First of all, I probably should mention that I'm not a GIMP
developer. However, I have worked with user interface design
professionally for over a decade and a half, and had been doing
plugins for Photoshop since before 3.5...
On Mar 21, 2006, at 12:19 PM, Martin Nordholts wrote:
I've have experience with both of Photoshop and GIMP, and I don't
agree. To me Photoshop's interface is much more thoroughly
designed. At first I had a hard time grasping the philosify behind
Photoshop's interface, but after taking a class where we learned
PS, it all made sense.
(This is based on PS7 and GIMP 2.2.9)
Personal experience is one thing, but wide ranging studies are
better. Among other things I had been a Photoshop user since early
on, but personally found the GIMP's interface much better.
Additionally, there are many issues such as its use of MDI. After
extensive study Microsoft officially deprecated the MDI interface
with the introduction of Windows 95 back in 1995. However, Adobe kept
it mainly from inertia.
First thing I'd suggest would be to take as much training in the GIMP
as you did in Photoshop. Once you get a comparable amount of
qualified training, things will be much easier to compare.
And as to it's interface being "designed"...
The GIMP has had one main factor for interface design : "What will
make this tool work well for its end users?"
Photoshop, on the other hand, has had many other factors, including
large amounts of marketing influence. For example, they have the
mandate that all is driven by what sells, not by what works. And also
they have the probably of being told to do things in ways that can
help sales of other company products, regardless of whether or not
they get in the way of better workflow. And then there's the huge
factor of inertial. They have kept things around for over a decade
just because "that's the way we first did it", and they don't want to
startle casual purchasing managers.
GIMP does not attempt to be Photoshop nor to be like Photoshop.
Well, I think it should! If there is any software today that has
potential to be a PS counterpart, it is GIMP. I mean why, would we
not want it to be Photoshop?
Why? Well, personally I don't want it to be Photoshop because I like
being able to get work done quicker and with less pain. To me, the
main thing is to have a very efficient tool, not to be compatible
with one that just happens to be prevalent.
Even after working for years in multimedia (or probably because of),
I will still go first and install the GIMP on boxes when I have to do
graphics work even if I have full Photoshop licenses and
To see the problem inherent in your logic, it's easy to apply it to
cars. Your process would tell me to go out and buy a Honda Civic even
if I had the needs and ability to purchase a BMW 3-Series (or Honda
Accord or Toyota Prius, or Kia Sedona depending on what my specific
The general consensus here seems to be that we want to get rid of the
toolbox menu in the long run.
I agree. As it is now, it feels like the toolbox window_ is_ the
main window, i.e. it is from the toolbox you create new files and
so on. And if you close the toolbox, entire GIMP is closed.
It would be more logical to have a separate toolbox, and a separate
'GIMP window'. The GIMP window would be a container for toolbox
window, the layer window etc (á la PS). If you minimize the GIMP
window, the toolbox windows also gets minimized. And the toolbox
window and all other windows would not have its own item on the
taskbar, they should be a part of main window.
Actually... that sounds explicitly like the MDI interface approach,
which research in the early nineties showed to be a very sub-optimal
I have a prejudice, which is that most of the GIMP developers has
not taken time to understand the concept of the interface PS
provides. If you don't take the time to understand that interface,
it will feel unlogical (I had the same feeling) and it can easily
be dismissed as 'badly designed'. Once you know it though, the
workflow is absolutley brilliant.
Actually, I have to strongly disagree with you here. I know that at
least since the late nineties many of the GIMP developers have been
very aware of the PS interface. Perhaps it is more that you are the
one who just didn't quite understand the GIMP interface and workflow
(for example, just being able to right-click on the canvas where ever
I happen to be and get the full menus is a *huge* productivity boost.
Configureable keys and *real* scripting are also huge wins).
If you have enough experience working in many different tools, then
perhaps that might help with insight on workflow. Remember what
Maslow said... "If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to
see every problem as a nail."
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