Hello everyone.
I read some time ago that you were looking for advice to improve gimp's interface.


I saw that you were making personas to identify target people, so i will present myself trough a persona that i didn't find on the wiki (and i couldn't edit it so here it is) :

-Fred
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fred is a graphist student. He uses 2D editing software for various purposes : colorisation of scanned drawings, photo retouch and compositions, textures for 3D models, digital painting, and graphics for his website.

Fred uses gimp because he's an OSS enthusiast, and there isn't many alternatives to gimp on linux right now.

Fred doesn't really care about the GUI paradigm as he knows a lot of other stranges apps like blender and wings. Neither he cares about a feature list : he has a lot of work to do, so he only cares about the time it takes to finish a project. The less times it takes, the better.

So what does really matter GUI wise to achieve this goal ?
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A few things :

1) Access to tools and functions should take the less clicks and gui navigation possible. - it's quite obvious that if a tool is usable faster, the work will be done faster.

2) Each function / tool / effect should be interactive and if be kept tweakable for the longest possible time. - less obvious : the problem here is that it is difficult to predict the result of an action, or a sequence of actions. So if the result is not the expected one, the action must be cancelled and redone. Interactivity solves that problem as the result is displayed as the action is done. - The program should also provide interactivity for actions made a long time ago. 'what would be the result if i applied that levels made 10 actions ago with different settings ?' That's the kind of things that an artist often wants, and redoing those 10 actions takes a lot of time.

3) The GUI behaviour should be predictable. If a tool used to be there, it should always be there .
  - looking for your way takes a lot of time.
- if the gui becomes very predictable, using it becomes a reflex and it's much faster.

4) The artwork is the most important thing in the UI, it should never be hidden by other elements while the user is working on it. - panning, zooming, etc. are useless and annoying actions that takes times and are done more than enough. It is only because the resolutions of our screens sucks that we have to do this. So it's very frustrating when the UI forces you to do that without a good reason.

5) Everything should be doable with a wacom so everything should be accessible with LMB and keyboard.

What are the principals problems in gimp's GUI to achieve those goals ?
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1) Popups. Gimp uses lots of popups. Popups are the worst thing on earth for Fred as They are against almost every concepts listed above : #1 : if they are in sequence, as they are often in gimp, Fred must go trough each one of them even if he only needs to change informations in one of them. #3 : popups pops everywhere but where you expect them. so they aren't predictable.
#4 : popups comes in front of your artwork, just what you don't want .

- Gimp's worst popups:
* if i must save a .png over an existing one there is no less than 5 popups... with the most useless "warning .png can't export layers, are you sure .?" The content of these 5 popups can fit in the first one, or better, in the save file dialog. * when using the crop tool, a giant popup pops right where fred is cropping, ??? all the asked options of this popup can be placed in a panel with the tool options. * Filters popups : They are - Huge (against #4) with a very small preview (yes i know about the settings) they should be very small, with a huge preview in the main window. (like the crop tool)

- Good ideas from other programs
* blender popups remember the last option clicked and pop with the mouse on that option location. So if you just want to redo, you just have to click without moving the mouse. And they are about 500 times smaller than gimp's one yet they work perfectly. * firefox has a "do not show this popup ever again" option for every warning and informative popup.

2) floating panels.
the floating can be great sometimes, but still they have a lot of problems :
#1 if a panel is below another one, it is not really accessible
#3 Panels aren't predictable sometimes, you spend more time looking and being sure that they don't get messed across your desktops than you gain from the flexibility they bring. Especially if you are working on one file at the same time. #4 : if you maximize your artwork, the panels are over it, it makes the extreme areas of your work inaccessible without moving your panels, or going fullscreen.

Good ideas from other programs :
* attachable panels can be found in corel draw and are really pratical.
* In pixel if you maximize your work,it doesn't expands below panels.
* In last versions of photoshop you can pan out of your work, thus you aren't blocked by the image border and don't need to move panels or go fullscreen. * blender / modo / zbrush and all recent software prefer Nonoverlapping windows over panels as they are very predictable and easy to organize. Only small options are given semitransparent panels. * tabbed windows à la firefox ?
3) Small annoying things :
#1 bad button choices : like the buttons moveup movedown of the layer panel, they are wasted instead of much more usefull ones like"add mask" and
that option, often used is hidden behind long menus and popups.
#1 automatic tool changes aren't reverted : - paint, double click on a text layer : change its text, finish : you should have your paint tool again. #2 Most tool lacks interactivity. The filters give a very small preview, and can't be tweaked once applied.
#5 How do i pan with a graphical tablet ? (no RMB/MMB ?)
#5 RMB / MMB should be emulable with keyboard shortcuts like alt-lmb = mmb, space-lmb = rmb, or something like that.

So as a resume, the most problematic things in gimp's interface for fred are
- too much popups.
- not enough priority for the artwork (window expands below panels, unable to pan out of the artwork, small previews, etc...)
- menu layout and navigation not workflow friendly.
- not enough support for tablet devices.

Feature-wize,there's only one thing i will complain about :
- the lack of a minimum size for brushes. (when used with a wacom)

That's all !

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