Go GIMP! Get iwarp!

Posted by james on Feb. 13, 2009

I've been using GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) for a long time now, ever since I realized I didn't want to spend $617.99 for image editing software. At first I hated the interface, it seemed horrible disorganized and just strange to get used to. Part of that was the use of GTK on windows, which is always pretty poor. However, after getting used to it (and setting up a ton of keyboard shortcuts), I really like it.

I just found something that makes it 75% more fun and makes some editing incredibly easier; the Iwarp plugin (Filters > Distort > Iwarp). I've seen video clips of artists doing touchup on people in Photoshop, and a lot of times they just push the pixels around like 2D clay, shrinking it, growing it, etc. I've always wanted to do that, but have been limited to copying & pasting, then rotating and blending the edges manually. It's horribly time consuming and hard to work with. With the iwarp plugin, I finally have the ability to push pixels like the photoshop liquify filter users do, and it's fun. I just wish I'd found this a lot earlier!

A couple of problems I wish they'd fix. First, with iwarp you don't edit in the main window like on photoshop; you have to edit in the small preview box of the iwarp dialog. That's annoying. Then there's the fact that you can't resize, zoom, or move the preview at all so it stays very tiny. I've worked around it some, but it'd be so much nicer if you could work on pixels in the main window, then just hit "Apply" when you're done. Last, when you're pushing pixels (sounds like a dealer?), the edges don't move. So you can warp an image and it'll look natural, but the edges will look distorted. It's annoying, since you have to go in and edit those manually. It's almost enough to tempt me to download the GIMP src, but I know I don't have that kind of time.

Thank you GIMP and Iwarp authors. I love it.