I'm new to the GIMP (but familiar with Photoshop) and have found the GIMP to be really good :-) Here's an idea how to make it better:

Rather than a simple stack of layers, have a graph of image objects, similar to the OOPS Schematic in Blender (http://www.tncci.com/blender/oops.jpg). This would allow layers/masks/channels/etc. to be referenced (hard-linked) rather than having to copy them.

For example: multiple image layers (some in normal mode, some in overlay, hard light, etc.) each with the same layer mask. Currently, to update the masks, I'd have to change one mask and manually update each of the other masks. With a graph, each image layer would hard-link to one actual mask, and not need manual updating for any changes. (These hard-links could be broken, making an actual copy, if needed.)

This approach might also:
* Provide a mechanism that would help match and beat Photoshop's "adjustment layers" and "layer groups" features.
* Reduce .xcf file size (no redundant copies of layers).

Of course a graph is a more complicated interface than the simple layer stack, so it might be useful to implement the graph with an interface like the current layer stack, giving each layer/mask/channel a menu option to choose an object to hard-link to.

It occurs to me that the eventual move to GEGL/GGGL might do some or all of this - is that right?

What do you think?


* I have pretty much zero knowledge of how the GIMP actually works, so accept that this could clash horribly with how the GIMP is currently programmed.
* It seems pretty likely that this has been thought of before, but I thought I'd pitch in anyway.

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