Paint.NET is freeware that offers tools and capabilities that fall between Microsoft Paint and graphics programs such as Photoshop. You can use Paint.NET to build many of the same graphics as expensive image-editing programs, but it does have some limitations with vector images that cannot be overcome with any freeware currently available. Available for Microsoft operating systems only, Paint.NET can be used to create banners, avatars and buttons for websites.
1. Create a new layer by pressing “Ctrl” + “Shift” + “N.” Click on the “Rectangle” tool on the tool bar. Draw a rectangle by dragging the mouse diagonally on the canvas. Click on the “Paint Bucket” tool. Fill the rectangle with black paint. Press “Ctrl” + “Shift” + “D” twice to make two copies of this layer.
2. Select one of the new layers, and click the “Gradient” tool. Click the “Linear Gradient,” and set the drop-down menu to Transparency Mode. Drag your cursor from the center of the rectangle to the bottom edge of the shape. This will create the gradient.
3. Click on another of the layers, and select the “Paint Bucket” tool. Fill the rectangle with the color of your choice. Merge the layers by pressing “Ctrl” + “M.” Invert the colors by pressing “Ctrl” + “Shift” + “I” to complete the gradient.
4. Press “Ctrl” + “Shift” + “N” and create a layer for text. Select the “Text” tool, and click on the canvas. Enter your text on the button.
5. Press “Ctrl” + “S” to save the button.