It seems like Paint.net is one of the best programs for making non-recolors and it's quite simple to use. However, you can do more than just adding on it. Paint.net is a great program if you use it correctly. I use it for more than a year and i'm satisfied. I'll cover some basic functions the editor gives, as it seems relevant around here.
The basic layout of the program is very simple and easy to understand. Paint.net advantage is that simplicity and the capacity of using layers, which will certainly prove to be very useful if used correctly. I numbered each section of the layout so i can explain them better. Sorry if most of the things are in Portuguese, it's my home language. But still, you can recognize them in your PC.
- The toolbar. Self-explanatory. Here you will find the tools to create your work, such as the pencil, the pen, the eraser and many more.
- The colors. Here you will find the color wheel and the default pallete. You can create your own palletes and save them. This makes Paint.net perfect for creating pixel art.
- The picture. Here is the area where you drawn. Not really much to explain here.
- Layers. Ah, the layers. The most significative part, so far. You can add layers, switch their position (Select what layer will be lower or upper).
- Paint.net allows you to work on multiple pictures. Here you can switch between them.
Here, i will explain the tools and their functionallity. Some you will find yourself using many, many times, but some are almost useless and you might never use them. I will talk about them in order, from the select tool until the shapes.
- The select tool. Unlike some image editing programs, like MS Paint, Paint.net selecting is divided in the select tool, the moving selection tool and moving tool. The select tool basically selects a part of your image. Just that.
- Move pixels tool. After you selected some pixels with the select tool, you can move them with this tool. In MS Paint, select tool and move pixels tool functions are present in a single tool.
- Lasso Tool. Just like the select tool, but instead of selecting with a rectangle, you do it with a freeform selection. May be tricky to use, but very useful.
- Move selection tool. After a selection is done, you can move that selection (Not the pixels), in case you messed it up and you're too lazy to do another selection.
- Spheric selection tool. Just like the selection tool, but does a spheric selection instead of a rectangular one.
- Zoom. Self-explanatory. Zooms and unzooms (With the right mouse button).
- Magic wand. It's really magic! May be confusing in the beginning, but this one needs a deeper explaining, as it confused me a lot. It's the mixture of a selection tool with the paint bucket. It will select a determined area based on its color. Here is a more graphic tutorial.
Eraser. Erases stuff! Not like the MS Paint eraser, which is basically a white-colored paint brush. This one creates a transparency.
- Pencil. Essentially, a paint brush limited to a single smoothed pixel. Nothing more, nothing less.
- Color Picker. Use it on a color (That belongs to the image) of your choice and it will give you that color.
- Clone Stamp. Copies pixels between layers or from the same layer.
- Recolor Tool. Replces a color with another. Tolerance plays a big role in this one.
- Text. Adds text to your picture. You can choose a font of your choice, the size and color.
- Lines 'n Curves. Creates a straight line when used, but you can also shape the line in the way you want after it is created.
- Shapes. Squares, rectangles, circles, you want it? It's yours my, friend, as long as you...ok, sorry. This tool creates a variety of shapes in which you can select in the top bar. You can also change between empty shapes, colored shapes with border and without border.
Not really as complicated as you would expect. Layers are exactly what they say: Different pictures that merged will form a single picture. The first layer you will get is the white one. You can create a new one by clicking on the layer adding button on the layer GUI. This new layer will be transparent and what you draw on it will be in front of the lower level. You can also make layers go lower, delete then and alter their proprities, which might be very fun to mess with. Mastering layers is the key of making great works in this image editor!
And...this is it!
Those are the very basics of Paint.net. You can also mess with the layers proprities, colors, tolerance and all that good stuff. Experiment with it! Don't limit yourself to just some functions. Explore this program as a whole and i assure you that you will find more than a simple image editor. That's everything i have to say. Thanks for the reading!