How to Bend Text with Paint.NET

The power and features of modern paint programs have expanded dramatically over the last couple of decades, and one ability of these programs is to take text, turn it into an image, and then bend the image along a curve. Younger readers will be astonished to know that not all that many years ago, there were no programs that could accomplish this feat – but today the feature is found even in free software. Different image editing applications have different ways of accomplishing this task. One of our favorite tools at TechJunkie is Paint.NET, a drawing program that rivals (at least in some area) programs like Photoshop but which is itself freeware. Readers wanting more information on Paint.NET should check out this good e-book, but in this article, I’m going to focus on the basics of bending text using Paint.NET.

How To Get Paint.NET

If you don’t already have Paint.NET, you can download it free from the Paint.NET website. As you can see, Paint.NET has a built-in Text option on the Tool menu, but that option doesn’t include features for curving text.

Text bending can be done with the plain-vanilla Paint.NET install, but it’s a lot of work. With the Move Selected Pixels option, you can add a bending effect to text by manually editing it letter by letter. This is obviously less than ideal – if only there were some way to augment the power of the sofware…

As it happens, one of the most powerful features of Paint.NET is that it supports a variety of plug-ins to enhance the functionality of the program. One of those is the dpy plugin pack which adds numerous tools to Paint.NET which allow the bending of text. Dpy includes Circle Text, SpiralText and WaveText tools. Dpy was last updated in 2014, but still has a community of active users and still functions flawlessly.

You’ll need to add the plugin to Paint.NET before opening the software. Unzip the plug-in’s compressed folder by opening it in Windows 10 File Explorer and pressing the Extract all button. You must extract the ZIP to Paint.NET’s Effects folder, which is commonly found at C:\Program Files\\Effects. Please note that you will likely need to navigate to the Effects folder manually to ensure that the .dll plugin files are in the root of the Effects folder, as shown in the second screenshot below.

Now run Paint.NET and click Effects > Text Formations to open the menu shown in the screenshot directly below. That includes eight new editing options for text. The ones we’re most interested in are the Circle Text, SpiralText and WaveText tools.

Add a Circular Bend to Text with the Circle Text Tool

Select Circle Text to open the Circle Text dialog, shown in the screenshot directly below. Choose a font from the Font drop-down menu. Then enter some text into the text box, and you’ll see a preview of it on the sheet layer. You can also select some extra Bold and Italic formatting options on the window.

Perhaps the most essential option here for curving, or bending, the text is the Angle of arc bar. When you first open the Circle Text window, it will be set to 360 degrees by default. Consequently, if you click OK with that angle selected you’ll have a full circle of text as shown below.

If you want to keep the text more in a line and apply some bend to it, drag the Angle of arc bar further to the left and greatly reduce its value to something more like 90 degrees. If the text then overlaps, drag the Radius bar further right to expand it. Then you could have curved text more like that shown in the snapshot directly below.

If you need to adjust the starting angle of the text, drag the Angle of start bar. Drag that to something like -60 and the Angle of arc to 125.95 with a Radius setting of about 245. Then your text will be much more of a semicircular arc comparable to rainbow as below.

Move the text with the Center bars. Drag the top Center bar left/right to move it left and right. Drag the bar just below that to move it up and down the sheet.

Add Multiple Curves to Text with the Wave Text tool

The WaveText tool is one that adds a sine wave effect to the text. As such, with that you can add multiple bends, or curves, to the text. Click Effects > Text Formations > WaveText to open the window directly below.

Now type something into the text box. You can choose another font and add bold and italic formatting with the options just below that. If you then click OK without adjusting any of the default settings for the wave effect, your text will be something like that below.

The longer the text is, the more waves it will have. A short snippet of text will probably have just one bend. The best way to adjust the number of waves in text is to drag the x Pitch bar. That modifies the horizontal width of the bends, so dragging that bar right will effectively reduce the number of waves.

The y Pitch bar adjusts the height of the waves. So dragging that bar left reduces the wave height and straightens out the text. Drag the bar further right to expand the height of the wave curves.

To add a vertical wave, click the Change x/y check box. Then the text will be vertical and run down the page as shown directly below. You can further adjust the text position with the Center bars exactly the same as in the Circle Tool.

Bending Text with the Spiral Text Tool

The SpiralText tool is one that adds a circular spiral staircase text effect, giving your text that irresistible extra curve. Select SpiralText from the Text Formation submenu to open its window below.

Then you can enter some text into the text box and adjust its formatting the same as in the other tools. Overall, it’s better to have a smaller font size so the text doesn’t overlap. The Reduction ratio of the font size bar progressively shrinks the text from left to right unless you drag it to the far left. If you do that, and don’t adjust any of the other default settings, you could have output more like that shown directly below.

You can apply a semicircular arc bend with this tool if you only enter a small amount of text. Reduce text spacing by dragging the Division bar further right to a value of about 56. Then if you drag the Pitch bar further to the left to about a four value and adjust the Angle of start bar to -90, you can bend the text to more of an arc as below. This is similar output to what you can get with the Circle Text tool.

The Clockwise check box can completely alter the text’s direction. So if you don’t select that option, the text will be in an anti-clockwise direction. That can give you more of an anchor arc as below.

As you can see, with Paint.NET’s Dpy plug-in you can now quickly add curved bends to text with three great tools. The tools are flexible, and if you tinker with their settings you can bend the text in many ways.

Have any other ideas for cool applications for Paint.NET? Share them with us below!

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