Although THE GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is my graphics editing program of choice, especially on multiple platforms, Windows users have access to another program known as PAINT.NET. I'm not much into graphics/pictures, but I found the screenshots/images on their web site pretty nifty. Some of the features that appeal to non-artists who need simple, powerful tools include easy interface. Most of us have worked with Microsoft's Paint program. Paint.Net mimics this interface even as it provides layers. If you haven't worked with layers, you might think of transparent pieces of paper that allow you to have an original image, then modify it by overlaying a transparent page with another image or text on it. This enables you to add or subtract layers of images without affecting your original image.
Per its web site, PAINT.NET also includes simple tools for drawing shapes, including an easy-to-user curve tool for drawing simple splines or Bezier curves. Other tools include the Magic Wand for selecting regions of similar color, and the Clone Stamp for copying or erasing portions of an image. These are essential tools to have in a PAINT program. You can also quickly enter text, zoom in and recolor images.
As a non-artist, I really appreciate unlimited "undo" in any program, but especially, a paint program. That means you can make as many mistakes as you like and undo them. I like to think of undo as a license to experiment with confidence, knowing that you can always back up to a previous phase of development.
Finally, for those of us who are worried about price, PAINT.NET is, like The GIMP, a free, open source software product. For those of you who are expert programmers--or perhaps, your students are interested in experimenting--then having access to the source code is a plus. Remember that "Free" in the acronym for free, open source code does not always mean free as in price, but rather...
- The freedom to run the program, for any purpose.
- The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
- The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor.
- The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
Download PAINT.NET at http://www.getpaint.net/download.html
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