Microsoft Paint update could make it even more Photoshop-like with handy new tools

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. 

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 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.

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Windows 11 users should fire up Paint now to check out this superb new AI-based feature

Windows 11 users are getting the Paint app bolstered with a really smart addition on the AI front.

This is the introduction of Dall-E 3 support to Paint, or as it’s known in the app, Cocreator.

If you’ve seen the feature in Bing AI, it’s a top-notch image creation feature. Basically, you can tell Cocreator what you want and it’ll make an image based on your description (and specified art style).

As we’ve already seen with Bing AI, it’s easy to use and provides powerful results, so much so that when first rolled out with Bing Chat (now renamed as Copilot), there was a massive rush to use the image generation capability – and a whole lot of buzz around how good it is. (With a few wobbles along the way, mind, but that’s par for the course for AI in many respects).

Windows Latest reports that Cocreator in Paint is now rolling out to all Windows 11 users, so it has left the testing phase (where it was first spotted back in September, before making it to the Release Preview build at the end of October).

There’s a short tutorial to introduce the feature to help beginners understand what it’s all about, too.


Analysis: Not got Cocreator yet? You will have it soon

Not everyone will see the Cocreator feature right now, as the rollout will take a little time. Also, you need to ensure that you’re running the latest version of Paint (so update the app), and if Microsoft asks you to sign up to the waiting list for the feature (in the app), make sure that you do this.

Paint has been fleshed out considerably this year, not just with the addition of this AI-based feature, but also with a transparency effect, and moreover, layers, a much-requested piece of functionality that was added recently. Not to mention background removal which does what it says on the tin, quickly and with no fuss (the Photos app also got this recently, as well as a background blur option to boot).

The improvements for Microsoft’s core Windows 11 apps keep coming, as well as the ditching of some of the chaff in this department too, which is equally welcome.

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Microsoft Paint is becoming a digital art powerhouse thanks to this new AI assistant

Microsoft has recently held multiple events where it’s made it known that it’s serious about AI, and following the grand unveiling of its new AI assistant, Windows Copilot, the company has now introduced another AI bot, Cocreator, to help generate images in the iconic Paint app. 

TweakTown reports that that Cocreator’s been known about in the Windows-sphere since test versions of the feature were released through the Canary and Dev channels in September, two release channels of the Windows Insider Program which allows users to sign up to it to preview potential Windows versions and features to give feedback before they are widely released. After these releases, a version was released via the Beta channel (a third Windows Insider release channel) and, just last week, a Cocreator version made its way through the Release Preview channel (the fourth and final release Windows Insider channel that sees features before they’re integrated into upgrades for all users). 

Cocreator is powered by Dall-E, like Bing Image Creator, and works in a similar way. You give Cocreator a description of what you’d like to see composed, select the art style if you have one in mind, and Cocreator will try to create it. 

TweakTown calls the results “impressive” and other early reactions to the new tool are positive, partly due, no doubt, to it utilizing the latest version of OpenAI’s Dall-E. 

One of the first demonstration opportunities was spotted and posted by X (formerly Twitter) user PhantomOfEarth, who found a new 'first run' tutorial to take you through using Paint Cocreator for the first time in Windows version 11.2309.28.0 (in Canary and Dev). 

Windows 11 Update showing on laptop in an office

(Image credit: TechRadar)
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How to try Paint Cocreator for yourself

Cocreator is still being tested it seems, and to be able to try it, Microsoft asks you to sign up to the waitlist in the Cocreator side panel – and once approved, you should receive an email. Microsoft doesn’t elaborate what panel this is, but Nerds Chalk writes that you can alternatively get Paint Cocreator by first being in the Windows Insider Program (to which you’ll have to sign up to if you’re not) and install the latest Canary or Dev build. Then you should be able to update your Paint app through the Microsoft Store > Library

Whichever route you take, Cocreator is still being tested and the version you’ll see will be a preview one, prone to possible changes and developments. That said, with Cocreator being spotted in the Release Preview channel, it should appear soon in a Windows 11 update. The new Paint has already been something of a favorite among its fans, and this development will definitely make it a better-equipped creator playground. It’s already seen a major revamp with the addition of a layers feature and now Cocreator. 

To think, Microsoft was ready to send the basic (but much-loved) Paint into retirement a few years ago, but it might prove to be one of the most successful apps that draws users to Windows yet. I have many fond memories of playing around in Paint when I was a kid, and with its pack of new features, maybe it’ll ignite the imaginations of children and adults alike today. 

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Microsoft Paint is getting its biggest upgrade in over a decade thanks to Windows Copilot

During Microsoft’s Surface Event, the tech giant revealed a ton of new features and updates. One of the most interesting and possibly biggest was the Copilot all-in-one AI assistant, which is coming to Windows 11 on September 26, 2023.

Microsoft Copilot is a more general version of 365 Copilot that uses AI to help users with any Windows 11 programs including popular programs like Paint, Snipping Tool, Photos, and more. And now we have even more information about the standalone app, which just might be the most important update to Windows OS yet.

A new blog post from Yusuf Mehdi, CVP & Consumer Chief Marketing Officer, explains how Copilot works with a multitude of Windows programs. For instance, the Paint Cocreator app (which will be available to Windows Insiders starting September 26) allows users to input a text prompt, select a style, and generate a unique image, which can then be further modified by using the new layers feature for Paint, or by simply drawing on top of the generated image.

Microsoft Clipchamp, meanwhile, is a new companion AI tool for video editing with the use of enhanced AI tools like Auto Compose. By answering a few questions on the type of video you're developing, Clipchamp will provide recommended scenes, edits, and a narrative for you based on your input and creative assets. Then you can upload the video to, for instance, YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, or LinkedIn as well as to OneDrive or Google Drive.

Snipping Tool also received several new upgrades. You can now capture sound using audio and mic support along with visuals, by simply pressing Win + Shift + R or Print Screen to activate. Two new text actions, text extraction and redaction, were also added. 

Text extraction is used to scan content from an online article, a video call, or any other source and then copy it text directly into other documents like Word or PowerPoint. Text redaction is a safety feature that completely blacks out any text you don’t want to show, like an email address within your screenshots or a category of information.

A person using a touchscreen Windows 11 laptop.

(Image credit: Surface/Unsplash)

Photos app has been upgraded as well with a new feature called Background blur that offers a way to enhance image resolution and apply blur effects. Enhanced search capabilities make it easier to find photos saved in OneDrive by typing in keywords related to objects, locations, or dates. There’s also a new slideshow feature that organizes photos into a presentation to share with family and friends.

Voice also has gotten a boost and now works in more places including during the log-in process. You can now dictate complex and nonstandard words through the new spelling experience, and the corrections functionality will fix words that were recognized incorrectly. Narrator supports even more languages including Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and English (UK, India).

The Passkeys tool creates a unique, unguessable credential and allows you to sign in using your face, fingerprint, or device PIN. It will now be integrated into Windows OS and will work on multiple browsers including Edge, Chrome, Firefox, and more.

Adaptive Dimming is another new feature that allows users to conserve energy. If your PC presence sensor detects you are no longer paying attention, it will slowly dim your screen and save energy. It can also serve as an alert to refocus if your attention has been wandering.

John Cable, Microsoft’s, VP, Program Management, Windows Servicing & Delivery, released his own blog post which outlines how to access all these new features and updates. Windows 11 devices will gradually get access to these updates over the next few weeks. Anyone with Windows 11, version 22H2 running on their device can get access to these tools as soon as they're ready by going to Settings > Windows Update and turning on ‘Get the latest updates as soon as they’re available.’ 

All of these Copilot updates are expected to be broadly available in the November 2023 security update release. The Windows 11 23H2 update, meanwhile will not be dropping next week but in Q4 2023, which is October at the earliest.

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Windows 11 Paint app is set for its biggest upgrade ever

Windows 11’s Paint app is set for some major upgrades which have been seen coming through in testing right now.

And when we say major changes, we really mean big new avenues of exploration for Microsoft, the most tantalizing of which is the introduction of a layers feature for Paint compositions.

This new addition was revealed in a blog post that notes the Paint app in the Canary and Dev testing channels now has the feature (version 11.2308.18.0 or higher).

Layers mean you can use multiple layers in one image, with different elements placed in different layers. Those layers can be shown or hidden, worked on separately, and indeed merged together if needed, for a more flexible and advanced way of editing any given image.

There’s a Layer button in the Paint app’s toolbar, and you can work with the feature by clicking it (whereby a side panel pops up showing the different layers that you add).

Microsoft Paint Image with Layers

(Image credit: Microsoft)

A new transparency effect has been brought in, too, with a checkboard pattern representing parts of an image that are transparent. Paint will also let you open (and save out) transparent PNG image files.

Here’s another big introduction for Paint, too: as spotted by PhantomOfEarth on X (formerly Twitter), that same new version of the app has hidden strings pertaining to an AI-powered image generation feature.

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In short, the idea is that Paint will be bolstered with Dall-E image creation chops in a feature apparently called ‘Cocreator’ which allows you to describe an image and have it composed for you (including specifying art styles).


Analysis: Hacks become a reality…

If that AI-powered image creation functionality sounds familiar, it’s because this is already in the armory of Bing AI, so it’s nothing new as such – and it isn’t really a big surprise to see Microsoft pull it over to Paint.

Well, okay, maybe it’s a little bit of a surprise in terms of Paint getting fleshed out considerably more than we ever thought it would, with the introduction of layers certainly coming out of left field.

In fairness, the ability to work with layers is something that has been hacked into Paint in the past, and that did prompt a whole lot of badgering of Microsoft about why it wouldn’t officially introduce the capability.

So, fair play to Microsoft, the software giant has listened and is doing just that – assuming that the layers and transparency elements make it through testing to the release version of Paint (which seems very likely).

Maybe we’ll see other hacks become official Paint features – you may recall that simple animations were also unofficially introduced to Microsoft’s creative app in the past.

Paint has certainly come a long way in the past half a decade or so, given that there was chatter about Microsoft considering canning the software back in 2017, if you remember. How things have changed for the better…

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Windows 11 update gives Paint another brush-up for its menus

Microsoft continues to refine one of its oldest apps in an upcoming Windows 11 update, with Paint seeing more improvements in its design for picking colors, resizing objects, and more.

While Microsoft's recent update brought emojis to Notepad and the return of Windows Media Player, Paint had previously seen a refreshed design to match the overall look of Windows 11, but a dark mode is nowhere to be seen for now.

With Sun Valley 2, the first major update scheduled to come in the second half of 2022, we may see further improvements to Paint to help quickly repair or resize photos to send over WhatsApp.

But these latest changes make us wonder what could be next for Paint, or another app that's yet to receive a similar refresh.


Analysis: Can Maps be next to see a refresh?

Paint refreshed design in Windows 11

(Image credit: Windows Latest)

Now that Paint is about to see more of its context menus get a modern refresh to match its previous updates, a future update of Windows 11 looks to unify more of its older apps with its new ones soon.

With Paint, Snipping Tool, and Notepad all receiving refreshes in their design to match Windows 11, there have also been some apps that have seen a change of name.

Command Prompt recently changed to Terminal, while Groove Music also changed to Windows Media Player.

But there are still other apps that would benefit from a refresh. Maps is a good example, with a design that looks confused, almost Frankenstein-ish that resembles Windows 8, Windows 10, and parts of Windows 11 all in one interface.

Maps app in Windows 11

(Image credit: TechRadar)

The maps displayed in the app are all in low-resolution, so if you're using a PC with a 4K monitor for example, expect to see crooked lines all across your route.

The windows for choosing a route also mimic the look of Windows 8, so if Microsoft is looking at other apps to refresh, Maps is a great candidate, especially when you look at how good the Maps app is in macOS 12 Monterey.

But regardless, it's encouraging to see the company constantly refine and improve its older apps for a new Windows release, and with Paint looking more like an app for 2022, hopefully we'll see Maps see the same kind of attention soon.

Via Windows Latest

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Windows 11 update gives Paint another brush-up for its menus

Microsoft continues to refine one of its oldest apps in an upcoming Windows 11 update, with Paint seeing more improvements in its design for picking colors, resizing objects, and more.

While Microsoft's recent update brought emojis to Notepad and the return of Windows Media Player, Paint had previously seen a refreshed design to match the overall look of Windows 11, but a dark mode is nowhere to be seen for now.

With Sun Valley 2, the first major update scheduled to come in the second half of 2022, we may see further improvements to Paint to help quickly repair or resize photos to send over WhatsApp.

But these latest changes make us wonder what could be next for Paint, or another app that's yet to receive a similar refresh.


Analysis: Can Maps be next to see a refresh?

Paint refreshed design in Windows 11

(Image credit: Windows Latest)

Now that Paint is about to see more of its context menus get a modern refresh to match its previous updates, a future update of Windows 11 looks to unify more of its older apps with its new ones soon.

With Paint, Snipping Tool, and Notepad all receiving refreshes in their design to match Windows 11, there have also been some apps that have seen a change of name.

Command Prompt recently changed to Terminal, while Groove Music also changed to Windows Media Player.

But there are still other apps that would benefit from a refresh. Maps is a good example, with a design that looks confused, almost Frankenstein-ish that resembles Windows 8, Windows 10, and parts of Windows 11 all in one interface.

Maps app in Windows 11

(Image credit: TechRadar)

The maps displayed in the app are all in low-resolution, so if you're using a PC with a 4K monitor for example, expect to see crooked lines all across your route.

The windows for choosing a route also mimic the look of Windows 8, so if Microsoft is looking at other apps to refresh, Maps is a great candidate, especially when you look at how good the Maps app is in macOS 12 Monterey.

But regardless, it's encouraging to see the company constantly refine and improve its older apps for a new Windows release, and with Paint looking more like an app for 2022, hopefully we'll see Maps see the same kind of attention soon.

Via Windows Latest

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