Gimp vision - Dreams of adjustment layers or different concept alltogether?

I was so happy to see multi select layers in the recent 2.99.2 gimp release and was reminded about the old adjustment layers request.

I have faint memories of discussions about this a loong time ago (not and seem to remember that the whole gegl graph thing was supposed to provide an alternative way of achieving the same thing.

I’m not asking for what features are READY NOW but rather about the long term goals. Are there plans for adjustment layers or are there plans for other ways of achieving non destructive editing?

Personally I work around this with copies of layers. When working on A3@300dpi five six copies of 10 layers do have a rather noticeable impact on file size and loading time. But It actually works for me.

Its on the roadmap for 3.2 the first release after the gtk3 port.

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Thanks, found the roadmap via a quick search

That map does state adjustment layers and layer effects. So to answer my own question above.

The Gimp plan is to move ahead with the “traditional” adjustment layers rather than some other gui paradigm.

I am not sure what the exact implementation will look like, but I think it will be quite usable and flexible-- I expect no less from the team. :slight_smile:

I’m sure there is still plenty of time to get involved with the UX of it, so long as you don’t say “make it like Photoshop” :wink:

As @paperdigits pointed out already, not sure if the approach has really been decided (for UI/UX).

A new concept would be interesting to see (maybe something purely node-based would be fun? Tom Lechner ( had done some preliminary work with this - see Laidout

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This is pretty cool:

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I use nodes in Blender and it’s a good way of creating complex materials etc. In general though I think it’s to complex for image editing. The Blender workflow is quite different and the materials etc are re used more frequently or apply to a larger (time wise) piece of work where the investment in time and headspace nodes require are worth it.

Saying that you could of course have hud style nodes that you activate by clicking in the layer list and the nodes will be displayed over the image with visual feedback on the canvas as you change the nodes.

For my use case there will only be one or three boxes per layer though I don’t think it ever gets blender level in practice. With this low complexity of the controls the high complexity of the ui can become counterproductive.

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I’d love to see some experimentation in this space, though. Maybe doesn’t seem to make sense now to approach it this way but maybe there’s some really interesting blended layer + node visual UI/UX we haven’t even considered yet that might be really interesting. :slight_smile:

For now, I’d just like plain vanilla non-destruct layers, history, adjustment…


Peter Sikking wrote some time ago (2012) an nice UX concept:

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Peter Sikking wrote some time ago (2012) an nice UX concept:

You did use the right word: concept :slight_smile: It hasn’t been discussed much if nodes would be exposed in UI at all.

Also, back when I added ‘adjustment layers’ and ‘layer effects’ to the roadmap, I did so with the sole intention to use terminology that is familiar to Photoshop users.

It could be layers. It could be nodes. It could be both, in fact!

Do note though: exposing nodes UI suggests that the internal window system has to be updated/rewritten in GIMP (which is long overdue in my opinion). Right now, in the single-window mode, you have just one window visible at all times + dockable dialogs.

As soon as you bring node compositing, you need regular image window and the nodes compositing workplace visible at the same time. So at the very least you need to make dockable dialogs capable of attaching themselves to top/bottom and thus splitting the screen into image window and node compositing window + other docks. The reason being, when you have complex projects of dozens of layers, I don’t think you can get away with just the preview in the backdrop (Blender-style). You need to interact with the project in different ways.

@prokoudine What about adjustment “masks” and clone layers? Krita allows NDE by assigning it to a layer rather than as a layer. Clone layers is useful for automating editing.

All transforms are non-destructive in GEGL, e.g. here is crop “node”: So something like a transform mask in Krita is an inherent feature of the engine, it’s just a matter of having a nice UI in GIMP.

Same goes for clone layers:

Hello @prokoudine

Have you got some information about the GEGL development?

From what I see on GITLAB it looks like its development is extremely low these past months [1]. On top of this the last update of Oyvind Kolas (the main developer of GEGL) on Patreon, his chosen platform to collect donations, dates back on July [2]. All of this is a bit worrying to say the least…

It is a pity no important software has adopted GEGL these past years. This would have allowed this software to get much more development; not mainly for GIMP ends I mean…

Anyway thanks a lot indeed for your work as a “GIMP ambassador” :slight_smile:


Well, pippin’s work on GEGL has always been time-permitting. Sometimes he has more time, sometimes less.

I can’t think of many big projects starting to use GEGL really. The folks over at Glimpse might come up with a new image editor that could be a nice front-end to GEGL. Maybe some animation tool.

Laidout actually has a graphical nodal interface to gegl.

I’m not sure if Laidout counts as big project. At least is Tom (the author) always joking, that he is the only Laidout user. Btw. Gnome Photos uses GEGL too, but that is a small project too.

Hello @Tobias @prokoudine ,

Gnome Photos uses GEGL too, but that is a small project too

Yep. I remember its Indian guy main developer sending many patches upstream to GEGL in the long past.
On Gnome planet, I have never read anything about some big improvement these past months related to this project (but probably I didn’t pay enough attention…)

the folks over at Glimpse might come up with a new image editor that could be a nice front-end to GEGL. Maybe some animation tool.

With all due respect, I am a extremely skeptical about that…
IMHO, it all looks as “wapour-ware” to me [1]. Just my personal opinion of course…
Very glad to be proven wrong in the coming months, though :slight_smile: