After publishing The Warrior Poet’s Guide to Python and Blender 2.80, I was at a deciding point. It’s clearly not meant to be the only element in the series, but I had a lot of options then. I could throw money into marketing (well, more of it), I could break for a while and get back to one of my in-house projects, or I could start on the next book.
I’m not a person to waste time, not even when I arguably should relax; so, I decided to get started on the next book. The theme of the series is professional, proven, and most importantly available tools, which are flexible enough to use to write one’s own plug-ins and add-ons. On top of that, these books are directed at people who are ambitious and driven enough to use the information, but may not always know where to begin.
The choice was obviously the GNU Image-Manipulation Program, or GIMP. GIMP has had a resounding impact on the VFX industry. Its only realistic competitor for use is Photoshop, which is saying something—GIMP was produced entirely by volunteer engineers for projects of their own. It has objectively been a spearhead for the open-source software movement. It’s spawned various other projects out of both its own original code, and its ideals, such as the GTK+ windowing toolkit.
Moreover, unlike Blender, you can easily extend GIMP with an assortment of different languages. It has native support for C, Perl, Scheme, and Python. There’s an awful lot going on under the hood in that software. However, with GIMP being software built by volunteering professionals, many of the tutorials are frequently out-of-date. (Documentation takes time too, after all!) I will frequently come across often-cited walkthroughs on the internet, which recommend techniques which have been deprecated for nearly a decade.
I’m actually glad that the walkthroughs are still there; people who aren’t used to actual source-code diving need a place to start. However, version 2.10.14 was released not long ago, the world has changed in GIMP, and no one talks about the new features. The existing material isn’t enough. Where are the saga-long YouTube videos on GeGL tricks? Where are the WordPress pages of colorspace filters and distortion stunts?
I’m now four chapters into writing The Warrior Poet’s Guide to Building Plug-ins for GIMP 2.10, focusing on Python and C. There are still worlds of material, and associated artistry-magic, to cover here. Moreover, it’s pivotal that the material is accessible to the broadest part of my target audience, so I may have a few appendices on subjects like Python, C, and GeGL. I may even append something on basic Python to Python and Blender 2.80.
If you’re interested in writing your own plug-ins for modern GIMP, then check back to this website over the next few weeks. I’m in full science-journalism mode and hope to have the initial draft done by the end of November. After that, there are a host of different products I could take on next, from LADSPA in Audacity, to OSL.
We’ll see what comes next.