What does "NPS" stand for?

"NPS" stands for "Nookkin's Paint Shop", which was the original name of the program. It was later renamed to "NPS" for brevity. The official name of the program is "NPS Image Editor", though it's acceptable to refer to it as "NPS" as long as there is no ambiguity with other entities such as the National Park Service to which NPS Image Editor has no relation.

Why did you make it?

For fun, mostly. I started working on the program when I was 13 and first learning how to write code. My continued work on NPS Image Editor is what led me to pursue a computer science degree (and then kept me sane throughout college programming classes). At this point I kept developing the image editor as a way to set myself apart from other graduates, and then simply because it was quite a lot of fun.

Do you use it yourself?

Yes. I use it for screenshot editing, randomly painting for fun, and of course I heavily use the color picker when working on websites.

Why should I use NPS instead of Microsoft Paint?

NPS Image Editor provides you with the familiar simplicity of Microsoft Paint while offering far more functionality, including support for transparency, filters, custom brush shapes, and more. It's optimized for pixel art and simple image edits. If you're editing screenshots, for example, you can easily blur out confidential data in a professional manner (instead of scribbling it out or blocking it with a solid color), while retaining the ease of use of keyed selection mode (aka MS Paint's "transparency").

Why should I use NPS instead of Photoshop, GIMP, Paint.NET, or other image editors?

The aforementioned programs provide a powerful set of features but lack the Microsoft Paint-like simplicity when it comes to pixel art and screenshot editing. NPS Image Editor doesn't aim to fully replace them, but rather to be a "drop-in" Paint replacement for the simpler edits. If those image editors are nail guns, NPS Image Editor is like a hammer – perhaps less capable of building a house but much easier to use for hanging a single picture on the wall.

I love the color picker but have no use for yet another image editor. Is there any way to just install the color picker?

There is unfortunately no way to truly separate the two, but the footprint is so small that it shouldn't be an issue. If you're that pressed for space, you can use the standalone installation and safely delete most of the files in the installation directory to bring the footprint down to under 3 MB (but note that you'll end up breaking some of the main functionality of NPS Image Editor if you do so and this is not a supported configuration). I agree, show me how!

What are the system requirements?

NPS Image Editor requires a Windows PC running Windows XP or greater 1 – it has been tested on the latest versions of Windows including Windows 10. If you are running Windows 7 or below, you will be required to install the .NET Framework 4.0; if you don't have it, the installer will optionally download and install it for you. If the PC can comfortably run the operating system, NPS should comfortably run as well. NPS fully supports both 32-bit and 64-bit systems and will take advantage of the benefits of a 64-bit system (such as the ability to use large amounts of RAM) if running on one.

Will there be a Mac or Linux version?

Eventually. I have been planning to include Mac and Linux as supported platforms via the Mono framework, but I eventually decided against it due to complexity – it has been hard enough to finish NPS for Windows as it is. Additionally, the results of using Mono were less than satisfactory on those platforms. Perhaps someday in the future NPS will run on Mac and Linux, but for now, the plan is to continue Windows development only.

What are "Standalone" releases?

A "standalone" release is identical to the normal NPS release but is configured to run from a single folder without installation. This allows you to run NPS Image Editor from a flash drive, or from your desktop if you do not have administrator privileges. "Uninstallation" is as simple as deleting the folder.

The main disadvantages of running standalone releases are slower performance (see below) and lack of shell integration (right-click -> Open With... -> NPS). You also need to ensure proper writability to the installation directory and will need to manually make updates. Windows SmartScreen Filter also doesn't seem to like it when you run extensions from a file downloaded off the internet. Thus the standalone install is not recommended for most users unless you know exactly what you're doing.

What does "optimizing performance for your system" during installation do?

It's not just a useless delay when installing, I promise!

This runs the native image generator (ngen) which precompiles all of the code specific to your system and then stores it in the Windows Global Assembly Cache. This allows NPS Image Editor to start up and open things much more quickly. Here is a nice article from Microsoft explaining the process in more detail.

How many lines of code does NPS Image Editor consist of?

Short answer: over 40,000.

Long answer: The code was analyzed using VB_LOC. There are, as of the 3.1.1 release: 30,662 lines of code (excluding whitespace) and 7,448 lines of comments written by me; 24,603 lines of designer-generated code excluding designer-generated whitespace/comments; a grand total of 80,067 lines of text including code, comments, and whitespace, both user-generated and designer-generated. (Yes, that's a lot of code! And the overall number is a bit lower due to the past 2 years of optimizations.)

Why are you offering NPS for free? Will this always be the case?

I believe that some of the best things in life are free – software included. That being said, my main goal with NPS is to provide a high-quality piece of software for as many users as possible, and making it free makes achieving that goal easier. Another advantage of keeping the software free is simplicity: I don't need to worry about piracy, license enforcement, or extra installer complexity.

I plan to keep NPS Image Editor a free piece of software throughout its lifetime. At most, I may offer paid support or enhancements at some nebulous point in the future, but the main application will always remain free.

Is NPS ad-supported?

No – ads detract from the value and elegance of an application. As previously stated, my goal with NPS Image Editor is to have fun while making a quality product, not make money.

Does the installer come packed with adware?

No, for the same reason. The installer contains only the files necessary for the operation of NPS Image Editor.

I feel bad not paying – can I donate?

Yes, and your donation will certainly be appreciated! Working on NPS costs me time (and in some cases money), so donations will help offset these costs. You can go here to make a secure donation via PayPal. Keep in mind that donations are 100% voluntary and will not give you any additional functionality.

Where can I get the source code?

At this point, I am still trying to establish a solid direction for NPS Image Editor (and quite frankly, parts of the code are still a mess). Thus the product is currently closed-source and I will not be providing source code. I intend to release the source code at some point in the future, however.

How can I help you with NPS?

  • Recommend the software to others. Get the name "NPS Image Editor" out there. (Just don't spam others, please.)
  • Write a review of NPS on your blog or in a video. Be sure to send me a link when you're done!
  • Test the software and file meaningful bug reports.
  • Provide constructive criticism and suggest features you would like to see. That's how future versions of NPS are made better.
  • Use NPS as part of your daily life. It's not just an image editor. Several people I know find the standalone NPS color picker to be very useful when writing HTML pages, for example, even if they do not use NPS itself for image editing.

Can I redistribute NPS Image Editor?

You may distribute the NPS installer within your circle of friends, family, and coworkers. Likewise, you are encouraged to link to either the NPS Image Editor website or official Facebook page to spread the word!

You may not host the NPS installer on a publicly-accessible website or include it on software anthologies without my explicit permission. It goes without saying that you may not make money from distributing NPS Image Editor.

Does NPS Image Editor support layers?

Yes, as of version 3.2! See the blog post for more details.

What is a .npsd file?

NPSD is NPS Image Editor's format for storing multi-layer documents. See the NPSD file format specification if you are interested in writing software that can read and write to it.

Can NPS Image Editor save to .psd, .xcf, or other multi-layer formats?

Not yet, unfortunately. Saving to those formats requires supporting all of their features.

Please see the Roadmap for more details about planned, upcoming features.

Why is the installer blocked as an unrecognized program?

NPS Image Editor is not signed because code-signing certificates cost significant amounts of money (at least $100 per year), and since I make no money from NPS, there is currently no incentive for me to pay. I will sign the installer and all related executables once I get a code-signing certificate for a paid application or when NPS gains enough popularity to justify the investment. For now, you will need to allow the unsigned program to run; scan it with your anti-virus tool if you don't trust it.

Where can I download older versions of NPS?

I have removed links to older versions of NPS and Nookkin's Paint Shop from the site due to lack of demand (and lack of support), but if you are in need of a particular version, just contact me.


1 The last build of NPS Image Editor to support Windows 98 is 9611; you will additionally need to use the portable version since the installer does not support Windows 98.