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sedgemonkey
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Quote sedgemonkey Replybullet Topic: Software for pixel art
    Posted: 04 March 2005 at 9:24am

I thought it'd be fun to have a thread just for pixel art software and the pros and cons of each.  I use Adobe Photoshop and Adobe ImageReady for everything because of the power, but sometimes it's a bit overwhelming.  I'd really like to find a good animation program to replace ImageReady.

Photoshop Pros:
Powerful tools especially for adjusting Brightness, Contrast, Hue, Saturation and everything else in your palette.  "Replace color" is very handy for pixel art. Layers and layer sets help keep things tidy.  Export options are very flexible.  Slices allow some nice workflow options for a single file.  Grids and rulers make it easy to keep pixel art in order. Industry standard software so there's a good chance other designers and illustrators will have it installed.

Photoshop Cons: 
Overly complicated interface. Expensive. Need to adjust settings to make Photoshop appropriate for pixel art.  Sometimes pixels along the borders of images don't respond to eraser or pencil. ImageReady is really hard to work with and you can screw up the whole animation if you're not careful.

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Quote Belle Replybullet Posted: 05 March 2005 at 9:16am
Graphics Gale owns all your souls.

http://www.humanbalance.net/gale/


For some reason however, it will not post links for me. Damn it's eyes.


Edited by sedgemonkey
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Quote Dejital Replybullet Posted: 05 March 2005 at 1:44pm
Alright, this is a good topic. I use Jasc Paint Shop Pro (which is now owned by Corel).

Paint Shop Pros (Get it?)
Strong and underestimated program. Has lots of effects and features that were once unique to Photoshop. Of course, Photoshop will always be ahead of little old Paint Shop, but it is rather popular with the Newbie croud since Jasc offers a 30 day trial with each version of Paint Shop Pro. Very easy to get into and my favorite feature is the easy zoom, using the mouse roller to zoom in and out without touching the magnifying tool.

Paint Shop Pro Cons
Not very popular with professionals, expensive if you want to buy it. Photoshop will always be better. The newer versions take a long time to load, just as any Adobe program would, but everything from Paint Shop Pro 7 and down is instant (I use both PSP 7 and PSP 9 respectively).
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Quote Dejital Replybullet Posted: 05 March 2005 at 1:50pm
And one for Animation Shop.

Animation Shop Pros
This is of the most popular animation programs because it comes free with Paint Shop Pro (Trial or Full Version), has a very easy interface, and has fun little effects. The program's interface is very simple (think MS Paint). Startup is instant. There aren't that many effects, but there are pretty much enough of them already. Transition effects include fading, which is all an animator pretty much needs. To make an animation, you simply copy and paste images into the program, which makes animation as easy as ever.

Animation Shop Cons
Some effects (like Shaky Cam) get overused by newbies. When working with an image with transparency, pasting an image that has space around it (space that is unused), the program automatically takes out the space to make them image tightly in place. Sometimes you have to trick the program by adding a pixel at each corner and erasing the trick pixels once the image has been pasted.
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Quote Blueberry_pie Replybullet Posted: 06 March 2005 at 12:23am

The program I always make pixel art in is Multimedia Fusion.
It's actually made for making games, but I've gotten so used to its picture editor that I always use that... It doesn't have many 'special features', but that's what I like about it: it's simple and fast.

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Quote pixelblink Replybullet Posted: 06 March 2005 at 12:00pm
I have always used Paint Shop Pro and Animation Shop
I find them very straight forward and simple to use... (or maybe I'm just too lazy to learn a new prgram like PhotoShop)

One thing about Animation Shop Pro I would suggest against pixellists using are the effects. They suck ass and they don't do any justice to a pixelart piece.
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Quote Blick Replybullet Posted: 06 March 2005 at 7:40pm
GIMP
PROS:
Essentially a free Photoshop. With even more roundabout ways to get stuff done. It's said that it can animate, but I never figured it out. I couldn't even figure out how to mix my own colors. I only ever used it for tracing scanned drawings.
CONS:
Developer's wet dream, artist's nightmare. AKA one hell of a confusing program.

Paint.NET
PROS:
I've never used it, but I hear it's less powerful than Photoshop, but better than most programs out there. My guess is that it's somewhere around Graphics Gale level.
CONS:
Never used it, never heard any complaints. Mustn't be too bad.

Graphics Gale
PROS:
Layers, animation and little stuff like right click as an eye dropper and palette indexing, I think. Basically a better version of MSPaint.
CONS:
Scrilla for registering.

Giffy
PROS:
Really simple .bmp/.gif converter. It's pretty helpful to have if you're like me and pixel in MSPaint only. Supports transparency, which is always a good thing to have.
CONS:
None.

EZtoon
PROS:
A simple animation program that's good for sketching up rough animations. Has flood fill dithering too.
CONS:
1bit, hard to find (exactly why I'm hosting it...).

UnFREEz
PROS:
Easy to use drag and drop animator. Just grab each .gif file and put it in.
CONS:
If you want to edit the animation, you have to remake the sequence, each frame has to be the same timing, you need a seperate .gif file already in existance for each frame.

MSpaint
PROS:
Bundled with Windows, easy to use, pretty much perfect for pixel art with the grid, up to 10x zoom (click the lowest responding line of pixels under 8x and it'll go to 10x), grid for those that can't tell if they're placing pixels evenly or not, optional preview window.
CONS:
Can't save to .gif very well, doesn't have: layers, opacities, alpha transparency (or any form of transparency for that matter). So basically just good for making static bitmaps.
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sedgemonkey
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Quote sedgemonkey Replybullet Posted: 06 March 2005 at 10:24pm

Thanks a bunch for the summaries and the links Blick.  I'm going to screw around with a few of these.  EZToon sounds very interesting.

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Quote greyscar Replybullet Posted: 07 March 2005 at 1:20pm
yeah these all sound as if they could be interesting... i already have unFreeze but i prefer microsoft gif animator...

although i now use macromedia fireworks Mx to do my work also paint :P

-ollie
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Quote Blueberry_pie Replybullet Posted: 08 March 2005 at 8:47am
Originally posted by greyscar

i already have unFreeze but i prefer microsoft gif animator...

Microsoft GIF Animator? How come I've never heard of that before?
* searches on Google *
Hehe, neat... I can't believe it's free though, that's not something I'd expect from Microsoft
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sedgemonkey
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Quote sedgemonkey Replybullet Posted: 08 March 2005 at 8:58am
I too am shocked by this free Microsoft utility. I've never heard of it and I'm suprised it's not installed on the newer Microsoft operating systems. I'll have to give it a spin.
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Quote greyscar Replybullet Posted: 08 March 2005 at 9:51am
i got the feeling that its not an official microsoft program but hey, its the best free animator around

-ollie
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Quote Dejital Replybullet Posted: 08 March 2005 at 1:35pm

It's Microsoft indeed. This was my first animation problem, and it's pretty much how I got into pixel art in the first place. Totally forgot about what it was called, thanks for uniting us again.



Edited by Dejital
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greyscar
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Quote greyscar Replybullet Posted: 09 March 2005 at 5:25am
oh, what version of windows is it from?

-ollie
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Quote stryder Replybullet Posted: 16 March 2005 at 2:47pm
i need a nice program i can download for a newb like me but not ms paint 
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Quote top_ Replybullet Posted: 17 March 2005 at 5:44am
For pixelart I use ProMotion from Cormigo:

PROS:
Handling like good old programs I know from the Amiga. (Deluxe Paint, Brilliance or Personal Paint)
Optimized for pixelart.
animations, exelent palette management, (anim-)gif support ... (see the website for more)

CONS:
No Layers.
Not Freeware. (30days trail, lite and full version)
Max 256 colors. (or is it a pro?)

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Quote iSTVAN Replybullet Posted: 19 March 2005 at 7:00pm

You dont actually need anything other than MS Paint for static pixel art. I use Graphics Gale for animations and sometimes to spruce up colours or mess around different schemes or number of colours.

Ive used MS GIF Animator before...its not very good.

Ive also fiddled with EZToons. Its not bad if you only want black and white, but compared to GG theres no real point in using it as far as Im concerned.

I wouldnt mind getting my hands on Paint Shop Pro or this Animation shop, but only for colouring my hand drawn art. You're really only limited by your brain with pixel art. The best way to learn is by taking advice and looking around at other artists.

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Quote Salim Replybullet Posted: 21 March 2005 at 7:10am
Hello there!
I'm developing a graphic editor specialized on PixelArt - I hope you will like it :-) - it has got many features, please try it out at least. And read the help file in order to know all the features.
http://pixelstudio.virtualuna.de
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Quote Saboteur Replybullet Posted: 27 March 2005 at 3:23pm

Yeah, I used to use a combo of Gamemaker and MSpaint to do graphics/animations.

Now, however, I use Gimp, and I really don't find it all that confusing. If anyone honestly wants to know, send me a PM, I'll seee if I can help.

*Off-Topic note on gamemaker* Gamemaker is actually a very good program to use for making any kind of games, there are basically two ways to make games, in code, or drag-and-drop the commands. It would work very well for a collab game, in fact, I'm gonna go to that topic and post a link :P.

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Quote MrPumpernickel Replybullet Posted: 17 April 2005 at 5:06am

Originally posted by sedgemonkey

Sometimes pixels along the borders of images don't respond to eraser or pencil.

Turn off snapping.

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sedgemonkey
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Quote sedgemonkey Replybullet Posted: 22 April 2005 at 1:19pm
Where exactly do I do that in Photoshop?  I use it every damn day and just hit Ctrl+H to ditch extras which gets rid of most of the snapping. It'd be nice if there was a way to just leave off snapping.
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Quote MrPumpernickel Replybullet Posted: 23 April 2005 at 11:32am
Unless they changed it since (I'm using Photoshop 7), just go to View > Snap > None. Or turn off snapping alltogether through View > Snap (uncheck).
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Quote Guests Replybullet Posted: 01 June 2005 at 6:22am

does any 1 know  a program 2 make colour animations(& transparent,if possible)???because my easytoon software only does b&w*

 

 

 

*black & white

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Quote Guests Replybullet Posted: 01 June 2005 at 6:24am
Originally posted by sedgemonkey

Thanks a bunch for the summaries and the links Blick.  I'm going to screw around with a few of these.  EZToon sounds very interesting.

i've got it,it's cool but u can only do black & white(see my last comment in this section)
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Quote Salim Replybullet Posted: 01 June 2005 at 7:06am
With PixelStudio:
You can do a lot of things with it. (GIF-)Animations, Icons, Transparency, Layers, etc.
http://pixelstudio.virtualuna.de
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Quote Da-La Replybullet Posted: 02 June 2005 at 4:35pm
I have a problem with Graphics Gale, It wont let me go to the help desk.
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Quote Tikiman1488 Replybullet Posted: 16 June 2005 at 12:49pm
is fireworks any good? thats all my computer has
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Quote Godslayer Replybullet Posted: 26 June 2005 at 2:03pm
How do I post an animation if I make it? I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed  is it the same as posting a regular image?
Oi.
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sedgemonkey
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Quote sedgemonkey Replybullet Posted: 26 June 2005 at 4:06pm
If it is an animated GIF you can post it just like any other image.
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Quote ..::Naso::.. Replybullet Posted: 30 June 2005 at 1:57pm
" MSPaint
easy to use, pretty much perfect for pixel art with the grid, up to 10x zoom "

How do you u get up 2 10x zoom in ms paint all i get is x1 x2 x4 x6 and x8 =/

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Quote kankki Replybullet Posted: 01 July 2005 at 2:04am
QUOTE
"" MSPaint
easy to use, pretty much perfect for pixel art with the grid, up to 10x zoom "

How do you u get up 2 10x zoom in ms paint all i get is x1 x2 x4 x6 and x8 =/"

Originally posted by Blick


...up to 10x zoom (click the lowest responding line of pixels under 8x and it'll go to 10x)...

Do so! :)


Edited by kankki
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Quote Lawrence Replybullet Posted: 06 July 2005 at 7:33pm
Originally posted by Salim

With PixelStudio:
You can do a lot of things with it. (GIF-)Animations, Icons, Transparency, Layers, etc.


I checked it out but I keep getting errors when I use the undo function. It's a pretty good program though, I'll keep on using it.
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Quote Salim Replybullet Posted: 07 July 2005 at 8:15am
Originally posted by Lawrence

Originally posted by Salim

With PixelStudio:
You can do a lot of things with it. (GIF-)Animations, Icons, Transparency, Layers, etc.


I checked it out but I keep getting errors when I use the undo function. It's a pretty good program though, I'll keep on using it.

That's great. Thank you.
I know there are a few bugs in the undo-system. But for the main things it works. Doesn't it?
Maybe if you tell me the bugs in particular, I could release a patch.
http://pixelstudio.virtualuna.de
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Quote NerdChick Replybullet Posted: 08 July 2005 at 12:23pm
I use MSPaint [parents won't get me any other program] and I've surprisingly come out with some good isometrics. Now if you're trying to do a large art piece, you'd better have alot of patience. Otherwise, you're screwed.
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Quote Lawrence Replybullet Posted: 10 July 2005 at 12:23pm
Originally posted by Salim


Maybe if you tell me the bugs in particular, I could release a patch.

Sure. It says "Access violation at address 0040923C in module 'PixelStudio.exe'. Read of address 00000004."
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Quote PixelSnader Replybullet Posted: 10 July 2005 at 1:35pm

mspaint is good enough for me, exept for animations and transparency

i'd like them to implement a ''transparent'' colour, that you can use as a background, so you can copy say, lineart, and put them somewhere else, and not dump a load of white pixels over allready-done parts of the lineart. that sucks(and i allso hate to copy like, 50x50 parts pixel by pixel)


▄▄█     ▄▄█
▄█▄     ▄█▄

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Quote Vidd Replybullet Posted: 10 July 2005 at 1:49pm
I know these have already been covered but I'll do it anyway.

Photoshop (and ImageReady for animations)

Positive
Wand tool, oh sweet juju I love that wand tool. Especially in pixel art, it's just so useful.
Layers. Although they're not always that important it's always nice to have.
Folders. I often keep earlier revisions in folders in case I want to go back to them.
Such an awesome zoom.
So many, many shortcuts.
Long history
Better .gif support
Easy to keep track of colours
Transparency

Negative
Er, nothing really.
(The animations are slower in the browser for some reason so maybe not an accurate preview?)

Paint

Postive

CIRCLE TOOL- I rely on this even with Photoshop
Line tool
The diagonal brushes

Negative
Hidden zoom (why?)
I don't like the colour picker as much
No shortcuts besides the obvious ctrl+a/c/x/v/o/n/s

There's probably a LOT more but these are the most prominent IMO.


Edited by Vidd
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Quote Salim Replybullet Posted: 11 July 2005 at 8:03am
Originally posted by Lawrence

Originally posted by Salim


Maybe if you tell me the bugs in particular, I could release a patch.

Sure. It says "Access violation at address 0040923C in module 'PixelStudio.exe'. Read of address 00000004."

I have to know when this message appears - and does it appear every time - or only sometimes.

@Vidd: why don't you try to make a list about PixelStudio's positives and negatives! It's much better than paint, and easier to use for PixelArt instead of Photoshop (at least for me Photoshop is really difficult): http://pixelstudio.virtualuna.de
http://pixelstudio.virtualuna.de
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Quote jujucece Replybullet Posted: 11 July 2005 at 8:29am
In my opinion, Gimp is the best...

- Free and GPL software
- Running under Linux or Windows
- Available in many languages
- Possible to parameter shortcuts
- Possible to make scripts (in python) (for Gimp-hackers only, but many scripts are downloadable...)
- Quite-easy to make animations (but not preview)
- Manage many formats
...

Gimp rocks !

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Quote Saboteur Replybullet Posted: 13 July 2005 at 12:03pm

Haha, Imageready just destroys the gimp animations-wise. Other than that, you're right. The ability to make your own shortcuts is an awesome feature, but I have yet to find a way to easily make a circle. And a lot of the auto-antialiasing and such is annoying.

And the fact that it's multiple windows frustrates the hell outta me. I'm trying valiantly to use my shortcuts, and it's trying to name my layers instead of giving me the magic wand.

The main problem for me with the animation setup is that your layers are the frames, so your frames can't have layers.

But, overall, it's a free program with more features than paint. Which makes it have a wider range of use, which puts it a little higher than paint, in my books.

"I was minding my own business and walking across a pebbled path, and a Duck started giving me the business."
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Quote Carnivac Replybullet Posted: 13 July 2005 at 2:50pm
Pro Motion V5.1 for me.  Nothing else compares to it terms of spriting, tiling and animation in my opinion.

Pros:
It's pretty much Deluxe Paint for Windows... that reason alone should be enough for most people, especially us Amiga veterans.

Cons:
It ain't free (but I won it)
Suppose sometimes its 256 color palette thing can be a lil restrictive when yer used to the 32-bit color in PSP and PS and those kinda things.  Ya learn to live with it and excel with it in time.


Edited by Wolverine
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Quote flaber Replybullet Posted: 26 July 2005 at 1:29am
Originally posted by snader

i'd like them to implement a ''transparent'' colour, that you can use as a background, so you can copy say, lineart, and put them somewhere else, and not dump a load of white pixels over allready-done parts of the lineart. that sucks(and i allso hate to copy like, 50x50 parts pixel by pixel)

MSpaint is what I use. I wouldnt go with any other program. But seeing as how you have a problem perhaps I can aid you through it.

Choose your secondary colour (right clik) and make it probably your background colour. Then, up at the top beside file... theres one called image. the very last option is Draw opaque. Its preset to always be checked. So everytime you open paint, unselect the 'Draw Opaque' and then theres transparency. However, it does not save transparency, it only lets you work with it.

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Quote Niss Replybullet Posted: 15 August 2005 at 3:26am
Has anyone ever tried ArtGem? I haven't yet but would like to know how it is (oh well I could give it a try myself...).

Edited by Niss
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Quote neota Replybullet Posted: 17 August 2005 at 10:23am
Hello how are you gentlemen!

Blick: 'i couldn't even figure out how to mix my own colors'.. wtf?  Normally your FG and BG colors are sitting under the toolbox.
Doubleclick on either of them to edit them.
I like to have my coloreditor docked though.. then I'm always able to tweak easily.

The color selection is also simplified if you have my retro-colorselector module.. because instead of selecting from a huge 24bit colorspace you can pick from eg. a 12bit colorspace (Amiga), or other retro-colorspaces (CPCs 3*3*3 rgb cube is excellent for icons.)

Saboteur:
Select a circle then say 'stroke selection'.. pick 'stroke with paint tool' -> penciltool. you only have to pick options once, it remembers them throughout sessions.

The way i would do it is to select a circle, then use my 'pixelperfect outline' command, and fill the resultant selection.

The scripting is great -- I'm adding several features from Deluxepaint 5 into Gimp now.  I started itemizing things here, it got too big.. so I'll post it in a new topic 'pyGimp scripting'

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Quote Saboteur Replybullet Posted: 17 August 2005 at 8:35pm

If I weren't braindead, I'd try scripting. Thanks for the circle-theory, but I figured out a way to do it myself. Just fill a circle with black, shrink the selection a pixel, and erase the selection.

 

"I was minding my own business and walking across a pebbled path, and a Duck started giving me the business."
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Quote neota Replybullet Posted: 17 August 2005 at 11:24pm
Also, the gimp's builtin animation facilities are miniscule compared to the Gimp-GAP plugin, like a peashooter compared to a rocket launcher. Multiple layers per frame, onionskinning, running filters on a range of frames (optionally with varying parameters), moving objects along a path..
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Quote Saboteur Replybullet Posted: 18 August 2005 at 1:32am
Ooo! Didn't know that existed. 'Course I have nooo idea how to make it work. Mind giving me a hand, oh wise and informed gimper?
"I was minding my own business and walking across a pebbled path, and a Duck started giving me the business."
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Quote jujucece Replybullet Posted: 18 August 2005 at 2:02am
Ohh... I didn't know Gimp-GAP, it will probably help me a lot !

Thanks neota !
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Quote neota Replybullet Posted: 18 August 2005 at 3:28am
Saboteur:
You should have the VCR navigator up most of the time.
Everything relating to gimp-gap is in the Video menu.
For anything else, read the docs if you must.

jujucece:
do you write gimp scripts yourself? Hardly anyone seems to, and even less people who pixel.
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jujucece
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Quote jujucece Replybullet Posted: 18 August 2005 at 4:10am
I do know well Python and I use The Gimp for some years, but I never try to write scripts coz' I never need to...

But sure, Gimp scripts are very powerful...
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