Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Preview: GIMP 2.8

GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a powerful and versatile graphics manipulation application that is available for many different OS. GIMP is a standard in Linux, usually part of the standard image on most desktop distros. It is clearly one of the most popular applications in the Linux application catalog, mostly down to its outstanding quality, power and flexibility.

Sometimes compared to the market standard, Adobe Photoshop, GIMP offers a huge catalog of tools and effects that allow for deep and complex image tweaking. Some say it is not yet as powerful as Photoshop, but it seems it can get extremely close with the addition of certain plugins. In fact, it will certainly get even better with the soon to come new stable version, GIMP 2.8.

At the moment, GIMP 2.8 is still in the works. The current development version, GIMP 2.7.1 was recently released (July 3rd), and already shows many of the new features that will make GIMP 2.8 a big step forward. The LIST of UI changes is pretty impressive, here are some highlights:

- Single Window Mode. An old favorite request from the user community. The current stable GIMP version interface is made of a main window, where images are loaded, and a couple floating windows containing tools, brushes, layers, etc. This behavior can get annoying, specially if your display is medium or small size, which is the case in most portable devices. GIMP 2.7.1 already supports this feature, but still does not allow for this configuration to be the default.

- Save vs. Export. Once again a concept that could be confusing for Photoshop users, the current stable version of GIMP users a single Save menu entry, which then exports or saves depending on the targeted image format. GIMP 2.8 will split the two. Saving will only apply to GIMP's own format ".xcf".

- Layer Grouping. GIMP 2.8 will include this new feature, as well as a more logical and clear way to handle layers, a critical functionality in GIMP.

- Rotating Brushes. This cool feature will also be part of the next stable GIMP release, as well as a more powerful brush dynamics engine.

- UI Language Management. Changing the language of the UI will be easier and more intuitive in GIMP 2.8.

For a full list of features, refer to the NEWS file.


As usual, pictures, or even a video in this case, really help in showcasing these new features. The video very clearly explains some of the highlights I already discussed, with practical examples. It is a very high quality video, so I recommend (as the video author does) watching it full screen with 720p resolution. Enjoy.

Watch this video full screen with 720p resolution!

Thanks for reading/watching!


  1. Looks amazing, have been using gimp for many years and know this is what loads of artists have been waiting for.

    Thanks gimp team!

  2. When can we expect to see version 2.8 available in a stable format?