Crowdfunding status and Update of the Symmetry Painting Design

Hi all!

It has now been 3 weeks since I started my crowdfunding experiment for symmetry painting in GIMP (see also the blog post), and I wish to give some status of the project.

Core Design

Actual coding has not started yet. But the design and the implementation has been discussed quite a bit with various people of the GIMP team, and outside the team. Here is the evolution.

Destructive “Multi-Brush” or Non-Destructive Filter Layer?

On IRC, we discussed if it could not make sense to use the GEGL mirror operation for this non-destructive real time mirroring. Well it does, but I believe it is a different workflow. This too will be definitely possible when we will achieve our GEGL port, which should be followed soon by the implementation of effect layers (a topic I am also highly interested in and will probably work on as well soon if this funding succeeds). But that would be for a workflow where we want perfect symmetry all the time on the layer, since we can’t deactivate mirroring temporarily on a layer (or rather: we can, but then we lose the whole mirroring result). Thus if we want to add asymmetrical imperfections, it means to either paint them on separate layers (which may be considered very inconvenient and ugly workflow by many painters), or apply the layer, which in the end is the same, but is also a worflow breaker. So I prefer to stay on a simple destructive workflow, made for painters.

Also it would be a problem for my generic code design (see below). But of course, my position may still evolve if I can find a good easy workflow by still using GEGL operations.

In some (hopefully close) future, users will have likely both options though. And that’s good!

Generic Design: tiling, “multi-brush”, etc.

Dual Semiregular Tiling V3-3-4-3-4, R. A. Nonenmacher, CC by-sa 3.0
Dual Semiregular Tiling V3-3-4-3-4, R. A. Nonenmacher, CC by-sa 3.0
Many people asked me about tiling. I also heard about, and tested, the multi-brush feature in Krita, mandalas and such, which is basically a generic evolution of mirroring.

Circle Limit III, 1959, M. C. Escher
Circle Limit III, 1959, M. C. Escher
Some mathematician even asked me about more complicated mathematical transformations: hyperbolic, homographic, and whatever else you want. Well it all made me think a lot.

I wanted to do something generic from the start, but it is always very enlightening to hear all the crazy β€” yet incredible β€” ideas that users have. Ideas you never thought about when you first imagine the tool. So I have decided I will try to go even more generic than my initial idea. If I get funded, I will work on a good design to propose a very good level of genericness, at least in the plugin API. That means that the tip of the iceberg, in the UI, will likely only be mirrors. But I want to propose an API for people to write down their own transformations, that you will be able to share as plugins. This way, it should be possible to do easy tiling, “multi-brush” (multi-rotations at regular intervals of your drawing) or whatever complicated mathematical transformation you have in mind. Not sure yet how easy it will be, and maybe there will be complications. But I will do my best.

Usability and UI Design

I am more and more interested into tying the transformations to an image, rather than only to the tool, like you saw in the demo. Tying to the tool is a nice simple idea, but is very limited in terms of features, I believe.

One of the main issues I see with the tool option implementation, is that when you close your image, you lose your mirror axis. It is ok if the mirror is basic horizontal/vertical at the image median, or if you do one-shot speed-painted images. But what about long term projects with some mirror at a specific angle and specific coordinates?
Also what if you want more than 2 mirrors at a time? You will want to be able to manage them, maybe even name them, use one on some layer, but a different one on another, and such. So we could imagine a small dock for transformations, similar to what we have for layers, channels, etc.
The following is a design that someone showed me for guides. Well that would be different, but you can get an idea of what I mean:
Some dock for more features?

And since we want a generic design, you may want to manage also your homebrew transformations (tiling, etc.). Such could be done in this dock too.

Of course we still want to be able to easily create, move, rotate and destroy these transformations for basic or one-shot usage, without ever opening the dock. I believe both use case could be handled beautifully.

Moreover lately we heard rumors that our UI guru may be back very soon. If so, the GUI may benefit from his input and designs.


Funding started extremely well, with about 20% in the first day or so. But now, 3 weeks later, we are only at 52% of the amount required.

On one hand, I am a little disappointed. Some people ask us to crowdfund all the time and assure us that GIMP would fund millions of dollar if they wanted, but I can’t even fund 2000 EUR. Anyway it’s not finished just yet. I have about 10 more days in my planning, so let’s hope I make it! πŸ™‚

On the other hand, I also blame myself because I definitely suck at marketing. I did quite well the first week, following many discussions everywhere, but it was also so exhausting that I kind of tried to do anything but promote my project afterwards! So now, after a few people asked me, here was my status report.

Interested by the feature? You can still fund the project if you like it! πŸ™‚
Symmetry Painting crowdfunding - Promo Poster

15 Replies to “Crowdfunding status and Update of the Symmetry Painting Design”

  1. I can see a few reasons why it isn’t funded already, for example many ppl might not be interested in this feature in particular, also the fund raising site you have choosen is not very popular and it has a number of problems (both design and functional).

    1. I agree that the platform has many bugs. I felt a little like an alpha-tester. πŸ˜‰
      The reason why I chose it was because I am not fond of the idea of 1 centralized platform for all. What would happen when all money goes to the same company? When all emails go to the same company? When all… You get the idea. So I like to help outsiders to emerge. But yes I still agree with you that the platform has many problems, and I may consider another platform a next time if they don’t improve drastically soon. We shall see. Nevertheless I am not asking for millions, therefore I still doubt this being the biggest raising issue.
      The best platform would be a decentralized one (= no platform!). But that’s also a lot more work, so platforms are good at least to keep money matters away and focus on code.

      For the feature, I am pretty sure that many people are interested by it. What I often read though is more of a reaction to “I would prefer this or that other feature in priority”. And that would be sad that because they prefer something else, they got none.
      In any case, myself also would prefer other features in priority. But I need to start slow. No reason to start with the crazy hard-to-develop feature first and put pressure on myself. I got acquainted with the code in the last year now, and I know that some features I really want will need much more preparation that just saying “let’s do it”. But I will come to these too. Funders should realize this.

      Also that’s funny that many people say they would happily give a lot for big fuzzy goals, but not for precise goals (one feature at a time, which is in the end, what would happen anyway). I don’t say that the big fuzzy goals cannot be well managed, but we all have in mind several projects where projects raised huge money like this for in the end do nothing really concrete. If I ever end up proposing such a funding, I want people to trust my work first with smaller goals, and not give blindly.
      I hope this all makes sense. And anyway like everybody else, I also learn from mistakes, it they end up being this. πŸ™‚

      1. Hello Jehan,

        I DO hope you reach your goal since you have *already* worked a lot on Gimp so far (by fixing bugs and adding little features) and you certainly deserve it πŸ™‚
        I have even already sponsored you for this feature πŸ˜‰

        IMHO there are three reasons for which this funding has been stalling a bit lately:
        1) The web-site you choose looks a bit “unprofessional” (please, no offence here since I am aware it is in beta…)
        2) Most important, as you know, this feature is already available in many other open source softwares (Krita, MyPaint, Alchemy) and, as a painter, I suppose I would prefer to work on them instead of using this same feature on Gimp (again no offence here, it is just my guess…)
        Personally, I am *not* a painter (I only take pictures with my Nikon…) but, these past years, it looks like most painters have switched to other open source applications. Just take a look at the highly professional brushes they are creating for Krita and you know what I mean [0] πŸ™‚
        3) There is no date set on stone so far regarding the release of Gimp 2.10. It might take six months or even much longer (quite simply, its team is far too small and there are so many features to work with…)
        As a consequence, to get this new painting feature of yours available in the next stable release (3.0 ?) you should wait one year or more to say the least (thus this point is related to the second one…) πŸ™

        Anyway, BEST of luck (for sure, I didn’t mean to being rude with my 3 points…)

        Silvio Grosso


        1. > I DO hope you reach your goal since you have *already* worked a lot on Gimp so far (by fixing bugs and adding little features) and you certainly deserve it

          And I certainly don’t plan to stop doing so, whatever the outcome of this funding! That’s even the opposite. If the funding succeeds, I may try to do more and more of these and contribute much more!
          One of the point is for me: can I make a small living with Free Software crowdfunding?

          > I have even already sponsored you for this feature

          I know, and thanks for this!

          1) About the platform: I really have no idea of how much it really slowed the funding, if at all. But after getting many remarks, I guess I’ll think twice next time.

          2) About other software, well I don’t mind several Free Software doing the same thing. And I do hope they have all a lot of users in time too. But I still know there are also a lot of painters in GIMP.
          Though I have no statistics to know how significant these are. So maybe you are right, no idea.

          3) Release date issue is the same for most crowdfunding projects actually. There is rarely any accurate (or respected) date of a “finale product” release. Sometimes there is even no release and people just leave with the money. And yet people fund all these projects.
          At least with OpenFunding, if I don’t deliver, nobody pays! And the good point of Free Software is also that if I deliver but the release takes too long, people can still access the code, and make their own parallel build.
          So I believe this not to be the issue. Or if it is, it would be short-sighted because in this aspect, I think my funding project is nicer than most.

          Anyway thanks again for the remarks. Don’t worry, I did not take any of these badly. Constructive remarks are always welcome. πŸ™‚

  2. Hello Jehan,

    > And I certainly don’t plan to stop doing so, whatever the outcome of this funding!

    Great! πŸ™‚

    > But I still know there are also a lot of painters in GIMP.
    > Though I have no statistics to know how significant these are. So maybe you are > right, no idea.

    Mine is a gut-feeling only (I am not a painter myself…).
    More precisely, I know for sure that many painters are using more and more Krita together with Gimp (e.g. David Revoy [1], Ramon Miranda [2], TimothΓ©e Giet [3] etc).
    Needless to say, thanks to the .ora format they can take advantage of both softwares πŸ˜‰
    Surely, Gimp is so *powerful* and amazing that I am 100% sure it will continue to be used everywhere!
    My hunch, though, it is that Gimp (as it is now as features!), in the future, will be used mostly for the photographic side leaving most of the painting part to other open source applications.
    In the long past, Gimp was the only real professional open source alternative for doing such painting tasks (for instance, I do remember all the buzz it made when MyPaint got the infinite canvas option…)
    In conclusion, just think about the time it may take for the few Gimp developers currently available to code from scratch all Krita brush engines present, its brand-new wrap around mode for the canvas and so on and so forth πŸ™‚

    > One of the point is for me: can I make a small living with Free Software crowdfunding?

    Interesting question indeed πŸ™‚
    Unfortunately, it is very difficult to reply…
    Here is an interesting link [4] related to the open source Sofa Statistics software where its developer tries to explain the pros and cons about this same topic.


  3. I don’t think the lack of funding means people are not willing to support gimp, it’s rather about a feature not everyone ist going to use, even if it really rocks. I am not a painter, but I would donate for everything that makes 2.10 happen faster, only to finally get high bit depths. Maybe someone to port all those filters to gegl? Anyway, this proposal about mirror painting looks well thought, I wish you reach your funding anyway.

    1. How about making a list of tasks that would bring GIMP closer to 2.10
      * Finish porting filters to GEGL
      * List of bugs to fix
      * Remaining features

      Say, I think I could do these for €2000, plus these if I get to €4000, or whatever. And run a new funder with this. These sort of small scale crowdfunders are possible ( ), so please don’t give up if this one fails.

      1. Thanks for your message.

        I am not giving up, don’t worry. And the experiment has not been that bad, all things considered.

        Your idea is interesting, indeed. I think I will consider doing like this.
        Thanks for the feedback.

  4. IMO there are two big problems with the funding site:
    -Terms of Use are in French
    -need of registration
    -it is still FAR from well-known

    Anyway, goo luck for your projects.
    With 80% funded, how are you going to proceed?

    1. Hi,

      About the website, I agree for the 2 first points as problems, if not even big blockers.
      I don’t agree for the last point though. I actually like to promote diversity and I don’t want a world with a few companies completely leading a market space, thus crushing any competition. So I actually chose a newbee company on purpose.

      I will implement the feature. But I am currently wandering, so my development time is very limited. Also my laptop screen happened to fail on me, so it is very hard to use the computer efficiently and it is harder than I would like to find replacement parts out of warranty periods. :-/

      But that will happen. Also I am thinking a lot about the right implementation because there are many ways to go into it.
      Thanks for the support anyway!

  5. You made it!?!

    Looking at the top of the Gimp funding page it says you reached €2300.60. But for the specific mirror painting part it is still at €1919.60. Does that mean that you can allocate the money into the feature, and go ahead with it?

    1. Hi,

      You are right, that’s weird. I have no idea what this inconsistency means. I’ll ask the OpenFunding guys.

      For information, I’m currently wandering and will be able to actually tackle on development in about 2 months. But that will come eventually. πŸ™‚
      Thanks for noticing this strange stuff anyway. I’ll keep updated with what OpenFunding tells me it means. πŸ™‚

      1. Hi!

        So it turns out this is a new feature of the funding platform. Some users can now decide to fund a project in general instead of a specific feature, to leave developers choose how to use the funding towards prioritary features.

        It means that the funding indeed made it (especially since there is only 1 feature for the GIMP project there). I will make this happen in 2 months then, because right now, I am in a complicated position to focus on programming. πŸ™‚
        Thanks for all the fish!

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