I somehow doubt that GIMP will ever get better funding or team growth, problem is, while being generous and giving us an amazing image editing app, the dev team has/had no interest in making it a serious tool for image manipulation and be the desired alternative to other commercial software. Maybe it’s because the developers didn’t do any serious productions in image manipulation them selves, if at all, lack of interest or time because of life things, but they successfully ignored a few most important things throughout a decade that would have made GIMP be what Blender is today. One of them being adjustment layers like functionality. Unsurprisingly interest in GIMP grew smaller by many people who were looking for a Photoshop alternative. This is where all the motion comes from and funding could have been found, some extra smart people would have joined. But I remember once there was a discussion and a bit hostile responses by someone from the Dev team regarding the topic of adjustment layers and sometging else. Which didn’t help the situation. So the team developing GIMP is very small, it’s a huge app to handle, technology is rapidly evolving and new requirements are getting more complicated. GIMP is being developed too slowly and with no certainty on direction. Porting to GTK3 took so long it’s already obsolete, GTK 4 probably is on the end of life (sorry, I am KDE user so don’t fallow much Gnome and GTK things), but a fundamental function as adjustment layers is still not touched, how do we expect AI enhanced tools to be implemented? What is more, the power of open source is not working as well. Just a handful of people seems to try and write plugins for GIMP. Most likely because it’s unknown when GIMP 3 will be out and stable and how things will proceed from there.
That is why apps like Krita and Blender are faster to get innovative attempts like AI tools and plugins, they have clear roadmaps and goals, they focus and has bigger interest in what artists need and want as well as use the software for their own real projects, so they know what to do and they attract investors. With clear conception they also get huge interest from communities that either fund projects or put their hands and minds into development.
I am not telling that GIMP is bad, just notice that the pace of it’s development seems slower every year. And many people moved on. And even latest update seems outdated compared to what the one would like to see nowadays when opened GIMP.
I miss those days when GIMP was that image manipulation app making waves and kicking Adobe’s butt with innovations like content aware scaling, which made many graphics software development companies crumble and now we don’t hear about GIMP at all. If only GIMP dev team decided to strive for certain goals, maybe that path could bring in more passion and interest by those, who could write more of the AI tools.
But since GIMP dev team does this project from their own good will and income comes from elsewhere, we can’t expect or demand things, I am just grateful they didn’t drop development of GIMP and that it is not abandonware. Even though I moved on to other app for photo editing, I, as so many others, really needed that adjustment layers functionality… with that and AI tools GIMP would be phenomenal.