Glimpse inside the new GIMP

Polygonal Selection

Anyone who uses GIMP for graphics design or to chop objects from images will know how sorely polygon selection was missed from the selection tool armory. Now GIMP offers a basic polygon selection tool ( Free Select), probably the best polygon selection tool ever in any similar application. The refurbished tool allows a lot of flexibility in making the selection. For example, now it is possible to use the Free Select tool directly as a polygon selection tool by placing nodes and then clicking on the starting node to close the selection. Moreover, you can move the nodes you have placed – although this feature works only while the selection is being made. All you need to do is move the mouse over to a previously placed node, left-click and drag the node to move it, then left-click again to drop it at its new position (Figure 4).

Figure 4: The new polygon selection tool in action.

Notice that if you drag the mouse button with the Free Select tool, it behaves like a drawing selection tool, whereas if you move the mouse button without dragging it, Free Select behaves like a polygonal selection tool. Also, you can mix both modes of selection in the same selection, making it very, very useful.

Transform Pivot

One minor but very useful feature in selections is the presence of a pivot point for the center of a selection or an image. As soon as you select Transform Tools on either a selection or a layer, GIMP places a cross-hair circle in the geometric middle of the layer or selection bound. That pivot point is used as the basis of rotation transformation (Figure 5). Now you have the ability to move it interactively and use that customized pivot point for rotation transformation.

Figure 5: Pivot point during rotation transformation.

Paint Me Differently

The paint toolset also gets revamped with the addition of brush dynamics (in the tool options). Graphics tablet users can now use the pressure and sensitivity parameters. The new brush dynamics tool option also introduces a new method of value input to GIMP in a new slider-cum-info bar option. This option allows you to see the currently selected value graphically like stairs (Figure 6a). Left-click on the selected value to bring out the slider to change the value. Brush scaling is also possible with bracket keys on the keyboard (Figure 6b).

Figure 6: Advanced options and new value slider in brush tool options.

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