First Impressions of Gimp

Today I thought I’d try out Gimp to continue with my manipulations of The Fist. So far, it’s not my favorite program, but I have not yet reached a verdict on whether I like it and will continue to use it.

It almost feels to me that Gimp IS Photoshop… just with a few, almost superficial differences to make sure we know it’s different. Its hot-keys, for example, are different. The way the layers seems to work is different, too… which is probably what I find most frustrating. It doesn’t seem that adding a new layer is really used to edit the image below it, as much as it’s just kind of a new image on top of it.

Another annoyance is with my Wacom tablet. In both Manga Studio and Photoshop, holding the stylus’ key and pulling the tip up or down on the tablet allows me to navigate the canvas, up, down or side-to-side. Gimp, on the other hand, only allows me to navigate vertically in this way – even if there is room to scroll horizontally – and my directional keys don’t seem to help in that regard, either.

I also like that in Photoshop and Manga Studio, I can use one tool to freely transform my selection or layer, whether it be to change its dimensions, rotate, or cut and move. Gimp doesn’t offer that same multi-purpose tool, instead making me select the various tools for each specific function – if there is a free transform tool, I haven’t found it yet.

Another small issue is that I can’t simply save something as a .png, but have to export it instead. Small difference, but an added hurtle, however small, nonetheless.

The problem that I had with Photoshop – that if I rotate or scale a selection, it blurs the pixels and changes colors – is still present in Gimp, rendering it about as good for pixel art as Photoshop. It is not, so far, like Manga Studio, with obvious strengths in other areas of computer drawing that would motivate me to learn the new interface to use it; it feels as though I’d have to put in all the effort to get used to Gimp’s interface but with little reward as the end result seems, for my purposes, to be the same.

Any handy tips for Gimp or secret benefits I haven’t touched on yet? Has anyone tried GraphicsGale? – I recently saw a blurb about it online for pixel art and it looks promising.

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