One of the programs that I like to install, and keep updated, after I install a new Linux distro on my computer is GIMP, the Gnu Image Manipulation Program. GIMP is commonly compared to Adobe’s Photoshop. Photoshop has some features that GIMP lacks and GIMP has some features that Photoshops lacks, but I don’t want to turn this into a GIMP, Photoshop debate. Instead, I want to discuss installing the most recent version of GIMP, 2.8, in Elementary OS (eOS). eOS is a Linux distribution based on Ubuntu, which in turn is based on Debian. Elementary features a strong focus on design, simplicity, and beauty in the OS, something I think a lot of graphically oriented people can appreciate. Beyond installing the current version of GIMP, I’m going to show you how to install some plug-ins that add important functionality, plus brushes, fonts, gradients, and patterns.
One of the nicest features Linux offers is the ability to open the software repositories and install software via a simple search and single click. More recently, Linux distros like Ubuntu, Mint, and now eOS have included improved graphical interfaces to the repositories called Software Centers. If you open the Software Center in your new eOS install and search GIMP, you’ll find it listed with the option of installing it. The problem with this method is that GIMP recently, about a year ago, released a new stable version that hasn’t made it to the repositories in eOS yet. So, if you were to install GIMP via the Software Center it would install GIMP 2.6, which is missing some nice features and extra stability. I really like the features they added in GIMP 2.8, so I would recommend going through the simple process required to install the most recent version, GIMP 2.8. Most people like to trump the value of single-window mode, that was added to GIMP 2.8, but I like the foreground select and cage transform tools more than I’m worried about single window mode; though single-window mode is something I use and like.
I’m going to quickly run down how to add the proper packages to your repositories to install GIMP 2.8 plus the plug-ins, then I’ll go through a quick run down of GIMP’s features. To install GIMP I followed the instructions on webupd8.org (http://www.webupd8.org/2013/06/install-gimp-286-in-ubuntu-ppa.html), but I’ll repeat those instructions here. Type the following into your terminal, terminal can be found in the applications menu. Be sure to just type the text between the (><), they are there to delineate text to be entered in the terminal and text to just be read.
>sudo apt-get update<
>sudo apt-get install gimp<
After adding the PPA and installing GIMP, be sure to remember and install the plug-ins
>sudo apt-get install gimp-gmic<
If you open the Software Center and click the little arrow pointing down you’ll see GIMP listed, if you click that you can see that you now have GIMP and the plug-in registry, plus GMIC installed. There are a few other plug-ins listed that you might like to install there as well.
Let’s take a look at GIMP before we get into the business of finding and installing fonts and brushes. On important thing to remember about GIMP is that it’s incredibly customizable. You’ll notice that in the screenshots that I provide that my GIMP looks different that your version. It’s the same, I just moved the tool setting tab to the bottom right instead of having it on the left, this can be done with drag’n'drop. I also added a colors, fonts, and brushes tabs to the bottom right. These can be added by clicking the arrow pointing left and clicking add tab. I then removed the color palette from the toolbar, on the right, which is a little bit of a weird choice, but I wanted to keep the left-side toolbar thin; you can remove it, if you’re interested, by going to >edit>preferences>toolbox and unchecking the box that says show foreground and background color.
I hope that quick rundown of the customization of GIMP helps, but if you have any questions feel free to ask. Next I’m going to go through what you have installed currently, then I’ll show you how to add cool brushes and fonts. First, if you click on the filters menu on the top, then select GMIC you’ll open one of the best plug-in sets available for GIMP. These plug-ins do all sorts of things, so rather than running through what everyone does I’m going to encourage you to play around with the available filters. When you clicked on the filters menu you probably noticed a big list of available filters, plus you’ll notice there’s a ‘fx-foundry’ menu next to the filters menu, which includes more filters you can play with. I don’t use a lot of filters when I work with GIMP, so I would suggest playing around with all the options and tools in GIMP. There are tons of free tutorials for GIMP. Youtube has a large number of video tutorials if you prefer those, but I usually link to three sites when I’m asked for GIMP tutorials. http://blog.meetthegimp.org/ & http://www.gimptalk.com/index.php?/topic/49563-official-tutorial-index-by-author-and-by-date/ & http://blog.patdavid.net/search/label/Getting%20Around%20in%20GIMP.
One of the great things about GIMP is the ability to use cool brushes for your art or work. GIMP is compatible with all your favorite Photoshop brushes, assuming you have some, but if you don’t you can find good ones on deviantart or via a google search. To add brushes, gradients, or patterns to GIMP, open your home folder, click crtl+h to show hidden folders, you’ll see a folder called GIMP2.8, open that folder and copy the brushes you want to install into the brushes folder. You install fonts the same way, copy font files into the font folder. Be sure to close and re-open GIMP before attempting to use any brushes or fonts, or anything else, you install.
I hope this guide to GIMP helps, but if it raises any questions I’ll do my best to answer them, Be sure to check my blog in the future, as I’m to write some GIMP tutorials that might interest some of you.