GIMP's Ways to Paint - New Assets Set

I am currently reviewing the Gimp assets in anticipation of the 3.0 release. I thus find some aesthetic considerations of using ready-to-use assets for painting and drawing appropriate.
These arguments, which follow, are based on logical reasoning as to how the assets are made and who makes them.
By this, I simply mean that my concern is to improve the assets but at the same time try to impart a more generic and classical vision.

Throughout the years I have been able to glimpse mainly two different ways of using Gimp: one ‘traditional’ based on ready-to-use tools and another highly ‘customisable’ using painting tools, dynamics and presets.


Many graphic artists, such as painters, illustrators, concept artists, game illustrators and graphic designers are accustomed to using painting applications with the conventional tools. Many times, these artists use, mainly, only the classical tools to paint, such as paintbrush, pencil, airbrush, ink, smudge and eraser… without tool presets.
These artists have found a way to use the standard options to resolve any part of their style and tasks.
In some cases, because the style of painting is classical and well-formed these tools and features present on Tool Options are sufficient to render easily and efficiently this style or this way of painting.
GIMP is an excellent application for digital painting mainly to haven’t need presets or an asset library large, and in this sense, it is the reason that I consider GIMP ready for many artists with a traditional painting or rather well-formed style.

Style & GIMP

GIMP can adapt very well to many styles and ways of painting from well-formed to personal and/or customized styles.
When I talk with many digital artists, is evident that each artist is doing paintings with our styles (or unawares are considered as theirs) or using some traditional manner of the painting. So, any kind of software for digital painting has a UI that creates the conditions, many times not specifically and/or purposely, to superpose the ‘its inner style’ to our style. This is more common when the apps are deeply based upon tool presets… and where the application is viewed more as presets ready for the painting.

To explain it better I think this metaphor:

  1. All language’s a kind UI’s software, which is the feature that permits us to exchange experiences between us;
  2. As any language or any UI’s software, it has a strong relationship with the environment where is moulded;
  3. The ‘style’ or ‘our own way’ of expressing sensations and ideas in the art form is moulded by the UI;
  4. The language is moulded by the influences and relations with UI;
  5. So, different languages or UI’s software imprinting to our styles in an unaware way;
  6. If we have languages or UI’s software where the capabilities are related to a ‘style’, that is not our own… all things that we will do also will be influenced by this in a certain way and different modes/weights.

When we are using a tool preset to paint anything, is important to know the designer of the preset and his style… so, then it is likely that this preset reflects more the technique and style of the producer rather than the user.
These concerns might sound a bit excessive and in a way they are for the extra large majority of what I consider mainstream digital painting… has anyone wondered yet why this digital painting seems to be so similar?
In this sense it is important to distinguish technique from art… “Art begins where technique ends”, Octavio Paz said very well.

Tool Preset as Prêt-à-porter Style

Since it introduced the Tool Presets on GIMP (when I began to utilize them, on 2.6+ release, they were already present), it has become an application capable to record our way painting style… and is possible also to share them with other painters and common users.
In this sense, the French term Prêt-à-porter (Ready-to-use) from the fashion is significant to understanding why reason the presets have a way of understanding the painting and therefore have their style.
In many situations, the user can, if he wants, customize a prêt-a-porter the tool preset, but it all depends if the application has an easier way to do this… many times the approach is very complex and hard to understand for the artists.
Is possible that certain rules these presets could cause in our styles… mainly if this fact is not clear to the users, in this sense, I think very important to know well these aspects during the design of presets, mainly if we have the intention to share them. So, is very important for the default presets on the painting applications, to have an approach more classical for the painting techniques, which must be more possibly ‘basics’. As advice, I read today a quote very interesting wrote by Brian Eno that is useful in this issue about Tool Presets as Prêt-à-porter:

“Stop thinking about artworks as objects, and start thinking about them as triggers for experiences.”

The draft r-0.2 of the Paint Dynamics and Tool Presets for Gimp 3.0 could be found here:

The textures used for brushes can be created from scratch, this adds to the personal nature of the artwork. Standard tool presets start the process, the artist can then play around. Good hardware makes a huge difference, and as you say, previous experience with traditional media. Having seen some of the latest AI tools, I’m no longer sure where art, digital painting or photography is going. Reddit - Dive into anything

It looks like a new generation of tools is on the way, along with a different concept of image creation. It won’t be long before this technology is a fundamental part of digital painting. For example, digital water colours will look like real water colours. The parameters, the presets, are going to be based on stylistic desires and physical attributes, rather than 20th century code.

Until then, GIMP dynamics are good for the stylus.

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Your approach is perfectly correct and inserted mainly in the actual context of movements and tendencies around visual art. I am not sure what the future of art will be but it is controversial :slight_smile:

How the AI will support the art tasks and mainly aid and substitute our skills will be interesting to imagine. Perhaps, we will have another way to make and understand what is art and this is completely comprehensible because we have seen happening in any epoch and historical period. Now we have yet our memory what is traditional media and their behaviours… but I think that the artistic media is migrating from the matter to the light. So, in remembrance, I see Picasso painting with the flashlight many years ago :wink:
A thing very terrific is how we will know the difference between simulation and simulacrum and worst the difference between real and simulacrum… chi vivrà vedrà :slight_smile:

An interesting thing that GIMP has is its simplicity and complexity that is usable to do personal and sophisticated or traditional styles. The current tendency of many apps for digital painting is to give effects ready-to-use and then when mainstream users do the comparison with GIMP see this as a gap but IMO is an enormous advantage in this scenario that you describe. Because, as always happens the lacune is exchanged by inventive and improvisation which is excellent for art. This is an exquisite discussion about digital painting that could be important to give always open… when we know the context where the art is inserted it helps us our work be distinguished.

I asked different artists to test this revision of the assets and I think that we will have opinions and different results that I will show here soon.
If you can test them is a great thing :wink:

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