GIMP 2.8 released, next version to get high bit depth precision

GIMP 2.8 released, next version to get high bit depth precision

After 3.5 years of blood, sweat and tears the GIMP team announced the release of GIMP 2.8. But good things come in pairs.

The new stable version features improvements in almost all aspects: UI, tools, painting features, resources. A detailed review is in works, for now please have a look at the official release notes.

Now, the even better news is that since few days internal pipeline of the development version can work in 16bit and 32bit per color channel mode, both integer and float. This finally makes high bit depth precision available and opens up high dynamic range imaging for GIMP. The announcement was made today by Michael Natterer and Øyvind Kolås at Libre Graphics Meeting in Vienna.

The precision switcher is in the Image menu:

Precision switcher

Both painting, color adjustment and transformation tools work in 32bit float mode. Additionally GIMP can load and save 16bit PNG images and save EXR and HDR files. The better file formats support was implemented by Simon Budig, one of the oldest contributors in the project.

While working on the GEGL integration, the team also revised their plans regarding support for indexed images which they initially intended to ditch. Instead they made operations on indexed images transparent.

What it means is that now you can apply Gaussian blur to images in indexed mode, or smudge them, or do whatever was impossible to do before.

Feature-wise 2.10 is likely to get Google Summer of Code projects from last year: Warp Transform tool, Seamless Paste tool and a new widget for size entry. Further plans for new features haven't been decided on yet.

There are no time-wise plans regarding release of 2.10, but the agreement is to switch to shorter development cycles, so that hell could proceed burning sinners as planned, without freezing over every once in a while.

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18 Comments

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  1. Great news! I’m very excited about 2.9-10 :)

    Great work!

  2. The news about HDRI support is good to hear!

  3. CMYK! Finally!
    /me starts a slashdot article.

    :-p

  4. Congratulations to the entire development team!. Great job!. And THANKYOU!!. Your work is very appreciated!.

  5. @Gez

    CMYK O_o? There is no mention of it in this article.
    Read carefully.

  6. Big thank you to the Gimp team!

  7. @n-pigeon:
    Just kidding. Everytime an article mentions GEGL a new article in slashdot saying that the next version has high bit depth is written.
    Now that we *actually* have high bit depth somebody has to push it further.
    So the natural evolution is to tell everyone that we already have CMYK and layer styles. Or maybe Pantone colors! :-)

  8. CMYK is too printers specific due to the nature of inks. I think a plugi similar to seperate+ including a preset of spot colours range that will take advantage of GEGL engine will be much better approach.

  9. @Finalzone: I agree.
    The ability of assigning spot inks or specific C, M, Y or K values to individual layers would be enough and we wouldn’t need a special CMYK “mode”.
    Special projections to specific colorspaces from an internal device-independent representation make more sense than the traditional “modes” in other packages.

  10. What I have to say may be stupid. But isn’t there an ICC profile for each printer? Ex. IJ Canon Printer, etc. And we can use thoses profiles to simulate the color of CMYK on screen isn’t it?

    The ability to use CMYK is very important. For GIMP, CMYK is indeed a good thing to support. But for Inkscape, it’s a must!

  11. Alexandre Prokoudine 06 May 2012 at 4:02 pm

    Kreaninw, color reproduction is different for every combination of printer + paper + inks. Ideally, you’d have to create a profile for each combination.

  12. @Kreaninw: The ability to use CMYK is overrated.
    Most people think that using a specific CMYK combination will ensure perfect color, while a specific combination of CMYK will give you different colors depending on the hardware that prints it (and the paper, and even the climate).
    CMYK isn’t a silver bullet, and certainly not device CMYK, so the best way to achieve good prints is using a reliable color management system where every device used in the pipe is properly calibrated and profiled.
    If you have your colors in a device independent space, you can map them to whatever output profile you need, soft-proof the print output, etc.
    CMYK isn’t a must if color management does its job.
    There’s a special situation though: When CMYK inks have to be used a spot colors and some special tricks like rich black.
    Ideally RIPs should take care of that, but manual control is usually necessary.
    I guess if our software can manage those situation there’s no need for a CMYK mode at all

  13. Big thanks to all who develop & enhance the program. I like it very much and I was very happy to see, that 2.8 is now launched. And it is getting better and better.

  14. I like the single window mode. I didn’t think I’d like it, but I do.

    Some of the other tools, like arithmetic in dialog boxes, on screen text editing, and layer groupings are gonna be fun to use.

    Only thing I don’t like is that it is a little buggy, I liked some of the other splash screens, and it seems to be more of a resource hog compared with 2.6. Hopefully these are just growing pains, because less system hogging was a huge benefit in 2.6.

    As for ‘buggy’, whenever I move the canvas around quickly, the canvas strips up into separate pieces. Odd, really.

  15. “There are no time-wise plans regarding release of 2.10”

    so i guess this means that in 3.5 years the next version of gimp may have some support for floating point images… 

  16. grubz, IIRC, gimp team is moving to a faster release cycle. Hopefully there won’t be anymore 3.5 year delays. :)

  17. “grubz, IIRC, gimp team is moving to a faster release cycle. Hopefully there won’t be anymore 3.5 year delays. :)”

    i can only hope that some new blood is given the chance to take the project in a more serious direction. so that the open source can have an image editor that is not only as powerful as professional tools but more powerful. in the same way that other areas of open source produce tools that are often the first choice for professionals and not a last resort.

    that IS an achievable goal. and you can look at Blender as an example. Blender is arguably far more complicated then gimp but is in many respects now suitable for large scale animation and rendering. that would not be possible without focusing on the areas that matter to serious artists and attracting developers who in some way are part of the graphics research community which includes professionals and students.

    my current feeling is ridicule of the gimp developers may be what is needed to get them back on track :). it seems to much back patting has taken there eyes off the ball!

  18. Grubz, I agree with you. I disagree that the developers lack a serious direction (I will leave it at that, there are many a flame wars about this). I think it is more of a lacking manpower problem - I think they will tell you as much.

    Also, I’ve used gimp and blender extensively. IMO there is nothing arguable about it, Blender is more complex with a steeper learning curve. I found it much easier to learn Gimp coming from MS Paint compared to learning Blender coming from AutoCAD/Inventor.

    One or two gimp tutorials and I was off tinkering around and making final products. It took me probably about 10 tutorials to get myself to the same point in blender (w/2.5 interface upgrades. for >2.5 I tried twice and never got far).

    2.8 is a big step in the right direction. I think new fun features will create some buzz, and thus spur new development. Hopefully it will grow from there.

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