One of the image editing programs that I use regularly for light editing purposes is Paint.net for Windows.
While it may not provide you with the same set of functionality as commercial-grade image editors like Adobe Photoshop, it is fully suitable for my basic editing needs. The developer of the program has released a first alpha version of the upcoming Paint.net 4.0 yesterday on his website.
The new version is a major upgrade of the application and has been in the works for more than three years. While minor updates have been released in the meantime by the developer, it is the first major upgrade of the image editing tool in more than years.
While Paint.net 4.0 is still only available as an alpha build, it will sooner or later replace the current stable version 3.5.x on most systems.
The author of the program noted back in 2010 for the first time that Paint.net 4.0 won't support Windows XP, and in 2011 that support for Windows Vista was dropped as well. Yesterday's blog post confirms that the application will only support Windows 7 Service Pack 1 or newer versions of Windows.
Other changes include that the .Net Framework 4.5 is required and will be installed if needed, and that the processor should be at least dual-core. Note: There is no option to install Paint.net 4.0 from within the latest 3.5.x version. You need to download the installer from the forum and install it separately on your system. Once installed, you can make use of the automatic option of version 4.0 to keep it up to date provided that you check the "also check for pre-released (beta) versions" box during installation. So what else is new?
- Performance scales a lot better in respect to the number of cpu cores and for large images.
- The performance of section rendering and manipulation has been greatly improved.
- Hardware acceleration has been implemented for the canvas, and memory usage is lower.
- The default theme has been updated as you can see on the screenshot above
- Smaller changes: the paint bucket tool supports anti-aliasing, new Shapes tool with 29 different shapes, new gradient tool, color picker supports spiral gradient types, and move tools have a much better UI,
You can check the full list of changes on the linked website above. Windows XP and Windows Vista users will still be able to use the 3.5.x versions of Paint.net, while the majority of Windows 7 and Windows 8 users may likely pick the faster, memory efficient version 4.0 instead. From what I can tell, the new version is faster and more responsive than the old one, so definitely a good upgrade for users who run Windows 7 or newer.