GIMP 2.7 for Photoshop Expatriates

Well, I got into a Photoshop vs. Gimp pissing match. Sigh. Lots of rich manure left behind in the aftermath. Why not try to plant a seed and grow a useful vegetable from it?
So here’s a quick screencast (created using GNOME Shell’s built-in screen recorder with audio using a trick posted to GNOME bugzilla by my colleague Dan Allen) that shows how to do some of the things folks more used to Photoshop told me they wished they could do in Gimp. I also threw in a little demo of the Gimp Paint Studio plug-in that I’m in the process of packaging up for Fedora.
Should you happen upon this and have questions about how to do other stuff you’re used to in Photoshop (or any bitmap tool) and can’t figure out in the Gimp, let me know and I’ll try to screencast it. With the new trick configured in my GNOME shell setup, it is so dead simple to do screencasts I’m looking for excuses to do more!

UPDATE: Uh, the link to the video off of the thumbnail preview actually works now 🙂 Thanks to ‘k’ for pointing it out in the comments!


  1. Great stuff =D
    btw, I think the first image is missing an http from the link, goes to a subdir of this page. WordPress really should notice that kind of stuff, see it all the time :/

    1. mairin says:

      How embarrassing! Got it fixed, thanks for pointing out! Heh. That happened entirely because when I make links I copy/paste the URLs from firefox’s URL bar, and Firefox no longer puts “http://” in the URL bar!

      1. Andrew Alderwick says:

        That rings a bell… ah, here! If you’d like to see the protocol bit again, go to “about:config” and change “browser.urlbar.trimURLs” to false. Credit goes to lupyxe at 🙂

  2. Yeah it’s a great news for sound with gnome shell video !!

    1. gsettings set capture-sound true work only for FC17 ?
      Because I’ve this return :
      “The key « capture-sound » doesn’t exist”.
      But the first command seems to work quite fine.

      1. mairin says:

        Hey Sylvain, the first command is all you need. The second one was just Dan suggesting the gconf key this option could be controlled by in the future; the error you got shouldn’t effect audio working for you.
        I got the audio working in F16.

  3. Pieter says:

    Hi Máirín, Cool video, thanks. Gimp sure makes a powerful combination with Inkscape. I look forward to try out Gimp 2.8 in Fedora 17. About Dan Allen’s trick to add sound to GNOME Shell’s built-in screen recorder (great tip!): the bug mentions repeating audio at the end when stopping the recording. What app do use to clean up the recording and remove those repeating sounds at the end (preferably available on Fedora 16)? Thanks!

    1. mairin says:

      Hey Pieter! I forgot to mention Ray Strode’s tip for that…. after you stop recording with Ctrl+Alt+Shift+R, hit Alt+F2 and type r and enter to restart the shell. That ends the recording so you won’t get the weird repeating sounds at all.

    2. I think pitivi will suffice to do this.

      1. Great video! If only she talked more slowly … would been better for the “no-english ears”. 😉

        1. mairin says:

          I think it’s possible to do subtitles, would that help?

          1. Sure! If you have written its audio trace, i can translate it in italian. In these cases i’ve (as many others) difficulty to listen the filmmaker’s voice.

          2. mairin says:

            Hey that would be amazing! I’ll try to add ’em in tonight, thanks for the translation offer!

          3. Have you a txt file that contains the audio transcript ?

  4. Great video! But, until GIMP gets (at least) proper layer styles and better groups, I can’t take it seriously. Sorry.

    1. mairin says:

      I can do another screencast showing how to do that. I totally forgot to cover layer groups in this one.

    2. Aren’t “layer styles” just effects that work by adding a layer? If you look at , you see how the FX Foundry effects work by adding a new layer, that you can then turn on and off.
      Of course, it’d be nicer if they worked by making a group, but since the effects were created before 2.8 appeared, they’d have to be updated to do that. I don’t see a reason why you couldn’t just as easily add an effect to GIMP that add’s a drop shadow or what have you using layer groups just like layer styles do.
      However, imho, both layer styles and using layers for effects seem like a hack to me. The ideal would be that _any_ effect you have can be applied to any layer or selection, and that you are able to turn it off even if you are several steps ahead (like clicking the eye) or even change the settings that were passed to the effect in retrospect, without having to redo steps (ie. what talks about, fully non-destructive editing across the whole system).

      1. mairin says:

        I don’t know Photoshop but I’m assuming so. There’s actually a plugin to emulate the photoshop way of doing this called ‘layer effects’ – I can totally do a screencast to show it to the Photoshop users to see if it would owrk for them

        1. haha! FOSS ftw

        2. @k @mairin The FX Foundry effects are scripts that _emulate_ the Photoshop effects. But they’re destructive; you can’t modify the effect once applied and you can’t copy/store the style either…
          I’m talking about non-destructive effects here. I don’t want to sound like a jackass/troll, I agree FOSS FTW, but let’s be realistic, GIMP is still not there yet and it won’t be a complete replacement for Photoshop any time sooner.
          I’m sure you agree with me, Mairin, since you are a professional designer; that the time spent in doing a task in a program is as important as the program’s ability of doing it. A tool _can_ do something isn’t enough, you should consider the time spent doing so.

          1. mairin says:

            I don’t agree, because anything I need to do is possible. GIMP is like stick-shift vs. photoshop automatic transmission. And I like understanding how the effects work so I can do them manually, even if I don’t always have to because of the convenience of FX foundry. E.g., if you understand how the layer blending modes and effects are stacked together to create the final effect, they are actually non-destructive because you can muck with the opacity, masks, and blending modes of the component layers to adjust the overall effect. No, it’s not the same as mucking with little sliders and radio buttons, but it means the same thing – I don’t have to redo my work to make a minor adjustment, I just tweak the stack. So instead of opening up a dialog, I open up the layer group and tweak. Really for me not a big deal.
            GEGL is making very good progress and will enable live non-destructive effects with the detailed attribute modifying dialogs you seem to need. It’ll be cool when it comes out. But I used Photoshop productively for years before photoshop had the ability, and its never been key to my workflow.

          2. You do sound like one 🙂 While the transition of everything to non destructive GEGL ops will still take some time (and use the GPU at that!!!), it doesn’t mean that GIMP hasn’t been a viable tool.

      2. Michael_gr says:

        No, not at all. layer styles in Photoshop are like properties of the layers they are attached to and they update in real time as the content of the layer changes. Sort of like a CSS3 style sheet for images – you can set an empty layer to cast a shadow with a certain strength, color, distance and blur factor and then paint lines on the layer and the new lines will cast a shadow as you paint them. Erase some pixels and their shadow fades away as the pixels are erased. FX foundry effects on the other hand are static.

        1. mairin says:

          non-destructive live effects will be possible soon, hopefully in 2.10. The GEGL work that you might have heard of being done in the GIMP is what will enable it.

          1. Fahad says:

            2.10 is a confusing version number! :s I mistook it for 2.1 initially.. yikes!

          2. “non-destructive live effects will be possible soon, hopefully in 2.10.”
            Only if mitch is kidnapped by evil elves and swapped with a doppelganger who has a nasty turn of mind 🙂

          3. mairin says:

            Well, poop! Really? Is it that it takes too long or that it’s not desirable? I thought the 2012 summer of code GEGL operation conversions were part of this effort? (This is what I get for trusting forums as a reliable source of info)

  5. @Mairin I understand and respect you opinion, we just seem to have slightly different standards when it comes to what I’ve said earlier. 🙂
    @Jakub Ouch! :s
    Yeah, GEGL is definitely the way to go; that, and the GTK3/symbolic icons goodness. 😀

    1. mairin says:

      Hey thanks for the civil discussion. We definitely have different standards but GEGL will solve a lot of the issues you’re having I think. 🙂

  6. annoyance says:

    Thank you so much for the great tutorial. Please do some more maybe one on layers would be good. I think it’s a shame that some people have to pick on other people’s choices. Keep up the good work.

  7. EllisGL says:

    There are couple issue that I have with Gimp vs PhotoShop is mostly based on user interface. The biggest is “Single Window” mode, it just pisses me off. I like to be able to have my images in windows. I do see how Gimp has improved quite a bit since the early days, but PS 7…. Ok I’ll shut up now.

    1. mairin says:

      Um, you do know single-window mode is opt-in, right? By default Gimp gives images their own windows….

  8. David says:

    I actually have no relevant experience with PhotoShop or MS Office. But one thing that has struck me repeatedly is a “clone mentality” combined with a lack of discoverability. This is particularly relevant with keyboard shortcuts and late-in-the-game mouse-over helps: there is a tendency to say “you just use the shortcuts you know from PhotoShop/whatever” and postpone the discoverability till later.
    But that means if you seriously want to learn using Gimp, you should start out with PhotoShop. Not a good deal.
    Sure, it is trying to harvest existing user bases. It’s not just an approach used in Open Source: I have heard that Word’s equation editor was pretty fast and comfortable to use if you just typed TeX math into it rather than using menus and stuff. How do you discover that if you are not coming from TeX? You don’t, but then it is supposed to be a selling point for previous TeX users, not anybody else.
    And there is _some_ point with that: Emacs gets lambasted all the time for a lack of compatibility with standards that are much much more young and volatile than Emacs is.
    Nevertheless, I would want Free Software to have more of a self-sufficiency: design and _present_ their user interface without leaving the work of properly teaching it to some proprietary application after which it has been modeled.
    It’s nice to have a plan for going at all those PhotoShoppers, but for me, the focus should be on newcomers.
    It is not important to have the same interfaces and functionality as some other application to me. But “same feature set” is not sufficient.
    “I can do this using X” challenges are nice, but not all that informative since it does not spell out how much you need to learn to get there, and how much help the application is for learning it.

    1. mairin says:

      Except the reality is the vast majority of design professionals use Photoshop, and I don’t. And I have to deal with them. This is my coping mechanism.

    2. The GIMP devs expressly do not want to clone Photoshop, so I’m pretty sure they can’t be blamed for any cloning mentality.
      But it’s still a fact that a lot more people are used to Photoshop’s interface than to GIMP’s, so if someone is trying to make the transition easy for them, I don’t see why that should be discouraged. It’s never easy being the underdog, trying to catch both the newcomers and those who are used to the alternative.

  9. jack says: this is a greate place to learn gimp,hope may be helpful.

  10. I’m totally with you on the screencasting. Actually, I’m hosting a few this week and next week for Picnik users looking to switch over to Gimp. I am using UStream.
    Perhaps sometime we can host a broadcast together.

  11. Marcus says:

    How can you make a screencast for Photoshop Experiates, if you haven’t used Photoshop yourself?
    You say that GIMP will have non-destructive effects SOON in Gimp 2.10. I have waited FIVE YEARS for the 2.8 release. With still only three main developers, it will be some more years till 2.10, not soon.
    Back to PS: I used it professionally for several years, and dude, GIMP is about 12 years behind. You can get the same results in GIMP that you can get with Photoshop, well, most of the time. But PS ist just so much faster, I would say I need half of the time, or less in PS, depending on the complexity of the project. The operations are rendered quicker, you can experiment much faster with non-destructive/ turn on off adjustment layers and layer effects. And some operations in PS can be done with one click, whereas in GIMP I need three clicks or complete workarounds.
    The interface is not that different, so GIMP is a PS clone. This is not a bad thing, why shouldn’t you want to try to look and feel like the best photo manipulation software out there? Anyone denying that the features the community want to have are PS-oriented and indutry-standard-oriented, is blind and a liar.

    1. mairin says:

      I can make a screencast for Photoshop users if I have a list of questions Photoshop users asked me that I answer in the screencast, which is exactly as I’ve done.
      Gimp is most certainly not a PS clone.
      I can’t really make heads or tails of your point except that you seem angry and mean, so I’m not going to engage you further. But I’m not a dude.

  12. Neal says:

    The the Gimp Paint Studio plugins are great. I am glad I found your website.

  13. Hi Mairin,
    congrats for the video, is always good to see more people producing material that can help the community.
    I would like to make a note :” GPS is not a plugging” because is not created with code, is a Pack, a very complete pack but a pack 😀 based on what we already have coded in gimp.
    see you 😀

    1. mairin says:

      Thank you so much for creating GPS, it’s amazing!
      Thanks for the clarification too – I have written an RPM package for it, so I knew it didn’t change the code or anything, but I wasn’t really sure what to refer to it by. I’ll call it a pack from now on.
      I hope to meet you at LGM!

  14. ja narciso says:

    thanks for the very instructive tut. is there a way to do transform-all in gimp?

    1. mairin says:

      What do you mean by transform all? I looked for photoshop tutorials that explain what these means but I couldn’t figure it out.

  15. annoyance says:

    can you create a screencast on how to install Gimp Paint Studio and FX-Foundry? I couldn’t get them to work.

      1. Thanks Alexandre. I don’t understand why people don’t type “install gps gimp” in google. It takes less time than posting in forums or blogs :). I encourage annoyance to follow the installation guide. Then if problems happen ,let me know them 🙂

    1. Hey,
      Fx-Foundry is packaged in Fedora. I haven’t submitted my gimp paint studio package yet but if you email me at duffy at fedoraproject dot org I’ll send an rpm and srpm to you.

  16. annoyance says:

    But I did google “install Gimp Paint Studio”(to be precise), and followed the instructions either the ppa isn’t working or something on my end has goote into a mess. That’s why video tutorials help. and they can include troubleshooting.

    1. There are _three_ videos on that page about installation of GPS 🙂
      The textual explanation also says how to add stuff without using PPA, just by moving files around — did you try to follow it?
      Furthermore you are asking a Fedora contributor to record a screencast about installation with PPA on Ubuntu 🙂

    2. By the way, I’m pretty sure that if you tell Ramon, where exactly the explanation fails for you, he will either fix it or explain what you were missing.

  17. annoyance says:

    Got it done it dosen’t look like hers does but it’s in there and lot’s of extra cool brushes. Thanks for being patient with me (if you were), thanks for the cool stuff (in either case).

    1. Great!
      The idea I’m trying to sell is that the best practice is really to tell what exactly doesn’t work. That way things that are wrong could be fixed. Or else we’d be stuck redoing everything from scratch over and over again 🙂

  18. […] und die Toolbars überdecken das Bild nicht mehr. Wer möchte, der kann sich einen 15-minütigen Screencast von Máirín Duffy zum Thema ansehen. Sie zeigt GIMP 2.7 unter Fedora 16, das sie Gimp Paint Studio aufgebohrt […]

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.