A programmer has added a layers feature to the standard version of Microsoft Paint that ships with Windows. I can’t believe how much I love this.
Let’s take a step back – do people actually care about MS Paint? Yeah, absolutely. Back in July 2017, Microsoft announced plans to remove Microsoft Paint from upcoming updates to Windows 10, as it had previously shipped with every version of Windows since 1.0 in 1985. After not much time, Microsoft corrected itself and said that the app was “here to stay”, likely because people weren’t too happy Paint was going away.
Today the app is still available on Windows 11, which will one day completely replace Windows 10, with many of the same features and still the same basic approach. After all, Microsoft Paint has never been anything more than a basic digital art application. It doesn’t promise Photoshop levels of imaging editing, and for the most part, Microsoft Paint isn’t particularly special. There are several free web apps such as Canva and Pixlr that offer more intricate tools for entry-level designers, so much so that Microsoft Paint doesn’t really have a point beyond being a cute time waster.
But what about some layers?
IVE FUCKING DONE IT.
LAYERS IN MSPAINT. pic.twitter.com/Xk1gAa9Bgw
— TALON ZANE (@TalonZane_) April 15, 2023
Microsoft Paint doesn’t normally have layers – what you’re seeing above is a mod from Talon Zane, a game developer and obvious lover of the Paint app.
Zane’s been posting about his mod above for the past few days, and it has picked up a tonne of traction on Twitter, taking in 88,000 likes on the original post. Since then, he’s said that a public release is on the way, and described the whole ordeal as “the funniest side quest I’ve ever been on”.
On top of the layers feature, Zane has also developed an export feature that removes transparent colour.
“It seems that modding mspaint directly is a shitty idea. No decompiler has been able to recognise it,” Zane said on Twitter.
“The idea that this silly little project is going to spawn a wave of mspaint artists makes me so happy honestly.”
At the moment, the mod relies on a companion app, with the developer planning to release it online on a platform like GitHub or Itch.io. He’s not planning for it to become his main focus, and is interested to see what other people can do with it.
Terrific work, honestly. MS Paint forever.