Saturday, May 15, 2010

Jedi, no not yet, you have to face Vader

Who is Vader? Vader is when you must use your talents and tools on the fly. It's not a drill. But wait, let's not jump ahead so fast. Vader will look at your tools, your light saber and say your skills are complete, then test your knowledge of the force. How are your tools/skills? We are so eager to start slicing off limbs.

Click on the GIMP icon or menu button, it comes up and the Swiss Army knife of graphics applications is set before you. What do I do next? If you are serious about graphics and not just an occasional user, you need to put things in order according to your way of working. If you are doing animation, identify the animation tools, if painting, the painting tools, etc. This is suffering for the occasional user, "I ain't got time for this!" Imagine every time you want to pencil sketch, you have to find a piece of paper and sharpen a pencil. You also need a pencil sharpener and a flat surface to rest the paper on. If you have to do this every time, it gets in the way.

Presets is what it's called. Presets are used to save the adjustments to GIMP so that when you are ready to work GIMP is already setup for you. What would be immediately cool for GIMP and other apps like this is to have a number of prefigured and selectable presets. These presets or profiles or user preferences would include sets of tools for the kind of work. If I am doing 2D sketching I don't need animation tools, I shouldn't have to work around them. But I should be able to make and select custom presets according to the way I work.

Ramon Miranda is the man behind GPS (GIMP Paint Studio). This is a group of presets and files for painting and drawing. I am looking at this now. It is cool because when you are doing a kind of art process, you want the things you need handy. I am also looking to see if there is an easy way to save multiple setups or if I even need to worry about this. GPS is a good start.

There is another setup called GIMPshop, which is GIMP setup to look similar to Photoshop.  It tries to put menus and tools in the same place as in Photoshop, not to mimic Photoshop but to shorten your work flow while using GIMP if you are used to using Photoshop.

Now that you have a stack of paper, a bundle of sharpened pencils and a clear space to work, you can draw when the urge strikes, not having to prepare every time. And that's my point, you must spend time to get to know what GIMP can do, then tweak it so that it will do what you need it to do. No piece of software that has a wide range of settings is instantly intuitive. You set it up so that your work paths are short and your tools are not the obstacle to getting your ideas down.

Now the only thing left to do is to do it.

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