GIMP 3: A Sneak Peek into the Future of Image Editing

The latest GIMP development preview introduces enhanced color algorithms, auto-expanding layers, and more ahead of the major 3.0 update.

Exciting news for graphic designers, photographers, and digital artists everywhere: the much-anticipated glimpse into the future of image editing, GIMP 3, is just around the corner!

With the recent release of GIMP 2.99.18, the final development preview, the GIMP team is thrilled to showcase a suite of new features and improvements that promise to significantly enhance how we interact with this widely adopted image editing software.

While GIMP 2.99.18 is a development version and carries the usual caveats of potential instability, it represents a critical step toward the final GIMP 3 release.

This version may be particularly unstable due to the ambitious “Space Invasion” project to enhance color correctness across the board. By transitioning to GeglColor for color data management, GIMP is set to offer more accurate color conversions, support for a more comprehensive array of color models, and a more robust handling of color palettes.

Another standout feature in this update is the introduction of initial non-destructive editing capabilities. This long-awaited functionality allows users to apply filter effects to layers without permanently altering the original image pixels.

This change marks a significant departure from GIMP’s traditional destructive editing workflow and paves the way for a more flexible and forgiving editing process.

Font handling has also received a much-needed overhaul. Thanks to font loading and differentiation improvements, users can work with identically named fonts without confusion and enjoy enhanced support for custom and unconventional font styles.

For those who dread the manual task of adjusting layer sizes, the new auto-expanding layers feature will come as a relief. Now, when painting beyond the boundaries of a layer, GIMP will automatically adjust the layer’s dimensions to accommodate the new content.

This feature and the introduction of new snapping options for precise layer alignment are highly anticipated by all and will be warmly welcomed by the graphic design community.

Of course, the user interface hasn’t been left behind, with themes and icons undergoing consolidation for a more streamlined and less confusing customization process.

Moreover, the revamped Welcome Dialog offers quick access to customization options, recent projects, and ways to contribute to GIMP’s development, enhancing the software’s accessibility to newcomers and veterans alike.

In addition to these user-facing enhancements, GIMP 2.99.18 introduces support for new file formats and improvements to existing ones, ensuring users can work seamlessly with a broad range of digital assets.

The development team has also made strides in API updates and integration with GEGL and babl, further solidifying GIMP’s foundation for future expansions.

This GIMP development release closes 238 reports as fixed, incorporates 201 merge requests, and includes contributions from a diverse group of 60 individuals.

GIMP 2.99.18 Development Preview
GIMP 2.99.18 Development Preview

As the project moves into a feature freeze in the direction of releasing the first Release Candidate, the focus shifts to refining these new capabilities, addressing bugs, and laying the groundwork for a smooth transition to GIMP 3.

Finally, the big question on everyone’s mind – when can we expect the final release to be all set and ready to go? Here’s the answer – the GIMP team is optimistic about releasing the stable GIMP 3.0 version in time for the upcoming Libre Graphics Meeting, which will be held in Rennes, France, between May 9-12.

So, we just have to wait less than three more months. However, if you can’t wait until then, you can download the dev preview here. For more in-depth information about all changes, check out the announcement.

Bobby Borisov

Bobby Borisov

Bobby, an editor-in-chief at Linuxiac, is a Linux professional with over 20 years of experience. With a strong focus on Linux and open-source software, he has worked as a Senior Linux System Administrator, Software Developer, and DevOps Engineer for small and large multinational companies.

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One comment

  1. Cool, thanks! I wonder when they will join the closed source crowd (Adobe, etc) in implementing an AI assistant. Open Source models abound now, with native applications like LMStudio and the like. Lots of free vision-to-text and other tools available.

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