Pixel Pusher
May 2, 2012
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I like to use GIMP since it is free and pretty powerful, offering a lot of the same features that exist in Adobe Photoshop. But at the same time GIMP can be a bit clunky and unintuitive. You can minimize that and make your workflow faster, if you set up GIMPs preferences. First, I recommend this article:

Since Photoshop's setup is a lot more convenient, it helps mirroring that. Please be aware that GIMP uses your system language as default language. If you want to change that to english, go to Edit --> Preferences --> Interface (only works in 2.8). Here you can change the language and it should make it easier to follow the article and my explanations. You can always switch back to your native language after that (needs a restart of GIMP).

I followed the article and did everything in it. In addition to that, I made my own shortcuts that I'm used to. I'm using GIMP 2.8:

Go to: Edit --> Preferences --> Input Devices --> Input Controllers --> Active Controllers --> Main Mouse Wheel

Now use the very small button under that box that says "Configure the selected controller". In the list select "Scroll Up" and edit it to "view-zoom-in". Confirm and then select "Scroll Down". Change this to "view-zoom-out".

Result: You can now zoom in and out with your mouse wheel. (If you want to go back to 100% zoom, just click 1 and it automatically goes to the original resolution of the image).

Still in the Preferences go to --> Theme and change it to "Small" (you get this, if you follow the article I mentioned and downloaded the photoshop shortcuts). This makes the tool icons smaller. You have to restart GIMP to see it. After you have done this, go to Windows and select Single Window Mode (try it out, if you like that better). See those Tool Options under the Tool Icons on the left side? We want to move it to the right side where you can see the brushes, patterns and gradients options. To do this, click on the little arrow right next to the brushes, patterns and gradients tab. Choose "Add Tab" and select "Tool Options." (I also like to add "Navigation" - this lets you move around in a big picture or when you have zoomed in a lot). Now the Tool Options should be on the right side next to the Gradients tab. Move your cursor back over to the Tools, hover over the border on the right side until your cursor changes into two arrows pulling away from each other. Every time you see this icon, you can adjust the width of a docking station. While holding the left mouse button down, move the mouse to the left to minimize the columns of the tools down to two columns. You now have a bunch more workspace for your images.

Back to the Preferences, go to --> Toolbox to add some of the missing icons like Hue-Saturation, Color-Balance, Brightness-Contrast and Desaturate. Then go to --> Default Grid and change the spacing to 32 width and 32 height. Choose a new foreground color for the grid, I use 15a3b8, just something bright and something you would never use in your tiles/sprites. Since RPG Maker VX Ace works in a 32x32pixel grid, having that same grid set up for GIMP is very helpful. After that go to --> Display and change the Check style to Light Checks (I like them more than Mid-tone checks).

Now onto the Keyboard Shortcuts, which you can find under Edit --> Keyboard Shortcuts. I made the following changes:

edit-undo --> F2

edit-redo --> F3

edit-copy-visible --> CTRL+Y (or CTRL+Z)

edit-paste-as-new-layer --> CTRL+V

view-show-grid --> F4

select-none --> CTRL+D

layers-merge-down --> CTRL+E

layers-duplicate --> CTRL+J

I like to have just one button for undo's and redo's and both should be close together, that is why I choose F2 and F3. If I make something wrong, one button press to undo it. And for me it is important, to have the option Copy visible as an easy shortcut, that is similiar to the Cut/Copy/Paste Shortcuts (which are CTRL+X, CTRL+C and CTRL+V). My keyboard has the Y next to the X, but it may be, you have a Z there instead, then choose CTRL+Z. Why is this function helpful? Well, imagine, you have made a tile consisting of multiple layers. Now, you want to use a portion of that tile again, but you don't want to merge the original layers. Copy Visible copies everything in your selection, regardless of layers. Next, I changed the normal paste function to paste as new layer. I always want new stuff on a new layer and decide for myself, when to merge layers. Then I like to toggle the Grid on and off. Sometimes the grid distracts me and I like to turn it off fairly quickly, that is why it gets its own button. Select All (CTRL+A) is fairly known, but I also like to deselect very quickly, with CTRL+D. And it is very useful to have shortcuts, for when you want to merge layers down and duplicate layers.

I don't know, if this was particular helpful for people, but I wanted to share how you can make some convenient shortcuts. If you find yourself using one particular option from the drop-down menus very often, just go to the keyboard shortcuts and designate an easy shortcut for it.

And here is a picture how my GIMP looks like:

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Bringer of Happiness
Jun 21, 2015
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For zoom I'm simply holding CTRL, then moving mouse wheel. =P

For undo/redo I got used to CTRL+Z or Y. =P

The rest of tutorial, like setting positions and icons was helpful for me. It's time to change something in my GIMP. =)

Thanks for tut! =)


Engineering to infinity!
Sep 7, 2014
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While I'm only using GIMPP to do some edits, this is really helpful (especially that the detached toolbox was annoying when the images were hi res). Kudos to you, Candacis.

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