The developpers Sygetch ( しげっち ) lead developper and author of the famous fork modification series named 'Gimp-painter' ( a modification over Gimp official code ) continued his developpement to help making Gimp more friendly for digital painters and colorist. He continues to publish his work on a Git repository hosted at sourceforge. A good opportunity for me to dive in another geek adventure and build it to discover his experimentations. I couldn't resist to share it :)
Note & / ! \ warning : To illustrate the screenshots of the article , I loaded in Gimp-painter 2.7dev old speedpaiting done with previous Gimp-painter 2.6. But let be clear : I don't paint anymore with Gimp and don't advice it for this task. Since january , I use and advice recent version of Krita or Mypaint. ( on older system, Gimp-painter 2.6 is also fine ) for digital painting with free and open sources softwares. By the way, I still use and advice Gimp 2.8 ( official release ) as a solution of Image manipulation for compositing and special tweaking , using the open raster file format to communicate between Gimp, Mypaint , Krita. And it works very well and I'm happy about this 3 softwares.
Noticable modifications :Video : a demo of Mypaint brush engine in Gimp done by Sygetch.( source : his Youtube account.)
Mypaint brush engine
The most remarkable feature in developpement is the integration of the Mypaint brush engine, and so it makes Gimp able to use Mypaint presets and keep the editing possibility of Gimp. The performance are good. ( Note: Krita developpers are also finishing the integration of Mypaint brush engine in 2.5dev and there is even rumors about Blender... )
The addition of a toolbar
The toolbar allow Gimp-painter 2.7 to offer drop-down menu button. Those are really more conveniant to reach brushes and preset setup than the disposition in Gimp 2.8 official version. Setting a brush can be done on the fly during painting without having to open many dialogs and ruin the windows disposition.
another dropdown menu exemple for textures selection
Note the fast palette access on the color selector. A nice little dropdown on the corner of the foreground color. This is a lovely details.
Other user interface disposition
I also liked how Sygetch moved the thumbnail bar of the single windows multi-documents open to the vertical ( they are horyzontal on Gimp 2.8 ) ; it makes a lot of sens most of modern wide screens ( with 16/9 ratio ) to preserve the height displayed pixel ( for artist working on portrait artwork, it's precious ). I hope such a preference will reach future Gimp 2.9 official developement to give user the ability to choose between horyzontal or vertical.
Building and testing : tips
For Linux user and adventurer , here are my notes , under a html page to not flood my article with pages of terminal codes : 2012-05_gimppainter27-compile-1204.html Note : use at your own risk, I tested here only on my Kubuntu 12.04.
Gimp-painter 2.7dev version have really nice modifications for drawers, painters and artist workflow and it's certainly a better place than the Gimp 2.8 in overall exept maybe for the bug and support : it's still "under heavy development" to quote the words of the author , and also still a one man project fork. That's why concerning Gimp and my actual use of it ( I repeat, for compositing, exporting, effect, etc...) , I would prefer to keep a 2.8 official from the repo of my distribution.
But ... I totally admire all the work freely shared by Sygetch on the top of the work done by the Gimp team. Again , many thanks to both ; but especially to Sygetch . Without his previous work on Gimp-painter 2.6 , I would surely never could work on the Sintel concept art with open-source, and I wouldn't switch all my freelance activities to Linux and open sources solutions... etc... etc...
That's said, my main tool is now Krita ( 2.5dev version ) , and Gimp-painter 2.7 can't really compete with the new set of feature Krita offer... as a reminder : Krita have now a Mixbrush engine , texturing , CMYK, rich blending modes, a great user interfaces especially designed for artist , and a dedicated project goal to digital painter.
Gimp-painter 2.7 certainly suffered from all the restructuration of the brush engine who happened during the transition of Gimp 2.6 to 2.8 ; and it makes also Gimp-painter 2.7 have regression over the wonderfull ability of the Mixbrush in Gimp-painter 2.6. Oh this lovely mixbrush, with brushmask and textures... So Gimp-painter 2.6 still better than 2.7 ? But with new dependencies, GTK3 , whole desktop librairies evoluing it's fair to admit Gimp-painter 2.6 is now a dead project mainly because of no packaging, bug with newer technologies ...etc... No one will continue to maintain it.
So, Gimp-painter 2.7 is not a real successor to the end of the 2.6 series, but more a new set of experimentations over the 2.7/2.8 main base. I hope his experimentation will inspire other developpers interrested into digital painting softwares. And I also hope my review will help you to have more information about it.