LGM organize brushes, palettes, gradients

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go back to LGM issues

our point

  • these resources are old-fashioned
  • tag them to organise them

argumentation chain

  • in the evaluation these proved to be old-fashioned concepts:
    • brush shapes for determining diameter and fuzziness; these are better parameterised
    • fixed palettes for determining the colors for a project; instead the need was identified for low-threashold project and file palettes (blobs of paint)
    • gradients for creatively making complex blends; much better results with a couple of a->b blends in different directions
    • patters for filling and texturing; real, big images are preferred by pros for complex, natural texture material
  • in the future we expect these resources still to be there, but (far) less used, less prominent
  • but we will see for instance project palettes accumulating
  • users are asking for categories (files + folders) to subdivide the mass of resources
  • we would like to explore the modern technique of tagging; this enables users to attach multiple associations with a certain resource and find it back via multiple paths

Raw notes that concern the issue more or less.

organizing brushes

Wild Brush Work

  1. There could be filter brushes with parameters in the dialog box. (maybe even scrolling through filters to try them out could be possible).
  2. creating color palettes is convoluted.
  3. What we want to achieve is to paint in the same layer (if one prefers), and be able to control which paint/effect is more prominent in a chosen area, by just 'brushing' on some more of it. this mimics the ambivalence of physical painting: it both mixes with and covers existing paint when you brush it on.


  1. users want to adjust their brushes on the fly, just by pressing keys, user should be able to change the parameters.
  2. Brushes need shortcut for: color picker, opacity (not sure about the steps, that should be applied- it should be measured with usability methods), radius/size of brush.
  3. User could also ‘cycle’ through all 4 main paint 'modes' (airbrush, ink, pencil, brush). But opacity and scale of the brush has the absolute priority.
  4. It is important that for these 2 comments that the user would keep his hand on the keyboard in the same position.
  5. When changing paint modes we need to think whether to take care about the continuity of the size/opacity, or not, because the second tool might be a complementary tool.

fragments of analysis

the brush tools

  • make the four main brush modes (airbrush, nib, pencil, paintbrush) sub-modes of every type of brush tool, not just of color painting;
  • create the opportunity to move the four main brush modes to be more algorithm based for further refinement. Bitmaps for brush shapes will play a more secondary role (for special jobs) in the future;
  • complete the palette of type of adjustments that can be made with a brush:
    • saturation
    • distortion
  • merge cloning and healing;
  • take a less generic approach for what options are available for a certain brush type;
  • discuss the historic significance of the modes parameter, and its future;
  • introduce a way of painting with the effects of plugins. Probebly via the blobs-of-paint concept;
  • review of the shortcut actions to change brush parameters.
other points
  • it should be possible to apply unsharp mask with 4 basic brushes (sharpen tool)

organizing palettes

Working with Palettes

  1. idea: blobs of paint on the edge of your window, just drag a color to this area.
  2. User could add blobs it with eye-dropper, or even could drag an effect (neon filter) on it, and paint with it.
  3. this palette of blobs is easy come, easy go, very temporarily and only for one file.
  4. even allow mixing of colors from blobs on this palette?
  5. color names don’t matter, unless user really want to give a name, then names would appear as tooltips, but user would never be forced to give names.


  1. We can think about importing a palette from Inscape (but it seems there are no real palettes there, right now), because the colors already exist. If that is not possible, it has to be easy to start and put together your own palette. User should be able drag his colors to the palette and GIMP should make these persistent.
  2. At the moment it is possible to Save the palette but not Export it. Importing/exporting has to be possible for sharing palettes and to to archive a palette with the project files.
  3. Maybe the effect/filter applied wouldn’t have to be on a new layer, because you could still enhance the img in Freehand, or Inscape.
  4. for web work, Websafe colors and VisiBone colors are the standards. These might be locked.
  5. If palettes would be in FG/BG dialog, user could use Palette mode, and from here he could chose his palette.
  6. User should be able to group palettes in folders, drag them around. New Palette, Delete Palette, Duplicate should be possible.
  7. Why should editing a palette be so difficult: whenever one can pick a color, you can also add it to a palette.
  8. Managing palettes should be possible with two dialogs, maximum: FG/BG color editor connected with a new kind of ‘palette editor’. Maybe this new editor could be grouped with the FG/BG color editor.
  9. Project repository- these palettes need to be more project oriented. The 'blobs of paint' palette concept, as discussed in 'creating original art', has a more temporary focus, and is unique to the particular image file.
  10. It could be possibility to drag filters to fg/bg, as a metaphor for painting with filters.
  11. Applied filters would be stored in history, it would be possible to drag out a filters, change its parameters and apply again.

Create your own palette

We found it really useful to be able to type color name typical in CSS/HTML and to see the value, however this trick is not easy to discover.


  1. Palette visible in FG/BG color dialog like Visibone will have different function than My Palette.
  2. User should be able to set rows/columns in My palette.
  3. Palettes would need to be named to be stored at the disk, but after adding new color to it, user wouldn’t need to save it again.
  4. It should be possible to display two palettes at the same time, one under another. For picking colors and seeing dropdown list of all palettes user would use the palette in FG/BG color dialog. It would be possible to drag colors from FG/BG color palette to user palette.
  5. Default palettes. Some of them are good: visibone, tango icon, webcolor. Most other palettes are just read-only ones without a universal meaning. These need to be replaced by more useful ones. This has to be furthered discussed.
  6. Sharing palettes should be possible.

Refining palette

Adding new colors, and changing the palette will be easy when implementing the new pallets concept, user will be able to change colors with color picker or by dragging it from the FG/BG.

fragments of analysis

project palettes and blobs of paint

during the evaluation we identified the need for a digital equivalent of the physical ‘painting with a palette in your hand’:

  • an image related palette, e.g. for wild brush work, we call it blobs of paint, and envision it at the images edge:
    • this is very much a ‘working palette,’ easy come and easy go;
    • drag or eyedropper colors in, or drag GEGL operations or plugin effects into a blob of paint;
    • ‘dip a brush’ in a blob and paint with color, or with an effect, like noise;
    • mixing, like in the physical world?
    • saved with the file;
  • a project palette, e.g. for web and icon work, we envision it in an inspector:
    • still ease come, but more explicit action needed to get colors out;
    • again, just drag or eyedropper colors in;
    • to be discussed: also drag GEGL operations or plugin effects in?
    • auto-persisted by GIMP, with import/export for sharing;
    • user sized, two can be displayed for easy drag-n-drop copying of colors;
  • these palettes should not be confused with the current GIMP palettes, which are very static and proved in the evaluation to be only useful as representation of global standards, like web-safe colors; some of the palettes GIMP ships with hurt its reputation as a high-end tool.

organizing gradients

Blend - Gradient tool

  1. Blend tool should be called Gradient.
  2. If gradients are not editable we shall not show them as editable.
  3. non-editable gradients have option for saving which is useless.
  4. There are a lot of tacky gradients.
  5. We actually just need just FG to BG and FG/BG to transparent, plus around 5 powerful gradients to show possibilities for aluminium look, etc.
  6. Gradient from FG to BG - from A to B with different transparency for both end-points . Opacity of a blend for point A, B should be set in the tool options.

Gradient tool

Gradient tool should primarily show the angle, not the coordinates. Angle could be set also in toolbox. Once user sets the angle, it would be possible to have the same angle for the whole projec