Software update: Paint.NET 4.1 build 6808 beta

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Version 4.1 of Paint.NET has been under development for a while and now the first beta release has been released. This drawing and image editing program bridges the gap between the Windows supplied Paint and expensive but very extensive programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Coral Draw. Since version 4.0 the program performs a lot better, especially on multicoreprocessors, but has at least Windows 7 as a system requirement. Since version 4.0.18, the program is also offered via the Windows Store however a small fee is requested for that version. The release notes for this edition can be found below.

Paint.NET 4.1 Beta (Build 6808)
I’ve been there for the last 7 months and it’s finally time for a beta release! There’s a lot of small and medium-sized things all over the place. There are some significant performance improvements to some important effects, especially those in the Blur menu. There are also a lot of quality-of-life improvements, some great bug fixes, and the ability to perform copy and paste operations on the selection, among many other things. I’ve also been doing a lot of improvements “under the hood” that will not be visible, but that will make it easier and faster to get more progress and improvements.
Here’s a quick overview or some of the bigger changes:

  • GPU-powered Effects! Some of the effects have rewritten to use Direct2D’s image processing system, and the results are phenomenal for performance. Gaussian Blur is actually fast and no longer has to go for radiographs, and the same goes for both Motion Blur and Radial Blur (although Radial Blur does not require a pretty powerful GPU). A few other effects were for the sake of completeness and for my own learning, and there are two new ones (Morphology and Turbulence). This is where most of my time (the aforementioned “last 7 months”) and sweat was spent: getting a GPU-based effect rendering and running end-to-end was no small feat! Expect to see more effects converted to the GPU in subsequent updates as this tech matures. I am also planning to make the GPU available for plugins to use in a future update.
  • Copy / Paste for Selections. You can now copy the active selection to the clipboard, as well as from the clipboard to the active selection (all selection combine modes are supported). This copies only the selection not the pixels that are within the selection. You can then apply for another layer or image, or just save it for later. Because the selection is copied to the clipboard as JSON text, you can use external tools to maintain or process them (you are not limited to Paint.NET’s built-in selection operations, in other words). For example: if you want to save and reuse 5 selections, just open up 5 copies or Notepad and use them as a storage buffer. You can also use Paste Selection when a regular image is on the clipboard: if the image is from Paint.NET, the embedded selection will be used, otherwise the image will be converted to a selection (a rectangle anchored to x = 0, y = 0 with the same width and height as the image). More detailed documentation for the data format will be available.
  • Bicubic resampling for the Move Selected Pixels tool. This can produce much higher quality results than Bilinear resampling. It is very CPU intensive, so fast CPU with 6+ cores is highly recommended if you plan to use it a lot. The default is still Bilinear, so if you prefer to use Bicubic you can change it from Settings -> Tools.
  • New +/- buttons for Tolerance and Hardness. This is a great quality-of-life improvement, especially for the Magic Wand.

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