I wonder if you plan on going to any of the free software conferences next year? Guadec? ArtLibre Meeting?
I would love to chat about your GIMP use. Are you using a tablet? Making use of the fullscreen mode? How's the docks accessible for you? Missing a better quality preview when zoomed out? What sort of things you go tweaking over an over (brush size, opacity, etc..)? Do you get lost in the layer stack often? Do you make use of the USB/MIDI input controllers?
I'm pretty sure I can't afford to go to any conferences anytime soon.
I am using a tablet. The lack of OS X support pretty much makes Gimp useless to me at work though, which is unfortunate.
I wasn't aware there was a fullscreen mode.
The docks are functional. I really wish they were all bound to one window though. One thing that's always bugged me about GTK is the size of the widgets. The 'small' theme in GIMP, for example, dwarfs photoshop's palettes.
Now that you mention it, the preview is kinda lame.
I constantly change the size of my brush. It annoys me that I have to create a new brush and have the (rather large) brush palette open to do so quickly. Pressure sensitivity handles my opacity needs.
Layer management is good, I miss adjustment layers though.
USB/MIDI input controllers?
I've been considering doing videos of my icon making process. I remember looking at one of your videos where you drew a white dog and getting inspired to make RAPI, a small set included in GANT 3.
I'm happy to say that some of the issues you mention are fixed in 2.3.
The window handling is much better and docks can me made to follow image windows around and docks hide and show correctly on tab (even in fullscreen mode). This however needs configuration based on what WM you use. I hope we can make the configuration less painful and try to make GIMP smart about figuring out what WM is used. Below are the two common gnome WM configurations that do what I expect:
toolbox hint: utility window
other docks: utility window
[ ] transient to image window
toolbox hint: normal window
other docks: normal window
[x] transient to image window
As for brushes, it's annoying that the two types of brushes expose a different interface. To be able to smoothly scale a brush size, it needs to be of parametric type. Currently the bitmap brushes don't scale (suck). By default (in 2.3 at least) scaling is bound to [ and ] keys. I have a neat USB device, powermate which I use to control brush size. But you can also bind these to a MIDI or game controller type device. I have yet to try my steering-wheel pedals for opacity or something
Having smaller widgets for docks isn't impossible. One could edit the gtkrc to match for specific widgets and specify smaller sizes for everything. The problem is that it's not exactly trivial to identify the widget classes. gtkrc editing isn't exactly fun.
So while I still think the redraw speed is below usable, the fullscreen mode is really nice for painting (and photo editing). I wish I had time to spec out some quick pie menu for accessing brush and layer functionality quicker, but tabbing my way and seeing as much canvas as possible is nice already.
I would *LOVE* to see screen captures of your painting session.
Nevertheless I still hope to meet in person one day
Well, the lighting seems more like he's outside than inside a room. I'd suggest adding more atmosphere... I know you did a quick job, but just for an after thought it'd be neat to try darkening the corners of the room and making the shadows more... 'syrupy'... so they stick to the edges of stuff more. Yeah... only I'd be weird enough to think of it as hozing a place down with shadow syrup... either that or I'm hungry. Sorta looking at renders such as [link] you kinda get the feel that corners in a room should be slightly darkened if the place is enclosed, but that example has it very subtly used. Here's an exaggerated example, where the corners have been really really darkened: [link] . The far corners at the top are really dark, the edges are slightly dark, and the bottom is sorta a wash of light. So, perhaps to make the lighting more atmospheric, try just loosely following that theme. Darken the corners and think of the shadows as syrup that clings to wherever there's an edge enough to catch it, and perhaps make the window more lightened and haloed if you really want a crazy effect. Flat shading is normally only going to happen outside or with a bright like... and even then, I'm just thinking it'd make for a neat effect and make it more dramatic. But heck, that's just an opinion of mine. I mean I can see that you have a lot of skill with shadows looking at your gallery and you do edges really swell on figures and all... so this is prolly already an overkill explanation, but I honestly believe that if you experimented with it, you might like making rooms more shadowy. I admit have an uber bias towards shading things when I'm not careful, so feel free to take this with a grain of salt. I love drawing shadowy stuff... but I never really put enough on devart.
I really like the highlights and all on the character too. You've got the indirect lighting down so well. Very nice. All the other stuff I could mention are either nit picking or blah. I'd like to see you work more on places and really cool lighting stuff... but that's just me again. I truly dig your stuff, and the way you seem to be painting this stuff always makes me pause and consider how I build my shades. I dunno how much you rely on linework, but at some point, you clearly erase those lines and it's really hard to go from linework to shades for some people. I also really respect how you seem to really know when to use lines anyways (it really helps the figure here to be well defined and so solid). I guess I've done way too much realism... I've been having to unlearn a lot of the mistakes I taught myself about lineworking... I tend to try to just make shades and work from there.