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Start With Paint - Microsoft's Graphics Program

Project Information: Skill level: Basic MicrosoftR Paint

In the race for graphic software companies to offer bigger and better products to the digital artist, the small MicrosoftR Paint drawing software has been overlooked. This drawing software has been included with the basic WindowsR package for several years. However, most Windows users do not even realize that they have this program on their computer.

Compared to most graphics programs on the market, Microsoft Paint is simple and easy to learn. It is good for the beginning digital artist and is used by many teachers in the school setting for this purpose. If you have never used a graphics program and would like to start out with a program that has a small learning curve, then Microsoft Paint is a good place to start. So, why don't we check out what's hiding behind the Paint program.

Step 1. Open the Paint program. To open the program click Start > All Programs > Accessories > Paint. After the program has started, click on the Maximize button Max at the top right corner of the window. This will expand the window to cover your entire desktop and give you more room to work. Let's take a look around the workspace.

Figure 1.
Step 2. The Menu Bar. You will find the Menu Bar (Figure 1) at the top of the window. It looks familiar to you because it is the same in most Windows programs. This is where you will find the drop-down menus for File, Edit, View, Image, Colors and Help.

Figure 2.
Step 3. The Tool Box. The row of icons on the left of the workspace is the Tool Box. (Figure 2) These icons are for the tools used to create and edit images.
  • One group of icons/tools is used to draw and paint.

    Pencil Pencil - Use this tool to draw a line in any shape, one pixel in width.

    Brush Brush - You can paint images in many shapes and sizes.

    Airbrush Airbrush - Spray paint color to an image.

    Text Text - Add words on top of an image.

    Line Line - You can draw a line in several thicknesses.

    Curve Curve - Draw a curved line in any shape and several thicknesses.

    Eraser Eraser-Color Eraser - Used to remove color from an area.

    Fill Fill With Color - This tool will fill an area with the color of your choice.

    Rect Rectangle

    Polygon Polygon

    Ellipse Ellipse

    RR Rounded Rectangle - Use these four tools to draw their respective shapes.

  • Other icons/tools are used to select part of, or all of, an image.

    FreeSelect Free-Form Select - Used to select irregular shapes.

    Select Select - Used to select a rectangular shape.

  • Some icons/tools are used to manipulate color in an image.

    PickColor Pick Color - You will use this tool to pick a color to paint with.

    ColorBoxColor Box - Choice of preset painting colors.

    EditColorsDialogBoxEdit Colors Dialog Box - Used to select a custom color.

Well that's what is under the hood of the Paint program -- a great program to get started with.

Screen shots reprinted by permission from Microsoft Corporation. WindowsR and MicrosoftR are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

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