Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 3rd May 2012 22:36 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces It's here: the GIMP 2.8. Its biggest feature is something that many, many people have been requesting for as long as I can remember: single-window mode. No longer do you have to fiddle with a gazillion palette and dialog windows (unless you choose to do so, of course). Great work by the team.
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RE[5]: Comment
by Neolander on Mon 7th May 2012 09:59 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment"
Neolander
Member since:
2010-03-08

"using tiny icons that are a pain to target with a pen tablet."

Funny, I've got a graphical tablet here (not the kind with a LCD in it), and I have no trouble to hit any icons. But I appreciate the extra space I have for my document. A pen is as good as a mouse is to hit targets. It's not like a finger where you can press any of 50x50 pixels.

I bet you have one of those A4-sized (210x297mm) or larger monsters that cost a little fortune to buy, am I right ?

Sadly, most pen tablet manufacturers only do A5 (55x149mm), and even Wacom won't let you buy an A4 tablet that is not Intuos-priced. A5 also happens to be more easy to carry around than A4. But I can tell you that on A5, no matter how good the resolution is, the deviations of a few mm that naturally occur when you tap is enough to miss small buttons in Photoshop. At least in absolute positioning mode, but I really think that relative positioning (like computer mice) is not suitable for drawing.

I'm only a casual Pixelmator user (now that I've got rid of my Mac, maybe I won't be a Pixelmator user at all). As I've said in another post, I appreciate their vision, but I disagree with some design decisions - one of which is the fact that their palettes don't snap together or to the edge of the screen. But, the difference is that in Pixelmator there's also a lot to like. They didn't have the courage to depart completely from the old palettes, but they put some nice twists here and there on the old paradigm.

Such as ?

Again, I said in another post I didn't want to criticize the feature set of GIMP, because I haven't tested v2.8 and only briefly tested other versions. But, this application is 16 years old and just now they've implemented layer groups and on-canvas text-editing ... need I say more?

Well, everyone sometimes get their priorities wrong. As an example, Adobe have found out that "content-aware fill" is a useful feature when editing photos when they released Photoshop CS5 in 2010. Before that, I guess they expected their users to just use the clone tool everywhere. Now, can you guess for how long that feature has been available in GIMP ?

http://i.imgur.com/IoaGW.png

Source: official 2.8 screenshot

Thanks ! Finally something that we can seriously discuss !

Colorful icons -> A matter of taste, I guess. Myself, I find monochrome interfaces to be depressing and to make it quite difficult to find what you are looking for. Pixelmator users also apparently don't mind the colors.
Too many icons for transform -> I totally agree ! They're actually working on merging transform and selection tools in "unified" versions, but the prototypes which I have seen still need more work : they feel confusing at first look, and I guess it will take some time before they mature.
Empty space -> There's actually a rationale for the empty space on top, which is to serve as a drag and drop target, but I don't agree with it. On the sides of the color picking tools, it serves a purpose though : separating it from tool selection, making it more visible.
Padding -> There used to be more horizontal padding before, but the GIMP team recently tweaked lots of things in the interface for 2.8 and I guess it will take some time for it to reach an optimal state again. After more than 3 years, they had to release something, otherwise people would have started to believe that the project is dead.
Tab text -> It used to be configurable on a per-tab basis, but my bet is that here, they use labels when there is enough room to put them and hide them otherwise.
Double scrollbars -> As I said before, I agree that they need to work more on scalability. With the new cursor widgets, it should be easier.
Opacity -> It is something that people use all the time when drawing (though it may be less frequently used for photo editing, I don't know), so it makes sense to keep it very easily accessible. The size has been increased in 2.8 to improve tablet usability, which I personally welcome.
Move up and down buttons -> They are actually faster and more convenient than drag and drop for simple operations.
What do these mean ? -> Brushes, patterns, gradients. Just click on them to find out. The icon allows you to know what is currently being selected without having to switch tabs.
Menu inside the document window ? -> Because it contains document-specific controls, whereas the palettes are shared by all documents.
Big status bar -> It also servs as a progress bar with a label inside indicating what is happening, which happens to take up some room.

Please do no compare Photoshop to GIMP. It's like comparing an Audi to a Hyundai. Try comparing Paint.net & GIMP and we'll have a discussion.

GIMP is more comparable to Photoshop than to Paint.Net because it is the most advanced image editor available on Linux, just like Photoshop is the most advanced image editor available on Windows and OSX. Besides, Paint.Net is much more limited than GIMP feature-wise, since they have made a choice to favor usability over completeness.

Very true, but then again you have to have comparable products. I don't know much about audio software so maybe Cubase and Logic are both as good but in different ways, but please do not insult Photoshop with such a comparison. Switching is not hard if the products are equally competent but different. This is not the case.

So far, you have made little effort to discuss functionality, so I still don't see what is so terrible about GIMP...

Yes I do, because the GIMP people don't seem capable of developing a competing UI paradigm, so I assumed that they're better of copying something that works.

Copying is much harder than creating something new, because people expect the copy to behave exactly like the original while new softs get a bit more tolerance.

I'm doing this because I don't want the typical open-source responses - if you don't like it fork it, contribute, or file bug reports.

I don't want to do that. My hobbies don't include contributing to open-source projects. Since they put it out for the public, I just want to use it and if I think it's bad, I want to be able to say it's bad and be done with it. It's equal to me if a piece of software is open-source, freeware or priced within my budget. I'll pick the best, while not giving a crap about politics and licenses.

No issue with that, but then don't pretend that you try to help...

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