This update improves performance and fixes a lot of small issues.

As usual, you can download the update directly from the website, or you can use the built-in updater via Settings –> Updates –> Check Now.

This is a minor update in the sense that it’s mostly a basket full of fixes and improvements. To me it feels like a larger release though Smile While it doesn’t have any new features, it’s fixing and cleaning out a whole bunch of longstanding things that I’ve wanted to tackle for awhile. I’ve been chipping away at things pretty steadily since the release of 4.0.16, so this really is about 3 full months worth of fixes and improvements! At Microsoft we would’ve called this an “MQ” (Milestone Quality) release.

For instance, the animation timer in version 4.0.16 runs at 120Hz. Always. The Win32 APIs for correctly detecting the monitor’s refresh rate are such a maze. They are archaic, bizarre, and the documentation is barely satisfactory. For this release I finally took the time to figure it all out and get the timer to run at the monitor’s actual refresh rate (it also works if you move the window across monitors with different refresh rates). I’m thinking of writing a blog post about it, in fact, because I don’t think anyone else should have to deal with that ever again. It sounds like it should be so simple, but there are always peculiarities and ambiguities that can trip things up. Not too surprisingly, this improves performance if you’re opening a lot of images: the image strip up at the top of the window uses several animations and it really gets bogged down, but now it’s actually much faster. This should also help battery life for laptop users (it won’t change things much for my new overclocked i9-7900X Winking smile).

Also, there are a handful of bugs in Windows and Direct2D that this release is working around. The “Creators Update” for Windows 10 includes the .NET Framework 4.7 and they totally broke the way mouse cursors work for WinForms in high-DPI situations. The result was that 4.0.16 has some really ugly mouse cursors if you’re running at anything other than 100% scaling (aka 96 DPI). So I spent a bunch of time to work around that and write completely custom cursor loading code, which also came with the bonus of providing me with new control over how this whole system works within Paint.NET. The Win32 cursor system is an old, archaic, weird system, one that’s made worse by the various wrappers which are built on top of it (e.g. WinForms or WPF). Now I’ve got the ability to provide high resolution and high color cursors. I can do pretty much anything with them now, and would like to upgrade the Win95-era cursors in a future release.

Also, I’ve implemented a “portable mode” that I’ll be describing in a follow-up post. It redirects the app’s settings into a local JSON file instead of having them in the registry. I know there are at least a handful of people who’ve been hoping for something like this for a long time – now your USB key can carry your personal settings with you from computer to computer.

Next up for Paint.NET: Windows Store! Once that’s done, I’m planning to upgrade the brushes system. It desperately needs more built-in brush shapes, as well as the ability to install custom ones.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s the change list!

  • Added: "Fluid mouse input" option in Settings -> UI -> Troubleshooting. If you see major glitches while drawing, try disabling this.
  • Improved: Default brush size, font size, and corner radius size now scales with major DPI scaling levels (brush size of 2 at 100% scaling, brush size of 4 at 200% scaling, etc.)
  • Improved: Default image size now scales with major DPI scaling levels (800×600 at 100%, 1600×1200 at 200%, etc.)
  • Improved performance and drawing latency by removing explicit calls to System.GC.Collect() except when low memory conditions are encountered
  • Improved performance by greatly reducing object allocation amplification by reducing the concurrency level when using ConcurrentDictionary, and by removing WeakReference allocations in favor of direct GCHandle usage
  • Improved: Performance and battery usage by ensuring animations always run at the monitor’s actual refresh rate
  • Improved (reduced) CPU usage when moving the mouse around the canvas
  • Removed: "Hold Ctrl to hide handle" from the Text tool because it was not useful and caused lots of confusion
  • Fixed: Various high-DPI fixes, including horrible looking mouse cursors caused by a bug in the latest .NET WinForms update
  • Fixed: Gradient tool no longer applies dithering "outside" of the gradient (in areas that should have a solid color)
  • Fixed: Very slow performance opening the Effects menu when lots of plugins are installed after installing the Windows 10 Creators Update
  • Fixed: When cropping and then performing an undo, the scroll position was totally wrong
  • Fixed a rendering glitch in the Save Configuration dialog (it would "wiggle")
  • Fixed: At certain brush sizes, the brush indicator on the canvas had a visual glitch in it due to a bug in Direct2D
  • Fixed: Text tool buttons for Bold, Italics, Underline were not localized for a few languages
  • Fixed a rare crash in the taskbar thumbnails
  • Fixed: Drawing with an aliased brush and opaque color (alpha=255) sometimes resulted in non-opaque pixels due to a bug in Direct2D’s ID2D1RenderTarget::FillOpacityMask
  • Fixed: "Olden" effect should no longer cause crashes (it still has some rendering artifacts due to its multithreading problems, however)
  • New: Portable mode can be enabled via a setting in the .exe.config, which will redirect app settings into a local JSON file (see blog/forum post for details)

Enjoy! Smile