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02 October 2008, 10:19

Gimp 2.6 released with new graphics library

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The developers of Gimp have released version 2.6 of the open source image manipulation and editing application. The most significant innovation in Gimp 2.6 is almost invisible – the GEGL (Generic Graphics Library) image processing library, which is uses 32-bit floating point numbers rather than 8-bit bytes, should pave the way to non-destructive editing and greater than 8 bit per channel colour depth. GEGL is not enabled by default though; the old libraries will remain in use for now, but users can activate the library via Colors/Use GEGL menu option. There is also a GEGL Operation tool in the toolbox which can apply GEGL based filters, with previewing, to images.

The Gimp interface has been refined by merging the Toolbox menubar with the image window menubar. This change means that there is an empty image window when no image is open, but now images can be opened by dragging and dropping them into this empty window. Improved navigation makes it possible to pan beyond the image border so that the image can be positioned freely underneath utility and tool windows.

The freehand select tool has been improved and can now be used to create polygonal selections or connect freehand areas with polygons. A new dynamic brush mechanism allows the user to set set the opacity, hardness, size and colour of a brush based on pressure (when using a graphics tablet), velocity or random values.

Other minor updates include useful fixes. The text tool bounding box now wraps text automatically within the bounding box. The screenshot plug-in has acquired the ability to capture the mouse cursor if desired. The Flame plug-in contains 22 new variations. Gimp is now able to read ICC profiles when importing Photoshop PSD files, allowing colour profiles to be maintained. Script developers will find a more extensive API for working with text layers. Other minor changes are listed in the release notes.


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