When comparing GIMP vs Paint.NET, the Slant community recommends GIMP for most people. In the question“What are the best pixel art / sprite editors?” GIMP is ranked 5th while Paint.NET is ranked 9th. The most important reason people chose GIMP is:
GIMP is completely free and open source, meaning you can use GIMP and all of its features without spending a penny. This makes it an excellent case for artists or designers who may not have the budget to spend over 700 USD on Photoshop. It is also available for free on Windows, Mac OS and Linux. It's licensed under GPL with source code available [here](http://www.gimp.org/source/).
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Free, open source and cross-platform
GIMP is completely free and open source, meaning you can use GIMP and all of its features without spending a penny. This makes it an excellent case for artists or designers who may not have the budget to spend over 700 USD on Photoshop. It is also available for free on Windows, Mac OS and Linux. It's licensed under GPL with source code available here.
GIMP is the most feature rich free image editing tool. It has most image manipulation and workflow tools that you would expect from an image editing software and what it lacks it makes up with plugins.
Pro Content-aware tools with a plugin
There's a content-aware fill plugin available for GIMP.
Pro Modular & single-window interface options
By default GIMP splits out each window, but you can check to use the one screen mode in options if you prefer.
Compared to to other photo editing software, GIMP is very light weight. In addition it isn't very resource-intensive, meaning you can put it on a flash drive and have it with you to load up on just about any computer.
Gimp has less features than programs like Photoshop, but for a beginner, or someone not needing complicated options, Gimp is the perfect choice. It allows you to quickly do basic photo manipulation so you can easily get the product you need without having to worry about complicated features getting in the way.
Pro Full channel support
Paint.net provides a streamlined but effective core tool set. Support for advanced and niche features is provided through modular plugins, allowing the user to install only what's needed.
Pro Free software
There is no charge for this software; but donations are welcomed.
Pro Active and friendly community
The forums are filled with tutorials, as well as people who are friendly and eager to help.
Pro Easy to learn and use
Unlike most photo editing software, Paint.NET is simple to learn and easy to use. This means less time is spent learning the in's and out's of Paint.NET and more time on photo editing. For those who only edit photos sporadically and don't have time to invest in learning complicated tools for editing, Paint.Net will suit your needs.
Pro Plugins allow extra functionality
Plugins can be made by anyone in the community, and are offered for download on the forum. They extend the capabilities of Paint.NET to cover most tasks.
Pro Actively developed
The project is active and being continually expanded and refined.
Pro HiDPI support
Paint.NET supports fully HiDPI displays, with no scaling problems.
Con Unintuitive interface
GIMP doesn't embrace OS X application design, thus Mac users might have a hard time wrapping their heads around GIMP's interface.
Con Less features than other programs
Being a free program, it shouldn't be surprising that it has limited features. For those needing more advanced features for something more professional, GIMP just isn't for you.
Con Lacks adjustment layers
Adjustment layers offer a non-destructive way of combining different photo manipulations. Without adjustment layers the only way to see changes is by irreversibly editing the image.
They are promised in future updates.
Con Poor performance
Con Only available on Windows
Paint.NET is only available on Windows.
Con No project-based interface
You can only edit a single image at a time in Paint.NET. For example, in other tools you can open 5 or a 100 images at the same time, and stack those windows in all directions.
Furthermore, when you are editing in Paint.NET you can only "view" a single image at a time, even though you can have multiple images open. This limits your zooming ability, as the image will go fullscreen quite quickly, and hide parts of it behind the floating toolbars which can not be embedded anywhere on the screen.