A blog post about my actual test with Gimp-painter 2.6 , and testing the future alternative : 2.7.2 Gimp-painter discontinued , or 2.7+ Git official Gimp with a lake of the features who interest me.
It's almost 3 years now I use daily for my freelance work Gimp-painter 2.6 mainly. And because I had to stick with this particular fork for making my artwork , I always kept distant from the Gimp developpement , mainly because all the features I enjoyed in this fork were not ported to 2.7x .But lastly, I discovered I could keep my old Gimp-painter 2.6 installed and run in parallel other build of sources codes. Thanks to this tutorial for explaining me the guidelines of compiling Gimp sources codes in another folder. So, now I can test last Gimp(s). This post show some of the early things I found interesting and other not of my first experience with it.
Version tested :
I installed here 2 branch on my Linux Mint 11 I wanted absolutely to try :
- the 'Git master' 2.7.3 main one ( date 27 sept 11 )
- and a branch done by Sygetch ( date 21 janv 11 ) , Gimp-painter 2.7.2 ( code source here )
1) Gimp 2.7.3 :Git master (27 sept 11)
I must admit I very liked the way to work in 2.7.3 with multiple document. This is way better ( thanks 'single windows mode' ) than my experience with multi document opened on Gimp 2.6 ; where I have to constantly hit 'tab' to make the toolbar and the docker reappear after maximizing an already opened image.
I regretted here to can't manage the tab image as in a modern browser ( a little menu for right click on it , proposing basic option as save/duplicate/new view/undock/Pin etc... would be welcome ) , using middle mouse button click on them to close them , etc...
I also saw that the 'single windows mode' made the option ' New view' obsolete because this new view open in a new tab.
But this is still not a final release, so I guess it's part of the rough edge to polish till 2.8...
Aside of that , the graphic user interface is almost still the same than in 2.6 ; even worst sometimes ; more windows for the new dynamics , more messy ; as illustrated by this fantastic chain of 5 clicks action to do threw 3 dockers above to just adjust a new pressure curve ( also so a minute ago in a twit of Ramón Miranda ). This look like a production time killer for digital artist.
My early test conclusion:
I prefer keep Gimp-painter 2.6 for the moment. In this 2.7.3; no 'mixbrush' or 'color bleeding' features ... also no textures in brush ; and exept the "single windows", dynamic brushes ( rotate/curves are great !), I don't see any top-notch new stuff ( oh, the new sliders box are cool, but ugly compare to the Blender one or the Krita one ).
I still have to 'add alpha background' very often ; 'extend layer to image size' to paint after just copy/paste. Dealing with floating selections / etc... Use 3 tools to rotate/move/scale ; have the modal panel for level/hue saturation behaving like tools ... etc... all the weirdness and production destroyer are still here. But I know this release is still WIP, and I encourage all dev who work hard on it.
One things that could convince me, would be better performances. ( FLOSS painting and image manipulation tools are still very slow compare to what user can access in the proprietary offer ). Here painting is slow and laggy , painting a A4 300dpi with a icore7 and 8GB ram is still a paint... but this surely depend of my installation ( even if I did nothing particular with flag options while compiling ). Maybe my lib or GTK version ?
1) Gimp-painter 2.7.2 :( date 21 janv 11 )( code source here )
I was happy to can try this branch, because done by the same author of my beloved tool Gimp-painter 2.6. At first launch , I saw a new work on the graphic interface that was pleasant : I particulary liked the toolbar.
Toolbar are easier to access with a tablet , because you only need to lift your hand on top of the tablet to setup or change your brush. This is productive.
I also liked a lot the smart way to propose thumbnail of already opened document in a vertical column : as screens tends to be more and more wide screen ( 16/10 or 16/9 ), it's became important to economize screen space on the vertical dimension. It's in fact not easy to work on a book cover 'portrait' format or a 'comic page' without the max height space available. But this not worked for all ; for example I find very not easy to handle the vertical tab button for dockers as layers, colors etc... This produce mainly empty vertical column . For this I prefer the way of 2.7.3 Git master.
The toolbar become very important in the workflow : most of options are inside dropdown panel ( and thats good ; because similar to Krita or last Mypaint ).
The management of dynamics via the dropdown is way more clean and productive ( even if I felt the lake of a button to create a new dynamics in this drop down panel.) I also noticed new option to the brush engine : Flow / Bleding ( Bleeding or Blending ? = maybe a new terms meaning both ).
This also make the right docker have more space for layer management or color choice.
This dropdown design also apply for the brush settings, textures, and even colors as you can see on the screenshot. This is very well done for my usage.
My early test conclusion:
I prefer keep Gimp-painter 2.6 for the moment too in this case. Here also I have performance slowdown , and also a fat and laggy brush outline. But I enjoyed a lot the new GUI... totally performed a real answer to my needing. Also, I liked a lot those points : the centric toolbar for action and the shortcut to the color palette , and the vertical thumbnails for the 'already opened document'.
Don't get me wrong ; I know the Gimp project is _not_ designed for digital painters only ... And I know the fork Gimp-painter is focused on satisfying people like me. So it's normal if I prefer it.
What I don't understood while running this test, is why so much of easy "low hanging-fruit" features are blocked in a branch since january ?... The repository is public and well known since long time ( read this article on LGW , jan 2011 ) .Most of the stuff I saw don't need 6 months of discussions to stat if they are a valuable evolution or not, in my humble opinion.
That's why I'm happy to be 'skype-interviewed' on the 6 october by the Gimp Ui redesign team to know why so much of confusion around Gimp and Gimp-painter and how they expect to solve it (if they are interested into it). This post will also help to explain my choices.
I hope you liked to have a look on those screenshots , and they contributed to showcase the hard work of developpers behind the Gimp project, and will give justice to the incredible volunteers work of Sygetch ( both developer and a CG artist ). Floss digital painters will get very soon a impressive Krita 2.4 version and a Mypaint 1.0 ; so we have not to complain as a user ; end 2011 will certainly be a key era for the 2D FLOSS digital artist... And my 3 years of old Gimp-painter 2.6 with all his weirdness, bad performance and limitation will change soon anyway ; at least I hope.
Note : To compile and run Gimp-painter 2.7.2 , I needed to apply manually this fix.
Note 2 : I used old unfinished speedpainting of my own done with Gimp-painter 2.6 as image to illustrate the screenshots. Sorry for not more artistic content lastly ; i'm working on a new comic :D so much panel are time consuming !.