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Paint.NET needs to be modernized


HCGS
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I'm not sure if this has been said before, but Paint.NET is very outdated. It is a great tool and I really really like it, have been using it for over 8 years now. But... it's starting to get... old. And that needs to be addressed. I want to share my view on the main problems:

 

1. Presentation

 

Let's look at the front pages of some of the more modern free image editors out there:

 

Gimp:

image.thumb.png.4206b62fdb0143a887b173b9544cb9e5.png

 

Krita:

image.thumb.png.8a93a9eb547e103f90bd8182a086f911.png

 

Now let's compare those to the front page of Paint.NET...

 

image.thumb.png.6c5ca2ea6d7ca325ccae6951779d8a77.png

 

Can you see the problem here? Paint.NET's site SCREAMS 2007. It looks really old, unappealing, and messy; exactly not the first thing you want people to see when they want to try an editor. 

 

On both examples, the download button is very obvious and easy to find. Everything is straight forward. There is not a wall of text full of ugly blue links and unnecessary info (nobody uses that search bar, nobody wants a wall of 2007 awards as the first things they see and there's no need for all the languages supported by PDN to be listed under the hard to spot download link).

 

The site needs to be updated. If you want, I could help you with that.

 

2. UI

 

The UI has really old Windows 7-ish icons that could use a bit of love. Office icons and Material icons are good examples of modern icons that could replace the current ones.

Also, this...

 

image.png.7fe2f05774508b7bb21719ff43126f48.png

 

Is just broken. The dialog text doesn't fit the top bar. Why not use icons for the tool dialogs (tools/colors/layers etc)?

Not to mention the new dark mode:

 

image.png.f89b212bbcbb2bd91584166702089f15.png

 

Come on. This looks really ugly. The contrast is too radical! The UI components need to change as well (buttons, text fields, scroll bars) and the icons are also a bit too light and saturated.

 

3. Lack of tools

 

The current tool set is good, but there are some really obvious things missing:

 

- Smudge

- Liquify

- Align

- Flip Horizontally/Vertically (for selections)

- Mask

 

I know what you might say: there are plenty of plugins that add those. And you are absolutely right, there are. But if we are going to rely only on plugins, PDN might as well just be an engine. Plus, most of these are kind of finicky and weird to use, since plugins can only be effects and not things in the tool box. Not to mention most people don't use plugins.

 

4. The brush tool

 

The following image kind of sums it well:

 

image.png.b1647520edf4751192d1fb9a3efc5c92.png

 

Also, there's only a single brush type. I can almost see not having custom brushes, but ONLY having circular brushes is kind of silly.

 

Conclusion

 

TL;DR: The website is ugly, the UI is ugly, the icons are ugly, there are not many tools and some of them need improvements.

 

My intention here is not to trash PDN, all I want is to improve this application so it gets more deserved love!

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Paint.NET is basically written by one guy, @Rick Brewster.  So, it is not surprising that other software that have huge teams of programmers working on them have more features.  Personally, I think Paint.NET is amazing.  I started using it at v1.1 and the progress I've seen over the years is HUGE.

 

25 minutes ago, HCGS said:

there are plenty of plugins...

 

Yes, there are.  Rick understands that he can't do it all himself.  That's why he implemented a plugin system.

 

While it is true that the plugin system is limited. What you can do with it is sometimes amazing. 

 

25 minutes ago, HCGS said:

My intention here is not to trash PDN, all I want is to improve this application so it gets more deserved love!

 

Are you offering to help?

 

Why not redesign the web site?

Why not code a plugin so good that Rick has no option but to put it directly into Paint.NET itself?

 

Or, are you just here to complain about FREE software?

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Download: BoltBait's Plugin Pack | CodeLab | and how about a Computer Dominos Game

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40 minutes ago, BoltBait said:

Are you offering to help?   

Why not redesign the web site? 

 

In fairness, he actually did offer:

1 hour ago, HCGS said:

The site needs to be updated. If you want, I could help you with that.

 

 

 

@HCGS, these are mostly valid points, and have been brought up before.  But come on... saying the contrast in the Color window is too radical. That one seemed a bit trollish.

 

There are already plans underway to update the website (last I heard anyway).

Same goes for the icons. There is some discussion about it here: https://forums.getpaint.net/topic/111729-high-res-icons/

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1 hour ago, BoltBait said:

Are you offering to help?

 

Why not redesign the web site?

Why not code a plugin so good that Rick has no option but to put it directly into Paint.NET itself?

 

Or, are you just here to complain about FREE software?

 

I apologize if I came out as rude. I was aware that Rick was a developer, but I wasn't sure he was the ONLY one. And I don't want to just complain for the sake of complaining, I wanted to bring to light the main issues with the software so Rick can focus on them on the next updates. But once again, sorry if I offended.

 

On the topic of redesigning the website...

 

If @Rick Brewster agrees, I'm fine with offering free help with it as it's a project I love. Here's a quick sketch of how it could look like...

 

image.thumb.png.f550421e5c6786793437a6085df381b2.png

Edited by HCGS
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My suggestion to @HCGS would be to include some rotating banners show casting some of the images made and/or manipulated in PDN.  A quick look in the Galleria would show some of the best artworks created entirely in PDN.

 

I would also love to see some tools like smudge and liquify become part of the permanent tools of PDN instead of being plugins, and I am sure that Rick is planning to incorporate that.  If you have read the popular feature requests, you will see that Rick is aware of what the folks want.  I have no problem using the plugins because it enhances the user experience with the software.  I would love for there to be a custom brush, and the Brush Factory plugin is far superior to Simon Brown's custom brush plugin.  Again, the popular feature thread has those future installation.  I would also like to see the default layer blending options expanded to truly compete with GIMP.

 

I have been using PDN since before 3.5.11 came out, and I have managed to work within the limitation of PDN utilizing plugins and workaround.  It makes it a challenge and enjoyable, while passing on some tricks to other artists in the community.

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knightsig.png

Paint.NET Gallery | Remove Foreground Object Tutorial | Dispersion Effect Tutorial

”An artist should never be a prisoner of himself, prisoner of style, prisoner of reputation, prisoner of success.” ~ Henri Matisee

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I've been using PDN since v3x and Gimp since v2.8x. PDN is a very good free image editor and is more than enough for most ordinary image editing users. For the "Advanced User", Gimp is a better choice with Masks, Groups and paths, not to mention more advanced plugins. Still, PDN certainly can produce excellent results when properly used.

 

I often suggest PDN to Windows users, because it works so well.

69unju0.gif

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1 hour ago, HCGS said:

On the topic of redesigning the website...

 

I have redesigned the website. I completed the first draft quite some time ago  https://forums.getpaint.net/topic/111283-website/?do=findComment&comment=530965

 

While I'm awaiting Rick's input/approval/upload, I continue to supply updates as new versions of our favorite image editor get rolled out.

 

I'll post a screenshot soon.

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24 minutes ago, Ego Eram Reputo said:

I'll post a screenshot soon.

 

Looking forward to those screenshots @Ego Eram Reputo! I'm glad this has already been addressed. By the way, has the logo changed?

 

2 hours ago, toe_head2001 said:

But come on... saying the contrast in the Color window is too radical. That one seemed a bit trollish.

 

@toe_head2001, I was being serious, but not just for the Color window, for all windows. I already came up with a mockup of what I was talking about back when the dark mode was first released: 

https://forums.getpaint.net/topic/112241-paintnet-4020-is-now-available/?do=findComment&comment=541167

 

Edited by HCGS
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1 hour ago, HCGS said:

By the way, has the logo changed?

 

Nope.

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Quote

 

Dear All,
First of all, let me thank you for great product. I use it for a long time
Just let me add some desire / wish for future release
It seems it is better to exclude Layer Visibility operation from the operation History
Because sometime I turn on/turn off layer visibility many times to understand/evaluate differences between pictures. Later, it is hard to find the essential transformation among  huge number of visibility operation
Thank you

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May I, as a newbie to the forum , but fairly long-term user, add my four-penny-worth to this lively discussion. 

Firstly - thank you for a great free product.
Secondly - Some people (me) struggle to see pale grey text and can spend frustratingly long periods of time searching for items, such as scroll-bars, which are hidden until you hover over them.  Keep it simple, fairly bold contrasts and intuitive please.

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1 hour ago, Rick Brewster said:

There's a lot to cover here ... and replying to this will, at the very least, help me to organize my thoughts and is a good opportunity to broadcast what I've been thinking and planning for Paint.NET's future.

 

I love this type of post. Everyday users get to see a little of what goes on behind the scenes to make paint.net work, how the development cycle operates, and where the app is heading.

 

Brilliant.

 

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14 hours ago, welshblue said:

Most ?  Not sure about that.  Weird in what way ?  I'm curious about those (in a nice way not a disparaging one)

 

@welshblue, I meant the plugins that fill the roles of the tools I mentioned are a bit weird. Not because they aren't well made, but because they always have to open a new window for edits and therefore undoing things and trying to make quick changes is a bit of a chore.

 

14 hours ago, welshblue said:

BTW the did you use the Gimp or PS for your avatar ? (Joke - I  like the surrealism of it)

 

Neither; it's actually a 3D rendering I made on blender. The background is from a cmd game I made a few years ago that somehow got super broken in a really cool way! glitch art, anyone?

 

5 hours ago, Rick Brewster said:

I would not expect a radical departure from the current set of UI components, like you called out on the Colors form. Standard Win32 controls work, and the only reason I'd depart from them is if I were to rewrite everything in a new UI framework. I would not place any bets on that happening. It would be an insane amount of work for a very small subjective gain.

 

 

@Rick Brewster, I meant the colors of the components, sorry for not being clear. What I meant was, they are pretty much white on a black background, which is kind of hard to look at, IMO. Just changing the colors (whether that's even possible) to dark gray with white text would make it much, much better.

 

By the way, I did notice the great amount of updates that we've been receiving lately (I'm in love with some of the new 4.1 features!) and that's exactly why I wanted to make this topic; since it means the development isn't dead at all!

 

You mentioned getting help from other trusted users, such as @Ego Eram Reputo to make the new website. The community is full of very talented users, have you considering asking it for help? Surely donations are a really good way of supporting the project, but you are still mainly on your own. For instance, you mentioned how astronomical the job of remaking every single icon would be, but that's the case for a single person. Certainly, a couple of good designers could volunteer to finish those icons in no time.

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13 minutes ago, HCGS said:

For instance, you mentioned how astronomical the job of remaking every single icon would be, but that's the case for a single person. Certainly, a couple of good designers could volunteer to finish those icons in no time.

 

This is currently being lead by @Zagna. If you wish to help, you should get in contact with him, or leave your comments/suggestions/feedback on the aforementioned topic.

I myself am currently reviewing his current iteration of icons, and will be posting my feedback in the coming days for consideration.

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On 9/10/2018 at 10:25 AM, Ego Eram Reputo said:

I'll post a screenshot soon. 

 

The home page. Without all the animations it looks a little flat.

 

PDNwebsite_Demo.jpg

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1 hour ago, Ego Eram Reputo said:

 

PDNwebsite_Demo.jpg

 

Wow, that looks really good! My main problem with is just the huge logo; it isn't really that... scalable. It looks a tad ugly when super zoomed in, and it looks even worse with half of it missing. (In fact, @Rick Brewster do you have any plans on updating the logo? It currently looks a bit outdated, with those dark lines and gradients. Also, it doesn't fit with the potential new icon set being made by @Zagna, in case that ever gets used).

 

Here's my bunch of nitpicks with the new look (don't take them super seriously; it's just minor improvements that my perfectionist brain would like to get done ?) :

  1. Italic text should usually be avoided. I feel like the "best" (in "the best free image editor") doesn't NEED to be italic, but it's fine.
  2. Try not to make the background too busy when there's text above it; for instance, in the banner, has a lot of white parts with white text above.
  3. "paint.net is a free image and photo editing application for PC with run the Windows OS". What a mouthful! Not only it's unnecessarily big, it also has writing mistakes ("for PCs with run the Windows OS"). Just sum it up with "paint.net is a free image editing application for Windows".
  4. I feel like the gray background on the header buttons could be a little more transparent. Looks a bit too dark.
  5. IMO, shading on those green buttons is a big no-no. Just keep them a solid color.
  6. The shadows on the same green buttons should be lighter, a little more spread and be moved a few pixels to the left. Also... they're GRAY! Shadows should never be gray; they should be translucent black. It's quite noticeable in the first green button, in the header, since it has a black background.
  7. I'm not sure the blue theme is a good choice for those screenshots, the default theme should be used. Also, the first screenshot is squished horizontally quite a lot.
  8. The "Get it on Windows 10" button is oddly positioned. Maybe it shouldn't be in one of those topics?
  9. I feel like the the second download button is dangerously close to ads. Confusing download buttons is the last thing anyone wants.

Overall, I really like the structure of the site. Nice colors and good font choice :) 

Edited by HCGS
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Thanks for the input. This is really just a first draft, so I'm listening.

 

@HCGS Are you on GitHub? If so, PM me your handle.

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  • 6 months later...

In my opinion it looks okay. I've always like minimalism and all of that, but i don't think we need minimalism for everything. In my opinion the ui is okay. I agree with you in thew point regarding the brush tool, it could work better and have more sizes. Also, the front page does look outdated, but you know what? you don't find many of these nowadays and i like how it looks, i'm a weirdo, i know.

Also, i'll never get used to the new ui :(

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