Interactive arrow design in GIMP (Shallow Thoughts)

Akkana's Musings on Open Source, Science, and Nature.

Sat, 10 Jul 2010

Interactive arrow design in GIMP

How many times have you wanted an easy way of making arrows in GIMP?

I need arrows all the time, for screenshots and diagrams. And there really isn't any easy way to do that in GIMP. There's a script-fu for making arrows in the Plug-in registry, but it's fiddly and always takes quite a few iterations to get it right. More often, I use a collection of arrow brushes I downloaded from somewhere -- I can't remember exactly where I got my collection, but there are lots of options if you google gimp arrow brushes -- then use the free rotate tool to rotate the arrow in the right direction.

[GIMP Arrow Designer] The topic of arrows came up again on #gimp yesterday, and Alexia Death mentioned her script-fu in GIMP Fx Foundary that "abuses the selection" to make shapes, like stars and polygons. She suggested that it would be easy to make arrows the same way, using the current selection as a guide to where the arrow should go.

And that got me thinking about Joao Bueno's neat Python plug-in demo that watches the size of the selection and updates a dialog every time the selection changes. Why not write an interactive Python script that monitors the selection and lets you change the arrow by changing the size of the selection, while fine-tuning the shape and size of the arrowhead interactively via a dialog?

Of course I had to write it. And it works great! I wish I'd written this five years ago.

This will also make a great demo for my OSCON 2010 talk on Writing GIMP Scripts and Plug-ins, Thursday July 22. I wish I'd had it for Libre Graphics Meeting last month.

It's here: GIMP Arrow Designer.

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[ 10:25 Jul 10, 2010    More gimp | permalink to this entry ]