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Can someone clarify this for me please?

I'm a bit confused by this site. I thought it was a repository of plugins for GIMP that were done and ready to go, but in fact none of it (or none of the ones I've tried) seem to work.

I've been using GIMP for about 6 months and I love it. I'm not an expert by any means, and I still have to scratch my head on some image manip tasks, but I get more satisfaction from it with each new thing I learn about it.

So I finally made my way over here because I was lead to understand that it contains all sorts of extensions to automate tasks and effects and so on. But I've tried 3 of the top rated or most viewed or whatever, and none of them work, or they work a bit and then a dialog pops with messages like 'some script left the undo in an unstable state' etc etc etc. I thought I'd look at some of the others and I note that in most cases, the first comment is usually something like 'this doesn't work' or words to that effect.

So is this a development/hack site or something where you have to hack things around to make them work? If so can someone point me at a place where the finished/checked plugins are listed?

Thanks in advance.

Thanks in advance

"I thought it was a repository of plugins for GIMP that were done and ready to go, but in fact none of it (or none of the ones I've tried) seem to work. "
--> Yes there are plugins/scripts not working or at least it seems they are not working.
Two possibilitys. First it depends on the version of the Gimp --> ask what to do. Ten to one you get an answer to your problem. Second you have placed your plugin/script not in the correct directory (but I don't believe that).

I see. Thank you very much for your answer. I'm on v2.6.8 and eagerly awaiting the single window version. As far as problems go, and getting an answer, I don't really consider them problems to me. What I mean is: I try it, and it doesn't work, I leave it alone. But being a software developer myself, my thoughts go out to the people who obviously put a lot of work into these scripts, but don't get the kudos that comes with a large user base because they didn't go that extra yard and put in enough error checking and validation etc.

All of the "official" plugins and scripts guaranteed to work with gimp are bundled with it when you download it.

All of the plugins and scripts here are community provided and collected, so YMMV.

Some plugins and scripts get "elevated" to official status, and are then updated and maintained as a part of the main Gimp distribution.

As mentioned, if you are having script issues, it is very likely due to either your installation or the script being an older version. The scripting engine was changed in 2.4 (I think) and older scripts need to be changed to work with newer versions. If you point out such examples then they will in all likelihood be updated by the author (or if it is an orphan, by another person here, license permitting.)

If you are using an older version of Gimp I'd suggest you update it.

Also, different script/plugin authors use different levels of error checking, and may (for example) fail on a layer not having alpha if it expects one.

-Rob A>

Got It. Well there is some really excellent stuff here without doubt. I just wonder how many people try a few things and then give up and don't come back. Given that GIMP is used by so many people, I'd expect this site to be heaving with members. Perhaps one reason it's not is that although script installation is not rocket science, it can get messy with files having to be dropped into various folders etc, and I personally don't like having lots of these things cluttering up GIMP, especially when they don't work, so it's more frustration to take them out again after testing. Also I've noticed that some authors put multiple effects into one physical file. This leads to frustration when 3 of his 6 effects don't work and 3 do. All-in-all I think that whoever is responsible for this site should consider adding functionality to the site that allows users to identify A) what the status of a script is (submitted, in testing, in dev, ready) and B) for what version of GIMP. I for one would gladly give my time to testing and feeding back (under such a system) because it would be a good way for me to contribute and help improve the quality of the site content, which at present is very poor. And this is a great shame because there's a lot of good stuff here as far as I can see.

that the Registry isn't "heaving" with members? Just curious.

Although I can appreciate your "late arriving" sentiments on the Registry's needs, I am a little bit baffled with the slight contradiction in your comment about your thoughts on script installation and the following messiness of it.

If a script fails, it can be for a number reasons: ranging from the user's lack of experience, to a bad install of GIMP, and on... (nothing that hasn't already been said by Rob A.) However, the same simplicity of adding the script/plug-in works in reverse when removing it). Just remove it. Nothing messy about it.

Usually, there is discourse between users testing the scripts and authors who create them. Unfortunately, the dynamics of who is here today versus who shows up tomorrow, changes so often with some authors and users, that it would be very difficult to maintain a tidy list of scripts and plug-ins in various levels of development, etc. The concept is great, I'll give you that. I love "perfect world" scenarios, but I keep in tune with the realities of obtaining it.

I won't sell the Registry short, (and Ingo's effort and expense in bringing it to us) simply because I'm inconvenienced a little bit. If anything, it would make me more inclined to be a part of the solution than to ignore it because of the "problems" I foresee with it.

What gives me the knowledge (not impression) that this site isn't heaving with active (I should have said) members, is simply the chronology of the forums postings. So that's that.

On the subject of the messiness of script installation/removal. I agree that for technical people like us it's not a problem, as you say. But it shouldn't be assumed that everyone who uses GIMP is an IT techie. There are lots of people highly skilled in graphic art (and of whom I'm jealous), who know very little about how their computer works and the myriad of things that can go wrong with software. The approach of 'put this in such-and-such folder, restart the app and hope for the best' is messy, inelegant, and unsophisticated. That shouldn't really need pointing out. Gone are the days when we expect to have to get under the bonnet just to get the car started. To claim that when systems which operate in antiquated ways fail, it's all the fault of the user is a classic case of missing the point. The point being that the GIMP application, and the plugins on here, all deserve a better mechanism than currently exists. I'd look forward to seeing more and more people using GIMP, and acceptance widening. But it's a simple matter of perception. If the installation mechanism is 'chuck it and see', that doesn't promote the system in the eyes of the average power user.

The concept of maintaining information regarding a software component's stage within it's development cycle is not 'a perfect world'. It's part of the normal process of managing software development, and actually goes on all the time in many locations where software is required to be of a good standard. Software development has to be managed if, and only if - you want to avoid causing endless problems for those using it. The child-like approach of 'write a script, test it, seems to work, post it for others' is Ok up to a point. But the quality of the GIMP application has moved on from that, and as such - someone needs to be thinking about bringing the management of other facets of it (such as the plugins) up to the same standard.

Your comment: "To claim that when systems which operate in antiquated ways fail, it's all the fault of the user is a classic case of missing the point."

It's only a part of a myriad of possibilities of why the script/plug-in is failing. The responsibility of learning how something works falls on the user, not the developer, or a plug-in registry on the web. But that's not because no one on the internet (or here in the registry) cares to help. The opposite is more true, but you're making some really unrealistic assumptions about levels of training. You can't gauge it over the internet. We cannot perceive who is or isn't capable of accomplishing something until they let it be known, and in a way help can be offered.

And in your own summation you actually hit on some of the very points of why things aren't so cushy for the everyday average GIMP power-user. Most view a little bit of clutter as "too much work" to have to sift through and wander off. Certainly we can "blame" how scripts and plug-ins are managed over the internet, but you still fail to see the logistics of your ideals (why the management is non-existent).

This isn't sarcasm or an attempt to belittle your ideas, its reality, as it appears now on our current horizon of thought. The revolving door revolves so much, it is one complicated mess. But that's not to say the average user cannot overcome their own inability to make a script/plug-in work, if they should decide to stick around and actually learn how. There are more tutorials on the internet than I have ever witnessed in the last 5 - 6 years.

Just a few short years ago, I was that average user, terrified of GIMP because it was so bulky and had little to offer in the way of instructions, and virtually non-existent tutorials that catered to beginners. That has changed now. I've come a long way, from terrified user to now tinkering with old scripts/plug-ins and getting some to actually work. My goal is to write my very own Python plug-in that I can contribute here.

And to speak of standards, you're not alone. If you've read any of my posts here on the registry, you'll discover one of my biggest peeves is that GIMP lacks standards when it comes to how it's packaged in any capacity. Who do I blame for that? The developers? The Registry? Who?

Have you ever once visited the GIMP developer's chatroom on IRC? Have you contributed to the developer's bug list? Posted any images of future feature requests for GIMP? In other words, how new are you to GIMP?

If anything, I hope you stick around and help, get a feel of who frequents this site the most, and continue contributing, because like you, I think GIMP is one kick-a$$ program and it deserves all the help and support it can get.

I couldn't really follow some of the points you were making, but you seem very passionate about it so that's a good thing. You do though, seem wedded to the idea that if a non-tech user can't (or more likely won't) take time out to learn the vagaries of the plugin system, then it's his fault. I suspect you subscribe to this idea because you yourself have tried struggled and succeeded with GIMP, and so why should newbies get a softer ride?

Your way of looking at things is perfectly valid - for the moment. But GIMP and it's plugins are not special cases. Software is software. It doesn't matter what it does, users expect it to come in neat packages and that it should work. Until the registry or developers or whoever, take account of this simple fact, the plugins will not reach an audience any wider than this group of enthusiastic people right here.

In answer to your query about have I contributed anything: I created a YouTube channel and have posted a series of guidance vids for absolute beginners. I know there are more YT channels for GIMP than there are flies round a horse's bum, but when you actually start looking at them, they are mostly people demonstrating a very specific project (although sometimes quite brilliantly), and there's lots of repetition too. So the vids I've contributed are the ones I would have liked to have been around when I was struggling with GIMP.

You said "the plugins will not reach an audience any wider than this group of enthusiastic people right here."

I guess I have to wonder "who cares?"

I (personally) use gimp for a number of reasons:

  • I am on windows and can not afford an equivalently featured product
  • I will not use pirated software
  • I like the flexibility gimp provides in extending it with scripts, etc, to meet MY needs (or providing scripts to meet others' needs IF it interests me)... (boy that sounds selfish ;)
  • I like the open source part because it had allowed me to fix a bug or two, and even try my hand at writing a compiled plugin.

In turn I have made these scripts, etc. available for others to use.

I started by posting them in forums (like gimptalk) and uploading them to my personal web site http://ffaat.pointclark.net/ and then settled on (in additional to the other possibilities) uploading them here when I think they might benefit a wider audience. There are other scripts I do NOT upload here as I feel they have a limited audience, and instead have located them at more interest specific sites (like http://www.cartographersguild.com )

For further thought I'd like to point out the current Gimp vision http://developer.gimp.org/gimpcon/2006/index.html#vision

What GIMP is:

  • GIMP is Free Software
  • GIMP is a high-end photo manipulation application, and supports creating original art from images;
  • GIMP is a high-end application for producing icons, graphical elements of web pages, and art for user interface elements;
  • GIMP is a platform for programming cutting edge image processing algorithms, by scientists and artists;
  • GIMP is user-configurable to automate repetitive tasks;
  • GIMP is easily user-extendable, by easy installation of plug-ins.

What GIMP is not:

  • GIMP is not MS Paint or Adobe Photoshop

TODO

  • Make it easier to perform repetitive tasks (macro recording)
  • Provide a UI with a low barrier to entry
  • GIMP should be easily extensible by the average user: one click-installation of plug-ins

You can see the target audience is "high-end" users.  And all software targeting high end users will be somewhat cofusing to new users.  This is hoped to be adressed in the todo list's "UI with a low barrier to entry" which is a focus for the next gimp release (2.8)

Your issues about ease of installation and software that "just work" will be partially addressed by the things I highlighted...in  theory.

The reality is, however, because Gimp is intended to be extendable, there will be extrnsions that are crap.  I can say the same thing about the 100000+ photoshop filters made under filter-forge etc. that are confusing, have poor ui, perform pointless tasks, and are in general crap.  of course they are free, which is why they survive (as people will only pay money for crap once unless there is no choice, or they are somewhat massochitic).

One click installation of crap will still make the user think "Hey this is easy to install crap.  Hope it is just as easy to uninstall".  The only way to prevent crap from making it into the channel in the first place is if that channel is completely managed and controled by an overseer.  This, however, is not the open source way.  Sorry.   (It is the Apple way, however, and as can be seen by the success of the iPod.  It is also the reason that Apple stuff tends to "just work"... easier to do when you control all the hardware, software, and developers...they just won't let crap into the app store as it may taint their product...since the uneducated user will not blame the third party crap vendor, they will criticize the product...king of like a gimp user saying "hey these plugins are crap and hard to use so gimp is crap").

I appraciate your efforts in providing videos for newbs.  I'd suggest you check out ShowMeDo and develop a learning-path there, if you really want to contribute in this manner.

I would ask, however, when you were struggling with Gimp did you buy a book?  There are many excellent ones available.

Sorry for the rant.

-Rob A>

 

Ha! Interesting you should ask that. No I didn't buy a book. The two reasons for that are a) I don't buy books for 'moving' subjects (i.e anything that is this way today but will be different soon). So that pretty much covers anything connected with software. b) I learn best if someone shows me, and then shows me again. So video is ideal for me. One (very minor) problem with the Internet is (as you pointed out), anyone can upload anything. But on the upside, even the crap is useful. Even a badly done tutorial will contain at least a nugget of something useful. One also has to bear in mind (as you yourself have already alluded to), that even if it's crap, someone went to the trouble of producing it to the best of their abilities. The human race advances by each of us standing on other shoulders, so anyone who does their best to add to the great knowledge pool is fine fellow in my book - regardless of the quality. But I always know when I'm advancing nicely in a subject, when I can watch a video and say to myself 'Mmm - that's not the best way of doing that'.

Thank you for the tip about ShowMeDo. Besides GIMP there are tons of vids on three other topics of interest to me right now. That's my evening viewing sorted.

Glad you weren't offended, as I didn't mean to.

And have fun with ShowMeDo. I've posted three video tutorials up there, and know the effort it takes to come across as coherent (Look for "Rob A" if you are interested, and wish to mock my Canadian accent). I'm currently working my way though the python paths.

-Rob A>

There was some discussion on this that was lost when the forums moved.

I found this: http://registry.gimp.org/node/19193
and this: http://registry.gimp.org/node/22323

But previously there was a discussion on having an "official" registry that I can't find any more. Specifically, I had raised concerns with:
- duplicate scripts that perform the same function (some better/some worse)
- respecting menu conventions when registering scripts (i.e. a script that modifies selections should go under the Edit menu, a script that is a funky filter should go under Filters->Artistic (or wherever suitable) rather than under a new top level menu like "RobA's Bitchen' Scripts".
- review by a "senior script editor" who has contributed some number of scripts to ensure the script (internally) meets standards and conventions (like storing and restoring the environment, respecting the undo stack, using named buffers rather than destroying the clipboard, etc.)
- verification of the version of gimp the script works on.
- some mechanism to "submit" scripts prior to all this hapenning, rather than just uploading them here willy-nilly. Of course that implies some moderation, which implies some accountability.

I would think that some of these have been addressed by other parties distributing packages packs like FX Foundary http://gimpfx-foundry.sourceforge.net/ but personally I do not like to use their scripts as they have modified the menu locations to group them all together which I disagree with. Additionally, I have many of the scripts from the original author, and the duplicate script names can cause errors.

-Rob A>

Interesting - I didn't know the script could specify it's location on the menu.

Surely a sub-domain of gimp.org is makes this registry official does it not?

Anyway, you make a great deal of sense with the issues you've listed. I hope some of that gets implemented eventually.

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