Considerations on organising and presenting assets in GIMP

Current system

  1. Asset name and indexing in alphabetical order
  2. Automatic tags (based on folder name)
  3. User tag (I couldn’t find the Gimp log file)

Ideal system

  1. The three mentioned above.
  2. Optional ID generated when the asset is created in GIMP. This could work as an automatic tag, like the one in the folder name.
  3. Alphabetical order based on asset name and ID.
  4. Order customised by the user or administrator of the official release.
  5. Brushes with the possibility of loading a pixmap as an icon (currently paint dynamics and tool presets already have this feature).

This would require

  1. implement changes in the assets that would allow the automatic/customised generation of IDs in the GIMP assets;
  2. Pixmap the native GIMP brushes, default the first layer and customise it with a user or administrator pixmap (in the case of the official GIMP);
  3. Default presentation option and/or user option, probably to be chosen in the GIMP preferences.

Asset name and indexing in alphabetical order

Not really. It is the user’s assets (independently of folder), then the “system” assets (except for the fonts…). IMHO, first improvement, have a single list order with maybe a small icon modifier to show the read-only assets.

Optional ID generated when the asset is created in GIMP.

What would be the point, when we already have a file name and a description?

Alphabetical order based on asset name and ID.
Order customised by the user or administrator of the official release.

The current way is already hard to understand, and this would add another criteria that the user doesn’t know?

Hi, in my haste to post a reply to an old thread on the subject (about sorting assets in GIMP), where I talked about organising assets in GIMP lists and dockables, I forgot to make a decent introduction and say a few important things.
I’ll try to explain the issues linked to the terms I used in the initial text and say that I’m not a software developer so I may commit some improprieties in the use of the terms mentioned here, so I’ll try to define the basis that led me to write these points in the initial text.

The basis for the series of points is located in an old thread
The discussion is dated to a large extent, but I wanted to take stock of the general aspects that I worked on with the idea of assets, brushes in particular, for the 2.10 release of GIMP.
At the time, I tried to organise the asset files in an order in which the brushes would appear in the dockables (list and grid) so as to create a sequence of use, e.g. .vbr parametric brushes, .gbr raster brushes and .gih brushes of different formats that had an order of presentation more linked to typology. In this sense, I tried to use the only possibility I had at the time, which was to introduce an alphanumeric append to the description and name of the file itself that could order the assets in the dockable (list, grid) that represented this idea.
This option was not accepted for use because we opted to keep the original names of the assets traditionally used since the earliest versions of GIMP.

I recently wrote in the thread where the discussion originated that I would be willing to resume work on organising GIMP assets more generally. These points are partly a summary of the discussion I had with João Bueno, adding up our ideas on the subject and understanding any links and difficulties.

Having explained this, I’m now going to define a few things so that we don’t misunderstand the initial terms used.
When I refer to the characteristics of the ‘Current System’, I simply mention how the Dockables (list, grid) can be organised and in this sense, they are presented in alphanumeric order.

When I refer to the ‘Ideal System’, I want to introduce some ideas that can help us give greater flexibility to the ordering of files in GIMP. These criteria and resources would not be available or visible in the Dockables lists but would be hidden in the asset itself. So in the instances where assets are created, such as brushes, dynamics, and presets, we would have additional fields that would make it possible to organise the assets differently from the current alphanumeric based on the name/description of the asset. The description that is inserted in the creation instance would remain unchanged, i.e. a name without the need to apply resources to place a particular item in a specific position, e.g. see the case of the ‘z Pepper’ brush.

In the ‘Ideal System’ I also mention the possibility of having a customised order, i.e. independent of the alphanumerical order, e.g.: a drag and drop to position the assets according to a preference of use different from that used by the alphanumerical name/description and the possible internal ‘order identifier’ created by the asset generation instance.

Another clarification: when I refer to the 'ID’ in the 'Ideal System’, it is simply an identifier hidden in the asset in order to sort it. In practice, it would be an additional field to be used to sort the asset.

At the time we discussed the subject, there was a lot of talk about asset licences (especially for brushes), so I did a lot of research to find the original authors of the brushes. In this sense, I think it would be appropriate to have at least one field to enter the author and any description at the author’s discretion (e.g.: ‘Pinco Palino, brush for special effects linked to textures’).
I don’t know if this is a complex problem for us to have an icon image, but it would help the community to produce brush sets that are easier to identify. For example, MyPaint’s creation instance allows us to create an image that represents the brush.

Following this logic, it’s clear that with each GIMP release, the curatorial staff will decide how to organise the assets and present them in the dockable lists. In other words, by default, these new systems will also have an Official Gimp aspect.

I apologise for the inaccuracies in the terms I used initially, but I think it’s clearer now that I’m trying to introduce a discussion about my ‘considerations’.

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Yes, and I still stand with my answer:

  • What we have currently is a “double alphanumerical” sort
  • The current display is quite confusing with two entry fields that look like filters but aren’t really
  • I don’t think that piling up identifiers or sort keys is going to help
  • A solution most people know how to work with is a hierarchical system with folders, so maybe the list view could be a tree view and the grid view could have folder icons, all this reflecting a directory tree under the asset directories (think brushes/Xmas/Trees, brushes/Xmas/Balls…)
  • Let’s keep in mind that currently you cannot have very many installed assets because this slows down Gimp startup (my addonCollectionManager plugin is quite popular)
  • A hierarchical view could be a partial answer to the performance problem, by limiting the number of assets Gimp has to display at a given time.
  • Another problem with linear lists is that you are encumbered by all the things you don’t use. Pareto’s law applied to this says that 80% of the standard assets are useless clutter, while your clutter is my cherished patterns and vice-versa. Another case for a hierarchical view that makes things easier to manage, especially if you want to add more standard assets.

I don’t understand your point about the number of assets in the context I’m presenting. I’m not worried about the interaction between GIMP and the number of assets… I think they’re two different things. A better possibility of organising assets starting from internal instances would partly avoid the hierarchy of folders > tags. I know this technique well and remember that I was one of the first users to do a tutorial on the subject, I think about 11 years ago. If you’re curious, check it out here (in Portuguese): Forks And Drills For Graphic Arts

I think tags and hierarchical organisation are important, but I’ve seen that very few users are able to use it efficiently… because I think it’s very specific and requires a certain amount of preparation/bureaucratic patience :wink:

At the same time, it might be interesting to extend the TAGS feature. TAGS is currently a feature that depends on the structure of folders and the input of tags by the end user, right? In other words, the tag information is external to the assets, so would it make sense for the asset to be able to load the tag information? This option could make it easier to categorise assets, in that default condition (GIMP Official). In this way, the assets would be catalogued, according to an optic to be decided, and would thus be independent of where they were located in the fs.

In this approach, my concern is with the asset itself, the information it carries and how this information may or may not help in classifying and organising it. It’s important to know the intrinsic qualities of a given asset. Let’s imagine a real practical example, like a bottle of wine, the intrisic information about the type of wine contained in the bottle should be independent of its placement on a particular shelf… I think Faceted Classification can help us understand some of the aspects I’m touching on here. In short, I’m looking to produce a wine bottle label that can help us create a minimum, indispensable classification without the need for external supports. For example, the tag in the current situation depends on the folder structure and the input of the end user… if I take the asset out of this context, it is, so to speak, orphaned from macro classification. Perhaps other problems occur when I make a change to the asset that causes the link between the asset and the tag to be lost.

Nowadays, the GIMP uses the asset description/name to make this kind of display in the lists, which are clearly allied to the tag… but deep down, even the lists or grids derived from the tags always reflect an ordering by description/name… it’s as if in practice we were trying to put everything we need to classify the wine itself into the FANTASY NAME of our ‘bottle of wine’. In practice, the FANTASY NAME becomes impractical.

The issue that many assets create problems in GIMP is something independent of whether or not the asset is well described. The problem I’m raising isn’t one of quantity or even the difficulty of managing too few or too many assets, but of the quality of the label we stick on our asset.
Yes, we agree that the current presentation of the lists is confusing, but whose fault is that? Would we say it’s the lack of hierarchy or simply that the asset’s labelling isn’t appropriate? You can’t blame the shelf if a product on it isn’t well described, can you? :slight_smile:
The Pareto question, it seems to me, is not one of classification but of USE. So I ask myself: how does the question of ‘use’ intersect with that of correct and appropriate description? Use and the quality of definition, exposure and classification will always facilitate ‘use’ itself, not the other way round. In other words, can better labelling even help to use the 80% of the set that is not considered by the user? Honestly, I think it could help increase the number of items used in the set by users.

We have to think that the 20% of the set is not always the same for all users, i.e. in my opinion they are different contexts, which forces us to think that I can’t a priori know the 20% of each user, so regardless of the set, this implies the need for a proper organisation/classification of the set as a whole (of 1 or 1000 assets) and more importantly from the point of view of ‘use’.

So I ask: how can we improve the labelling of GIMP assets? Is there a workaround as a preliminary step?

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