Topics to Digital Painting with GIMP

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Revision as of 18:38, 8 March 2016 by Americo.Gobbo (talk) (GIMP and Digital Painting)
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This document is a draft project to related in short many topics and after to organize pages more concise to each issue or topic.

GIMP and Digital Painting

Ways to use GIMP



Artistic style and GIMP

What GIMP do not need really?

Product Vision


Current Product Vision

Tool Presets Bugs and flow problems

Bugs to edit presets

  • Tool Options dialog - define in short ...
  • Tool Presets dialog

Problematic flow to create

  • Tool Options dialog
  • Tool Presets dialog


Toggle Modifier key shortcuts

Increase/decrease size and hardness brush on canvas

Have a toggle modifier key to interact with the size and hardness brush. The size and hardness is controlled by of the device (mouse or stylus) drag, for instance, to right increase, to left decrease. The GIMP users can show or not the outline of brushes. Some users prefer to have only the pointer mode without the outline. In this case, with no outline, the toggle modifier key must enable also (preferable) the brush outline, while this key is down (this method is used by Krita. See the short video of the feature). In this way is possible to control better the increase and decrease.

Current 2.9 git master

Is possible to change the size and hardness via short-cuts:

  • Size - Bracket keys of keyboard, '[' to decrease and ']' to increase.
  • Hardness (Custom) - the shorcuts do not working Bug report


Dynamic Zoom

The current keyboard shortcut (+) and (-) or the wheel mouse are difficult to use in a painting session, mainly because on digital painting is common to use the graphic tablets.(1) Use the Zoom tool becomes a bit difficult while painting: every time you must to select the zoom tool, via tool box or via keyboard, and to reselect again the paint tool to continue the painting session. To have a feature, as we have in Krita/Photoshop and MyPaint, turns the tasks more friendly and with a minor step number to make zooms and to return the main task.

On MyPaint and Krita this feature have a identical behaviour, the zoom is enabled with Ctrl+Mouse Wheel and Drag.

1. Some tablets, more new, have devices that can be used to simulate the wheel of mouse. But this is not a rule... many people prefer the tablet more simple and not wacom to work. For example, some artists use simple or economic graphic tablets, because they are more efficient to drawing.

Paintbrush with eraser ability

To use the same brush to erase a stroke with a toggle short cut (recursive). In MyPaint and Krita is possible to use recursively the two tools using only the key 'E'.

To make this in the current stable and development releases we must follow this flow:

  1. To share the paint options between tools
  2. Change between the P or N key with Shift+E and again P or N (for instance)to follow painting/drawing.

The process that is possible is a bit unfriendly if I do a comparison with the flow with Krita/Photoshop and MyPaint. Have a toggle or recursive key to make this, it turns this action more easy and fast to execute. Imagine the users that are using a graphic tablet with GIMP... is necessary stops the action with paint tool, and to use the hand (left/right) to invoke the eraser, with Shift+E, and after again, 'P' or 'N' (for instance) key to follow using the paint tools.

I think that the 'Paint Options Shared Between Tools' works fine in many cases... but not to all. My suggestion, here, is to provide another option to have the eraser directly on paint tool. For me and many painters that are using MyPaint and Krita, this feature is working fine. See thread on mailing list - Some ideas and suggestions around digital painting on GIMP.

Brainstorming and ideas

  • A plug-in action (with a toggle key) to enable some blend modes on the paint tools to erase the strokes. For example, the paint tool with blend mode + foreground colour to erase the stroke/stain. I have tested with Addition Mode, with white colour as foreground and works fine to delete. The main question here is: we want/must eliminate a wrong stroke or many strokes (this is a simple task) or we need of the Eraser Tool to make actions more complexes? I am thinking that both flow options are important and convenient, but each of these depends what we are doing in each moment. Normally, during the paint sessions, we must to delete some wrong or undesirable strokes/parts.


  • Krita and Mypaint way - I've made a short video using Krita to exemplify the feature. The key 'E', by default, is used to enable the erase feature. On MyPaint the feature has the same behaviour and short-cut key.

Paint Tools improvements

Paint tool + Texture (raster)

Patterns/Textures on the GIMP

Which the differences and likeness between pattern and a brush (.gbr and .gih) on GIMP?

  1. Both are the resources to mark or make stains
  2. Both are based in raster images
  3. Pattern is used to emulate textures in different kind of techniques or
  4. To fill figures with textures
  5. Brush is used to emulate random textures, of natural properties or not of brushes in the real world.

Well, we can to think the patterns as brush very specific.

How works on Krita


Photoshop - Bob Chiu Steps Video link

Brush Texture Option Photoshop.png

    • Create a Pattern > save it on pattern library
    • Create a brush
      • New document (size x height), for instance with 256x256px;
      • New preset brush - on photoshop the brushes birth directly as a preset, interesting (Krita also).
    • Select the brush
    • Now Brush Options > [1]
      • The options is possible to control many aspects:
        • Spacing, Hardness Angle, Flip and Size;
        • Enable the Shape Dynamics (basically is a .gbr with gimp paint dynamics); > [2]
        • Enable the Texture and is possible to see the library patterns, the options of Texture are: > [3]
          • Texture Library (dropdown open manager), Invert (flag), Scale, Brightness, Contrast, Texture each tip (flag), Mode, Depth, Minimum Depth, Deep Jitter, Control (drop down flags).
        • Enable Transfer > [4]
          • Opacity Jitter or Flow Jitter

Proposal of the feature on GIMP


The tool more near of an ideal Brush with Texture features (similar to Krita or Photoshop) is the Clone Tool. Perhaps this Tool is a good way to build a new Tool.

The Brush + Pattern is basically a dual brush where the pattern is a kind of mask in background. Options need are:

  1. Colour: Is necessary to use the colour asset on... as a normal brush.
  2. Texture aspect: Is necessary to have a flag to choose between default and inverted.
  3. Source: Image and Pattern (texture). Image as source is interesting to control something very similar to impasto or smudge.
  4. Alignment: Registered and Fixed.


Paintbrush and Pencil with smudge ability (raster)

On GIMP, now, is possible to make this in two steps - first we paint something (Pencil, Paintbrush, Airbrush, etc.) and after, with Smudge tool, we make the blend the stains/strokes. Basically, this feature is the current Smudge tool + a Paint tool (2). Now, the Smudge tool has only the capability to blend the stains, using a brush. The stains that are previously created. With MyPaint brushes, is possible to have the smudge on their brushes, but the mark is a basically a circle (dab). In the ideal painting world, is interesting to have the raster brushes with dynamic stains. The .gbr and .gih brushes with paint dynamics)... have the result more richest that a smudge brush on MyPaint. Figure smudge brush with MyPaint Figure smudge brush with GIMP (via 2 steps: make stains with some paint tool and after with smudge tool blend them).

2. Is necessary to think the way to link smudge with a paint tool... for instance, for any or for a specific tool?

Tool Options

New order and classification of features

Suggestion how the options could be ordered and classified on Tool Options.

Ordering and classification, for instance, on Paintbrush. The asset and preset are the new entries.

  1. asset (preview, field name, edit link)
  2. preset - new entry (preview, field name, edit link)
  3. dynamics - new entry (preview, field name, edit link)
  4. mode blend
  5. opacity
  6. incremental flag
  7. size
  8. lock brush size to zoom flag
  9. aspect ratio
  10. angle
  11. spacing
  12. smooth stroke
  13. dynamics options
    1. hardness
    2. force
    3. apply jitter
    4. fade options
    5. color options



TOOL OPTIONS (jul 2012) New Order of features on Tool Options

Make an abstract of main objections, contradictions, reason why.


Simplify the flow to create raster brushes

Interpolation stains to make raster brushes (.gih) in a easier way...


Other ideas

  1. Paint Dynamic and Tool Preset Preview | Andrew Pullins
  2. GIMP Workspaces | Americo Gobbo