Paint.NET’s plans for 2008

I want to start working on Paint.NET v4.0, and the time has finally come. I have some wicked ideas on pervasive parallel programming that I am hoping to thoroughly integrate throughout the application*. However, this will take a lot of time to engineer, and may involve significant refactoring or a “spiritual rewrite”. It will take at least a year to complete, if not more.

In the meantime, however, the v3.xx architecture still has some life left in it (duh). My plan is to have new, minor releases of the v3.xx branch throughout the course of 2008 at 6-week intervals. To start, I plan on releasing v3.22 in mid-January. It will have some bug fixes, a performance tweak, and Tom’s “Reduce Noise” plugin. After that, you can expect something like a v3.24 release by March. Maybe I’ll add 8-bit and 24-bit support to PNG or something. I’m not sure yet. It will depend on what the user base is clamoring for of course.

For a freeware like Paint.NET, you cannot just have a year-long gap between releases. You have to keep interest in the project alive which means staying on the front page of sites like Neowin. The project grows by having short, large spurts of press coverage. When I released version 3.0 in January of this year, the short-term increase in traffic was enormous and the smaller but long-term, sustained increase was crucially important.

Other revenue opportunities might present themselves as well, such as developing and selling a “Paint.NET Plugins Pack” for $10 or something. These could provide fuel for more rapid development of the major version 4.0 release.

* I have a lot of thoughts in this area, but so far have not distilled them into short-enough blog posts. It’s one of those, “where do I start?” and “who’s my audience?” problems.

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20 thoughts on “Paint.NET’s plans for 2008

  1. JoshuaSmyth says:

    8bit PNG support would be great. I used paint.net mainly for doing pixel art and 8bit pngs can reduce the filesize somewhat dramatically.

  2. arthur dent says:

    Wow! looking forward to it! You’ve done an INCREDIBLE job thus far; the fact that the program can actually rival Photoshop, (I’ve switched completely!) is a major testament to your programming skills.

    While 4.0 is in the pre-pre-planning stages now, 😉 , i just want to throw in my opinion for the two things i would most love to see…

    > layer “sets” (folders)
    > re-editable font layers

    Whatever it brings, i am SURE it will be friggin’ awesome! 🙂
    Keep up the amazing work! I’ll be donating again after the holidays.

  3. Gege says:

    Nice to hear this, Rick.
    v3.20 was a really awesome release, now we want even more 😉

    My feature wishes for Paint.NET (soft selections, custom brushes, Layer “folders”, Ability to organize/manage effects ) are all listed in Popular Feature Requests forum thread already and are tagged as “Probably in v4.0, but no ETA”. Well, “It will take at least a year to complete, if not more” is a very sparse ETA, but hey, it IS an ETA, even though! That’s great! Thanks! 🙂

    Among those wishes, one is particularly important IMO: the effect organizer/manager. v3.20 brought big improvement in this area, with effect categories. But also brought an annoying side effect for non-english users (53.64% of user base, according to the last published statistics*). Some plugin developers use localized category names, some don’t. As a result, we have duplicated category entries in Effects menu. One in English, one in local language (Portuguese, in my case).
    See here what I mean: http://img206.imageshack.us/img206/4217/effectsmenurl6.png

    A proper Effect Organizer/Manager would solve this quite easy. That’s why I hope this is included in v4.0

    That’s it. And congratulations for the great work so far!
    Cheers.

    * Time to make a new one, don’t you think?

  4. arthur dent says:

    oO( oh, one other thing that would be nice, but not a major thing, would be a context menu on the layers in the layer window )

  5. Lionel says:

    > After that, you can expect something like a
    > v3.24 release by March. Maybe I’ll add 8-bit
    > and 24-bit support to PNG or something.

    What about adding Neuquant quantization (+ optional Floyd dithering) for 8-bit PNG (and GIF) support? This is a really nice algorithm, giving excellent quality (much better than octrees or median cut) with acceptable speed.

  6. tuqueque says:

    Hi, i’m not registered on the forum but i use sometimes that program, i love the speed an light weight of Paint.net but there’s one thing i really really dislike (that’s also why i hate Photoshop and stick with programs like Paint Shop Pro)… i dislike the floating windows over the canvas… it would be GREAT if you can implement dockable palettes and tools! that would be for me the major step forward in Paint.net.

    Greets

    tuqueque

  7. arthur dent says:

    Lionel – having docking palettes would effectively reduce the working area of the canvas, making your image smaller, and giving you a smaller window on your document, which makes working with documents harder… unless you get a bigger monitor.

    The floating palettes lets you maintain a larger working area, which i think is much better. If you want to see the picture without the floats over it, then just zoom it out a little. This will have all the same effects as docked palettes (no obscured areas, but also reduced working area) without the downsides.

  8. Lionel says:

    I didn’t say anything about docking palettes, this is tuqueque’s post. Actually, I like the UI as it is.

  9. arthur dent says:

    Oops… sorry bout that Lionel; … just read the “By” line in the wrong direction, down instead of up. 🙂 .
    Yes, personally i agree, it is nice as is… i prefer having the larger working area, and even being able to put the palettes on my secondary monitor if i want to!

  10. alumni says:

    but adding this feature won’t do any harm. you can keep the windows floating by default. and the same for customizable toolbars… i really don’t get the point why you don’t add these features.

  11. Luis Lobo Borobia says:

    Hi Rick,
    Glad to see that Paint.NET will have more to come in the years to come.
    I use Paint.NET now, but before I used (and sometimes still use) Micrografx Picture Publisher. It is (was? I think Corel has dumped it) simple and with no “layered”, but object based “images”. I see that those Objects could also be used, appart from layers. They are simpler than layers…
    It also has the concept of “mask”, that is like the “selection”, but has other tools like “smart mask”, that lets you select automátically, based on a Wand range, Wand Fade, Mask Simillar selected, expand mask by pixels, create an object from mask… If you want, i can create some video to show this…

    Best regards, and thank you!

  12. Mike says:

    My one “wish-item” is already on the Popular Feature Requests: being able to re-edit text (yeah, I’m writing it here for the people who are too lazy to read the forums). It’s the one thing that keeps me from uninstalling Photoshop. Other than that, great job Rick 🙂

  13. MLyons says:

    Wow, this is all very interesting. I’m hoping for a Plugin Manager / Organizer for version 4.0 as my top request if possible. Maybe a way to make plugins easier for new users to find and understand as well?

    In the time I’ve been using Paint.Net it has really become a phenomenal program. I have grown to much prefer it to Photoshop actually. 🙂

    Thanks Again,

  14. james says:

    A simple but flexible HDR tool would be nice — sure, you can do it by hand, but it would be awesome if built in (and probably attract a bunch of users who would like to do HDR but don’t want to pay for photoshop).

  15. Refactor says:

    You should also think about refactoring Paint .NET by moving classes to more specific namespaces than “PaintDotNet”.

    The only place where you do that is for the effects; I think that it should also be done in all the other assemblies (eg: namespaces PaintDotNet.Base, PaintDotNet.Data, etc.)

  16. Lars Blomgaard says:

    I have a little wish for paint.net
    When you have installed a lot of plugins, the effect meny becomes too large to contain all plugins. A solution to that (if possible), make the menubar “scrollable” instead of using the arrow in top and bottom.

    Besides that you have created the most amazing image software program. Great Idea for the plugin pack 🙂

  17. Pallando says:

    I am now paint.Net addict. would never go back…
    I am just waiting for tools to use HDR (plugin or whatever).
    Really great job!

    Thanks

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