Just some background quick.
I use gimp for the most part.
All textures I make are for the use on 3D meshes.
I fell over the paint.net program as a free alternative to photoshop.
I don't use photoshop so I have no idea how they compair.
The only thing I know about photoshop is that you can get a ton of plugins for it.
Having said this, the only comparison i can make is between gimp as a free tool and paint.net as a free tool.
Simple things I use a lot.
Lighting effects (Bump mapping as an example)
Texture brush painting.
Texture flood fills.
just to mention a fiew.
So I opend up paint.net and found the IDE clean, neat and refreshing.
Having a quick glance at the toolset, all the basics are there, good good.
Effects, hmmm, need to work on that I thought, but in mean time found the plugins secon on the forum and that brought a bit more hope to the matter.
Time to plunge in and start playing.
Very quickly noticed the lack of a gradient tool.
Yes you can make gradients, but we are talking about ease of use and productivity here.
Next up was brushes.
Could not help but notice all the brush patters that are standard with dot net there, good good, but now how do I change the bursh to a "custom brush", still did not find that. As a note on what I am talking about, gimp allows you to use a greyscale image as a brush. With this brush you can paint with color or selected textures. Very nice and usefull tool to have.
a lot about brush advancements can actually be said, such as general brush effects, but one has to keep in mind that gimp has been under development for a number of years and that with time most things come to play.
So moving file support.
Most common file formats are supported out the box. That is good news.
Ading the DDI file format would be a great bonus for people like me who make mesh textures.
With the ide exposed this is not impossible.
Some realy nice effects I use is bump mapping.
For this I will have to use gimp, not sure how often this is used by all the high tech fx people.
The effects that there are seems to work well and I had little problems.
Overall, paint.net is not mature enough in for my use.
Some basic tools missing slowing down productivity, but overall provides some way of working around the problem.
Not for my use just yet, but I will definitly keep my eye on it's progress.
Good job so far guys.