paint.net 4.3 is now available

​This is a big release, with a lot of performance improvements across the whole app. Some of this is due to the migration from .NET Framework 4.8 to .NET 5, which may not sound like much but is actually a huge deal :) .NET 5 is a massive update to the .NET runtime, and brings a lot in terms of performance with its improved code generation (JIT). It also enables me to optimize code even further via the use of SIMD intrinsics (SSE* and AVX* on x86/x64, and AdvSIMD on ARM64), which I’ve started putting to good use. In addition, effects are faster, plugin loading is faster (especially for shapes), the Magic Wand and Paint Bucket tools are significantly faster, and overall performance is just plain better. Even installation and updating are faster because I was able to remove the "Optimizing performance" stage from setup (via ReadyToRun / crossgen instead of NGEN).

There was also a lot of work that went into how Paint.NET is built, packaged, downloaded, and installed. The older systems were showing their age and were not only long overdue for an upgrade but were actually starting to fall apart. This presented an opportunity to modernize things with a web-based downloader/installer, self-contained deployment (no more .NET to install!), portable ZIPs, and native ARM64 support.

One thorny topic that came up was the issue of plugin compatibility. There were many plugins, mostly older ones, that just did not survive the migration to .NET 5 due to various changes that were made in .NET to shed legacy shackles which were holding back progress. I’m happy to report that most of these plugins were coerced into working. Some plugins needed only simple accommodations, while many of them required going much further with literal hot patching of their byte code at load time to detour them away from crashes or other bad fates.

Now that the migration to .NET 5 is complete, Paint.NET will also be moving to .NET 6 in the very near future. It’s due for its final release in November and you can expect a Paint.NET update shortly afterward. This will improve performance even further, and will be a simple upgrade.

This has been a 5-month long project, but it’s finally time to download, install, and enjoy! Big thanks to everyone who downloaded the alphas, reported bugs and broken plugins, and patiently suffered through various bugs and performance problems.

Get the update

  • Microsoft Store release
  • Classic Desktop release
    • Download the installer directly (web installer for all CPUs and OSes). This is the recommended download if you don’t have Paint.NET installed. It can also be used to update the app.
    • If you already have it installed, you should be offered the update automatically within the next week or so, but you can also get it immediately by going to ⚙ Settings -> Updates -> Check Now.
    • Offline Installers and Portable ZIPs are available over on GitHub.

Changes since 4.2.16:

  • New: The app has been migrated to .NET 5, and performance has been greatly improved as a result.
  • New: ARM64 is now natively supported, which improves performance on devices such as the Surface Pro X.
  • New: .NET no longer needs to be installed on the system because the app now uses self-contained deployment.
  • New: Portable ZIPs are now available. Please note that portable installations do not currently update automatically.
  • Improved performance of most effects and other compute-intensive tasks by about 20% on average, due to .NET 5’s improved code generation (JIT).
  • Improved startup performance for the Microsoft Store release. Previously, .NET Framework’s NGEN was unavailable for Store apps, but now .NET 5 enables self-contained deployment along with ReadyToRun + crossgen, which serves the same purpose.
  • Improved performance: Many areas of the app have been optimized to use SIMD (SSE2/3/4.1, AVX2) on x86/x64:
    • Drawing on an image with a large number of layers is faster
    • Drawing with the Gradient Tool’s alpha mode is faster
    • Drawing with the Recolor tool is faster
    • Drawing with the Eraser or Clone Stamp tool is faster when using a color whose alpha value is less than 255
    • Drawing with the Overwrite blend mode is faster
    • Drawing with the Shapes tool is faster, due to improved compositing performance
    • Drawing with a brush tool without antialiasing is faster
    • Tile compression has lower overhead due to being optimized for SSE2 and AVX2
    • Working with complex selections is faster
    • Many other optimizations all throughout the application and rendering engine
  • Improved performance of loading custom Shapes by ~16x on 2nd and subsequent app starts.
  • Improved performance of the Magic Wand tool by a substantial amount.
  • Improved performance of the Paint Bucket tool by a substantial amount.
  • Improved performance of the Paint Bucket when changing the color or certain other toolbar settings by not recalculating the stencil buffer for the filled area. Changes should now be visible immediately.
  • Improved performance of Polar Inversion by 3x, mostly as a corollary to fixing a bug that was causing hangs, and a little bit due to .NET 5.
  • Improved performance on systems without HyperThreading by reserving 1 core for the UI. Performance is also improved on systems with it by utilizing more of the logical cores.
  • Improved performance while installing or updating the app, due to no longer needing the "Optimizing performance for your system" stage (NGEN has been replaced with ReadyToRun via crossgen).
  • Improved memory usage when custom shapes are installed so they don’t litter the heap with hundreds of thousands of boxed value types (e.g. floats and points).
  • Improved selection antialiasing quality by using a 4×4 super sampling filter instead of a 3×3 super sampling filter. The code has also been optimized to use SSSE3 on x86/x64.
  • Improved: Effect and File Type plugins can now be organized into folders. The plugin loader will recursively search for DLLs up to 1 folder deep.
  • Fixed a bug when saving with "Auto Detect" bit-depth which was causing fidelity loss on some images that already had 256 colors or less. This was reported here: https://forums.getpaint.net/topic/118401-images-already-with-256-or-fewer-colors-being-dithered-when-saved-with-palette/
  • Fixed: There were some issues with zooming in/out using the keyboard, where the anchoring point was not calculated correctly, causing the canvas to drift in the wrong direction.
  • Fixed the inability to use middle-mouse panning after using a selection tool and pressing delete before releasing the mouse button.
  • Improved: Plugins are now loaded into isolated AssemblyLoadContexts, which improves stability and resiliency to various problems with versioning, loading dependencies, plugin bugs, and incorrect plugin installation.
  • Fixed a crash when trying to draw a fixed-size rectangle selection that was larger than the image.
  • Fixed a bug with the Tolerance slider where both 58% and 59% would be displayed as 58%, due to a rounding issue. The correct value was actually being used, it just wasn’t being displayed correctly.
  • Added a /disablePlugins command-line argument to aid in troubleshooting various issues with app startup and incorrect plugin installation.
  • New: Additional directories can now be specified for plugin discovery, which (e.g.) enables the use of OneDrive for storing plugins. See here for more info: https://forums.getpaint.net/topic/118583-feature-request-set-custom-app-files-plugins-folder/?do=findComment&comment=586013
    • Note that this does not work with the portable version of the app, but you can install plugins next to the app so it isn’t necessary.
  • Updated the bundled AvifFileType plugin to v1.1.15.0, courtesy of @null54, which includes support for multi-layer AVIF files, and adds native support for ARM64. See the project’s GitHub Releases page for more information.
  • Updated the bundled DdsFileTypePlus plugin to v1.10.10.0, courtesy of @null54, which adds native support for ARM64. See the project’s GitHub Releases page for more information.
  • Updated the bundled WebPFileType plugin to v1.3.7.0, courtesy of @null54, which adds native support for ARM64. See the project’s GitHub Releases page for more information.
  • Changed: FileType.IsReflexive() is now deprecated via [Obsolete], and is no longer honored. However, the Save Configuration dialog will no longer try to generate previews for FileTypes that do not specify any file extensions for loading, which is what this method was being used for.
  • Known Issue: Due to crashing, GPU accelerated effects (Gaussian Blur, Motion Blur, Radial Blur) on ARM64 will actually use the CPU for rendering.

​Enjoy!

paint.net 4.3 beta (build 7929)

If all goes well, the next build will be the final release of 4.3. This update includes some minor bug fixes and a handful of plugin compatibility improvements. Translations are now updated and … there’s not much more to say :)

Get the update

To get this update, make sure you have "Also check for pre-release (beta) versions" enabled in Settings, and then click on the Check Now button. (Unfortunately alpha/beta releases are not currently available for the Microsoft Store version of the app).

image.png

For direct download links, please visit the forum.

Changes since 4.3 alpha build 7921:

  • Fixed the inability to use middle-mouse panning after using a selection tool and pressing delete before releasing the mouse button
  • Fixed the ability to create MSIs with the installer using the /createMsi command-line parameter
  • Fixed compatibility with these older plugins: Distort This!, Soft Proofing, Stickman, TR’s Morpher

paint.net 4.3 alpha (build 7921)

This build fixes the bugs identified in the forum post for the previous version, and also optimizes plugin loading times by quite a bit. A performance issue was also fixed that was crippling the performance of most tools, which was related to using the garbage collector’s "low latency" mode while drawing. As it turns out, it totally broke performance, so it has been reverted.

The first time the app starts after install or update, it will load Shapes normally, convert them into a binary format, and then save them to a cache. Subsequent app starts will be much faster, as the time for loading the binary data from the cache is — at least on my system! — 16x faster. I’m pretty happy with this result Smile This should help a lot on systems that have a lot of shapes installed. Memory usage of the shapes is also greatly reduced.

For effects and file types, some of them need to be patched up at load time to be compatible with 4.3. If you remember from some of the previous alpha builds, I mentioned that I made a similar caching system for these types of plugins (as described above for Shapes). I later disabled it because I had concerns about its security. I’ve now re-enabled the cache, but only for plugins that are installed into the Documents folder — not for plugins installed into the Program Files location. So, if you want to ensure Paint.NET starts as fast as possible, I recommend moving your plugins to that location (e.g. Documents\paint.net App Files\FileTypes for FileTypes, and similar for Effects). The cache is also employed for additional plugin directories that are established using the process described here.

The plugin caches are now also enabled for the portable releases. A directory called AppCache will be created in the same directory as the app. It can be safely deleted at any time, even while the app is running.

Also note that the plugin caches must be rebuilt every time a new update is installed, so expect the first app start after installing an update to be more sluggish if you have many plugins or shapes installed. It won’t be any worse than 4.2.16, however.

Get the update

To get this update, make sure you have "Also check for pre-release (beta) versions" enabled in Settings, and then click on the Check Now button. (Unfortunately alpha/beta releases are not currently available for the Microsoft Store version of the app).

image.png

For direct download links, please visit the forum.

Changes since 4.3 alpha build 7918:

  • Improved performance of loading custom Shapes by 16x on 2nd and subsequent app starts
  • Fixed a crash when trying to save an image that does not support loading
  • Fixed a performance issue that was crippling performance while drawing with most tools

Enjoy!

paint.net 4.3 alpha (build 7918)

This build fixes 2 more bugs that were present in builds 7916 and 7917.

Get the update

To get this update, make sure you have "Also check for pre-release (beta) versions" enabled in Settings, and then click on the Check Now button. (Unfortunately alpha/beta releases are not currently available for the Microsoft Store version of the app).

image.png

For direct download links, please visit the forum.

Changes since 4.3 alpha build 7917:

  • Fixed a bug in the FileType plugin loader that resulted in any attempt to open or save images to crash the app. This would happen if a plugin existed with types decorated with attributes from assemblies that did not exist (e.g. from a unit testing framework).
  • Fixed a bug with tool cursors not switching to their "mouse down" forms

paint.net 4.3 alpha (build 7917)

This build fixes 3 bugs that were present in yesterday’s build 7916.

Get the update

To get this update, make sure you have "Also check for pre-release (beta) versions" enabled in Settings, and then click on the Check Now button. (Unfortunately alpha/beta releases are not currently available for the Microsoft Store version of the app).

image.png

For direct download links, please visit the forum.

Note that the offline installer may still need to download some prerequisites if you’re on a Windows 7 or 8.1 machine that is not up-to-date via Windows Update. You do not need to have .NET installed, as these builds use self-contained deployment.

Changes since 4.3 alpha build 7916:

paint.net 4.3 alpha (build 7916)

As it turns out, the plugin loading error that @AndrewDavid reported with build 7906 was caused by a much deeper issue in the plugin loading system. I’ve significantly rewritten how plugins are loaded and the result is a much more robust and performant system.

I’ve also greatly optimized the memory usage when custom shapes are installed. Previously, the declarative XAML would result in possibly hundreds of thousands of small boxed objects on the heap (floats, points, etc.) due to how the WPF-based object model. Now the shapes are compiled to a Direct2D-compatible format, reducing the memory used and the number of objects littering the heap (instead of 100’s of thousands, now maybe just a few thousand). I was actually seeing jumps and spikes in paintbrush drawings, presumably due to added GC stress, and this now seems to be eliminated.

Lastly, you can now specify additional directories to load plugins from, which means you can use something like OneDrive to host your plugins which will then be sync’d to all of your systems. For security reasons you must edit some registry entries to enable this feature. See here for more details.

I think we’re finally in the home stretch for 4.3!

Get the update

To get this update, make sure you have "Also check for pre-release (beta) versions" enabled in Settings, and then click on the Check Now button. (Unfortunately alpha/beta releases are not currently available for the Microsoft Store version of the app).

image.png

For direct download links, please visit the forum.

Changes since 4.3 alpha build 7906:

  • New: Additional directories can now be specified for plugin discovery, which enables the use of OneDrive for storing plugins. See here for more info: https://forums.getpaint.net/topic/118583-feature-request-set-custom-app-files-plugins-folder/?do=findComment&comment=586013
    • Note that this does not work with the portable version of the app, but you can install plugins next to the app so it isn’t necessary.
  • Optimized memory use when custom shapes are installed so they don’t litter the heap with hundreds of thousands of boxed value types (e.g. floats and points)
  • Fixed a whole bunch of issues related to plugin loading, such as random OptionBasedLibrary-based plugins not loading (race condition in the loader)
  • Optimized the performance of plugin loading to prioritize "expensive" plugins so they don’t extend the critical path any more than necessary
  • Changed: FileType.IsReflexive() is now deprecated via [Obsolete], and is no longer honored. However, the Save Configuration dialog will no longer try to generate previews for FileTypes that do not specify any file extensions for loading, which is what this method was mostly being used for.

Enjoy!

paint.net 4.3 alpha (build 7906)

This update improves legacy plugin compatibility and fixes an issue with the Effects and Adjustments menus.

Also, the legacy plugin cache has been disabled for now due to a security concern. You can enable it by setting the following registry key to "true": HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ Software \ paint.net \ "Plugins/EnablePatchedAssemblyCache". This is only necessary if you feel like the app starts way too slow, and you have several legacy plugins installed.

Get the update

To get this update, make sure you have "Also check for pre-release (beta) versions" enabled in Settings, and then click on the Check Now button. (Unfortunately alpha/beta releases are not currently available for the Microsoft Store version of the app).

image.png

For direct download links, please visit the forum.

Changes since 4.3 alpha build 7904:

  • Fixed compatibility with Shape3D v1.2.6.3 plugin
  • Fixed compatibility with FileType plugins that use OptionBasedLibrary, such as ImPDF.Open.FileType and ImPS,EPS,AI.Open.FileType
  • Fixed an issue where the Effects or Adjustments menus would be blank, and keyboard shortcuts for adjustments would crash the app

paint.net 4.3 alpha (build 7904)

This update fixes a few crashes and greatly improves compatibility with legacy plugins. This compatibility is being accomplished by hot-patching the code (IL) in the DLLs, and it can be CPU and disk intensive the first time the app is launched after updating. After that, the hot-patched DLLs are cached and will load much faster (until the first launch of the next app update).

There is still ongoing work to make sure as many legacy plugins as possible can be made to work. See this thread for more details: https://forums.getpaint.net/topic/118529-plugins-that-fail-in-the-43-alpha-builds-of-paintnet/

Get the update

To get this update, make sure you have "Also check for pre-release (beta) versions" enabled in Settings, and then click on the Check Now button. (Unfortunately alpha/beta releases are not currently available for the Microsoft Store version of the app).

image.png

For direct download links, please visit the forum.

Changes since 4.3 alpha build 7894.40357:

  • Fixed a crash when using Image sampling mode with the Magic Wand or Paint Bucket tool
  • Fixed a rendering bug in the Gradient Tool when using Transparency Mode
  • Fixed compatibility with many old plugins, including: Shape3D, Planetoid, ClusterClearEffect, Shape Maker, Scribble, LensFlare, GraphPaper, BrushFactory (v2.0.2 and earlier), BrushFilter, CircularText, ColorHarmonies, ColorMatrix, Ed Harvey’s Classic Dents, EditableText, CustomBrushesMini, SimonBrown’s plugin pack, and any effect plugin using OptionBasedLibrary v0.7.9 or earlier.
    • If you have these plugins installed, startup performance after updating the app will be slower as the old plugins are patched and placed into a cache. Subsequent app launches will be faster.

paint.net 4.3 alpha (build 7894.40357)

This is a hotfix for 4.3 alpha build 4894, which was published yesterday.

Get the update

To get this update, make sure you have "Also check for pre-release (beta) versions" enabled in Settings, and then click on the Check Now button. (Unfortunately alpha/beta releases are not currently available for the Microsoft Store version of the app).

image.png

For direct download links, please visit the forum.

Changes since 4.3 alpha build 4894:

  • Fixed the Magic Wand tool producing glitchy results when used with a combine mode
  • Fixed the PluginSupportInfoAttribute’s properties being read-only

paint.net 4.3 alpha (build 7894)

There’s quite a lot to like in this build. Primarily, I’ve spent some time optimizing the snot out of the Magic Wand and Paint Bucket tools. They are now immensely faster, which you’ll especially be able to notice when working with larger image. I’ve written about this in more detail over on Twitter: https://twitter.com/rickbrewPDN/status/1424902298367451137

For this update I’m also switching over to something called self-contained deployment. This means that installing .NET is no longer required, as all the necessary files are bundled with the app. You should not see any change in functionality, this is a "transparent" change. The download size and disk space requirements are much larger, but it simplifies a whole of things that have been problematic over the years. I’m not 100% sure I’m going to stick with this, but it’s something I’d like to keep as long as I don’t get some warning from my hosting provider about my bandwidth usage. Startup performance should be slightly (5%) improved as a result of tighter ahead-of-time compilation.

You’ll note, however, that the download link for the installer is quite small — only about 1.7MB — because I’m testing a new "web" installer. What you’re downloading here is a stub installer that will download the rest of the app and then install it. The reason for doing this now is that I need to make sure it gets some test coverage before I utilize it later for folks who will be updating from pre-4.3 to 4.3+. The web installer is also really important to make sure folks who’ve installed pre-4.3 on ARM64 will get the correct native build. Before, the x86/x64 version would be used on ARM64 and would run emulated, but now this will permit those devices to smoothly transition to the native ARM64 build.

Get the update

To get this update, make sure you have "Also check for pre-release (beta) versions" enabled in Settings, and then click on the Check Now button. (Unfortunately alpha/beta releases are not currently available for the Microsoft Store version of the app).

image.png

For direct download links, please visit the forum.

Changes since 4.3 alpha build 7881:

  • Improved performance of the Magic Wand tool by a substantial amount overall
  • Improved performance of the Paint Bucket tool by a substantial amount overall
  • Improved performance of the Paint Bucket when changing the color or certain other toolbar settings by not recalculating the stencil buffer for the filled area. Changes should now be reflected immediately.
  • Improved: Plugins are now loaded into isolated AssemblyLoadContexts, which improves stability and resiliency to various problems with versioning, loading dependencies, or incorrect installation.
  • Fixed a rendering bug in the Gradient Tool, first reported here: https://forums.getpaint.net/topic/118486-paintnet-43-alpha-build-7881/?do=findComment&comment=585139 (regression from 4.2.16)
  • Fixed a crash when trying to draw a fixed-size rectangle selection that was larger than the image
  • Fixed a crash with the Shapes dropdown, which was due to a bug in WinForms
  • Fixed a bug with the Tolerance slider where both 58% and 59% would be displayed as 58%, due to a rounding issue. The correct value was actually being used, it just wasn’t being displayed correctly.
  • Added a /disablePlugins command-line argument to aid in troubleshooting various issues with app startup and incorrect plugin installation
  • Changed: The requirement to have SSSE3 on x86/x64 has been reverted to just SSE2. However, CPUs without SSSE3 are no longer being optimized for and will run slower as a result.
  • Updated the bundled AvidFileType plugin to v1.1.15.0, courtesy of @null54, which includes support for multi-layer AVIF files. See the project’s GitHub Releases page for more information.

Here are the other changes that 4.3 has when compared to 4.2.16:

  • New: The app has been migrated to .NET 5, and performance has been greatly improved as a result.
  • New: ARM64 is now natively supported
  • Installation is much faster now due to no longer needing the "Optimizing performance for your system" stage (NGEN has been replaced with ReadyToRun via crossgen).
  • Portable ZIPs are now officially available, utilizing self-contained deployment, and do not require the installation of .NET 5. You must manually update to newer versions of the app, however.
  • Improved performance of most effects and other compute-intensive tasks by about 20% on average, due to .NET 5’s improved code generation
  • Improved: Many areas of the app have been optimized to use SIMD (SSE2/3/4.1, AVX2) on x86/x64
    • Drawing on an image with a large number of layers is faster
    • Drawing with the Gradient Tool’s alpha mode is faster
    • Drawing with the Recolor tool is faster
    • Drawing with the Erase or Clone Stamp tool is faster when using a color whose alpha value is less than 255
    • Drawing with the Overwrite blend mode is faster
    • Drawing with the Shapes tool is faster, due to improved compositing performance
    • Drawing with a brush tool without antialiasing is faster
    • Tile compression has lower overhead due to being optimized for SSE2 and AVX2
    • Working with complex selections is faster
    • Many other optimizations all throughout the application and rendering engine
  • Improved: Selection antialiasing quality is now better by way of using a 4×4 super sampling filter instead of 3×3. The code has also been optimized to use SSSE3 on x86/x64.
  • Improved: Performance should be significantly better on systems without HyperThreading (by reserving 1 core for the UI), and also a bit better on systems with it (by utilizing more of the logical cores)
  • Improved: Effect and File Type plugins can now be organized into folders — the plugin loader will recursively search for DLLs up to 1 folder deep
  • Fixed a bug in Polar Inversion that was causing hangs
  • Improved performance of Polar Inversion by 3x, due to the aforementioned bug fix (and a little bit is due to .NET 5)
  • Fixed: There were some issues with zooming in/out using the keyboard, where the anchoring (centering) point was not calculated correctly, causing the canvas to drift in the wrong direction.
  • Fixed a bug when saving with "Auto Detect" bit-depth that was causing fidelity loss on some images that already had 256 colors or less. This was reported here: https://forums.getpaint.net/topic/118401-images-already-with-256-or-fewer-colors-being-dithered-when-saved-with-palette/
  • Changed: A processor that supports SSSE3 (yes 3 S’s) is now required for x86/x64 systems (previously only SSE2 was required). All CPUs released since about 2006 (e.g. Core 2 Duo) support this.
  • Known Issue: Due to crashing, GPU accelerated effects (Gaussian Blur, Motion Blur, Radial Blur) on ARM64 will actually use the CPU for rendering.