posted by Metin Amiroff on Thu 20th May 2004 20:00 UTC

"Linux art, Page 2/3"
5. How do you find open source graphics/CG arts related apps like Gimp, Inkscape, Sodipodi, Karbon14 and Blender? Could you comment on them?

Everaldo: Gimp is great!! It was one of the first things that has fascinated me in Linux. Of course it has some flaws. The main flaw for designers is the fact of not working in images in CMYK pattern, for this reason itīs a great software. I like Sodipodi and Inkscape, I foresee a great future for both. I prefer the desktop of Inkscape, it seems to me to be better organized. Karbon 14 seems to be on the right path, I thought it is simple and intuitive hope that soon I will be able to abandon the vectorial property drawing tools and go to one of the 3 options. Regarding blender I donīt know what to say because I donīt have experience with 3D. What I can say is that all my friends who used it liked it :-).

Jimmac Jimmac: The biggest advantage of free software tools is that you can affect the development by talking to the developers and making yourself useful. The biggest disadvantage of free software tools is that some developers don't care about you :). The GIMP is a great example of corporately "unspoiled" project ran by only a handful of individuals. I'm still amazed how much has been achieved.

With proprietary software you buy a finished product. Unless you are a key customer you have a minimal chance to influence the product. As an individual pretty much none. With free software you can join the project and help out so that it fulfills your needs and helps you solve tasks you need. But of course that means "paying" for the features with your time and effort.

Blender is great project that is _managed_ real well. There is a lot of motivated developers in the project and blender's development seems to bloom exponentially. It was one of the greatest things to see blender GPLed.

I haven't tried Karbon yet, but I can't get the hang of Sodipodi or Inkscape. I'm locked-in by the familiarity with Adobe Illustrator failing to break free. I find even the basic path editing obscure in those two free software packages. I'm hoping to write a simple functional spec for path editing, since at least Inkscape developers seem to be interested in making their app be a graphic tool, not an SVG editor aiming to implement all of the standard.

6. What are the basic steps for icon creation?

Everaldo: Basically this is the process of creation of an icon:

1. The icon is drawn manually in paper and afterwards it is digitalized.
2. A The digitalized image is imported to adobe illustrator and serves as base to the drawing in vector.
3. The drawing in vector is exported to photoshop where it is finalized and exported to the final format.
4. The finalization of the icon is made in different ways depending on the system in which the icon will be used.

When the icon will be used in Linux I use photoshop itself to make the adjustments and export the icons in PNG. When the system is Windows I use Axialis icn workshop to finalize the file in .ico. When the system is MacOS I use iconbuider plugin for Photoshop created by iconfactory.

Jimmac: The hard part is always a good metaphor. One that takes the point across but also takes the level of detail in question. It needs to be simple. You can hardly draw a soccer ball in the net of a goal on a stadium at 16x16 pixels to illustrate "score". Once I have an idea I sketch it on a piece of paper and then, depending on the situation either start painting it in Illustrator of GIMP.

With bitmap graphics I start with larger size and try to reuse parts of the icons for smaller sizes or scale down and redo the outlines, highlights etc to compensate for the filtering. Sometimes a different perspective needs to be done for the toolbar and menu sizes and radical detail diet needs to be applied.

With vectors I always start with a polygon of the shape and then tweak the curves, fill with gradients and draw highlights and details at the end. Vectors are great because you can reuse parts more easily, don't have to do different sized versions and you can use the artwork for other purposes such as splash screens, wallpapers.

7. Do you think the situation about graphics on open source desktops is good enough to today's standards? What in your opinion is holding back/pushing forward graphics and eye candy on Linux desktop nowadays?

Everaldo: Well, this is a tough question. I think we have great artists working on KDE. Many of them are creating alternative themes. Kdelook has created a great community around KDE. I think about kdelook.org as a great barn of ideas. I am a child of this place :-). I think that one problem is that the icons pass by many hands before reaching cvs and they end up suffering some modifications in the middle of the way. The crystal posted in kdelook is different from the one in the official KDE. As a matter of fact, if you want to see KDE as I see it, use the package of icons that is available at kdelook.org. For the future I am working together with Ingolfur from Lindows inc. on a new theme that will replace crystal. It is technically superior to crystal. Regarding gnome, I think that Jimmac does a great job there. I am a great fan of his design.

Jimmac: What we need is more interoperability between the various desktops. It makes me cry one has to theme a million of things to get a consistent look on a system with apps from various desktop environments. But we'll get there eventually. Freedesktop.org is a great project that's doing a lot even in this field.

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