Things called brushes

So, after my post about Gimp and tablets, several people told me that I could use Photoshop brushes in Gimp. That’s true, and thanks for the tip, but that’s actually not what I was talking about.

Brushes in Gimp and Photoshop are basically images. So when you load a custom brush, you’re no longer painting a line, but instead you’re painting with that image. Much like using a stamp.

However, the brushes I was referring to (as they exist in MyPaint for example) aren’t just an image, but a complete simulation of a drawing tool. So a 2B pencil brush would make it look like you were actually using a real pencil. The same for watercolours etc. And this is what Mypaint does, and what is immensely useful for digital art.

I found a collection of such brushes for Gimp, though, by the name of Gimp Paint Studio. What this does is install a number of presets into Gimp that simulate different painting utensils, much like in MyPaint (only not as good). In case anyone installs this and wonders where the additional tools/presets are, they are under the “Load” button that is at the bottom of the Tool Settings dialogue. The image I’ve posted above contains the list of new painting tools! Wow! That’s quite a lot. There are also new custom erasers, airbrushes and smudge tools. This is the sort of stuff I was talking about.

While GPS does have various new pencils etc., they are by far not as good as the stuff from MyPaint. I suggest installing them both and just comparing. So, even with custom brushes, Gimp can’t hold a candle to MyPaint when it comes to painting. Here’s a comarison of some brushes.

On top of that, MyPaint comes with better erasers, better colour selectors, endless canvas, more brushes etc. It’s simply a case where a specialized software beats a more generalized one.

Points go to GPS for some of its nice smudge and splatter tools, though.

I think the GIMP developers really should try and make it better suited to digital art, and this includes additional presets like those in GPS/Mypaint, stylus-friendly GUI (large buttons, large selectors, no scrollbars), and things like endless canvas/rotate canvas. The entire interface would need a makeover, though, and we’ve seen how long it took them to incorporate single window mode… I’m not getting my hopes up.

Still, more tools = better.

2 responses to “Things called brushes

  • Spiney

    Wait, Mypaint supports bitmap brushes now? That was the one thing I think was missing.

  • kneedeepinthedoomed

    You mean the image type brushes? Don’t know if Mypaint has those, all I’m interested in are digital pencils. 🙂

    “Brush” is such an overused word – you got brushes in Radiant, then you got brushes in Sandbox which are something totally different, and several types of brushes in graphics editors. Plus toothbrushes. So when someone says “brush”, you need to wave your hands and feet around to convey the additional meaning.

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