Sunday, October 30, 2016

PSP Tubes Revisited: Converting PSP Tubes to GIMP Animated Brushes

First, let's understand what tubes are, why you would want to convert them, and where do you find them (tubes).

What are tubes?

Tubes are very similar to GIMP animated brushes, and are files used by Corel's Paint Shop Pro program with either the *.tub or *.pspshape extension. They are much like a *.png file with a transparent background. When properly converted using XnView, you can then transform them into *.gih files for GIMP.

Why would I want to convert tubes into *.gih files?

Because tubes are there for the taking and converting. There are thousands upon thousands of tubes on the Internet where artists have already taken an image and created brushes from them. Why re-invent the wheel, if those images are already available? It's incredibly simple to convert them, and if you don't like the images, you don't have to use them. Just use what you like, toss the rest.

Where can I find these tubes you speak so highly of? 

For starters, you can find some that have already been converted right here on my blog. 

You can even visit Corel's website here and download tubes for converting on your own.

Just type "psp tubes" in Google and you'll get a list of tubes and the type they are for, like flowers or angels, etc. You can even select "psp tubes sites" that will take you to various websites hosting ready made tubes. Be warned that there are websites that are no longer hosted or managed, and some are no longer in existence even though they are listed in the search.

How do I convert these files?

For starters, you need to download XnView

Why XnView? 

In my honest professional opinion, it is the most widely used and easiest format for converting images of all kinds. It's UI is most pleasant on the eyes, and the options (and tool design) are not complicated to understand or use. You could spend money on various programs to accomplish this simple task, but why would you want to? And to boot, it's also a batch image converter. WIN-WIN.

Ok, I have XnView downloaded, now what?

Find the tubes you want to convert and open them in XnView.

An example here, I downloaded from Corel's website and that I would like to use in GIMP. Opened in XnView:

I just exported the .tub as a .png and saved it to a folder to open in GIMP. (File/Export)

The converted .png file opened in GIMP:

Now a pretty cool script written by RobA comes to use, DivideTransBG.scm. You can download it here. A few things to note about this script:

1. You can change the size threshold and the number of layers with the first two options on the script menu. This is important to know, if your image has more than 20 objects on a transparent background.

2. You can create the animated brush using the script without needing to perform any additional steps. Just select "Save to GIH" option. Navigate to the proper folder and name the brush.

3. You can even choose the folder location for your brushes to save it directly in the folder of your choosing. This is good especially if you are using Ofnut's Add-on Collection Manager. Just select "other" in the "Save to Folder" list to navigate using the Explorer browser.

Now all that is left is to open a new image and test out the new brush!

Creating S.I.M.P.L.E. Digital Mandalas in GIMP

Using GIMP 2.8.18 on Windows 10.

Scripts needed: 

Simple Path Shapes (link HERE.)
(Please also download the scripts that are included with this plugin)

Mura Meister Copies (link HERE.)

Please remember that .scm files are scripts and go in the scripts folder, and .py files are plugins and go in the plug-ins folder of your user folder .gimp-2.8. If you are using a Mac or Linux machine, you'll need to make sure your .py files are executable.

This method came about from a post on GIMP Chat that can be found here.

Step 1: Find an image, any image, any type of design will do. The more intricate the design or image, the more interesting your mandala will be. For simpleness, I'm just going to use an image of the skyline of downtown Portland, OR

I will only be focusing on one small area of the skyline, so I will crop that area I want to use for the digital mandala.

Step 2: To keep the image consistent in the rotation, we will use a pie shape to accomplish the mandala. First, we need to open a new transparent image with a large enough canvas to host the new mandala pie. The size of canvas you need depends on the size of the cropped image. The one you see above was 1000 x 1044px, so my new square image will be 2100 x 2100px. 

How did I come up with that size? 

Well, the absolute height of the image is 1044, so I doubled that and rounded up. Width doesn't matter since we are going for a complete square image.

Notice that I centered a copy of the cropped area onto the new transparent canvas with centered guidelines to help me guide the pie slices in the rotation.

Step 3: Now it's time to add the 1/8th pie slice using Simple Path Shapes. Selecting 1/8 pie, you'll end up with several path shapes but you only need ONE of the 1/8 paths, so you can turn all the other paths off by clicking the eye next to each.

The path and image are both perfectly centered. Yes, I mean perfect, using simple math. Half a rotation of 45° is 22.5°. That is how much I rotated the 1/8th pie path. Just keep in mind that the Rotate tool allows you to adjust the center, like shown here:

See that little circle on the crosshairs of the guidelines? That is the rotate center point and it can be moved to wherever you want it. I chose the EXACT center of the guidelines, for obvious reasons.

Step 4: Now it's time to copy and flip the path selection of the area of image we want to create a mandala from. So, activate the selection while the pasted image layer is selected, selecting the canvas layer will result in an empty copy. 

Halve your selection using the Free Select Tool with mode set to "Subtract from the current selection - CTRL". It doesn't matter which half you select since you can always flip the selection horizontally afterwards.

Copy that selected area, and then paste it as a new layer. Center it back to the canvas, and turn off the pasted layer.

You'll notice I duplicated the first 1/16th pie copy and then flipped it. Then merge the two copies together as one layer. Run Mura Meister Copies, selecting the exact center coordinates of your canvas, (mine was 1050 x 1050) and run 8 copies of the merged layer.

The result:

Friday, October 14, 2016

Knights of the Golden Wilber

I now present, the coveted Knights of the Golden Wilber award that is awarded to coders, hackers,  and scripters who take their craft above and beyond the expectations of GIMPers who use their scripts and plugins.

GIMPers have a lasting appreciation for those who make our lives easier with the scripts and plugins they create for the GIMP world. Anyone can award the Golden Wilber and also accept the responsibility to properly transcribe on the award, the coder's name and award type.

Previous and prestigious members of the Knights of the Golden Wilber, to date, are:

Rob A

This list is certainly bound to get longer, as there is no shortage of talent in the GIMP world.

To the coders, hackers, and scripters among us, many THANKS to you all!