On Sun, 24 Oct 2004, miriam clinton (iriXx) wrote:

> Date: Sun, 24 Oct 2004 12:12:46 -0700
> From: "miriam clinton (iriXx)" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
> Subject: Re: [Gimp-developer] gimp GUI
> thanks Sven and Carol for your answers... I'll get back to you with more
> details about the GUI, as i'm working on an art project at the moment,
> but to answer some immediate queries:
> - I'm using Photoshop 7.0 - strangely enough, I find it, and all the
> other tools I use, highly intuitive - the essence of a tool that a
> graphic designer can use is its intuitiveness, rather than usability.

I try not to ever use the word intuitive because it is so easy not to
realise your own biases.

However the market dominance of Photoshop and mindshare it has cannot
easily be discounted.  More graphics users are familiar with how it works
than just about anything else (barring mspaint) and more resources and
tutorials are available for it than anything else so has serious benifits
(network effect) merely by being the defacto standard.  It would be better
when in doubt to copy Adobe Photoshop if possible than to do things
differently with a very good specific reason not to.

> Perhaps in this case we should use graphic designers as testers,
> alongside bug-testers?

It is difficult for users to identify the root of a problem provide
feedback that is specific enough for developers to work with and conversly
it is difficult for developer to know what to implement when the only have
feature suggestions rather than a specific problem or task to make easier
to do.

> - I was using the GIMP supplied by Mandrake 9.2, but I'll download the
> latest version.

An upgrade is recommended, it might also improve your enjoyment of the
gimp if you make sure to install the gimp-data-extras and gimp-gap
(Animation packages) amongst others.

Try out as many of the different plug-ins as you can, you will find
fammilar functionality under different names and place and I'm still
finding out new things all the time and that is before you start lookign
at plug-ins that are not included by default, see the plugin registry for
more http://registry.gimp.org/

Dont ignore the "Tip of the Day" feature, read all of it if you have time.
It was actually very carefully written unlike in most applictions because
for a while it was the only documentation included with the gimp (or so I
have been told).

> - First thing I'd suggest is stacking the Layers / Brushes etc. screens
> which at present you have to open from the top left hand menu -
> Photoshop keeps these permanently in appearance, stacked at the right
> hand corner, although you can double-click on the top of these mini-screens

These screenshots of gimp 2 should give you a good idea of how thing have
been changed to make it easier to manage windows

> - A Navigation tool for zooming would be essential - again, somewhere in
> these mini-screens.

There is a navigational tool, it can be found in the Dialogs menu.
Also if you click on the cross arrows on the bottom right between the
scrollbars there is another embedded overview widget.  (both of these
should be in the version you have).

> - This might become a patent problem - but what i'm really suggesting is

user interface patents have not yet been inflicted on the rest of the
world and it should be possible to produce similar but non-infringing
functionality in many cases.

> - Its pretty hard to find where the effects are, and to know you have to
> right-click on the image to produce these. But that in itself is
> elegant, and avoids patent issues...

gimp 2 includes a menubar, thank goodness!

there are other improvements too, however i think not having the tool
options options palette docked directly under the menus makes a big
difference and make it harder for users familiar with photoshop.

> I think the essential problem with Effects is that its difficult to find
> out a) where they are located in the menu and b) what the heck do they
> do?... Also many of the effects are outdated or not as accurate as the
> Photoshop versions.

if you can provide specifics it might be helpful.  in some cases the gimp
Filters provide a lot more options than the photoshop equivalents (at
least the ones included with photoshop 7 that I've used) but they are not
always easy to find.  Only the other day I found you could changed the
algorithm used for resizing in the tool options for the scale tool,
although it is not shown in the Resize dialog (Image, Resize...) the way
Photoshop does.

> - One thing i /LOVE/ about the GIMP is that you've now implemented layer
> effects (Multiply, Color Dodge, Color Burn etc.) - but these really need
> to be in a permanently open menu.

gimp is/was missing 'Exclusion' though

if you want to have a permanantly open menu the developers might be
willing to add an extra tearoff if you asked nicely.

> the layer menu stays in place, appearing below the layer menu. A
> navigator screen should be in place always - this is a feature I find
> essential, and makes it impossible for me to use the GIMP - while i can
> zoom in and out, its very difficult to drag the screen around to the
> place where I want to work.

if you have a wheel mouse or three button mouse you can middle click and
drag/pan (although I still wish I could use Page Up and Page Down to
navigate the page).

if you like how Adobe Photoshop does things you should definately take a
look at the "psmenurc" which is a settings file to give the gimp
keybindings similar to photoshop.

there is also an excellent plugin called pspi by Tor Lillqvist which
allows you to use (some) Photoshop plugins with the gimp.

> As for Illustrator / Fireworks / Dreamweaver / Flash: (my own
> 'essential' tools)

> Illustrator is a print design tool, on the level of GIMP. At the moment

Try Inkscape, http://inkscape.org
for print work people seem to be combining it with Scribus (Desktop
Publishing Software)

> Fireworks is a vector design tool.

Although Fireworks acts very much like a vector design tool as it part of
the family of Macromedia products but it claims to be Raster graphics.
Perhaps you meant Freehand which is the Vector graphics tool from
Macromedia which is equivalent to Adobe Illustrator and seems to be
competing quite successfully.

> an optimising screen for jpeg/gif (ewww, but essential). Fireworks
> allows you to slice the image and export the slices to HTML or simply to

there are some slice tools for the gimp, the first thing you should try is
adding some guides and choosing "Image, Transform, Guillotine" but there
are more ways.

> Flash is an absolute essential - we have no tools at all at present for
> animation. Flash uses vector graphics as well as being able to import

There are some open source Flash tools available if you look hard enough
but few are advanced enough to be included with most Linux distributions
and you will very likely need to compile them for yourself if you want to
try them out.

Macromedia did eventually make Flash a freely available standard that
others can implement (but which they control) but open source tools have
not caught up in that area yet but some people are certainly trying.

> Personally speaking, I'm just sad that I can't use Free software for my
> design work, and would love to be able to migrate entirely to GNU/Linux.

If you are determined Wine might be an option to ease the migration
or if you have money you might buy VMWARE to run windows inside Linux.

> A thought - the older SGI IRIX O/S had many of these tools - perhaps
> free ports of these may be easier to implement. 3D design is nicely
> taken care of by Blender, which has become an essential on Winblows
> machines also.

I'm surprised you have not mentioned Mac OS X which has much of the tools
that graphic designers and desktop publishers love and has versions of
free software like the gimp available for it (although not as perfectly
beautiful native applications).

> Hope this is of some help at least... I'll get back to you with more
> details, and feel free to ask.


Alan Horkan

Inkscape, Draw Freely http://inkscape.org
Free SVG Clip Art http://OpenClipArt.org

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