Microsoft seems to be enthusiastically adding AI features to all of its main programs, but I’m wondering if there’s a way to add AI image creation to MS Paint? I know, it’s not Canva or Photoshop, but it’s the tool I’m comfortable utilizing on my PC.
Microsoft Paint is one of the O.G. Windows tools, originally released waaaaay back in November of 1985. That was 38 years ago! It probably has since gotten married and has a few kids in the house at that age. 🙂 While it started out as a very simplistic tool with minimal features, over the years it’s had a few major revisions and updates and, you’ll be glad to know, the latest version of MSPAINT does indeed include an AI image creation tool. Microsoft rather awkwardly calls it Cocreator, though it’s really doing the work, not you.
You do need the latest version of Windows 11 to get the latest version of Paint, however. Fire up Microsoft Paint and click on the gear icon to check version ID. You’ll want at least 11.2310.42.0 or higher. Or you can just look for that Cocreator icon, though the way Paint keeps changing the ribbon bar layout as the window gets wider or narrower can make looking for that particular icon a bit confusing. Let’s delve into it…
FUN WITH MICROSOFT PAINT
There’s something old-school satisfying about doodling with MSPAINT, I have to admit. Maybe it takes me back to my early rather unartistic original history with computers. Here’s what I created while fiddling around for this tutorial:
I’m definitely not going to win any art competitions with this entry, I admit. A close look at the toolbar ribbon reveals that on the right side is a new icon with two diamonds and the label “Cocreator”. That’s the AI addition!
PAINT COCREATOR BASICS
Click on it and you might be shown an info box inviting you to sign up for a future beta test, but it turns out that it will actually just enable the feature, no waiting list required. Why that’s still there is a puzzle, and perhaps the “.1” release will remove the pop-up. Either way, here’s what appeared on the right side of the Paint window:
Notice the “50” and the coin in the lower portion; you are only allowed a certain number of requests in a given time interval. It’s unclear how you earn, are given, or buy new ones, Microsoft simply explaining that “Credits are the currency that you use to generate images with Cocreator. Each time you generate an image, you spend one credit. You can see how many credits you have left on the bottom right corner of the Cocreator pane. You will receive 50 credits to create images when you join Cocreator.” One presumes that’ll be explained soon!
I’m going to see if Cocreator (actually OpenAI’s DALL-E 3 image creation model) can emulate a famous painters style by entering the prompt “a mural in the style of mondrian” [Mondrian is Piet Mondrian, a Dutch painter of the very early 1900s]. I then get to choose an artwork style:
If you don’t like those, you can also specify an artistic style as part of the prompt, so I could have appended “as stained glass” or “futuristic 3d photorealistic” or similar. For now, however, “Watercolor” will work fine. A click on “Create” and the button greys out for a short period, then turns blue again. Otherwise, nothing seems to happen.
THE AI PRODUCED RESULTS OF COCREATOR
What has happened is that there are now three thumbnail images that have been created, but you need to scroll down in the Cocreator window to find them:
Not exactly Mondrian’s style, but pretty darn close and quite beautiful. I’ll click on the middle variant to have it appear in the main window:
Notice that Cocreator has created a square image, but Paint insists on a horizontal canvas, so there’s lots of dead white space on either side. Easy to fix: Just click and drag the resize handles on either side, then choose Image > Crop.
SAVE YOUR NEW COCREATOR AI IMAGE
Ready to save it to your disk? File > Save As…
Here’s the final image (click on it for a full size version):
Quite attractive and ridiculously easy to work with from within Microsoft Paint. What’ll they come up with next?
Pro tip: I’ve been writing about Windows for many years and AI tools since they first showed up too. Please check out my Windows help area and AI tools help for lots more useful tutorials while you’re visiting the site!