Monday, April 26, 2010

Paint.NET: Another Alternative to Photoshop

Everybody likes Adobe Photoshop, and for many good reasons. It's simply the best tool there is for image creation and manipulation. It's used by professionals and amateurs alike.

Well-financed amateurs, that is. Photoshop is expensive, and Adobe doesn't give discounts.

I've been on the lookout for alternatives to Photoshop for years. I got turned onto PaintShop Pro back when it was just PaintShop, and it was a freebie that came with one of my printers. PaintShop Pro changed owners several times, and it's currently part of the Corel product family.

The open source community developed a free editor called "The GIMP," originally for X Windows, but later ported to MS Windows. It has a kooky interface, but once you get used to it, it's as good as Photoshop and PaintShop Pro.

PaintShop Pro and The GIMP have served their user communities well for many years, providing their users with nearly all of the functionality of Photoshop, without the high price.

In 2004, two students at WSU created a new alternative to Photoshop, as part of a senior programming project. They released it into the wild, and it spread rapidly. Everybody who used it liked it, and it was compared favorably to Photoshop, PaintShop Pro, and even The GIMP. It's called Paint.NET. It is fast, powerful, and an absolute joy to use. It only runs on Microsoft Windows systems, but it does a great job of utilizing the .NET framework and the power of C#.

Paint.NET is currently at version 3.5.5 and can be downloaded for free from . The GIMP can be downloaded for free from .

(PaintShop Pro can be purchased directly from Corel for $99.99. Photoshop can be purchased directly from Adobe for $699.00.)

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