Forwarding Address: OS X

Friday, May 14, 2004

I never considered the GIMP, formidable as it is, to be a very serious competitor to Photoshop, but I just installed version 2.0.1 (via DarwinPorts -- I like DarwinPorts) and am quite impressed with recent progress. In case you missed it like I did, 2.0.0 was released about six weeks ago and 2.0.1 about two weeks ago.
This release is a major event, marking the end of a three year development cycle by a group of volunteers and enthusiasts who have made this the most professional release of the GIMP ever. It is the first stable release that is officially supported not only on Unix-based operating systems, but also on Microsoft Windows and Macintosh OS X.
I posted a cluttered screen shot so you can get a rough sense of the changes. Ironically, I had to leave the GIMP to do the screenshot -- the appealing File > Acquire > Screen Shot command just gave me a big black rectangle; a grab to PDF was rendered poorly when imported; and a grab to the clipboard (via cmd-shift-4, ctrl-drag) couldn't be pasted into the GIMP (perhaps Apple's X11 is to blame there, I don't know.)

In any case, I'm confident those bugs will get fixed. I suspect I won't be buying any more PhotoShop upgrades.


  • By the way, I meant to mention -- the build took about 3 hours on my 867MHz 12" PowerBook with 640M of RAM.

    By pbx, at 11:43 AM  

  • Maybe this is something about X11 that I don't understand, but when I tried 2.0.0 a few weeks ago, I was frustrating by how much clicking I needed to do to make anything work.

    Menus being attached to windows means that I have to give a window focus, then click whatever bits I'm interested in. I couldn't stand it.

    Is there something that can be done to get around that?

    (posting anonymously for now)

    By Anonymous, at 3:29 PM  

  • But why must it be so ugly? [sigh].

    By Anonymous, at 11:31 PM  

  • What's up with that tree.jpg? It says it's at 100% but it's rendered weirdly, it looks like Photoshop rendering at an odd magnification like 33.3%. It doesn't look like a screencap problem since the type in the menus is sharp even at 1px widths. If this is how GIMP really is supposed to render at 100%, it's absolultely unusable for serious graphic arts work. But GIMP has no CMYK mode, so we already knew that.

    By Anonymous, at 11:31 PM  

  • This post has been removed by the author.

    By pbx, at 1:32 PM  

  • Thanks for all the comments. But please consider not posting anonymously. It makes replying to multiple posts a hell of a lot easier. If you can't be bothered to get a Blogger account, at least put a "Sincerely," or something at the end of your post, like Joe did.
    I should probably have qualified my final endorsement. Though I spent years doing professional graphic design work for magazines, these days almost every image I make is for on-screen display, and I do much less of that work besides. So I don't need everything in Photoshop (who does?). Even so, Photoshop has remained essential for certain things because of its featureset and UI design. (Don't mention Graphic Converter, I'll break out in a rash.)
    Now then:
    Joe: I agree, window focus is a problem. It made me wonder about using other window managers with Apple's X11, to enable focus-follows-mouse behavior. Combining palettes helps this a little bit, as do contextual menus.
    "Anonymous, at 11:31 PM": The GNOME-style icons are a improvement, but I agree it needs your help. Luckily it's an open-source project, so you can share your improvements with the world.
    "Anonymous, at 11:31 PM" #2 (do you see what a pain this is, people?): You're looking at a JPEG made from a PDF screen grab containing a window displaying a JPEG that was saved after being tweaked in ToyViewer a while back, the original source image being a JPEG taken with a $80 digital camera. So what I'm saying, in case that was too subtle, is that you might be seeing a little JPEG artifacting in the image. And yes, there is no CMYK compositing (though there is CMYK export).

    By pbx, at 1:35 PM  

  • Wow. Thanks for the tip! I'd looked at the GIMP a while back and found it very much not what I was looking for. But now...while I agree that some things are not what I'd wish for, I found in short order that it will open my little archive of Photoshop images and do the things to them that I need a graphics program to do. So I'm sold.

    By Bruce Baugh, at 8:24 PM  

  • For what it's worth, as I continue to work with gimp2 I find that the keyboard shortcuts for the tools cut down on a lot of the window-focus frustrations; I remain in the document window most of the time. Still interested in hearing from any readers who have suggestions on improving this situation though.

    By pbx, at 8:28 AM  

  • More options for the window-focus situation (from the quartz-wm manpage; do "man quartz-wm" from within XTerm): "defaults write wm_ffm -bool true" (makes focus follow mouse) and "defaults write wm_click_through -bool true" (pass window-activating clicks to target window instead of swallowing them)

    By pbx, at 8:01 AM  

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