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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Olympus E-M1 Mark III is a Micro Four Thirds powerhouse with a price tag to match

The Olympus E-M1 Mark III has followed up its recent leak with an official announcement – and it confirms that one of the most powerful Micro Four Thirds cameras we've seen will come with a premium price tag to match.

The E-M1 Mark III, which sits below the flagship E-M1X and inherits many of its features, is aimed at pros and keen amateurs who prize speed, handheld shooting and portability in a system with a wide range of native lenses.

While Four Thirds sensors are smaller than their APS-C and full-frame equivalents, they do allow cameras like the E-M1 Mark III to pack in features that would otherwise be tricky to squeeze into a 500g body. One of those is an in-body image stabilization (IBIS) system that claims to provide 7.5 stops of compensation, allowing handheld shooters to use slower shutter speeds to help preserve image quality.  

The 20.4MP Live MOS sensor is sadly the same as its predecessor, but is paired with a new TruePic IX processor that powers some impressive AF and software skills, which we first saw in the E-M1X. These include the 50MP Handheld High Res Shot, which helps landscape shooters get around the 20MP limitation of the sensor, and Face and Eye Priority autofocus, which stems from the 121-point Phase Detection AF.

Other improvements on the Olympus E-M1 Mark II include a new 'multi selector' (otherwise known as a joystick) for quickly selecting AF points, and 'Live ND' for seeing the effects of the in-camera neutral density filter on your snaps in the viewfinder.

Olympus E-M1 Mark III

Pro price tags

Aside from these new features, the E-M1 Mark III shares a lot of similarities with its predecessor, including a weather-sealed magnesium alloy body and its SSWF (Super Sonic Wave Filter Filter) tech, which should keep the sensor free of pesky dust particles.

The camera's 4K video has also been given a minor bump with the inclusion of the flat OM-Log400 profile, which lets more advanced shooters grade footage in post-production. 

So does the Olympus E-M1 Mark III have any downsides? While it's shaping up to be a fine all-rounder, the main one is likely to be price. It'll be available to buy body-only from late February for $ 1,799.99 / £1,599.99 (around AU$ 3086), or in various kit lens combinations.  

These kit bundles include one with the M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro lens for $ 2499.99 / £2,199.99 (around AU$ 4,240) or another with the M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm f/4.0 IS Pro lens for $ 2899.99 / £2,499.99 (around AU$ 4,820).

These prices are quite hefty when you can pick up a full-frame Sony A7 III and Nikon Z6 for around the same asking price. On the other hand, the E-M1 Mark III is targeted at different photographers and Micro Four Thirds lenses are considerably smaller and more affordable than their full-frame equivalents.

If you don't need all of the E-M1 Mark III's new features, the E-M1 Mark II will remain on sale for a body-only price of £1,299.99 (around $ 1,680 / AU$ 2,510) or £1,999.99 (around $ 2580 / AU$ 3860).

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