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:

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).


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: (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:
  • 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.

8 thoughts on “ 4.3 alpha (build 7894)

  1. Zelanium says:

    Thank you for your work. I would like to say that I would appreciate it if the final version was available as a complete offline installer package. There are quite a lot of places on this planet where a fast and stable internet connection isn’t a thing taken for granted, and it would also reduce the stress on your bandwith. A web installer means one additional download from your server for every machine I have installed on, including friends and family members. I have always found the installation process fast and reliable.

  2. Gui says:

    +1 for providing an offline installer package. I use on a machine that has strictly no internet connection.

    Anyway, thanks for your work as usual!

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