Ungimping the Gimp
Among my little social circle, a circle that mostly consists of myself and those poor others who are so paralysed with the fear of my insane wrath that they dare not flee, my hated of The Gimp is legendary. No other program, to me, exemplifies just how frustratingly right and how wrong the open source community can get things.
The Right: Features, features, features
I’m currently experimenting with Gimp 2.7.1. with Ubuntu 10.4, and feature-wise I believe it can compete fairly with Adobe Photoshop in core tools: Sharpen, blur, clone, crop, resize, heal, selection (by colour, magic wand), layers and it’s own experimental content-aware fill equivalent in Resynthesizer. There are even a limited subset of editing actions (creating borders and fine-tuning selections) that I find to be easier in The Gimp. And blessed of blessed, the 2.7 beta builds and the coming 2.8 version will have a native single-window mode. Huzzah. No more relying upon a(n outdated and unsupported) third-party solution for me to get my single-window fix.
The Wrong: Adobe Photoshop
I am a Photoshop user. If you’d believe it, I even have a certificate that says, in part, yes Mark, you officially know how to use Photoshop. My personal point of hatred with The Gimp has always been its GUI, it’s interface. The keyboard shortcuts were (to me, completely backwards). Imagine your first time moving from to Firefox to Google Chrome or Apple Safari. You sit down and discover that instead of
Ctrl+t to open a new tab, it might be
Ctrl+i. Select all might be
Ctrl+a. Etcetera. Your very first experience is to discover that the keyboard shortcuts are all completely different to what you know and understand. Some things aren’t even bound to the keyboard at all! Where are my palettes? My brushes? Our first experience with The Gimp has typically overwhelmingly negative.
In the pioneering spirit of a man who has little else to engage him, I have set out to really give The Gimp another try by turning on single-window mode and changing all of the keyboard bindings so as to bring it closer to Photoshop’s. I’m ungimping The Gimp. The results have been pretty good so far.
It’s usable. The team has come a huge way since I last really used The Gimp (2.2-ish?) in GUI, in utility and in tools.
Watch this space for a keymap.