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Software The Gimp Graphics Technology

GIMP 2.8 Will Sport a Redesigned UI 401

ceswiedler writes "Ars Technica's Ryan Paul previews the upcoming release of the GIMP. It will include a single-window mode where the user can dock toolbar windows and switch between images via tabs. There are other improvements as well, including docking support in multi-window mode and improvements to the text tool." To get this early preview, Paul compiled version 2.7.1 from the active development branch, along with its dependencies.
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GIMP 2.8 Will Sport a Redesigned UI

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  • Masks (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @09:20AM (#31070992)
    Will GIMP finally get support for masks?
    • by suso ( 153703 ) *

      Yes and it will also support documentation that you can read so that you know what features it has.

      You people that gripe about gimp's interface have really messed it up. Thanks a lot.

  • by MindPrison ( 864299 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @09:21AM (#31071008) Journal

    I'm glad they're doing this.

    It makes it much easier to work on the images, instead of having to "mishap-click" on every single window, and having to click on the related window in order to get back into the image editor again. WAAAAY overdue, but finally here - good job guys!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by marcansoft ( 727665 )

      It's even worse - at least on my KDE system, the main GIMP toolbox window doesn't even show up in the task bar. I have no clue why, but this is the only program that has this issue. The net result is that I have to minimize other windows to get to it if I ever "lose" it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by TheSunborn ( 68004 )

        That's just an insane default setting in gimp. Why they choose to make the default that way is really something I would like to know.

        To change it: Go to file->preference and then "Window Management" and then set "hint for the toolbox" to normal window. (This is in GIMP 2.6.8, it might be other places in other versions).

        To find out what a "utility window is suposed to be", i started the gimp help and damm it's ugly. And the the text in the screenshots are impossible to read.
        But the help contain kind of an

  • by Lord Lode ( 1290856 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @09:24AM (#31071022)

    Why not floating windows inside the main window?

    Oh I know why: because the GTK designers don't like floating windows inside a window for whatever strange reason.

    But great improvement nonetheless, kudos!

    • Since you can dock all your tool windows together, do you really need MDI emulation? The problem with the Gimp multi-window mode is really the tool windows, not the image windows.

      • To me the problem is both images and tools. If I click in the taskbar on the gimp window (well, I should say "a" gimp window here), I want to see both tools and the painting.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sir_Lewk ( 967686 )

      Maybe because gimp is an image manipulation program, not a window manager? MDI is, and always has been, a terrible workaround for systems that suck at window management.

  • I used to prefer GIMP to Photoshop back in the day because I could work so much more quickly with many, many open files and windows using GIMP thanks to the "lots of little windows" approach. It made fine-grained window management easy using a capable window manager and focus-follows-mouse.

    I always found the Photoshop interface clumsy in comparison, but now with every release GIMP gets closer to it.

    • by Ivan Stepaniuk ( 1569563 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @09:35AM (#31071134)
      The fact that you use focus-follows-mouse notes that you have a very special taste regarding GUI. Photoshop changed too, more or less in the same direction (less little windows floating all over)
    • Honestly, you're in the minority, most people found the Gimp way of doing it back in the 1.x days to be really irritating, lots of windows to get lost or misclicked and a rather bizarre philosophy of usability. There's a reason why gimpshop was created. That being said, I haven't used Photoshop at all in many revisions, so I don't know what it's like at present.
    • by drooling-dog ( 189103 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @10:36AM (#31071802)

      I've always noticed a kind of cultural difference in this respect between people who came up through the Windows vs. the UNIX/Linux worlds. Generally, the former like their apps monolithic and full-screen, whereas the latter prefer to have multiple windows open, each just large enough to do the job. E.g., my GF, an unrepentant Windows user, runs just about everything full-screen, regardless of how little real estate the contents of the window might consume. She uses PS a lot, and to her GIMP looks very fragmented and confusing. I, on the other hand, find that GIMP's multiple windows fits my thought process very well, and consider PS to be overwrought and clunky. To each their own, I suppose...

  • That is a welcome change.. GIMP seems to want to restore itself when alt-tabbing in Gnome when it shouldn't. Sometimes when I actually want to restore it a window is left straggling. This should hopefully fix that problem. I will have to give it a build later...
  • Looks good (Score:5, Funny)

    by srussia ( 884021 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @09:28AM (#31071074)
    But some of the screenshots look Photoshopped.
  • "... Two Steps Back" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by onetruedabe ( 116148 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @09:33AM (#31071106) Homepage

    Are they still committed to breaking one of Gimp's best features: "Intelligent Save" ? (Inferring file type based on extension)

    Splitting "File > Export" and "File > Save" is counter-intuitive; it's not DWIMish, and I guarantee more people will be frustrated that the Save dialog box is "broken" when they try to save a JPG and end up with an XCF file instead. "File > Export" reeks of being Designed By Developers, rather than actually taking user behavior into account.

    (And stealing the keystroke for "Fit In Window" is just adding insult to injury...)

    • I haven't heard about this yet, but that would suck. I agree, an export button in the menu is stupid, and pointless... Tell you what, I'll get the pitchforks, you get the torches and we'll meet at old Jeb's barn around midnight.

    • by pmontra ( 738736 )
      I 100% agree with you. Dumping "Intelligent Save" is not smart but it seems that they're doing it [].
    • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *
      I agree with the idea that splitting export and save into separate menus is stupid. InDesign does the same thing. Instead of just letting you save a file as a pdf in the "save as" menu, you have to go to a separate "export" menu. It's just needlessly confusing. Every save that's not in the program's native format is, in a sense, an "export" after all. Why add the extra confusion of trying to figure out which formats are under "export" and which are under "save as"?
  • Finally (Score:3, Interesting)

    by N8F8 ( 4562 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @09:34AM (#31071126)

    Like a lot of novice users I gave GIMP a shot. Loved the plugin system and spent many an hour trying to get older plugins working and tweaking other plugins to do some neat effects. But in the end the UI made it difficult and confusing to use. For YEARS the internal arguments over the UI made it seem unlikely something like single window mode would reach maturity (and become usable on Windows). Kudos to the developers. I'll give it another shot.

    • I recommend trying Krita aswell...often forgotten, but quite powerful and, unlike Gimp, it is not limited to use the graphic toolkit(QT), it also uses features from other parts of KDE, so it's well integrated with the rest of the kde desktop. I'm using 2.1 and while I've had a crash (which I didn't really notice it because Krita autosaves your work and it asks if you want to continue working on it after reloading the app), it has worked quite well. And it uses a single window UI today...

    • Re:Finally (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ledow ( 319597 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @10:07AM (#31071486) Homepage

      Yeah, this is always the problem that big software projects have... I don't claim that users are perfect and "know" what they want, but it has to be said: if you are making a USER interface, it's probably best if the USER gets some say in that and that you listen to the USERS especially when a large of them speak up. Other parts, sure, you can say "We don't work that way" but the user interface is sacred and your *only* interaction with the program as a user. Mess that up, you might as well not have the program at all.

      And I'm sorry, but I'm a single-window person. I've work in IT for years and the *easiest* way to work is on a commandline or in a full-screen window (alt-tab's, multiple desktops etc. vital, of course). Rarely do I need two things side by side on the screen but when I do, it's usually TWO and that's it, and that's easily handled by tiling the windows. Bear in mind that I have 18 windows open on my machine at the moment, everything from instant messengers, shell sessions, folder views, web browsers, development environments etc. The only "non-full-screen" ones are two shell windows where I'm referring to one file in another and need to check consistency between the two, and the instant messengers (because they don't need full-screen, are minimised, and are only on the taskbar so that they flash when I get a message). MDI is an invaluable tool - I can't web-browse without my Opera tabs - and ignoring it because of some "religious" argument is stupid. I've seen even the cheapest paint programs offer a "Do you want an MDI or SDI interface?" dialog on first run... Serif software springs to mind.

      The only other program I ever really used a lot that didn't do single-window nicely was some of the old versions of Visual Basic. But there they had a reason - you were designing a UI within an UI, so it's not an easy task to do.

      At last, though, GIMP has woken up to the protests of almost *every* non-professional-user that's ever wanted to use it. When the new version is released, it will be downloaded and tried, if for no other reason than to add another number to the download stats for the single-window-capable versions.

  • I love Gimp and have used it for many years for conversions, touch-ups of pictures, website graphics etc. When I switched to a MacBook, I was pleased to see the OS X version. But it doesn't really work, I'm afraid.

    Besides the obvious graphical shortcomings (doesn't use Cocoa), you also have to click in each window first to activate it, then you can select your tool, activate your layer or what have you. This is so non-intuitive, and so not part of the usual routines, that I just don't use Gimp anymore on OS

    • Besides the obvious graphical shortcomings (doesn't use Cocoa), you also have to click in each window first to activate it, then you can select your tool, activate your layer or what have you. This is so non-intuitive, and so not part of the usual routines, that I just don't use Gimp anymore on OS X.

      That's actually quite easy to fix. There is an option in the xserver on how to change that behavior. It ticked me off to no end also. defaults write org.x.x11 FocusFollowsMouse -string YES Type that into the terminal and you should be good. (it was the 4th hit on google btw)

    • you also have to click in each window first to activate it, then you can select your tool...

      You need to activate click-through in the X11 server. It is a pain that this isn't the default, but now that you know, you'll find GIMP so much nicer on OS X.

      From []:

      There's one small operation we can now perform to make it easier to use (note that this is not necessary). Doing this will save you many unnecessary double-clicks during editing by not requiring you

  • Correct me if I'm wrong, but the prefix "re" usually means doing something again, which in turn requires that it was actually done in the first place.

    • by Quarters ( 18322 )
      In email usage 'RE:' is short for regarding. Getting an email that says 'Regarding:(previous email subject)' makes sense. Getting an email that says, 'Redoing:(previous email subject)' is nonsensical. So, no, 're' does not always mean re-doing. In regards (aka re:) to what you are referring the 'regarding' context should be assumed.
  • I loved GIMP on linux. Even made an automatic compositing system with perl-fu.
    But I really hate, hate-hate-hate GIMP on Mac OS X. Seashore and Leeshore also suck, having thrown out all the functionality I look for, but oh GIMP in X on the Mac has been utter pain.
    I am sooo looking forward to this.
    FYI Leeshore [] is the Cocoa minimized GIMP version called Seashore, but with Core Image effects added.
    The site is all in Japanese but the program is in English.

  • by LaminatorX ( 410794 ) <sabotage&praecantator,com> on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @10:00AM (#31071394) Homepage

    Multi-window is nice if you've got a ginormous wide-screen or multiple monitors. Multi-window on a smaller screen, or god forbid a laptop, is a real pain unless you live in it day-in day-out. Kudos for letting users choose the right tool for the job.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Except that multi-window also means you can hide the controls you aren't using, and allocate maximum screen real estate to the image you're working on. But I can't argue with letting users choose.

  • So, after years upon years, GIMP has suddenly heeded the message of GIMPShop - That some features are simply good to have? I am talking about the monotone MDI background here, which does not distract people from editing their images as opposed to doing so with a desktop background and a dozen of icons behind.

  • by syousef ( 465911 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @10:11AM (#31071550) Journal

    GIMP is always compared to photoshop. There are some key features missing in GIMP that do not allow serious artists to move to it from Photoshop. Three of these are adjustment layers (which GEGL is suppose to eventually bring about, but it's been a long wait), proper 16 and 32 bit image editing and LAB and CYMK modes. (GIMP only does RGB). I'm greatful for GIMP and thankful for the developer's efforts but I'd rather they focus on these things than dicking around with windowing. The truth is once you get use to it, GIMP's windowing isn't THAT bad.

    • by Geeky ( 90998 )

      And colour management, but the OS has to support it as well, which means Mac or Windows at the moment.

      I also used to find the Gimp to be very slow in applying filters (I'm thinking specifically of things like unsharp mask) - I think because it processes the whole image. Photoshop previews the filter on the area displayed (assuming you're at 100% and seeing a fraction of the whole image), letting you assess the effect and make small adjustments to the parameters until it looks right. Then you can apply to th

    • by Animaether ( 411575 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @10:44AM (#31071876) Journal

      GIMP is always compared to photoshop. There are some key features missing in GIMP


      adjustment layers (which GEGL is suppose to eventually bring about, but it's been a long wait)

      Adjustment layers are a messed up paradigm from being stuck in a 1D compositing 'stack'. A node-based compositing workflow, however...

      proper 16 and 32 bit image editing

      cinepaint seems to have gone nowhere particular fast simply because not enough people (read: businesses) were/are interested in this. It's sad, but there you go.

      and LAB and CYMK modes.

      Seems pretty far off the priority list for most "serious artists".. unless the only serious artists are those who print their work and have it exhibited. Let's face it - most Photoshop users, and I admit I'm including all the warez kiddies and the family members they installed Photoshop for - will only ever used Photoshop to make images suitable for display on monitors; LCD ones at that.. they won't be bothering with even calibrating their display and making sure Photoshop uses that color profile information. By the time they do want a print - they'll either send it off to one of the many online printing services who have excellent staff who deal with RGB->CMYK(and then some) conversion if their machines flag out-of-gamut results, or they'll just send it to their own inkjet/color laser printer and not really care if the colors are a bit off.

      I'm greatful for GIMP and thankful for the developer's efforts but I'd rather they focus on these things than dicking around with windowing. The truth is once you get use to it, GIMP's windowing isn't THAT bad.

      You shouldn't have to 'get used to it' - although I agree that there's other areas that need love more than how one manages their windows; although 'losing' your layer window under some other non-GIMP-related because it's separate from everything else, or being fooled once again and trying to do a color adjustment in image A but ending up doing it in image B because you forgot that each window has its own little menu for doing these things.. can get quite annoying.

      Now.. a unified transform tool and a macro recorder (not every artist wants to dive straight into script-fu.. which in itself isn't exactly the most human-readable of languages) - that's what I've been making donations for; although perhaps I should hire a programmer instead and pray to the OSS gods that they'll actually include the code, as I haven't seen any headway made into these areas.. just years and years of discussions.
      At least there's a bit of a push for GEGL so maybe it won't be so swaptastic to work on large images anymore.

  • by tapanitarvainen ( 1155821 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @10:15AM (#31071590)
    Me, I don't care much about the UI - I'll get used to whatever way it goes. The significant change, to me, is left at the very end of the article: GEGL and proper high-bit-depth color support it brings.
  • I quit using GIMP years ago in favor of other free alternatives, mainly because of it's terrible interface because the functionality was nearly all there. I wonder if this move will really win anyone back?
  • by Culture20 ( 968837 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @10:32AM (#31071766)
    Yes, this is *that* post. Just trying to keep it fresh in your mind. I use the GNU Image Manipulation Program all the time, and internally, I call it GIMP, and amongst friends in the know, I call it GIMP, but amongst people who are new to FOSS, I usually make an effort to use the full name. Every once in a while, I forget, and most people associate GIMP or "The GIMP" with Pulp Fiction these days, or worse, they've never seen Pulp Fiction because they would be offended by it, but they still know "The GIMP" through cultural allusions to that character, and thus are offended by any reference to GIMP.

    Hell, I'd even take GIMPY (the GNU Image Manipulation Program for You), since that evokes a different, albeit still negative, emotional response.

    The best suggestion I've heard is just drop GNU or make GNU separate from the acronym: IMP, GNU IMP.
    • Hell, I'd even take GIMPY (the GNU Image Manipulation Program for You), since that evokes a different, albeit still negative, emotional response.

      I wonder how the citizens of Gympie [] would feel about that assertion!

      Anyway, I'd rather that time were spent so that Gimp worked in linear colour space (~ 16 bits per channel) rather than botching all the operations in 8bit/channel sRGB. As it currently stands, filtering operations etc are wrong.

      For example (at least in 2.6) it still thinks that the average of sRGB black and white is 0x808080, which is far too dark. It should be something more like (doing a back of the envelope calculation) 0xBABABABA.

    • by domatic ( 1128127 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @11:03AM (#31072106)

      Let me make some suggestions then:

      Professional Image Manipulation Program
      Streamlined Image Manipulation Program
      Windowed Image Manipulation Program
      Lightspeed Image Manipulation Program

      I would think all the pros would just leap at the change to PIMP their graphics.

  • ...we can still complain about the name.


  • Got to hand it to them - it looks more and more like Photoshop with each release!

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