I managed to do some Christmas shopping this weekend. The stores were crowded, too warm, and made me remember why I wish I would get an earlier start on my shopping. We went to the Christmas parade and watched the high school bands and Santa. My daughter played in one of the bands and we picked her and her friend up afterwards and took them to ring bells for the Salvation Army. Kinsey was at a debate meet and brought home two medals. I am proud of him and I am so glad that he had the opportunity to do something he enjoys and excels at and got recognition for it. Everyone needs that from time to time. The tree is up and I made a pot full of homemade soup. All in all a nice peaceful weekend. No great excitement but there is something to say for a chance to refuel every now and then.
I ran across some tutorials for GIMP which I have been trying hard to love. I have a lot of experience with PaintShop Pro and found it difficult to make the switch. I found some tutorials that walked you through the creation of a graphic step-by-step. I learn best by doing so those are my preferred kind of tutorial. I have a long way to go before I reach the level of proficiency I need for web graphics but at least I made some progress. The graphic wasn’t anything useful – just a cloth textured background and a circle that appears glassy and raised. Still it allowed me to get familiar with a few tools and it wasn’t totally ugly.
If I hadn’t had the time to refuel I wouldn’t have gotten focused enough to find the appropriate tutorial and complete it. Completing the tutorial gave me some confidence and a little excitement which will motivate me to learn more. GIMP seems to be a powerful piece of software but it lacks the community that has existed in the past for PaintShop Pro. There were groups and literally hundreds of tutorials and plenty of folks willing to share their expertise. There was something for every level from complete beginner to expert. I would like to see more of that sort of thing with GIMP. There is a community of Open Source users but they seem to be limited to people who are fairly comfortable with computers and who have that need to learn new software and the time to do it. I have seen a few books on using GIMP but walk in to any bookstore that carries computer books and you will usually find several choices for PaintShop Pro and PhotoShop and often several for different versions.
What makes one software package attract writers and usergroups while another that is just as good and often cheaper (in the case of GIMP free!) remains in the shadows by comparison? It took me a long time to get started and I know partly because I don’t like change. I wanted GIMP to act like PaintShop Pro and everytime I sat down to work with it I would end up frustrated. It wasn’t the software’s fault – it was my inability a adjust to the difference. What changed was that I found instructions that struck a familiar chord and provided a kind of “rosetta stone” that helped unlock my mental block.
In learning about GIMP I also learned something about my own learning style. Maybe when I understand GIMP a little better I can put that piece of information to good use and create some tutorials of my own.