Microsoft Paint received a plethora of new features late last year, introducing layers, a dark mode, and AI-powered image generation. These new updates brought Microsoft Paint up to speed with the rest of Windows 11's modern layout (maybe a different word? Trying to say vibe) after years of virtually no meaningful upgrades, and it looks like Microsoft still has plans to add even more features to the humble art tool.
X user @PhantomOfEarth made a post highlighting potential changes spotted in the Canary Development channel, and we could see these new features implemented in Microsoft Paint very soon. The Canary Dev channel is part of the Microsoft Insider Program, which allows Windows enthusiasts and developers to sign up and get an early look at upcoming releases and new features that may be on the way.
New Paint app update for WIP Canary/Dev (11.2402.20.0) with some new features:- A new brush size slider on the left- Layers panel update with a new tile letting you customize the background (change color/hide it) pic.twitter.com/KUJOydQH5IFebruary 21, 2024
We do have to take the features we see in such developer channels with a pinch of salt, as it’s common to see a cool upgrade or new software appear in the channel but never actually make it out of the development stage. That being said, PhantonOfEarth originally spotted the big changes set for Windows 11 Paint last year in the same Dev channel, so there’s a good chance that the brush size slider and layer panel update that is now present in the Canary build will actually come to fruition in a public update soon.
Show my girl Paint some love
It’s great to see Microsoft continue to show some love for the iconic Paint app, as it had been somewhat forgotten about for quite some time. It seems like the company has finally taken note of the app's charm, as many of us can certainly admit to holding a soft spot for Paint and would hate to see it abandoned. I have many memories of using Paint; as a child in IT class learning to use a computer for the first time, or firing it up to do some casual scribbles while waiting for my family’s slow Wi-Fi to connect.
These proposed features won’t make Paint the next Photoshop (at least for now), but they do bring the app closer to being a simple, free art tool that most everyday people will have access to. Cast your mind back to the middle of last year, when Photoshop introduced image generation capabilities – if you wanted to use them, you’d have to have paid for Adobe Firefly access or a Photoshop license. Now, if you’re looking to do something quick and simple with AI image-gen, you can do it in Paint.
Better brush size control and layers may not seem like the most important or exciting new features, especially compared to last year's overhaul of Windows Paint, but it is proof that the team at Microsoft is still thinking about Paint. In fact, the addition of a proper layers panel will do a lot to justify the program’s worth to digital artists. It could also be the beginning of a new direction for Paint if more people flock back to the revamped app. I hope that Microsoft continues to improve it – just so long as it remains a free feature of Windows.