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Anatomy of the Colors Palette in Paint.NET

Introduction to the Paint.NET Colors Palette


Paint.NET Colors palette

The Colors palette in Paint.NET offers a surprising range of features for specifying colors.

Paint.NET is a popular free pixel-based image editor for Windows users. It offers a clear and user friendly interface and this makes it a popular choice with users who dislike the less coherent interface offered by GIMP. It is, however, not as powerful as GIMP, but offers sufficient features for most home users and graphics enthusiasts.

The tools and features are accessed either through the menu or the four floating palettes. One of the floating palettes in Paint.NET is the Colors palette and this offers a surprising range of options. By default, the Colors palette opens in minimized view, but clicking the More button shows the full range of options. The Less button can be clicked to reduce the palette again.

Primary/Secondary Drop Down

Two colors can be set within the Colors palette and you can choose which one to set by selecting from the drop down menu. You can also click on the two color boxes below the drop down menu to select each color. With some of the painting tools in Paint.NET, the left mouse button will paint with the Primary color, while clicking the right button will use the Secondary color.

Color Wheel

Perhaps the quickest and easiest way to select a color is by clicking within the Color Wheel. This is a very intuitive way to select a color but lacks some of the fine control offered by the other selection methods.

RGB Sliders

Very precise colors can be set using the RGB sliders, especially if you have the exact values of an RGB color that you need to use. When a color is changed by the RGB sliders, the other color selectors are automatically adjusted to match.

Hex Input

Hex or hexadecimal colors are probably most commonly used by web designers. This is an ideal way to set a color to match a color being used on a website. There are many color pickers available that can help you find the hex value of a color.

HSV Sliders

The HSV sliders offer another precise way to specify a specific color. If you have the HSV values of a color, you can accurately select that exact color.

Transparency - Alpha

The Transparency – Alpha slider allows you to reduce the opacity of a color all the way down to it becoming fully transparent. This setting is also used to reduce the opacity of the Clone Stamp tool.

Color Swatches

The Colors palette loads with a default set of swatches and you can select a color by clicking on it. You can add a new color to the swatch by clicking on the Add color to palette button just above the swatch and then clicking in the swatch. Each swatch has a maximum number of colors so when you add a color, you have to replace an existing color. You can save a color swatch so that you can reuse it in the future by clicking on the Manage color palettes button to the right of the Add color to palette button. You can also open a previously saved palette from this button. When the palette is maximized, four extra rows of colors are displayed in the swatch, including some transparent colors.

The Colors palette in Paint.NET offers a range of tools to allow you to easily and accurately select Primary and Secondary colors. Combined with the ability to save Color palettes for future use, this is a surprisingly powerful feature within the Paint.NET user interface.

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