Change of plans – here comes Paint.NET v3.5

The features that I want to implement for Paint.NET v4 are easily going to take another 6+ months to finish. However, I really want to get the improvements I’ve already made into the hands of users (that’s you!). I’d also like to get everyone updated to a newer version of .NET (right now Paint.NET v3.36 only requires .NET 2.0). If I wait another “6+” months, then it will be almost time for .NET 4.0 and I don’t want to deal with two big .NET upgrades in the same short period of time — or worse, face the indecision of “release now or in another 6 months after the new .NET is out…”.

After some discussion and debate with some forum members and moderators, I decided that I would go ahead and release the work I’ve done so far on Paint.NET v4 as Paint.NET v3.5. This would entail wrapping up all the current loose ends (fixing “new” bugs), finishing the last few work items, getting translation done, and releasing a few betas.

So here’s what to expect for Paint.NET v3.5:

  • Now uses, and requires, .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 (This also means that plugins can use .NET 3.5 SP1 features!)
  • New effect: “Surface Blur”, by Ed Harvey. It’s another good tool for noise reduction.
  • New effect: “Dents”, by Ed Harvey.
  • New effect: “Crystalize”, by Ed Harvey.
  • New file type support: HD Photo (or whatever the latest name for it is)
  • The auto-updater now lets you choose to have an update downloaded in the background and then installed once you exit Paint.NET. (A lot of people are going to like this feature!)
  • Moved “Language” and “Check for Updates” to the new Utilities menu
  • Reduced memory usage, especially when multiple images are open.
  • Improved rendering quality when zoomed in.
  • Greatly improved performance when opening and closing images.
  • Improved the installer UI by removing the “popup” progress windows.
  • “Optimizing performance” section of installer now gives actual progress instead of using the ambiguous “marquee” mode.
  • Installation is much simpler if the .NET Framework isn’t installed yet, or if it needs to be updated.
  • A CPU with SSE support is now required, such as an Intel Pentium III, or AMD Athlon XP, or newer.
  • Many miscellaneous bug fixes, as usual.

This is actually a fairly significant update to Paint.NET, although most of the changes are “under the hood.” Getting this released sooner will help make sure that when Paint.NET v4 does roll around that more of the new technology has been shaken free of bugs. The system requirements will be the same as what I posted last week for Paint.NET v4.


51 thoughts on “Change of plans – here comes Paint.NET v3.5

  1. Jeremy Gray says:

    As a suggestion regarding your 3.5 SP1 dependency: SP1 has a number of issues that have broken a variety of software, the fixes for which will supposedly soon be available as a roll-up and/or an updated SP1. You might want to factor this into your release timing and dependency selection.

  2. Fowl says:

    Yeah, 3.5sp1 hasn’t been properly released yet.

    There will be a new GDR of it on Windows Update in a couple of weeks (if it goes to plan).

    At the moment there is just a sorta small-numbers testing release out.

  3. James says:

    I sure am looking forward to the release of Paint.NET 4.0! I hope there are some exciting features you don’t tell us about to surprise us.. that would be pretty cool.

  4. Michael says:

    I was wondering. Why is this suggesting an update by taking new things for PDN 4.0, and putting them into PDN 3.5… when PDN 3.6 has been out since early August?.. or, was this a way to say….NET Framework 3.5 sp1?… just wondering.

  5. Michael says:

    Yeah, I realized that after I went and looked back at the home page. hahaha. Which clearly says 3.36… guess I forgot the 3.(3) in the mix of numbers.LOL.

  6. Hutch says:

    I think this sounds like a good plan, but why is it v3.5 instead of 3.4? I know the process is not an exact science, but I was just curious…

  7. Dark says:

    so does that mean there will be support for “RAW files”?
    can’t wait to this update

  8. Johannes Rรถssel says:

    Dark: I doubt it. First of all, Paint.NET will, as Rick posted somewhere on the forums, never gain the ability to move beyond 8 bit per color channel so it is probably not the ideal application for editing digital camera raw files. Second, there are numerous formats, most of which are vendor-specific, although it usually seems to be some sort of TIFF with some extra metadata. If you want to work with raw files, you better get a program that handles them well (in PDN you likely won’t see any difference to the JPEG version from the camera).

  9. Dark says:

    @Johannes Rรถssel
    well i was just asking
    I do have Photoshop CS3e which is what i will use when it comes to “RAW files”
    Thanks by the way

  10. Wingman5 says:

    I use Paint.NET a lot to do small image editing, first of all it’s equipt with all the tools for editing color, size, and lot’s of other cool effects. But I shoot my pictures always in RAW format. I saw in the posts above that RAW format will not be Implemented in PDN (logicly because of all the different types) Maybe (because that it is plugin capable) that some programmer(s) can see the chalange to create plugins for the most common camera types (sudge as Canon, Nikon, Sony, Minolta, Fujitsu, Pentax, etc.)

    Now I use the software delivered with my camera to convert my RAW pivtues to JPG of TIFF. Or when I see it’s need editing in RAW I use CS3 to do the big changes (because of the 16bit color channel capability) Therefore I really looking forward to see the implementation of those 16 bit color channel support. Then after the conversion from RAW to TIFF I don’t need the heavy CS3 to edit it further.

  11. Zach says:

    Hey, I am curious to know why processors would require SSE support. Just as a developer, knowing .NET is high level, or maybe .NET framework 3.5 requires SSE? Well at least I have it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  12. Rick Brewster says:

    Zach — It actually has nothing to do with .NET. In Paint.NET there are actually a few DLL’s with native code (C code), and these are for things like the GPC and Squish (DDS) libraries.

    Squish is MUCH faster when it is compiled with SSE support. In Paint.NET v3.5 I have merged the native DLL’s into one — PaintDotNet.Native.[x86 | x64].dll (ok I guess that’s “two” — only one gets loaded though). In v3.36, I put GPC into the ShellExtension DLL’s just to keep things simple. Squish is in its own DLL. Now they are both in the same DLL, along with a few new small supporting functions.

    So the choice was between having DDS support run VERY slowly on all 32-bit systems, or excluding support for the small minority of very old systems, or making the test matrix a whole lot bigger. At some point you just have to modernize a little, and I chose the second one (exclude support for very old systems). This will help minimize my development costs going forward, as I will have less stuff to worry about.

    I’m also planning to add or move more code to these native DLL’s as time goes on. Sometimes it is just much easier to write something in C/C++ and to then p/invoke a simple “extern C” function. Also, allowing the compiler to use SSE also lets it use modern amenities like CMOV which has been around since the Pentium Pro.

  13. Criptych says:

    “Reduced memory usage” – Good to hear, since I have an “old system” (P4 2GHz, 1G RAM … not ancient but getting there :P). Too bad mask layers didn’t make it in, though. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

  14. Mark says:

    Good decision, get the stuff in early, and then work on 4.0 in the background.

    Will 3.5 have better startup times? On my Core2 Duo with 3GB, the current version is rather sluggish to load (~30 seconds).

  15. Zach says:

    Ok great. Thanks for replying so quickly (I didn’t) and going into so much detail. I look forward to your releases, what a great program.

  16. Josh G. says:

    Any chance there will be a customizable “Snap to Grid” feature, like in Photoshop and GIMP? This is the one feature that really keeps me from using Paint.NET as my everyday image editor.

  17. Dave says:


    You say your Core2 Duo with 3GB takes about 30 seconds to start Paint.NET?

    I think it’s about time you re-install Windows there because my 1.6Ghz Celeron starts Paint.NET in 4 seconds cold start, 1 second every other. 30 seconds is crazy.

  18. Michael Ragsdale says:

    I’m agreeing with Dave. Something’s up with your sys. My 1.66 GHz Intel Core2 Duo cold-starts Paint.NET in about 5 seconds, and split-second otherwise

  19. Johnny says:


    I can’t really agree with that, my 1.7Ghz Celeron M also takes around 30 seconds for Paint.Net to open and become usable.

  20. Mark says:

    Out of interest, I dual booted to XP, and installed the same Paint.Net there, and interestingly enough, starts much faster there.

    In summary, it’s usual sluggish Vista performance. I’ve had it with Vista, even a clean install is sluggish, explorer takes several seconds to start, control panel takes 10 seconds to populate, it’s pathetic and Microsoft should be ashamed for releasing such a turd onto consumers.. (still I’m sure they will be happy to sell me a Windows 7 upgrade…)

  21. I Like Pi says:

    Mark, Vista is actually quite fast for me, even when I only had 512 MB RAM and a Celeron. Explorer and control panel both take no more than a fraction of a second to start.

  22. T_Lh says:

    It’s always been my understanding that the more plugins you have for Paint.NET to load, the longer it takes to start. It’s possible that your performance issue could be due to that.

  23. Shombit says:

    Do you have any plans for GPU acceleration in future versions? Like the new Photoshop CS4?

  24. Ryan says:

    @Mark: Could I just say, I use Vista and Pdn opens instantly, and also about the comment of Win7, MS have fixed almost all bugs that they can with Vista and Win7 is going to be based off of Vista therefore not bringing out too many bugs. So it’s basically Vista Upgraded.

  25. Joey says:


    I’ve installed Vista on several machines and have had extremely good luck on most of those. The exception has been on a laptop with an old upsupporeted wifi card. For some reason, I had such flaky results with this thing and it wreaked havoc elsewhere on performance. is very crisp on other machines.

    For example, I installed Ultimate on a 2005 HP m1280n and have had surprisingly exceptional performance. It only has 2 GB of RAM but it has been a pleasure to work with.

    My suggestion to you is that you check your drivers — even on seemingly unrelated hardware.

  26. Todd says:

    mark. i have been using vista day one it performs fabulous make sure your computer meets the system requirements for vista

  27. MJW says:

    I’m not sure if this is the proper place to make suggestions, but if it is, I have one. Paint.NET would be greatly improved if it were possible to scroll the image while an effect is active. Often for adjustable effects it isn’t sufficient to see the result on a scaled version of the image, but if a 1:1 version is used, it’s impossible to see the results on the entire image. I realize this may be difficult (or impossible) to achieve in Paint.NET, though I noticed that Gimp allows such scrolling while an adjustable plugin is active.

  28. Olivier says:

    When do you expect to release this 3.5? ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Sounds like SSE support will be enforced, wouldn’t it be possible to keep a “degraded” version for non SSE users?

  29. Rick Brewster says:

    Olivier — I’ve been really busy! I started a new job within Microsoft. My goal is/was to hit a Christmas release date, but that doesn’t look possible right now.

    As for SSE, yes it’s very technically possible. However it adds a DLL to the build, to installation, and to if/then/else logic that has to be duplicated any time I do a P/Invoke into that DLL. I also don’t have any computers which do not have SSE, so I can’t even test on that platform anymore!

  30. spritemoney says:

    wow, is cool, once i get my mac, i’m actually going to get VMware fusion and Windows vista (I don’t want to get windows xp, because it will be outdated at 2010) the reason i’m getting VMware fusion it’s mostly cuz of

  31. Olivier says:

    Well, forget about it, I mixed up SSE and SSE2. Some softwares like adobe premiere elements require SSE2 which isn’t supported on AMD Athlon XP. SSE is supported on AMD Athlon XP and on most of the CPU manufactured after 2k…

    So you have been hired by Microsoft? They want to integrate within Windows build? Congrats for this great S/W ๐Ÿ˜‰

  32. Brad Wolff says:

    Oliver – Rick has worked for Microsoft since just after he graduated from WSU. His comment was meant to point out that he has changed roles within Mircosoft.

    Rick – You mentioned that 3.5 will have “Improved rendering quality when zoomed in”. Can you elaborate on this? My fear is that we will end up having to look at the blurred mess that Windows Picture Viewer displays when zoomed in. Please tell me I am wrong!

  33. Michelle says:

    What i need is a little box that pops up every 2 minutes to remind me to save. I just had a great project going and my computer over heated (again even though it’s propped up) big bummer. I never save things.. That’s just how smart I am.

  34. Robin says:

    I recently downloaded the new version, but on that version, my tablet doesn’t display pressure on it. Before, in ver. 3.4, when I pressed hard on the tablet, the pen tool’s thickness increased. It’s not doing that now, and I’m pretty upset.

    Is there a way for me to get ver. 3.4 back?

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