MS Paint — also known as Microsoft Paint — is getting updated with two new image editing features that will allow users to edit images more effectively using Microsoft's free graphics manipulation tool. Users will be able to edit images using layers, similar to Adobe's widely used Photoshop software. MS Paint will also allow users to work with transparent images and save them once they are edited. the features are expected to roll out to all users running Windows 11 at a later date.
In a recent Windows Insider blog post, Microsoft announced that the company's nearly 40-year-old computer program will be updated with support for layers. Users will be able to “add, remove, and manage layers on the canvas," according to the company. These layers can be hidden at will, allowing users to work on them without affecting the content of other layers.
Working with transparent images on MS Paint
Photo Credit: Microsoft
Just like other image manipulation tools like Photoshop and the open-source GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP), layers are also visible in the order they are placed in. Digital elements on each layer can then be organised or adjusted in such a way that they appear behind other elements in the image. Microsoft's blog post provides an example of an image with pixel-style artwork depicting a cat with five layers including a yellow background.
Another important feature that has made its way to MS Paint is transparency support. Users will now be able to open and edit transparent images (like PNGs) on the application, which will show a duotone checkerboard pattern as the background for parts of the image that are transparent.
With the new transparency support MS Paint's eraser tool can also remove the background selectively, making it transparent. When the image is ready to be saved, Paint will save it as a PNG file with the transparency — the application previously saved the image after filling the transparent areas with a white background.
There's no word on when layers and transparency support will make its way to all users on Windows 11 — Microsoft is currently trialling the new functionality with Windows Insider testers on the Canary and Dev channels on version 11.2308.18.0 or newer. The company is expected to roll out the features to all users once testing is concluded.
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