Paint.NET 3.5 Released – A Free Alternative to Photoshop

A free windows only photoshop alternative, Paint.NET After more than a year under development, one of my favorite applications Paint.NET has received a major upgrade.  The very popular and FREE image editing application Paint.NET Version 3.5 has been released and made available for public download.  Version 3.5 of Paint.NET is a significant upgrade and includes major bug and stability updates as well as significant UI enhancements including enhanced and Aero Glass support.  VERY GROOVY INDEED!

For those of you not familiar with Paint.NET, think of it as a FREE, quick and simple image editing application (Windows Only) whose features range between good ole’ MSPaint and Adobe Photoshop’s (probably 3/4 of the way towards Photoshop). The great thing however about Paint.NET is that it’s very lightweight compared to the more sluggish GIMP or Photoshop applications not to mention it’s FREE. 

The new update coincides nicely with Microsoft’s release of Windows 7, and yes, as I mentioned earlier it’s tuned for the Windows 7 Aero Glass look and feel. Auto-Downloader Screenshot To grab the latest update, existing Paint.NET users can just use the built-in Update feature shown on the right <Click Help, Check for Updates>.  For new users, just download, and install.  The process is very straightforward and shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes.  Best of all, no crapware or spyware to worry about with Paint.NET! Once installed, I’m sure you will agree that for a FREE application, Paint.NET delivers.  It’s clean interface and ease of use makes it a MUST install on all new systems I build. turn th ecookie monster even more blue with some of Paint.NET's new features from the 3.5 update

Enough talk, go try it out for yourself.  It’s free after all!  FYI, for those Paint.NET die-hard users, here’s the full changelog for Paint.NET 3.5 Vs. 3.36 

Paint.NET v3.5 – Released on November 6, 2009, this release focused on improving performance and reliability, reducing memory usage, upgrading to the latest .NET Framework version, and refreshing the user interface for Aero and glass (Windows 7 / Vista).

  • New: Refreshed user interface with new icons and visual styling. On Windows 7 and Vista, it is enhanced for Aero and “glass”.
  • New effect: Blurs -> Surface Blur, by Ed Harvey
  • New effect: Distort -> Dents, by Ed Harvey
  • New effect: Distort -> Crystalize, by Ed Harvey
  • New: Russian translation.
  • Performance and memory usage have been extensively optimized throughout the entire program.
  • .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 is now required, which has many built-in performance improvements.
  • Disk space usage has been reduced by about 12MB by using NTFS compression on installation files related to staging (.MSI) and diagnostics (.PDB).
  • Compression for .PDN images has been improved.
  • Effect dialog responsiveness has been improved.
  • Images open much faster, especially on single CPU systems.
  • Startup performance on most systems will be better by about 20%.
  • Memory usage has been reduced when more than one image is open.
  • Rendering quality has been greatly improved when zoomed in.
  • The selection outline is no longer animated. Instead of “dancing ants”, a context-sensitive “XOR” stipple pattern is drawn. This has allowed for improved performance and lowered CPU consumption (and longer battery life).
  • The font manager for the Text tool has been completely rewritten, which fixes many problems seen with crashes and missing fonts.
  • On Windows XP, the Text tool has improved reliability and font selection (it uses GDI instead of GDI+).
  • On Windows 7, the Text tool will use DirectWrite (instead of GDI) which gives better performance and greatly improved quality. On Windows Vista, you may install DirectX 11 to enable this feature; otherwise GDI will be used.
  • The toolbar font list has improved usability, rendering quality, and significantly improved performance.
  • The toolbar font list no longer requires an application restart to recognize newly installed fonts.
  • When many fonts are installed, both memory usage and startup performance have been greatly improved.
  • It is now drastically easier to move a very small selection.
  • All installation prerequisites are now installed automatically, such as .NET and Windows Installer.
  • Updates are now downloaded in the background, and installed after you exit the application. In previous versions, this was a foreground task and you could not use Paint.NET while the update was downloaded.
  • Added a “Utilities” menu. Updates, Languages, and Plugin Errors have been moved there.
  • Added a “Manage Fonts” command to the Utility menu. This will launch the built-in Windows font control panel.
  • Clicking the middle mouse button on an image thumbnail will now close the image.
  • Improved the Unfocus effect.
  • The DirectDraw Surface (.DDS) file type now allows you to select the resampling algorithm for auto-generated mipmaps.
  • A processor that supports SSE is now required (almost all CPUs purchased this decade satisfy this).
  • Fixed an issue with Gaussian Blur and its treatment of alpha values.
  • Fixed a crash with the “Units” selector in the toolbar.
  • Fixed a crash due to an overflow that prevented very large images from working (64-bit only).
  • Fixed many other miscellaneous glitches and crashes.
  • The Korean translation has been removed. Sadly, we were unable to find the resources to complete this.

Paint.NET Version 3.5 Download Link [via Paint.NET Blog]



  1. 1upMushroom

    Paint.NET is awesome, I'm glad you guys got an article up on it! I didn't know about the new update.

  2. ShockerSH

    Yeah thanks for the FYI. Great app for home and work however it's a bit of an insult to compare it to Microsoft Paint ;)

  3. Animis


  4. sblgraphics

    Thanks for sharing!!!

    image editing

  5. Jennie

    I never installed Paint.NET on my WinXP system because I had to install the .NET framework.
    A few weeks ago another application forced me to install the .NET framework f. It took ages and a lot of space of my hard drive. I'm not sure but I think it took 1GB of space with all the upgrades needed. Figured I might install paint.NET as well now. Before this, paint.NET was anything but lightweight for me.

    I like it but would recomment Artweaver any day for people who don't want the hassle with the .NET framework. Artweaver is very comparable to paint.NET.

    Playing with paint.NET made me really appreciate how the interface is so user friendly for beginners. Saying that it's 3/4th of Photoshop is completely untrue. 1/4th at most.

    In use it's slower and asks more CPU then GIMP does. I've never found GIMP to be sluggish in anything of the day to day things an amateur would do with it. Photoshop can be a bit some times when you don't have a very fast computer.

    When it comes to freeware image manipulation and painting software that is better then MS Paint I'd recommend GIMP for demanding jobs, Artweaver for people who don't have the .NET framework installed or are more into digital painting then correcting their photo's.

    Paint.NET is best for people who want to crop and resize and colour adjust their photos and throw some effects at them.

  6. MrGroove

    Good feedback. Thanks for the comments Jennie.

    I've honestly never played with GIMP on Windows so I'll have to give that a run and do a write-up.

    In regards to your comment:

    “Saying that it's 3/4th of Photoshop is completely untrue. 1/4th at most.”

    I Agree with you. I think what grooveDexter was trying to say is that when compared to to MSPaint and Photoshop, it's closer to Photoshop than MSPaint in regards to features.

    Again, thanks for the feedback and welcome to

  7. Jennie

    It's in between but the features are a lot more useful and powerful then MSPaint.

    GIMP needs a lot of getting used to. It's as complicated as Photoshop but with an unfamiliar interface. Once you are used to it, it is very logical to work with. Both PS and GIMP are software packages you really need to learn, where as paint.NET is something you can get along with very fast. That is one of its biggest strengths.

  8. ShockerSH

    never installed GIMP…. is it worth the download if I don't have photoshop?

  9. Tristo

    How do i Install this though? I’m not sure if i missed it somewhere in this article

    • MrGroove

      @Tristo – The Download Link is at the VERY bottom of the article. Just download and install using NEXT NEXT NEXT ;)

  10. Adobe For Mac

    I do agree with all of the ideas you have presented in your post. They’re really convincing and can certainly work. Nonetheless, the posts are too quick for starters. May you please prolong them a bit from subsequent time? Thank you for the post.

  11. shamim

    super post and thanks to share………….

  12. hasan

    That is really a nice paint and thanks to share………..

  13. mamun

    Superb tutorials and its awesome..Thanks to share……..

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