Microsoft Monday

There is so much you can do with Paint.NET, it’s just a matter of knowing what you can do, and how to do it! We’ve already shown you how to use some of the basic features in Paint.NET, and we’ve shown you how to make a Web 2.0 logo.  Today’s Pain.NET tutorial will teach you how to take an image and make it appear as though it is "popping out." The image below is the example I’ll be explaining in this tutorial. On the left you’ll see my final product, and on the right you’ll see the image I started with. If you’re a visual learner, I’ve put together a video tutorial, otherwise it is explained in written form below the video. The entire process took me under 10 minutes.

final product  Campus - 04

–Create 3D Pictures in Paint.NET Tutorial–


  1. Find a picture to use that will be easy to work with.  I suggest finding something with a solid color background that will be simple to remove. If you’re good at removing backgrounds, go ahead and find a picture with a more complicated background.
  2. Open Paint.NET and open the picture that you’ll want to use. I’m using a picture of a tower because it has a simple blue background that will be easy to work with. You may want to resize your image if it’s large because it’ll be easier to work with. I made my image 500 pixels wide.
  3. Duplicate the layer containing your image by clicking layers>duplicate layer. Rename to "Image 2."
  4. Create a new layer and name it "frame".
  5. Click on the rectangle tool, and select "draw filled shape with outline. Change the brush width to a size appropriate for your image. My image is 500 pixels wide, and I set my brush size to 20.
    paint tutorial
  6. Draw a rectangle over the picture – this will be the frame of the picture when it’s done and should not cover the parts of the picture you’d like to "pop-out." Also, make sure the frame of the rectangle is the color you’d like it to be. I chose a white frame.  The image below shows what my rectangle looks like:
    paint tutorial2
  7. Click Layers> Rotate/Zoom. Using the "Roll/Rotate tool, create a shape that looks something like what’s pictured below. To do this, click in the "ball" and drag your mouse around. This is for the 3D appearance.
    paint tutorial3  paint tutorial4
  8. Use the Magic Wand and select the black box. Next click the "Image 2" in the layers menu. When it is highlighted, go to edit>invert selection then press the delete key. You won’t notice any visible change, but when you look at your layers for "Image 2," all you should see is the shape of the box that you created.
  9. Click on the "frame" layer and use the magic wand to select the inner black portion. Click delete. All you should have left is the white frame.
  10. Move the "frame" layer up above the "Image 2" layer" and then click "merge layer down." (Layers>Merge Layer Down)
  11. Click on the original image and move it on top of the framed picture layer.
  12. Double click on the layer and change the opacity to 150. This will help you see the framed picture you have below to guide you for the next step.
  13. Using the Magic Wand, begin selecting parts of the background you wish to delete. When you’re done deleting the background, you should have only the parts left that will be "sticking out" of the picture. Remember that you can adjust the tolerance of the magic wand. Tip: Another route to take instead of removing everything except what you want "popping out" would be to select only the parts that are going to be sticking out of the picture. Once you had selected them, you would go to edit>invert selection, and then click delete.
    paint tutorial5
  14. Double click on the original image layer and change the opacity back to 255. If you chose a white border like I did, you won’t be able to see the white frame until after the background color has been added.
  15. Your final step would be to change the background color to black or any other color of your choice. My final image looked like this:
    final product

That’s all there is to it! I chose an extremely easy picture to work with which is what I recommend you do when you first try this tutorial.  I learned how to do this from the Paint.NET forums (although I tweaked their instructions a bit) where there are some other great examples.  The images below come from that forum:

example 1  example2  example3

If you have questions, please feel free to leave a comment and ask!

Download Paint.NET here