The previous post on this topic: 2019/10/07/gimp-update-for-mac/
I have been spending more time exploring version 10.22 and am becoming more familiar with new features and design options. There are slight variations in behaviors depending on the Mac OS version. Windows updates happen more frequently. According to the software download site for Mac “the currently available package provides GIMP 2.10.22 and has not yet updated to the latest version, GIMP 2.10.24. We’re working on that, please check back later.”
Gimp has a wide range of paint tools The most commonly used in creating repeats for knit design are Pencil, Paintbrush, and Bucket Fill.
The Pencil tool is used to draw freehand lines with a hard edge. The main difference between it and the Paintbrush is that although both use the same type of brush, the pencil tool will not produce fuzzy edges.
Present experiments are placed in alphabetical order. Topics:
Brushes and patterns
Colors threshold see grid options
Grid options, Guides, Color separations
BRUSHES AND PATTERNS
There are many very good videos on using multiple versions of GIMP on Youtube. Most focus on working with very large images in huge numbers of colors, and brushes or patterns in the tutorials are often larger than the maximum stitch count on our home knitting machines capable of electronic download and with needle counts of 180-200. In addition, punchcard machines have a 24-pixel width repeat constraint. The content of such published material and tutorials can be overwhelming, but isolated techniques for the required binary bit mapped knit scale are easy to sort out.
Many knitters designing small repeats use very simple programs and enter pixels singly or copy and paste in small groups. Some simple, quick functions in Gimp can simplify and speed up the progress considerably. Punchcard knitters may use the same techniques to set up their 24 x X custom length repeats and tile the results to visualize how they line up when knitted in multiples.
Some content paraphrased from the online Gimp manual: in GIMP, a pattern is a small image used to fill areas by placing copies of side by side. You can use them with the bucket fill tool. They vary in size, are used for filling regions by tiling, that is, by placing copies of the pattern side by side like ceramic tiles. A pattern is said to be tileable if copies of it can be adjoined left-edge-to-right-edge and top-edge-to-bottom-edge without creating obvious seams, such patterns are used in standard knitting repeats. The same effect may be obtained by using the Filter, Map, Tile option on the drawn image.
With the bucket fill tool, you can choose to fill a region with a pattern instead of a solid color. To make a pattern available, place it in one of the folders in GIMP’s pattern search path which includes two folders, the system patterns folder, which you should not use or alter, and the patterns folder inside your personal GIMP directory. The .gbr (“gimp brush”) format is used for ordinary and color brushes.
Photoshop ABR brushes are also easily imported for use.
Pressing the refresh button causes GIMP to rescan the folders in your pattern search path, adding any newly discovered patterns to the list. This button is useful if you add new patterns to a folder, and want to make them available without having to restart GIMP.
GIMP includes a set of 10 “paint tools”, which, except for the ink tool, use the same set of brushes. The brush pixmaps represent the marks that are made by single “touches” of the brush, which is desirable in working with knit scale bitmaps. Brushes can be selected by clicking on an icon in the brushes dialogue, the current brush is then shown in the Brush/Pattern/Gradient area of the Toolbox. Clicking on the brush symbol there is another way of activating the Brushes dialog.
When you use the Copy or Cut command on an image or a selection of it, a copy appears as a new brush in the upper left corner of the “Brushes” dialog. This brush will persist until you use the Copy command again. It disappears when you close GIMP.
Building a personal brush pattern library on Mac: open software preferences locate folders on the bottom left, click on plus sign aside folders icon at the bottom left, it will change to a minus sign, and folders become visible select brushes, two options will appear. If a proper choice is made for the addition of pattern files, a green button will appear single click on the filing cabinet icon on the right, a familiar Mac finder window will appear double click on the patterns folder, its own window will appear, right-click in the window below the last entry, a smaller window appears, choose the add new folder option. It will appear as “untitled” and will be added to the existing folders, rename it “my brushes” or any other choice, and the new folder will be added within the brushes one Its place in the brushes list will be determined by its initial letter, the contents are in alphabetical order. For future use, any saved brush may be dragged and dropped into the named personal pattern folder icon, or into the folder after it has been expanded or opened in its own window. My opened brush folder After brushes are added, the refresh button below the brush dockable dialogue may bring them up without having to restart the program. After saving these 3 images as .gbr files and placing them in the appropriate folder they appear as available for use To install .abr files on Mac:
create a new photoshop folder within the Gimp brushes one
Download the chosen files, drag and drop the images or folder from the downloads folder into the chosen Gimp one, they will be available after a Gimp restart
The free files I tested were very large in size, did not scale down to use for knitting cleanly, and even though they appeared to be BW they opened as RGBs making the conversion to BW indexed quite dithered. They are composed of assorted leaves and snowflakesWhen exporting self-drawn brushes, the option is offered for adding spacing surrounding the shape, here a 10% addition was chosen Patterns may be saved in a similar way. Since GIMP 2.2 you can use .png, .jpg, .bmp, .gif, or .tiff files as patterns.
Saving patterns from large to tiny may be achieved using the same method as in saving brushes. To save personal patterns, instead of choosing the file cabinet icon in preferences, one may choose the folder icon, following a similar series of steps to those above, including verifying contents of the newly created folder Use Windows, Dockable Dialogues, choose Pattern. The patterns will show on the right of the Gimp window and are viewable once you click on the fill window below the tools on the left as well.
Open the image to be filled
Click on the paint bucket tool, select the Pattern fill type. Click on the paint bucket, then on the pattern you wish to use on right, hover over the canvas with the paint tool, click on it and the image will fill in the chosen pattern.
Or click on the pattern icon, scroll through to the desired pattern, click on it, then on the paint bucket tool, hover over the canvas with the paint tool, and click on it to fill. The + or _ option scales the size of the pattern view, it is handy when tiny or very large repeats are chosen. The canvas for the pattern fill needs to be large enough to accommodate the pattern in repeat.
If the fill fails, check to see that the bucket fill mode was not somehow changed from normal to one of the many other options Here the skull is used to fill a 400X400 canvas, an even multiple of its size If the canvas is not in a full multiple of the whole pattern, part of the repeat is cropped Using the same rose image tiled using the Filter, Map, Tile menu produces similar results when full multiples of the image pixels are not chosen, ie. here the tiling is on an 80-pixel wide canvas as opposed to a full multiple of 25 ie 100 Designing tiny repeats:
Begin with the image in black and white indexed mode.
To draw my repeats, I used 1800X magnification, with grid view, exported the files as png, and dragged them into my own Gimp patterns folder.
If the goal is full punchcard repeat illustrations, then by default the width of the image to be filled needs to be 24 pixels wide, and a minimum of 36 rows high. If working with tuck stitch, punched squares are black pixels, unpunched ones the white, creating the tucked loops. Using the bucket tool to fill the image is accomplished with a simple, very quick stroke The rectangle tool may be used to isolate a segment of the first repeat and the area may then be filled with a different pattern. Brushes may be resized as needed, pasted on the previously filled image, guides are helpful in their placement. Grids and Guides: my view was magnified X 2800, the canvas measured 24 X 36 pixels.
Magnification may be set using the pull-down below the image window, where any number listed may be chosen or typed in and set by hitting the return key, or by choosing the zoom tool. Click only on the image, the zoom is applied to the whole image. If the pointer is used, click-and-drag the mouse pointer to create a zoom rectangle. The biggest dimension of the rectangle will correspond to the size of the image window. You can get to the Zoom Tool from the Image menu through , or by clicking the magnifying glass in the toolbox Anyone needing an adjustable grid superimposed on an existing image may use the Configure Grid command to set the properties of the grid and display it over the image while working on it.
One can choose the color of the gridlines, and the spacing and offsets from the origin of the image, independently for the horizontal and vertical grid lines. The configure grid dialogue: The five different grid styles: Intersections, dots: the least visible, a simple dot at each intersection of the grid linesIntersections, crosshairs: a plus-shaped crosshair at each intersection of the grid lines Dashed: dashed lines in the foreground color of the gridDouble dashed: dashed lines, where the foreground and background colors of the grid alternate, looks the same as above when the image is in BW indexed mode. It is also hard to discern the separate colors in RGB mode because the dashes are so small and so close together, Solid: shows solid grid lines in the foreground color of the grid Foreground and Background colors: in RGB Mode, click on the foreground color to select a new color for the grid, click OK Spacing: for use illustrations see GRIDS: OPTIONS
Width and height: select the cell size of the grid and the unit of measurement
Offset: moves the origin of the first cell, by the fault the grid begins at the coordinate origin, 0,0
The command enables and disables snap to grid. When snap to grid is enabled, and a selection is moved or placed, the grid points pull on it when it approaches making accurate placement easier. If the magnification is high enough, the placement of your pencil or brush will be outlined in a dotted line. Here the snap to the area for a 3-pixel pencil is shown highlighting its possible placement location. This command is found in the image menubar through , .
GUIDES: to configure guides, simply click on one of the rulers in the image window and pull out a guide, while holding down the mouse Left Button or side. The guide is then displayed as a blue, dashed line, which follows the pointer. Releasing the mouse will place it. As soon a guide is created, the “Move” tool is activated and the mouse pointer changes to the Move icon.
You can create as many guides as you like, positioned wherever you like. If the grid is set to a 1X1 square pixel default with a line border, at any point the Image, Configure, Grid option may be used to change the ground view To move a guide, activate the Move tool in the Toolbox, then click on the guide (it will turn red), and drag it to a new location. Click-and-drag the intersection of two guides to move them together. Create as many guides as needed, positioned appropriately for the design. To delete a guide, simply drag it outside the image.
Holding down the Shift key moves everything but a guide, using the guides as an effective alignment aid. You can remove all the guides with the Image, Guides, Remove all Guides command.
Working on punchcard repeats whether in designing for cards or to create a BMP for electronic download using a published repeat, guides may be set to outline 6X6 blocks as seen in factory issued Brother punchcards, or to create custom templates. For example, lace designs have few pixels. Horizontal guides may be added or moved at intervals between repeat segments, making certain the two knit rows are left blank as one continues in entering the proper pixels. The vertical guides help in orienting and locating the pixels in design blocks to match the source. With guides in place, pattern fill may be used, adding shapes using the tools, or brushes to place motifs. A sample of a knit repeat using the rectangle tool and the paint bucket tool combination to create filled rectangles placed in relationship to guides, creating a tuck pattern with interspersed plain knit rectangular shapes Built-in or custom brushes may be superimposed on a bucket-filled ground. Create an image in the desired width and height, here 24 X 24, magnify at least X 800 for a grid view.
Fill with a pattern.
Place the chosen brush on the patterned ground, adjust the size and placement of the brush until satisfied, save the image.
Consider the end-use for the pattern. For example, the designs below left would be suitable for tuck stitch, the same designs would need to be color reversed if the plan is to use them to knit thread lace. Both the original and the new image should be set to BW indexed mode. Developing a brick version of the repeat is easy and quick. With the original image open, create a new image with the same width but twice its height, 24X48.
Set the magnification for both images to the same number, adjusting the number of both if needed so the longer canvas is in full view.
Configure the grid as preferred on the new image, make it visible. Snap to grid is useful, may not be necessary when working in such a scale.
Copy the full starting image and paste it on the bottom of the new.
Guides may be put in place to adjust for the pattern shift in the top half of the new image. A single, center guide, in this case, was sufficient.
The full image copy is still available, align and paste it again, its left side to the right of the center guide, anchor it.
Paste its right side to the left of the center guide and anchor that in placealso. Undo and repeat steps if needed.
Check the alignment of the full repeat by map tiling, if satisfied, export it as PNG or BMP for future download.COLORS EXCHANGE
Color exchanges to test designs in different colorways may be made easily and quickly using the program. To test the concept begin with a simple repeat already tested for tiling originally saved in indexed black and white colors This icon shows the default foreground and background colors The black is the foreground color, the white is the background.
Using such small images I often work in 800X magnification. Open the image, choose sizing, scaling, or magnification if necessary, convert to RGB mode then from the colors menu choose map, color exchange. The color exchange window will appear. Here the white “from color” is left undisturbed. Select the dropper next to the “to color”, then click on the image on the color you wish to change, a palette window will appear. Make your choice, the color exchange window will now have substituted the chosen color for the black, click OK, and white design areas are now changed to the chosen blue globally. The process may then be repeated with the second color if desired. The color exchange window will show white as the default “from color”. Click on the white bar, choose black from the palette window or use the dropper to select black from the image. The from color will then appear as black. Repeat selection with the dropper from the right of the “to color” bar on any black pixels in the image, choose the color from the palette window to replace it, the color exchange window will display the new “to color”. Click OK, job done. The process may be repeated multiple times on the same design or used on large-scale ones, giving one some idea as to whether or not to really commit to the estimated colors. COLORS THRESHOLD: see GRIDS OPTIONS
Punchcard users may use this method to visualize which holes to punch, though this particular repeat would need to be reduced in stitch count in order to be usable. Similar charts may be adapted and used for other textile techniques such as cross-stitch or even filet crochet.
Grids help with the precise placement of pixels when designing using pixels to represent stitches and rows. The grid is not visible until it is activated via the View, Show Grid option in the Image menu. To create a custom grid, the Image, Configure Grid from the Image menu brings up a dialogue that allows you to do so. causes the pointer to “warp” perfectly to any grid line located within a certain distance. In most instances, when drawing repeats a 1X1 pixel grid works well on a canvas magnified enough for it to be visible when filling in cells, I recommend a starting magnification of X800.
Anyone needing an adjustable grid superimposed on an existing colored image may now adjust the grid size to suit while viewing the resulting changes. The beginning image and grid size both need to be large enough for the grid to be visible. Use the show grid, configure grid commands The intact chain-link fixes the width and height aspect ratio of grid cells Considering the possible smallest repeat, breaking the chain link, changing values progressively while viewing the results brings one closer to matching units The image itself may be scaled concurrently to tweak grid border alignments. The final grid size below is 18X18, the image size is shown after scaling from a width of 277 pixels (with a broken link at that time) to a final 270 pixels in width The screengrab of the above center, with a superimposed new grid; note the image, in this case, was also offset for better placement, a 3-pixel pencil was used to isolate the border of the possible smallest repeat Using Filter, Map, Tile to check alignments The repeat reduced to 12 stitches, suitable for punchcard, and tiled to check alignments. Translating the colored image to BW indexed may take several steps and some clean-up if only Gimp is used to process it. With the colored large-scale isolated repeat, the image is opened in Gimp. The Threshold tool transforms the current layer or the selection into a black and white image, where white pixels represent the pixels of the image whose Value is in the threshold range, and black pixels represent pixels with Value out of the threshold range. It may be activated from the pull-down colors menu or from the toolbox. The color image will temporarily disappear, adjust levels. Scaling to repeat size: check the image size, making certain the present dimensions match a multiple of the final repeat count for stitches and rows. If adjustments are required, breaking the chain-link allows for each count to be adjusted independently from the other. In the final scaling, use the closed chain link, adjust numbers, magnify the repeat, checking it with a superimposed grid for any missing or out-of-place cells. Check the alignment, then save the single repeat, which in this case is 14X14, ready for download Color separations: there are occasions where very small repeats need to be scaled in height only for color separations. I have found such scaling to be inaccurate using the option, such as here, both of the small, single repeat, and in scaling its tiled version. The triangle motif was used in many of my early posts on color separations for DBJ and its backing options. On a long enough canvas, the grid may be adjusted to 1 pixel by four in height. With that number of cells filled in with black in this case, if the 1X4 unit is captured with the rectangle tool, it will appear in the brush menu and will be available for use with the pencil tool for drawing with single strokes until one quits the program unless the unit is saved for future use as described via preferences Using RGB mode, the two-color redrawn image is redrawn, A. The grid may be adjusted to 1X 1 again, B. Using magnification, I often use X1800, pairs of rows may be selected for either color invert or value invert color options. The first will add a third color, seen in the chart bottom, the second will yield a 2 color image, seen in the chart top, B. I have had no success with using keyboard commands for the action using my OS, find it easier visually to deal with the three colors than with the 2, especially in longer repeats. C: the extra color pixels in the rows with black pixels are filled with white. D: the third color pixel rows are filled with black. D the final repeat may be color indexed to BW and saved for download. The appearance of the final repeat when color reversed Another comparison of the 2 options for altering every other pair of rows in the specific color separation for a mosaic repeat. There is less filling in of cells with a different color, but in large files especially, I feel the result would become far more visually confusing to track. For more details on the specific mosaic, see 2021/01/27/mosaics-and-mazes-charting-meet-numbers-gimp-3/
Information summary from the online manual on working with symmetry:
you can access this dialog from the image Menu bar through Windows-Dockable- Dialogs-Symmetry Painting, its icon appears below at the top right A drop-down list offers four options. As soon as you check a type of symmetry, axes appear as dotted green lines in the image window and you can start painting with the brush you have chosen.
The default position for the symmetry axis is the middle of the image window. You can place the axis where you want using the Horizontal axis position and Vertical axis position.
Disable brush transform: when you transform the drawing, the brush itself will end up transformed as well. For instance, in a mirror transform, not only will your drawing on the right of the canvas be mirrored on the left, but the brush itself is obviously “flipped” on the left. If for some reason, you want the drawn lines to be mirrored (or other transformation) but not the brush outline itself, you can check this box.
“Tiling” is a translational symmetry, which can be finite (with a maximum of strokes) or infinite. In the latter case, it is the perfect tool to create patterns or seamless tiles, at painting time. This mode covers the image with strokes.
Interval X Interval Y: these are the intervals on the X and Y axis, in pixels, between stroke centers.
Shift: this is the shift between lines on the X-axis, in pixels.
Max strokes X, Max strokes Y: these are the maximal number of brush strokes on the X and Y-axis. Default is 0, which means no limit, according to the image size.
Using a large image, testing few iterations, helps one understand the process. The pepper brush is provided in the program and is used in the tutorial on the Gimp site. Most such tutorials are intended for working on far larger and higher resolution images, while knitting is binary and at the opposite end of the spectrum in scale and required image size. The original brush is 220 pixels in size, the maximum number of needles per pixels on standard machines programmable at one time is 200. For exploration, any of the built-in brushes may be used, I began by scaling the pepper to 50 pixels, then moved on to a self-drawn, equal size flower motif. When choosing canvas file size, consider a multiple of the brush size. Drawing repeats uses the pencil tool. Working with potential knit repeats the scale is reduced further. Magnification is useful for the evaluation of repeats. The smallest repeat segments for use on electronic machines may be isolated. The filter map, tile option easily verify how the repeats line up overall. Cropping a 24 stitch width and tiling that also visualizes the suitability of the repeat for use on punchcards with the 24 stitch limitation. Grid view helps identify any need for “clean up”.
This rose is 24 stitches wide by 25 rows in height Open the chosen file in Gimp. Create a new file in a canvas size considering a multiple of the original.
When the Copy or Cut command is used on an image or a selection of it, a copy appears as a new brush in the upper left corner of the “Brushes” dialog. This brush will persist until you use the Copy command again. It disappears when GIMP is closed.
With the single repeat opened in Gimp, magnified several times, click on the image and use the copy command. The image will appear in the symmetry dialogue. The position may vary depending on whether the program has been closed and relaunched between episodes of testing the process. Create a new file, large enough to accommodate a multiple of the original number of pixels, adding pixels for spacing between or above and below designs, set the magnification to the same number as that of the clipboard image, left-click on the brush icon, choose the image saved in the clipboard and a type of symmetry and accompanying settings, click on pencil tool, the motif will appear as on the above right, paste the image on the new canvas, undo and repeat setting adjustments until satisfied with the distribution of motifs.
Some ways of varying repeat positions working with motifs in networks were illustrated in the post To develop a brick repeat I began with a canvas twice that of the original rose, 48X50 pixels, isolated the smallest repeat, used the filter map tile option to test its all over alignment The 24X50 repeat: To decrease crowding, using the original image, the new canvas is now 40X60, with the shift decreased from 12 to 8 pixels. The result did not tile properly when mapped, using magnification 800X with a viewed grid the final repeat, 29X60 was isolated Being more deliberate with the math leads to a full, successful repeat
Working on the gridded image, drawing straight lines to isolate color change areas in chosen colors followed by flood filling, one may begin to visualize changing the ground color behind the motif repeats Using that small triangular 8X8 repeat open in Gimp, or draw any small shape if designed by hand, remove the grid. Before using it as a brush, reduce mode to 2 colors, magnify X800. Open a new file. I found the latter needed to be increasingly small as well for the repeats to be placed accurately. After tiling using symmetry, filter, map, tile from the filter menu to check for multiple repeat alignment. Again, preemptive math will yield images that avoid further processing. It is up to the user to recognize any problems, the repeat here needs to and can be isolated correctly from the file on the left, it is actually only 16 rows high. Here the adjusted repeat is created on a 24X16 canvas with the same symmetry settings, and filter/mapped/tiled There may be multiple ways to achieve the same result with each motif. Here the same repeat is executed two different ways The above repeat was cropped and adjusted to 16 stitch width and 8 row height, the file saved, and the process repeated Using symmetry once more, remember to adjust the pencil size. For the pinwheel shape I was unable to use color exchange successfully on the above images, but with the saved 2 colors indexed red and white repeat both img2track and ayab appeared to load the repeat successfully. The map color exchange was successful using the steps described at the top of the post when beginning with the repeat drawn in a black and white version.
A different approach, experimenting with built-in brushes: symmetry preferences remain constant, the brush size is reduced. The results are best if the canvas is created in black and white indexed mode to start with, and shapes reduce with varying degrees of success. The numbers reflect brush sizes in each dot pattern. Different types of symmetry may be applied to the same image
For afghans or wall art, if one is attracted to large shapes, drawing in mandala symmetry on large canvas size is as gratifying and immediate as when using a spirograph, the results happen in seconds, these were drawn using 32 points. Steps may easily be undone along the way as one attempts to make the images more complex.