GIMP and GEGL in 2019

Here is what we did in 2019 and what we are planning to do in 2020.

“Happy New Year 2020”, by Aryeom, Creative Commons by-sa 4.0 New releases and features

2019 was the second year in a row where we shipped updates with new features in the stable branch. Our assumption was that this could change the public’s perception of the ongoing development efforts and shift the balance towards having more contributors. Here is why.

Between 2012 and 2018 (v2.8 and v2.10 releases respectively), we worked hard and added a ton of improvements and new features, we demoed them on social networks, mentioned them in annual reports etc., and yet we kept hearing how GIMP was dead because those changes were not in any stable releases. The same thing was happening before in the four years between v2.6 and v2.8.

Moreover, this was preventing people from contributing as they would have to wait a long time to see their contribution actually used. That wasn’t sparking an interest really.

Hence, after the v2.10 release, we kept adding new features at the same pace and started producing regular updates with those features, and all of a sudden we started hearing how we “picked up the pace”!

So this could be a lesson for other projects: arguing against the irrational is futile. Just don’t keep people waiting. If you did something good, share it!

Either way, there have been three updates in 2019. In terms of focus, here is what we targeted. The list below is far from being complete, these are just the most obvious changes.

Usability improvements GIMP is finally able to optionally display and edit pixels outside the canvas boundaries. There’s a new preference to allow the editing of hidden layers. On-canvas handles of transformation tools can now be readjusted after zooming in or out. The Free Select tool now creates a preliminary selection so that you could both copy and paste the selection and tweak positions of nodes when you do a polygonal selection. You can now switch to a particular layer by pointing at its pixels and pressing Alt + middle click. The Curves tool/filter now allows for more predictable editing and comes with two types of nodes instead of one to make more useful, more sophisticated curves. Better tools Parametric brushes now have 32-bit per channel precision. The Bucket Fill tool got a new mode for smart colorization of line art, this is handy for comic artists. The new Sample Merged option in the Heal tool allows non-destructive retouching of photos on a separate layer. The Foreground Select tool got a new Grayscale preview mode. The New Offset tool makes it possible to shift pixels and optionally wrap them around the edges so that you could create repeatable patterns. Better performance Faster painting: GIMP now doesn’t replace the paint buffer on every dab if the paint color/pixmap hasn’t changed. Faster saving/exporting and layer groups rendering. Grayscale workflows are now an order of magnitude faster thanks to changes in the babl library. Improved file formats support Due to popular demand, we merged the existing DDS plug-in originally developed by Shawn Kirst. But as none of us is a game developer, we appreciate further contributions from the community. Layers are now optionally preserved when exporting to TIFF, and if you load a TIFF file with

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