In response to a request for comment, a Microsoft spokesperson offered the following statement, emphasising the upgraded tools available in Paint 3D:
“MS Paint is not going away. In addition to the new 3D capabilities, many of the MS Paint features people know and love like photo editing and 2D creation are in Paint 3D — the new app for creativity, available for free with the Windows 10 Creators update. In the future, we will offer MS Paint in the Windows Store also for free and continue to provide new updates and experiences to Paint 3D so people have the best creative tools all in one place.”
Cue the collective sigh of relief.
This piece was originally published on July 24, 2017.
Creative children of the eighties and nineties, grab your tissue boxes: Microsoft Paint, the simple drawing and painting program that let kids channel their inner Picasso on screen, will be discontinued after a 32-year run. The Guardian noted MS Paint's inclusion on a list of "Features that are removed or deprecated in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update."
Compared to drawing programs that have appeared in the app era, Microsoft Paint, which launched in 1985, is limited in its artistic offerings. But as with any influential tech (RIP Vine), there's an element of nostalgia at work.
For me, I remember when I was a kid with aspirational dreams of someday writing for a magazine or winning an Oscar. Back then, I used Paint to create my fashion issue cover art and one-dimensional "Best Actress" statuettes. Those were my first experiences with drawing on a computer and, even though I didn't know it then, it helped me understand the basics of crafting digital art. Those skills didn't turn me into an award-winning artist, but they did help me become a more visual learner.
The many RIP Microsoft Paint reactions on Twitter are some evidence that I'm not alone in mourning.
Some creatives have come out in opposition, saying that they still use MS Paint to resize images and perform basic edits.
Microsoft isn't abandoning Paint without an alternative: Paint 3D is the 2017 version of the classic Paint, with advanced 3D modelling and drawing capabilities. You can create Pixar-like characters onscreen and more easily visualise how you might want to remodel a room.