I have lodged a request for GIMP to support use of transparency as a color. By
this I mean mainly that when using a paint tool, painting with that tool paints
only the chosen level of transparency. The enhancement request is here:
This email is to invite comments on the proposed enhancement.
Ability to tap a palette region with the paintbrush and then "paint" with full
This request occurred to me after watching online digital painting tutorials
from a couple of different sources. In them, the artist chooses a particular
color as their background (typically white) and, rather than erasing their
mistakes, simply switches to the background color and paints over with it. I
have seen several comments on these videos (replicated across the sources) to
the effect that this swapping to background color rather than using the eraser
is a neat trick - mainly because it simplifies the workflow.
How would I use it?
I recently worked on an ecorche
To do this I basically had 9 tool presets
- a solid brush, no dynamics in each of 3 sizes (small, medium, large)
- the same brushes but with pressure->opacity dynamics; and
- erasers in each of the three sizes (with no dynamics)
I also had a small palette of colors.
The tool preset tab separates the brushes from the erasers. So each time I
swap from paint to erase and back again I spend a little time hunting, and
breaking my concentration.
I have a Wacom tablet and the pen had an eraser on the other end from the
stylus. If I spin the pen around, it gives me an eraser with the right size
and dynamics. However:
- the palm rejection on the tablet often skips while the pen is being spun in
my hand, so I can end up in a changed window, screen or activity (I am on
- the GIMP's interface doesn't seem as responsive to the eraser as to the
I was specifically creating an onion-skinnable picture, so there had to be
multiple layers and each layer had to have transparency so I couldn't simply
use a background color. Any time that there are multiple overlapping layers a
transparency brush will be useful.
I don't know how it would be implemented or whether transparent should be treated as a
color internally. The main point is that the workflow would be simplified if fully
transparent were accessible through the color selection interface. If I could add fully
transparent as a color to a custom palette, then I could have my "eraser" and
color selection in the same place. I know that conceptually it may be useful to draw a
distinction between an eraser and a paintbrush but, in practise erasure is equivalent to
painting with transparency.
Also, having transparent as a color is more consistent as the background
"color" for layers.
I thinking only of a fully transparent brush, simply because that would be my
use case. There would probably also be a use case for partial levels of
transparency (this is already sort of implemented through eraser opacity).
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