Microsoft Monday

Paint.NET is one of my favorite free options for editing photos because it’s got a lot of great features, yet it is simple and easy to use.  We’ve mentioned it on the site before, and some of you may already use it. While it may be a program that you use, you may not be aware that it actually started as a senior design project which was mentored by Microsoft.  According to the Paint.NET website, it was originally intended to be used as a replacement for the current Paint which comes with Windows.  Today’s article will focus on some of the basic features found in Paint.NET and how to use them. We’ll follow up with another article that goes into some of the more advanced features.

Red Eye Removal

We’ll start with one of the most basic features, but one that gets used quite often, red eye removal.

To remove red eyes from a picture, use a selection tool to select an area including the eyes. Next, go to the Effects menu and select Red Eye Removal. There you have it, your red eyes are removed! Below is the image from the Paint.NET tutorial which shows what the before and after looks like.



This is another feature that gets used quite often once you know it’s there. Instead of manually adjusting the levels of the image so that it looks just right, use Auto-Level! It does all of the work for you. Sometimes the difference will be subtle, other times it will be drastic. Below is an example of what an image looked like before and after using auto-level.


Keyboard shortcut: Ctrl + Alt + L


If you like to have control over how the colors of your photo are adjusted, use the Curves feature. When you click to use the curves feature, you’ll notice a graph. Just start dragging your mouse around to notice the differences in your image. Horizontal values are the intensity input and the vertical values are the output.


To use the curve feature, go to Adjustments > Curves

Keyboard shortcut: Ctrl + Shift + M

Other Effects:

There are a handful of effects that you can play around with to add something special to your image. And remember, if you don’t like the way it looks, you can always undo it by clicking on Edit > Undo, or by pressing Ctrl + Z.

Some of the effects that you can play with include:

  • Oil Painting
  • Outline
  • Frosted Glass
  • Pencil Sketch

Below is an example of what a photo looks like using the oil painting feature with a brush size of 5. The larger the brush size, the less detail you’ll notice.


Wrapping it up

As mentioned, these are very basic features within Paint.NET that some of you may already be very familiar with. For those of you who aren’t familiar with them, take the time to play around with them because while simple, they can add a lot to your photos.

Next week we’ll get into some of the more advanced things that you can do with Paint.NET.

UPDATE: Want to make a Web 2.0 Logo Using Paint.NET? Here is CyberNet’s Tutorial including video!

Download Paint.NET

There Are 14 Comments

  1. “…Next week we’ll get into some of the more advanced things that you can do with Paint.NET.”

    looking forward to that :), thanx Ashley

  2. I like to use the “Levels” function (which is even better than Photoshop’s equivalent) before I do “Curves”. They do similar things, but Levels is just… more precise.

    Also, Auto-Levels never does what I like… case in point, I prefer the pre-Auto-Levels canyon picture of yours, above.

  3. I’m still looking for a foolproof way to cut out the background of an image in Paint.NET and place it atop a different background. I’m getting close using tutorials, but not close enough. Will this be in the next post?

  4. Tom, that’s not the easiest thing to do with some images. It really depends on how much contrast there is between the object and background. That’s why many people take those kind of photos on a “green screen” so that the background can quickly be removed. We can probably write up something that might help you out though.

  5. is great. i love it because it is so easy to use and to make effects on your photos, all you have to are a few clicks and you are done.

  6. i tried this red eye feature and it doesnt work

  7. Anonymous wrote:
    i tried this red eye feature and it doesnt work

    I’ve personally used this feature on multiple occasions. Are you sure you’re following the steps above?

  8. hey ppl is amazing isn’t it !!!!!!!!

  9. I’m a newbie at I couldn’t follow the tutorial on the forum web site. But I really wanted to learn this. I searched the internet for another tutorial on pop-out pictures. I got lost on them, too. Finally, I came upon your tutorial. It was the video that did it for me. Slowly paced with clear visual and sound quality. I’ve done a couple of pop-out picures now without referring back to your tutorial. It’s getting easier and easier. Thanks so much! []

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