Software & Apps Design How to Use Custom Brushes in Paint.NET A free downloadable plugin for custom brushes in Paint.NET by Ian Pullen Writer Ian Pullen is a former Lifewire writer and an experienced graphic designer and web developer with a strong interest in free and open-source graphics software. our editorial process LinkedIn Ian Pullen Updated on April 29, 2020 Design Graphic Design Photoshop Animation & Video 3D Design Tweet Share Email Paint.NET is a free raster image editor for Windows that is more powerful than the default Microsoft Paint software, but it lacks some of the features found in Photoshop such as custom brushes. Fortunately, a plug-in makes it possible to create and use custom brushes in Paint.NET. Instructions in this article apply to version 4.2 of the Paint.NET image editing software, not to be confused with the website of the same name. How to Install the Paint.NET Custom Brushes Plugin Paint.NET doesn't include built-in support for adding plugins, so you must install the plugin package manually: Download the free plugin pack for Paint.NET This pack contains multiple plugins that add new tools to Paint.NET including editable text. Close Paint.NET and open the ZIP file you downloaded. Copy the Effects and FileTypes folders inside the ZIP file. Paste the folders you copied inside the Paint.NET folder in your Program Files. The next time you launch Paint.NET, a new section called Tools will appear in the Effects menu where you'll find the new features the plugin added. How to Create a Custom Brush in Paint.NET The first step is to create a file or select an image file that you want to use as a brush. You can use most common image file types to create your own brushes including JPEGs, PNGs, GIFs, and Paint.NET PDN files. If you plan to create your own brushes from scratch, set the image file at the maximum size that you will use the brush. Reducing the size of the brush is usually not a problem, but increasing the size of the brush later can reduce the quality. Also, consider the colors of your custom brush as they aren't editable at the time of use unless you want the brush to apply just a single color. How to Use a Custom Brush in Paint.NET After installing the plugin and choosing your custom brush, you're ready to put it to use. Go to Layers > Add a New Layer to set up a separate layer for the brushwork. Go to Effects > Tools > CreateBrushesMini. Select Add Brush at the top. Select the image file that you wish to use as the basis of the brush. All custom brushes you add will be displayed in the right-hand column of the custom brushes dialog box. Set the Brush Size. Select the Brush Mode: Color applies the original image to the canvas.Mask treats the brush like a stamp. You can set a color by clicking the box to the right, and the brush then applies a solid shape that matches the brush shape filled with the selected color. If the brush doesn't have a transparent background, the shape of the brush will be a rectangle or square, rather than the shape of the graphic. PNG, GIF, and PDN files offer support for transparent backgrounds. Set the Speed. A lower speed will make the brush's impressions more widely spaced. A higher setting, such as 100, can produce a dense effect that looks like the original shape has been extruded. Click inside the box to apply your custom brush. You can build up dense areas of pattern or just apply individual "strokes." Select OK to apply the new brushwork to the image. Your custom art will appear in it's own layer, so you can move it around and adjust it without affecting other parts of the image. Why Use Custom Brushes in Paint.NET? You can use the Paint.NET custom brushes plugin to quickly apply individual images to a page or to create dense areas of a pattern. This tool is very useful for storing and applying graphic elements that you regularly reuse in your work.