Absolute madlad mods layers into MS Paint

A modified version of Microsoft Paint with a layers feature
(Image credit: talon zone and Microsoft)

A game developer and software modder has done what Microsoft has steadfastly refused to do for years: Add a layers function to Microsoft Paint. That's right, you can now arrange separate parts of a drawing into separate groups and interact with them separately. What a concept! You can get mspaintcompanion free on itch.io, even.

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The mod is a creation of 17-year-old game developer Talon Zane, and is available along with its source code for free. It's a beautiful concept as an update to the 38 year old app, and more than anything just kind of an obvious upgrade that I think we all agree is confusing on Microsoft's part.

"That's right, you can now pile on as many layers as you need to perfect your silly little doodles," says Zane, "no longer will you be confined to creating simple, one-layered monstrosities!" A lovely thing for myself, as I am a simple, one-layered monstrosity and need all the uniqueness I can get.

At this point there is someone reading this who does not know why layers are important. Why are layers important? Well, they're a standard of every major graphic design program for the last 20 years because they're just so useful. You can perfect one part of a piece of art, then move to others without risking disruption to your already-completed bits. You can put a sketch on one layer and create the final piece over it, or trace a reference image—among many, many other uses.

"mspaintcompanion may not be as functionally reliable as expected," warns Zane, "Severe jank will be fixed whenever possible."

Thank you Talon Zane, for ensuring that ms paint, a reliable and stalwart program of the windows ecosystem which I hope will never go away nor become overcomplicated and annoying. Remember that time they were going to take it away? That made me real sad and I didn't like it.

Talon Zane is also a budding game developer. If you'd like to support Talon Zane's work in the future, you can do so on his Patreon. You can also follow him on Twitter.

Jon Bolding is a games writer and critic with an extensive background in strategy games. When he's not on his PC, he can be found playing every tabletop game under the sun.