When comparing Aseprite vs Paint.NET, the Slant community recommends Aseprite for most people. In the question“What are the best pixel art / sprite editors?” Aseprite is ranked 2nd while Paint.NET is ranked 5th. The most important reason people chose Aseprite is:
Getting started with the program is straightforward. It's laid out intuitively: the main workspace in the middle, color selection on the left, tool section on the right, and animation timeline at the bottom. All tools and the vast majority of functions have keyboard shortcuts, allowing for results to be obtained quickly. Aseprite is a very focused program: it's not filled with icons, there's no excess functionality, and dialog boxes generally only have a couple of options so you're never overwhelmed and it's easier to learn.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Easy to use
Getting started with the program is straightforward. It's laid out intuitively: the main workspace in the middle, color selection on the left, tool section on the right, and animation timeline at the bottom.
All tools and the vast majority of functions have keyboard shortcuts, allowing for results to be obtained quickly.
Aseprite is a very focused program: it's not filled with icons, there's no excess functionality, and dialog boxes generally only have a couple of options so you're never overwhelmed and it's easier to learn.
Pro Good selection of tools for animation
You can change the playback speed of the loop and the speed of each individual frame. There are three playback modes: forward, reverse, and ping-pong. Onion Skin mode is included to speed up the animation process and to allow for tagging the timeline to help keep animations organized. There is also a live preview so you can always see the end result.
Onion Skin mode will overlay previous and next frames over the canvas so you can use them as references when drawing. For Onion Skin mode, you can adjust items like range, opacity, and tint, whether the onion frames are in front of or behind the canvas, etc.
You can tag different parts of the timeline when, for example, you need different animations for the same character. You can then loop those tagged sections individually.
Aseprite is available on OS X, Windows, and Linux with source code available on GitHub (shared source license).
Pro Free and paid versions available
Aseprite is free if you compile it yourself. Its maintainers also offer a security-signed package with a technical support license for a one time fee of $14.99.
Pro Responsive developer
Always in touch with the community and approachable via Twitter.
Pro Very intuitive thus easy for complete beginners
The interface invites you to be creative, and since it's pixel art you are creating, this adds to the feeling of being in the right environment. Everything seems to have its natural place and thereby could make beginners feel right at home.
Pro Beautiful interface
Aseprite has a beautiful pixel-art interface that makes it a pleasure to use.
Pro Awesome tools
Tools are good, easy to use.
Pro Pixel perfect mode
It makes drawing lines and shapes less jaggy by default.
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 HiDPI support
Paint.NET supports fully HiDPI displays, with no scaling problems.
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 Actively developed
The project is active and being continually expanded and refined.
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.
Con Not FLOSS anymore
The license was changed to a shared license, that does not allow redistribution of the source code. While older versions should still be FLOSS, the newest versions are not.
Con Pixel-styled interface can be jarring
Aseprite uses low-resolution window frames and fonts. Opinions vary on whether this sets the mood or gets in the way.
Con No tilemap support yet
A tilemap editor is on the roadmap for version 1.6.
Con Text tool could be better
You can't change text and its font or size after you've inserted it. You have to re-insert text every time you wish to make an edit.
Con No file saving on free version
The free version doesn't let you save your files.
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.