Some Fun with Paint.net!

Hey, everybody! As those of you who’ve read any of my stories (both of you — you know who you are!) have noticed, I use illustrations, most of which are based on screenshots from Skyrim or other games. While some of the screenshots look just fine the way they are, I’ve had to edit nearly all of them, even that meant cropping the image to the part I wanted to highlight. My “go-to” editing tool the past couple of years has been Paint.net, a free image-editing application for Windows. While it might not have all the functionality of a professional application like Photoshop, it still does plenty — its capabilities certainly outstrip my abilities as they stand now.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, I was entertaining myself with a screenshot from my current Skyrim playthrough. Experienced players will recognize the image below as the Kynesgrove dragon towards the beginning of the game, Outside of cropping, the image is presented as-is. The battle against the dragon took place early in the morning during a snowstorm. The image looks black-and-white because that’s how the scene really was!

A dragon arises!

So how can a rank amateur edit the image using Paint.net? Well, to start with, did you notice the sunbeams around the dragon’s head? What if we adjusted the brightness to wash the image out a little?

Adding a little glare…

To me, the image comes out a little harsher, and maybe a little colder. But adjusting brightness and contrast is only one of the many things you can do with Paint.net. There are plenty of artistic effects you can apply as well. The following two shots use the oil painting and ink drawing effects.

Doesn’t the ink drawing on the right look like it belongs on some metal band’s tee shirt?

Now, this post doesn’t come close to describing all the things Paint.net can do. I’ve also used it to combine images, edit “green screen” shots, and perform general touch-ups. An experienced user could get far more out of the application than I ever could. Hey, if you have some edited images to share, maybe you could add a link in the comments. I’d love to see what you’ve done!

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