I feel like I’m going through a growing stage in my use of GIMP. I’m reading more and learning more graphic design techniques and rules. I feel like most of the time all they’re doing is reinforcing my intuition. Which seems like a pretty good sign. I have a pretty natural intuition of visual things, but I imagine it might just be that I’ve spent a decent amount of time thinking about them. I think about how everything I see is visually put together now. I feel like I’m soaking in lessons from the world much better now than I did previously.
One of the interesting things I’ve learned about the rules of art and graphic design is the idea that you need to know the rules even if you’re going to break them. I think there’s probably some truth in that, but at the same time there’s a degree of intuition that allows you to see that something is aesthetically pleasing without understanding exactly why. Every time I write or think about graphic design or art I just want to fire up GIMP to start working and try things out. I think that’s a good sign. There’s not a lot of things in life that I enjoy going into blind or nearly blind, but art and graphic design is one them. I’m one of those people who will at least skim the instructions before I do something. Granted, I don’t usually do that with anything around a computer, but I’m pretty damn experienced with computers and software. Troubleshooting a rough Linux install a few years ago instilled a brazen confidence that I can solve anything by merely Googling it. (Are words like Google that are turned into verbs supposed to be capitalized? It seems like they shouldn’t be.)
I think my unearned confidence is probably one of those things where I’m too ignorant to feel less confident. I don’t know what I don’t know. Whereas with many other things I’m at least aware that I don’t know things. I guess all this reading and video watching is helping to teach me that I don’t know a lot about graphic design and art. It’s not surprising, of course, I haven’t really had an opportunity to learn any of these things, but I feel like going into learning something with previous experience helps to push you through those moments of feeling truly ignorant and useless at what you’re trying to do. I also still don’t like a lot of what I do, but I at least see that I’m improving. I doubt I’ll ever really care for my work, I’m just not that kind of person, but at least I’ll know that it meets the standard. That’s what knowing the guides and rules helps me know. I’ve probably spent 1,ooo hours working in GIMP by now, so if that whole 10,000 hours things is true I’m ten percent there. Which I suppose means I’m ninety percent away, but I feel like by the time you’re entering the third thousandth hour you’re probably pretty close to being considered an expect even if you’re not awe-inspiring. I don’t know, I doubt think I’ll ever be that good, I assume I’m just not that talented.
So I slightly improved the wallpaper I posted yesterday and tacked on this quote. It’s still not the best and I feel like the quote doesn’t fit, but I’m tired of working on it so here it is. Done with GIMP 2.8, image is 2560×1440
Mark Twain, “civilization is the limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities”
This one is kind of dull, but it looks alright, I think. Image is 2560×1440
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt. Image is 2560×1440, made with GIMP 2.8. On an unrelated note, this picture minus the quote has nearly 80k views on imgur.
Done with GIMP, image is 2560×1440
A photo I took earlier today, touched up with GIMP. The beauty of fall in the Willamette Valley, Oregon.
Elementary OS comes with a music player helpfully called Music. It’s a simple iTunes-inspired player. I’m a big fan of the design and simplicity of the program, but it doesn’t handle ID3 tags well and I’m overly obsessive about my tags. I’ve spent countless hours editing and perfecting the tags by hand, so I want them to work. Before Beatbox (https://launchpad.net/beat-box) was released, which Music is based on, I constantly tried new music players on Linux. I used Rythmbox (https://projects.gnome.org/rhythmbox/) for a while, but it’s too damn clunky. I used Banshee (http://banshee.fm/) for a while and it’s a great player, but it has far, far too many features that I don’t use bundled into it, making it obscenely heavy for me. I even used Exaile (http://www.exaile.org/) for a while, which it seems like that’s kind of dead, or at least not updated with any regularity. I learned to love Exaile though. I love the tree browser next to tabbed playlists style of player.
Eventually I found Clementine (https://launchpad.net/~me-davidsansome/+archive/clementine). Clementine is the best music player for linux these days, I feel, unless you’re into doing a lot more work than I am to listen to music. The downside of using Clementine in a GTK environment like Elementary is that it looks pretty damn bad. I don’t have a fix for that, but it’s so close to perfect in every other way that I can ignore the annoying visual discontinuity. Installing Clementine is easy enough, it’s in the repos so you can either open the terminal and type sudo apt-get install Clementine or you can find it in the Software Center, but I like to have the most up-to-date stable version of Clementine installed. The easiest way to keep up-to-date is to add the Clementine PPA to your repository. To do this open your terminal:
Type <sudo add-apt-repository ppa:me-davidsansome/clementine>
Then type <sudo apt-get update>
Then <sudo apt-get install clementine>
That’s it. You’ve got the latest stable version of Clementine installed.
Two of my favorite Clementine features are the visualizer that uses http://projectm.sourceforge.net/ and the extras like the sound of rain and a white noise generator which are nice if you’re like me and need some sort of noise to fall asleep to.