizing files after you have brought them into the system is a little bit of a hassle and headache – and Microsoft needs to make sure that they address this issue in upcoming updates. You may not be fully interested in the organization anyways (after all, this is an editing program first and foremost) but it would be nice to see at least a little bit more attention paid here.

Editing tools, technologies, and features are out of this world

We keep coming back to Photoshop (it’s the elephant in the room, and almost impossible not to acknowledge), but many of the tools, technologies, and advanced features offered in Paint.NET are pulled directly from that industry leader.

You’re going to be able to do just about anything you’ve ever wanted to a photograph with this platform – all without ever having to drop thousands and thousands of dollars in the process. There is a Magic Wand tool for selecting regions of a photograph, Clone Stamp tools for copying or racing chunks of a picture, easy to use selection tools, advanced brushes and effects, and a whole host of other big benefits that you simply don’t find in three pieces of technology any longer.

The only place where the editing effects really let you down is when it comes to video or 3-D images, but that’s to be expected. If you’re a serious photo editor the odds are fantastic that you’ve already gotten your hands on Photoshop to use those specific tools and technologies – but it’s more than overkill for most of us.

Final verdict

Paint.NET is hands down one of the most complete solutions that you’re going to find available on the market today, and the kind of system that you need to install if you’re serious about editing your photos. Regardless of whether or not you’re a budding professional, amateur hobbyist, or just someone that likes to full around with pictures pulled from your smart phone, Paint.NET offers an elite level of technology at the rock-bottom price tag of 100% free.