Gimp, webmaster and the future
The open source drawing tool, competitor to Photoshop, is useful to the webmaster, but tedious and frustrating to use.
Gimp 2.8 look more like Photoshop
What can a webmaster do with GIMP?
Modern web pages contain a variety of graphic elements including images processed by some artistic effects.
- Logo. The name of the site and possibly some symbol.
- Banner. A composite image to be placed on the header of the site, or to make advertisements.
Using an image as the banner is producing the best experience, but when the page width varies and is enlarged, the image gives the impression of being too small. To avoid this negative effect you can creates a blur effect on the sides through which the image is progressively confused with the background of the page.
- Signs and icons. These are images used to identify categories of articles (see the homepage of this site).
- Artistic titles. Many effects on the fonts are used to create original logos.
What to learn to use Gimp
If you spend two hours to study each question with one session per day, you should have acquired after a week what is required to make the graphics of a site with GIMP. Assuming that you use compositions of already drawn pictures or photos. You must know:
- The role of icon controls in GIMP.
- Gradients and airbrush.
- Image size and copy and paste.
- Selection. Moving selection.
- Feather, transparency.
- Layers and masks (Whole Chapter 8).
- Paths, to make a clipping.
The tutorial of the software is sufficient to learn all that is necessary but perhaps trimming. To go further and apply this knowledge to build graphical components of a site, you have to use extra tutorials made by users, including that of scriptol.com...
Criticism of Gimp
Nobody really likes the interface and the operating mode of the software. Old users, primarily on Linux, are accustomed to say that the software is very good when you have learned to use it. Even if we accept this argument, however, there are serious opportunities for improvement.
- Gimp 2.8 has regressions in some tools, next to progress as the single window like Photoshop and powerful new tools.
- Among the most interesting plugins like Resynthetizer are no longer fully working.
- The size of the brush is difficult to manage and the default value of 20 pixels is rather unexpected.
- Inserting text is unnecessarily complicated.
- Why to hide the choice of a transparent background in a "advanced" sub-menu when an image is created, while it is the most common option?
- This is the only significant software that does not know how to properly handle directories. Any software from the most basic drawing when editing an image expects the user want to saves the new version in the same directory. Gimp go back consistently in the Document directory. I never use it, thankfully, because it would contains thousands of files!
What future for the open source software
Considering that older versions of Photoshop are now free to download, we wonder what is the future of Gimp, but we can dream of improvements that would reconcile this software with the general public.
Then the interface could be detached from the backend that would be transformed into modules. It would be possible to create an HTML interface or even different versions. Competition would let the ideal interface appear to the user.
Eventually even, the interface could communicate with the backend through WebSocket (as does the Advanced Explorer file manager). This would ease to add modules and extend the software to infinity.