Microsoft is on a slow path to making Paint a useful tool for real creators by finally implementing one of Photoshop’s main features: layers. As part of a Update deployed for testing by Windows Insiders. (version 11.2308.18.0, available to some people in the Canary or Dev channels), Microsoft Paint features support for both layers and transparency. These features have long been in play for general editing in Adobe Photoshop, but they are key to proper image manipulation and digital art. And most importantly, they are coming to an app that is free to use on Windows.
In the new version of Paint, users can use the core functions needed to work with layers (add new layers, move them, reorder them, merge them, duplicate them, etc.) to create more advanced art with stacked image elements. Another key part of this update is image transparency, including support for opening and saving transparent PNG files without backgrounds, which dovetails nicely with another recent Paint addition that introduced a background removal tool.
I know a lot of this may seem super basic if you’ve been using powerful tools like Photoshop for as long as many of us have, but it seems like a win for Windows users who just want easy image manipulation without the expensive subscriptions attached. software that is truly designed for working professionals. As Adobe prices rise and other services like Canva put these tools behind a paywall, I welcome the day when I can tell family members that it’s okay to use Paint for basic family photo collages instead of them opening Pandora’s box by starting a Photoshop free trial.
If you want to try out the new Paint tools yourself, you can sign up for the Windows Insider Canary or Dev Channels and wait for the update to arrive; however, it may not be immediately available to everyone.