Thanks for taking the time to reply to my request. It appears that you and I
have a fundamentally different point of view on how to best select regions in
an image. Let me throw out a couple of observations before I address some of
your points in the hope that I can avoid starting a religious argument about
which technique is better (especially if my side is outnumbered).
- In most applications most of the users focus on about 20% of the options and
capabilities in a given tool whether it is an office tool, or an engineering
Design Automation tool. I suspect this is true of almost any tool that is
fairly flexible. This does not mean that the 80% that any one user doesn't
normally use aren't valuable as different users solving different problems.
- It is important that the work on an image has an intuitive feel. No one
methodology or selection method works best across all of the images you might
encounter. Users will develop favorite methods based on their own success and
failures with features of a tool. Failure with a feature of a tool is not a
reflection on the feature, it just points out that a variety of robust features
are necessary for a well rounded tool.
- The “enhancement” that I am asking for is for the current mode of operation
to perform in a manner that would be expected by a reasonable user. When the
user selects a mode of operation using the menu and switches, it seems
reasonable for the tool to honor those choices rather than making a unilateral
decision to change modes based on cursor location. The fact the behavior is
called out in the specification doesn't really change the fact that it is kind
of user unfriendly.
Let me try and address your points:
>The Bezier tool is better suited to the tasks you're describing. Using
>freehand tool as a precision tool (i.e. for background extraction) is a
If I believed this I would not have bothered to ask for the enhancement in the
first place. I think of using the freehand select for precision work as part
of my methodology rather than a bad idea. When I started using Gimp I tried
the Path / Bezier tool but in practice I really haven't found much use for it.
The notion that it is “better” is subjective and is not in line with my
>Freehand tool is intended to make coarse selections or tweaks in
>selections that don't need too much precision.
This may have been the vision when the tool was put together, if it was I would
say the Freehand select exceeded the original expectation. I believe that it
is the best selection mode in Gimp for making precise selections.
- How fine your control is for defining a selection line is determined by the
level of zoom you are at, not whether you are drawing the line or defining it
with a series of dots. The freehand select is as precise as the picture and
tool will allow.
- Describing a line with a series of dots is not inherently quicker or more
precise than just drawing the line. If you have to start inserting more dots
or fiddling with the handles to reshape the line, you are going to waste lots
of time. The trick with Freehand select is to do a rough selection and then do
the precise work using small closed strokes to add or subtract onto the
selection. The feedback is immediate, and is easy to draw a precise line with
the mouse as long as it is short.
- The selection using a path matches the line in the path, which may be what we
are referring to as precise, but this is actually due to the path selection
being less flexible than a Freehand selection. In a Freehand select you can
get a selection that matches the line you draw, just like the path select, if
you turn of the “Feather edges”, but instead of being precise, it is precisely
what I don't want. When you select people in your image without feathering the
edge and paste them back on a background that has been blurred, they have a cut
out with an exacto knife look. There may be a way to get feathered edges and
antialiasing with the path tool, but this is still a problem because you can't
see what you actually selected. The actual selection depends on the amount of
feather (radius), the radius of curvature (shape) of the selection line.
- The feedback from a freehand select is immediate. You can see what your
selection is as you make it without having to wait until after you have
completed a long path description. If you are able to feather the edges on a
path, most likely with a time consuming post processing, it won't be the
precise edge you described with the path. It might not fully include
everything you want.
- In my opinion the freehand tool is more intuitive for all but the very
experienced user. Making the freehand select work the way most user's would
expect would lower the learning curve for new users. The idea of adding to,
subtracting from, or intersecting with the current selection is fairly
straightforward and powerful.
- The fact that select by color supports the same booleans, feathering, and can
be used in conjunction with freehand makes an even more powerful combination.
Using select by color to differentiate large regions and then the freehand to
cut or add to the selection is real efficient (it is also where the problem
with the mode change when you are over a selected region is most evident).
>I'd reccomend you this workflow for background extraction:
I like the methodology that I am using. The enhancement I am requesting would
make my methodology much better, but even without the fix, I don't see myself
reverting to path based selection for the majority of my work. It is not
flexible enough and takes too much time.
>-Draw a path along the edges of the shape that you want to extract, draw
>other paths for the holes (if you create them in the same path layer
>they are automatically combined with the other paths forming holes).
>-Turn path into selection
>-Add a mask channel based on that selection.
>So, imo, the existence of better tools for the same procedure makes this
>If you ask me, I'd love to have the ability to apply boolean operations
>between different paths before seeing further work on the free selection
Like I said originally you and I have very a very different point of view about
the “better” tool for selection. If I am alone in my pint of view, then it
doesn't make sense to modify the tool. If on the other hand there are a lot of
casual users whose approach to the tool is like mine, the modification could
server a pretty wide base. It would seem that would determine whether the fix
was worth while. I am not sure how the developers go about figuring out whet
the users would really like. Addressing you comment on a different use of the
effort, I am not sure how much use booleans would serve for paths, since as you
mentioned you can cut holes by having paths on the same layer. I haven't
played with paths enough to know what you might be able to do with paths on
multiple layers, but it seems like the flexibility might already be there.
>Your other proposal (selection stack) is very interesting, but sounds
>quite difficult tu implement.
>I'm not thinking exactly in your examples, but in the possibility to
>transform different selection levels independently (i.e. you selected 3
>circles and you want to adjust the size of the first one).
If it is difficult then it is probably a non-starter. I viewed it as a “nice
to have” feature and thought that it was worth brining up in case it wasn't too
hard to implement. I thought that since the current behavior acts a little
like a single layer stack, there was a chance that adding more depth might be
doable without a huge effort.
----- Original Message ----
From: Guillermo Espertino <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Sent: Wednesday, July 25, 2007 12:26:20 PM
Subject: Re: [Gimp-developer] Request for Change 0 Free Select Behavior
The Bezier tool is better suited to the tasks you're describing. Using
freehand tool as a precision tool (i.e. for background extraction) is a
Freehand tool is intended to make coarse selections or tweaks in
selections that don't need too much precision.
I'd reccomend you this workflow for background extraction:
-Draw a path along the edges of the shape that you want to extract, draw
other paths for the holes (if you create them in the same path layer
they are automatically combined with the other paths forming holes).
-Turn path into selection
-Add a mask channel based on that selection.
So, imo, the existence of better tools for the same procedure makes this
If you ask me, I'd love to have the ability to apply boolean operations
between different paths before seeing further work on the free selection
Your other proposal (selection stack) is very interesting, but sounds
quite difficult tu implement.
I'm not thinking exactly in your examples, but in the possibility to
transform different selection levels independently (i.e. you selected 3
circles and you want to adjust the size of the first one).
Oh, btw. I'm experiencing some troubles with SIOX. In some images (I
couldn't figure it out exactly when it happens) after the initial coarse
selection the mask is displaced to the lower left of the image (with the
right shape, but completely misaligned with the image) making it
impossible to perform the extraction.
Is that a known bug or it's just me?
Gimp-developer mailing list
Got a little couch potato?
Check out fun summer activities for kids.
Gimp-developer mailing list