Paint.NET Tutorial

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Paint.NET Tutorial – How to Use Paint.NET on Windows and Mac

As you know, Paint.NET is a free raster graphics editor for Windows, developed on the .NET framework. Thus, Paint.NET is not the same as Paint. With the support for layers and masks, you can use Paint.NET like Photoshop. Of course, it will be easier to edit images with Paint.NET. Though the built-in features are limited, you can do the majority of image editing tasks with Paint.NET.

You can download Paint.NET for free or give a donation from its official site. As for Paint.NET features, you can make a pixelate distortion, add noise, blur, add artistic effects and apply basic adjustments within Paint.NET. If you never use Paint.NET before, you can read the Paint.NET tutorials to get the core features.

Paint.NET Tutorial



Part 1: How to Use Paint.NET

Paint.NET is continually updated by volunteers. You can use Paint.NET plugins to get the expansion of effects and file types. Just visit https://www.getpaint.net/doc/latest/InstallPlugins.html to find the Paint.NET you need. Now, let’s get started to edit in Paint.NET.

Step 1: Resize canvas

Get Paint.NET for Windows 10 or other versions. Then launch Paint.NET. The default canvas size is 800 x 600. You can choose “Canvas Size” from the “Image” list to change the canvas with a new size by percentage or absolute size. Mark before “Maintain aspect ratio” if necessary. Then click “OK” to save changes. Moreover, you can also choose “Resize” to resize an image in Paint.NET instead.

Resize Canvas

Step 2: Use Paint.NET tools

Use Tools to draw on a canvas. For instance, you can use the “Rectangle Select” tool to draw a rectangle in any size with Paint.NET. If you want to fill in the certain color, you can use “Paint Bucket” from the “Colors” window. Later, deselect the selection. You can also use clone tool in Paint.NET to paint the selected area in clicks.

Edit with Paint.net Tools

Step 3: Manage with Paint.NET adjustments

From the “Adjustment” list, you can adjust brightness, contrast, hue, saturation, transparency and do more changes. There are also “Black and White”, “Color Accent”, “Sepia”, “Levels” and other useful options you can get.

Paint.net Adjustment

Step 4: Use Paint.NET to apply image effects

The Paint.NET “Effects” menu contains many interesting features. You can use artistic effects, blurs, distortions, noises, renders, stylizations and more. Each one also has many adjustable options and settings. You can have fun to edit photos with Paint.NET.

Paint.net Effects

Step 5: Export your edited picture

Choose “Add New Layer” to add a new layer. You can delete, merge and duplicate a Paint.NET layer too. Well, you can use layers in Paint.NET to create masks as well. If you are done with Paint.NET editing, you can choose “Save As” from the “File” drop-down list.

Save Your Image

Paint.NET can be regarded as a free Photoshop alternative for Windows. From the above Paint.NET tutorial, you can get many Photoshop similar filters to achieve basic photo editing effects. As for high-end photographers, you can add Paint.NET plugins to explore more features.


Part 2: Alternative to Paint.NET for Mac and Windows

The only Paint.NET drawback is that you have to install the .NET network before using Paint.NET software. However, the load up time will be rather slow. The lack of Paint.NET Mac version is also disappointing. What about Mac users? Is it possible to use Paint.NET on Mac?

Luckily, you can get a lightweight Paint.NET alternative named WidsMob Retoucher to retouch photos without slowing down your computer. The intuitive interface and easy-to-use filters are also friendly, especially for novices who don’t like editing photos with separate layers and masks.

There are also many attractive features that can make your picture look perfect. Different from Paint.NET, you can get the additional film pack and portrait retouching sections. Thanks to the wide support of analog film and film grain support, you can apply the classic film analog effects with one click. By the way, you can minimize freckles, whiten teeth and smooth skins with the advanced photo beautifier algorithms.

If you use Paint.NET to achieve those effects, it may take lots of time and effort. But here, you can click simple clicks to make your photo look more energetic and natural.

1. Adjust brightness, contrast, saturation, temperature and tint flexibly.

2. Do skin smoothing and skin whitening to remove selfie imperfections.

3. Eliminate image noise while preserve image detail.

4. Apply artistic effects with color opacity, vignetting and fisheye.

5. Analog film effects with dozens of revolutionary camera profiles.

6. Fully support both Windows and Mac computers.

Download for Win VersionDownload for Mac Version

Step 1: Launch the photo editing software alternative to Paint.NET. Add your pictures from the desktop or other connected external hard drive.

Import Photo on Retoucher

Step 2: Click “Next” to access the built-in image editors. Edit your photo with various sliders in different sections. The entire photo editing changes will be reflected in the main interface immediately. You can click “B/A” near bottom or choose “Before/After” from the “View” list to get the direct comparison.

Retouch Portrait on Retoucher

Step 3: Let’s see the “Film Pack” section, which you cannot get the similar features when you use Paint.NET on PC. Choose the color rendition profile from “Color Positive Film”, “Color Negative Film”, “Black and White Film” and “Color Proceed film”. Later, you can choose the related camera profile below.

Color Rendition on Retoucher

Step 4: Now you can adjust the color modes from high, medium high, medium low and low. The Paint.NET alternative software offers “Contrast”, “Saturation” and “Special” options.

Color Modes on Retoucher

Step 5: Get dozens of film grain effects under the “Film Grain” part. Meanwhile, you can adjust intensity and film grain size to make your photo special. Finally, share or save your photo based on your need.

Film Grain on Retoucher


Paint.NET offers more customizable tools. You can use Paint.NET to do many image editing tasks on Windows for free. Of course, Paint.NET does not have all the powerful features of Adobe Photoshop. Though Paint.NET offers a clean interface, it is still a challenge for most beginners. If you want to make your photo look more energetic and cool without too much effort, WidsMob Retoucher can be your reliable friend. You can touch up both portrait and landscape photos with artistic photo effects with a few clicks quickly.

Download for Win VersionDownload for Mac Version


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Peter Wood
Peter Wood
Peter Wood, a senior editor, focus on photography design and editing software and devices.

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