paint.net 4.2 is now available!

This is a big update that focus on adding HEIC file format support, fixing performance with very large images, and upgrading and modernizing the functionality of many existing file types (JPEG, PNG, BMP, GIF, and TIFF). Many other quality of life issues have also been addressed or fixed.

If you’re using the Windows Store release, you should get the update automatically within the next 24 hours. You can also force an update check by following these instructions.

For the Classic release, you should be offered the update automatically within the next week or so. You can get the updater soon by going to ⚙ Settings → Updates → Check Now. You can also download and install it directly from the website.

It’s important to note that HEIC file format support requires two things: 1) you must be using Windows 10 v1809 or newer, and 2) you must install Microsoft’s HEVC Video Extensions from the Microsoft Store which costs $1. This is necessary due to HEVC being mired in licensing and patent royalty costs. If you want to find some HEIC images, look no further than your recent iPhone (7 or newer). Many newer Android devices also support it.

Most of the other built-in file types — BMP, GIF, PNG, JPEG, and TIFF — have been internally upgraded from using GDI+ to being built on top of WIC (Windows Imaging Component). BMP can now save 32-bit images with alpha transparency, while JPEG and PNG can now load and save much larger images, and TIFF now supports saving at 24-bit and 8-bit color depths ("Auto" is also now included).

On the performance side, I’ve rebuilt the data structures inside of the rendering engine that are used for keeping track of invalidation regions. These hold information about what parts of the image need to be rendered and then redrawn on the screen, either because the image has been changed (like with drawings or effects) or because of scrolling and zooming. In previous versions you couldn’t really work with very large images, starting around 32,000 x 32,000 pixels. Zooming in and out would result in a lot of slow performance, lag, and even complete hangs of the app for seconds — or more (at 60,000 pixels it could hang for 30-60 seconds or more!). Now this should all be completely fluid

Please note that a previous beta, 4.2 build 7121, included functionality that would automatically apply an image’s embedded color profile, thus converting the image to the sRGB color space and "fixing" its colors. The complexity of color management was much higher than expected, and thus it has been removed for now. It may come back in a future update but in a more substantial form. Check out Jeffrey Friedl’s excellent Digital-Image Color Spaces article for a good read on this subject.

Here is the complete list of changes since the 4.1.6 release:

  • New: Support for loading and saving HEIC images (Windows 10 v1809+ and codec installation is required). Please note that the "Quality" slider when saving is limited to a value of 90 (out of 100) while Microsoft investigates and fixes a crash in their codec.
  • New: Keyboard shortcuts for changing the current layer. You can see these in the Layers menu with the "Go to …" commands. Alt+PgUp/PgDown will go to the layer above/below, and Ctrl+Alt+PgUp/PgDown will go to the top/bottom layer.

  • Fixed: Optimized rendering engine to remove huge lag spikes (30+ seconds) when zooming or panning very large images (e.g. 32K x 32K pixels).
  • Improved: BMP now supports saving in 32-bit (with alpha!) and 8-bit indexed.

  • Improved: Added DIB and RLE file extensions to the BMP file type.

  • Improved: PNG, JPEG, and TIFF now support loading and saving of much larger images.
  • New: PNGs can now be saved as "interlaced".

  • Improved: JPEG now has configuration for the chroma subsampling mode (4:4:4, 4:2:2, and 4:2:0). The default is now 4:2:2 instead of the unconfigurable 4:2:0 of older versions. This may result in larger file sizes, but higher quality, as compared to previous versions.
  • Improved: TIFF now supports saving at 24-bit and 8-bit color depths.
  • Improved performance of saving for file types where "Auto" bit-depth is supported but is not the current choice.
  • Improved temporary memory usage when saving images at 8-bit color depth.
  • Improved: TGA images now load about 4x faster (thanks @null54!)
  • Fixed: 8-bit TGA images should now load correctly (thanks @null54 for the fix!)
  • Fixed: Some 32-bit TGA images were showing up as completely transparent due to their use of an obscure alpha channel type (thanks @null54 for the fix!)
  • Improved: Added error reporting to the Save Configuration dialog. Instead of just saying "Preview: (error)", you’ll also get the standard error dialog that includes the exception which can used for troubleshooting.

  • Fixed a number of performance issues in the Save Configuration dialog. Especially with large images, it should now be much faster to change options and to click OK/Cancel.
  • Fixed flickering in the Save Configuration dialog when changing options.
  • Fixed: Windows Explorer thumbnails for some image types (PDN, DDS, TGA) were not rendering their alpha (transparency) correctly, resulting in color skew. You may not see the effect of this fix for a particular image until that image is resaved or you clear Explorer’s thumbnail cache.
  • Fixed: Mouse cursors now scale appropriately for non-integer UI scales (e.g. 125% or 175%)

  • Fixed: AltGr should now work correctly with the Text tool. It will not trigger shortcuts like File -> Save All, or Edit -> Paste into New Image. (thanks @Bruce Bowyer-Smyth for the fix!)

  • Changed: Image->Resize supports Super Sampling again, and favors this over Fant when using Best Quality. Fant is still available, but is no longer chosen automatically.

  • Changed: Holding Ctrl when starting to move a selection with the Move Selected Pixels tool will no longer leave behind a copy of the selected area

  • Fixed: Bicubic resampling in the Move Selected Pixels tool was not correctly handling the alpha channel in some cases. This fix has required a reduction in performance.
  • Improved: When using Edit->Copy, a 32-bit BGRA bitmap in the DIBV5 format is now placed onto the clipboard so that other apps can read the alpha channel.

  • Improved: When using Edit->Paste, DIBV5’s are now supported if they have an alpha channel. If they don’t, then the regular DIB loader is used which has some heuristics for detecting an incorrectly defined alpha channel and correcting for it.

  • Improved: When using Edit->Paste, PNG is now the highest priority format. This maximizes the ability to maintain alpha/transparency, but it does mean that images coming from Microsoft Office apps will appear larger than they used to. This is either a bug or a feature of Microsoft Office. For some reason it places PNGs on the clipboard that are 25%+ larger than the DIB/DIBV5 bitmap that it also places on the clipboard (but which don’t have alpha/transparency).

  • Fixed: DIBV5 bitmaps should now work with Edit->Paste, which improves alpha channel handling. (thanks @null54 for the fix!)
  • Fixed: Top-down DIBs should now work correctly with Edit->Paste. (thanks @null54 for the fix!)
  • Improved CPU usage for thumbnail updates (layers and image tabs) in many cases.
  • Improved: Slightly increased the size of the Settings dialog to reduce the need for scrolling in a few important situations
  • Fixed: Simple message boxes can now be closed with the ESC key
  • Fixed: Magic Wand now works on very large images (e.g. 65535 x 65535 pixels) without an error.
  • New: Plugins that use IndirectUI can now use a UriProperty with a LinkLabel control (thanks @null54!)
  • New: Effect plugins can now more easily make use of the clipboard via the IClipboardService. It will handle all of the tricky clipboard issues such as threading, native data marshaling, and avoiding security vulnerabilities that exist in the standard WinForms and WPF clipboard APIs.

  • New: FileType plugins can now specify separate lists of extensions for loading and saving.

  • Blocked the WebP FileType v1.1.0.0 plugin due to instability. An update is already available.
  • Blocked the ImAgif FileType v0.12.0.1084 plugin due to incompatibility. An update will hopefully soon be available.

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45 thoughts on “paint.net 4.2 is now available!

      • Eugeni says:

        For example, in Autocad when you are scaling object, you select base point and object scaling processed relative to this point. In Paint.net scaling produced from points in only opposite corner or center point on opposite border selection.
        (sorry for my english)

  1. Pingback: Paint.NET 4.2
  2. brianfasps says:

    HEIF – https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/heif-image-extensions/9pmmsr1cgpwg is a free download. While there is a store download that costs $.99 for HEVC – https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/hevc-video-extensions/9nmzlz57r3t7 there is also a free version – https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/hevc-video-extensions-from-device-manufacturer/9n4wgh0z6vhq if you have a 7th Gen Intel processor or newer. Just wanted to let people know to save the money if possible.

  3. T4uru5 says:

    Love the new performance improvements – and otherwise love the work you do with the software.
    What I dislike about this release is the removal of “move a copy” by pressing Ctrl. I may be a minority here, but I used this quite a lot day-to-day; it was in most senses more straightforward, and faster than copy-pasting the same thing. Is this thing temporary because of performance, or will this change stay for good?

  4. T4uru5 says:

    That is of course your privilege. I don’t know the metrics you used to check this “confusion for everyone else”, so I can’t argue on that part. But as a UX designer myself I still find it a bit hard to believe that a concept – ie. pressing a modifier key to Copy instead of Move – that has been for decades native to practically all software where Drag interactions exist (file explorers, CAD software, other pixel and vectorgraphics software) would be that confusing, especially for desktop users.
    But again, obviously your choice whether you provide a user preference to reenable this at some point, or leave it the way it is now – after all, you’re doing great software for VERY cheap, so can’t complain.
    Thanks for answering and listening 🙂 Cheers

    • Rick Brewster says:

      The problem is that it gets in the way when you’re using Ctrl+Arrow Keys to move the selection with the keyboard. Holding Ctrl moves by 10 pixels at a time. It’s just the more important scenario. You can always Ctrl+C Ctrl+V to reproduce the older Ctrl-does-a-copy behavior. If there’s enough hollerin’ for it I can always add an option or figure out some other solution.

  5. John says:

    CTRL dragging for copy and SHIFT dragging for move is standard in Windows. Try it on a file (or file selection) in Windows Explorer. Personally, I don’t use Paint.NET daily, so I won’t personally miss it, but there is something to be said about supporting (de-facto) standards.

    Speaking of … HEIC support has made me a believer, so I have just made a donation, thanks! 🙂

  6. darthvitrial says:

    Super minor thing, but would it be possible to have a future feature where we can switch the circular eraser cursor to a square one? Sorry if I’m not phrasing it well.

  7. T4uru5 says:

    I see your problem, and now I agree that the move by 10px is probably more frequent.
    Among others, Inkscape and Photoshop uses Shift+arrow for “move by big step” (10px in PS, configurable increments in IS). On the other hand, PS uses Alt+arrow to move a copy.
    Maybe a relatively easy way out is to switch one of the modifiers; either the move-by-big-step to shift, or the move-a-copy to alt?
    (If you’ve got some usage stats, it may be easier to pick which change will anger less users 🙂

  8. Killy.MXI says:

    Casual PDN user here. Idk which branch is better to answer, so I start my own.

    I’m not familiar with “industry standards” of CAD or paid software. I seldom use Inkscape, and its UX is horrible in many aspects anyway to rely on it.
    I can see the connection to Explorer’s Copy/Move actions though, after it was brought up.

    I see the current change as an improvement – many times I got annoyed when I start to move things and an unwanted copy shows up underneath. But I agree there are more than one way to improve it, and some might be better than the others.

    After thinking about the step size of 10px and the cases when I possibly need the clone-move behavior, I got to this:
    Imagine you’re working with tiles. They are quite unlikely to be multiples of 10 in size. More likely multiples of 8.
    – First, this may need either custom big step size or, maybe even better, step by selection size (this can be even different vertically and horizontally). Another option might be a snap grid, but that will get quite complicated for the use case of moving selection.
    – Second, think how to make hotkeys equally fluid for multiple scenarios, like moving tile to specific location, filling consecutive locations with tile copies, moving selection and picking another tile, etc…
    – Third, paste at current selection. I find current Ctrl+C/Ctrl+V behavior annoying at times, when I have onscreen location and mental focus on the area where I want to paste, and after pasting I find that I have to move there from a completely different place.
    – Fourth, clipboard content preview in come corner of the screen.

    • YahyaAA1 says:

      Perhaps you’re a UX designer? 😉 You’ve certainly thought through quite a few issues and use cases. Personally, I like a couple of your ideas:
      (1) Configurable big step size(s)
      (2) “Fluid hotkeys”, whose action depends on context (scenario)
      The first is easy to implement in a configuration dialogue. The second requires either (a) some extra smarts to decide what scenario you’re in, or (b) a specific dialogue or hotkey to capture your intent e.g. Shift-F12 might signify entering or exiting a mode where “I’m playing with tiles”. I also am a big fan of this idea:
      (3) user-configurable hotkeys, with defaults that reflect common usage (let’s not say “standards” when they aren’t!).

      May I also endorse your comment about the annoying (and unexpected) “paste at original location”. Most graphics apps paste at the current cursor position, and as you say, your focus is on where you want to paste – where you are – and not on where you were. This behaviour is something for Rick Brewster and other contributors to consider, if they can make the time to do so.

      Finally, let me say that for a free app, PDN is amazingly good and still getting better. Thanks, guys!

  9. Wakerra says:

    If I may request for a future update: Can we get an option to turn on side rulers and line guides that can be snapped to? Also I use the Line/Curve tool all the time to lineart my pictures. Having only 4 adjustable points means I have to lay down a LOT of lines for complex shapes. I would love to see an option to adjust the amount of grabable line points

  10. YD Games says:

    The rendering/drawing engine uses chunk based rendering (I’m more than 100% sure because you see the chunks when moving images and drawing) and when I made a 2560×1440 canvas and I drew on it with 512px brush, with fast moves, some times some chunks won’t get drawn or get drawn with a small opacity. Trying to attach image.

    https://ibb.co/xX0fjKy

    • Rick Brewster says:

      They never get drawn? If you can get me a video of this that could help a lot. There were changes to the data structures that keep of invalidation regions in this update (see changelist above).

  11. GreenReaper says:

    I keep getting a message about another version of the product being installed and that the installation cannot continue (error 1638), after the installer has finished extracting itself. Configuration has failed.

    While I have an 64-bit OS, I am on a netbook with a limited CPU, and I appear to have installed the 32-bit version to reduce space/cache and/or memory usage. It appears that the pre-installer is not respecting this, the Staging directory only contains the 64-bit MSI (even though I saw that it had a 32-bit MSI in the pre-installer, which cannot upgrade/replace the existing 32-bit installation.

  12. bob says:

    The most serious problem with Paint.net is the way it handles text. First, you cannot edit text after adding it to an image. Second, the text font and size, used to create the text, is lost after the text has been added. Not so with Photoshop. I know a plugin is available, but it is difficult to use. You need to design a text dialog box to keep text editable. Otherwise, this is an excellent product.

    • Rick Brewster says:

      Editable text is one of the “big huge features” that’s coming … someday. Hopefully sooner rather than later, but it is an enormous feature to implement. It’s really important though.

  13. At (or Adriaan) says:

    I am very satisfied with Paint.Net. I use mine for creating “pseudo” Unicode symbols. For example, here is one with which I reflect Einstein’s way of thinking: ?
    Your word processor for Email does not even reflect an “Emoji” one (Unicode details) which I fine tuned so much that it ought to act like a normal symbol.
    Is there anyone who could point to an actual Unicode “writer|editor” for FREE. I am a pensioner, 75 years old, living in a wheel-chair, writing a book on Creativity, Evolution and Holism. I can mail some some of them to a site which will allow me to send it. (Look at Xah Lee as an example of what I am doing.)
    Time waits for nobody. I am working 18 to 20 hours a day to finish the book in time. I will honor whoever helped me clearly in the front page. Thanks. Best wishes
    At (Shortest abbreviation for Adriaan) ‘de Lange’ (surname = “of length”)

  14. Maxwell Anderson says:

    A smudge tool would be really useful for “touching up” acne on faces, and much better than using the clone tool for the same purpose.
    Thanks for a great product.

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