Re: [Gimp-user] MIDI controllers for controlling brush size and colors [was: Save Export Complaints]

So can you use MIDI in Windows as well? I've never tried that. I'm
always assuming Gimp users are Linux but of course that isn't the
case. I'm sure I've read there is a problem with it on OSX though. I
don't like Gimp OSX. Often there are problems. I stopped using it on

On 13 September 2012 12:07, Ryan Stark <effluxion googlemail com> wrote:
You need to set up the Korg using Windows software to get it all
exactly as you want. That should work in wine. Gimp will remember all
the mappings but the one problem is that Gimp doesn't remember the
connection so you have to connect the ALSA output of the MIDI
controller to Gimp's input after starting Gimp. This isn't difficult
though. It's simply the connection posts number and MIDI channels. One
command can do that. That's a bit easier than opening the GUI to be

One benefit of using the MIDI controller to adjust colour is that you
can create minor adjustments of colour constantly which helps with the
fact that Gimp doesn't blend paint on the canvas. To be honest though,
Photoshop didn't have that feature for ages and I didn't see it
stopping great art in Photoshop. A lot of great Photoshop artists
still generally don't use paint blending because they are so used to
not having that feature in the past. It's a very over rated feature.
It just seems very cool to begin with if you try in it Krita or
Mypaint. If you can paint or draw, the lack of that feature is not
going to stop you making great paintings. I have been building up a
large collection of brushes in Gimp. The default ones were very poor.
2.8 is better but still, I don't think the full power of Gimps brushes
is utilised by most people. I find that in Krita and especially
Mypaint (although there is a great procedural aspect to the brushes in
that app) you can't create as cool brushes as you can in Gimp. Gimp
also understands Wacom pens that rotate. Another largely unknown
feature (if you have a pen that sends rotate info).

Gimp is really a seriously underrated app. Go check out any brilliant
art done in Photoshop and Gimp can do all of that easily.

On 13 September 2012 11:53, Ryan Stark <effluxion googlemail com> wrote:
You can do anything. That's why it's so great. MIDI has continuous
controllers and notes. Notes can be mapped as well. Continuous
controllers can be set to any value or a button sends that value so
say you want a collection of brush sizes, you set a button to send a
value anywhere from 0-127 that can be used to set any brush size at
the click of a button.

On 13 September 2012 11:46, Ryan Stark <effluxion googlemail com> wrote:
Yes, you could connect through Jack but Hardware will show up at ALSA
so I don't think Jack would actually be a benefit for Gimp use but
maybe you'd need this to test with software? ZynaddSubFX can connect
via ALSA or Jack (or use Yoshimi) but can you then connect to GIMP
somehow maybe via the Jack connection UI where ALSA and Jack MIDI show
up? I'll have to leave this for others to test. I'm not on my Linux
graphics machine at the moment. I'm on OSX.

On 13 September 2012 11:36, Ryan Stark <effluxion googlemail com> wrote:
There's a video on youtube of somebody doing it but I don't recommend
pushing it this far i.e. changing as you actually make a stroke. That
can get a bit glitchy. Also, a keyboard isn't ideal. You want
something like that Korg. Before the Korg NanoKontrol, there wasn't
anything as ideal but that machine is cheap, small and perfect for the

On 13 September 2012 11:25, Ryan Stark <effluxion googlemail com> wrote:

I've not been on my Linux system with Gimp for a bit so Ideally I need
to work through exactly how I set that up and how I'm using it. The
aconnectgui is how to see and make the connections but in actual fact
it's best to do that from command. The connection isn't remembered so
rather than set it up via aconnectgui I just run a command every time
I start Gimp.

As for the colour adjustments. You turn knobs to change colours but
you see that colour changing on the colour wheel and can still select
there anyway, if you want. It can be used to make small colour changes
as you paint or values, opacity, whatever you want. Brush size is an
obvious one. You can literally change stuff as you paint a stroke but
that can end up a bit glitchy. One problem with Gimp 2.8 is that the
top size of the brush is far too big. If you compile from scratch you
can change that. This needs to be mentioned in the Gimp developer
list. It's also possible to have UI to set that largest size of brush
so it's not too big. I've seen the code that needs added to do that.
This all needs to be better sorted out to make Gimp more ideal for
painting.These are simple changes that need to be in Gimp. Changing it
and compiling is too much trouble.

All the functions that can be mapped to keyboard can be mapped to MIDI
except the MIDI has continuous controller meaning instead of one key
command ton say make a brush bigger you have values from 0-127.
Obviously this is better. I mentioned that with colour I think you
need to set the controller to not go to value 0. I'll have to confirm
that but I think value 0 for a colour causes it to turn all colours to
0 or something similar. There is some kind of problem with that. I
think it needs to be 1-127.

Maybe some other people can have a go with this. Any piece of modern
music gear tends to have MIDI so if you've got any keyboard or
whatever you can test this or use software that can send MIDI to test
it. An example would be ZynAddSubFX. That should show up at ALSA and
it should have some MIDI out function (I Think). This would obviously
be useless but can used used just as a test. Until I get back into
Gimp for painting again, I can't explain everything.

On 12 September 2012 18:49, yahvuu <yahvuu gmail com> wrote:
Hello Ryan,

Am 12.09.2012 15:25, schrieb Ryan Stark:

[..] Gimp can be hooked up to a MIDI controller for
controlling brush sizes or anything else. This is a superb feature.
You can buy a little MIDI controller with lots of knobs and sliders.
VASTLY superior to sliders on graphics tablets.

Und Am 12.09.2012 18:31, schrieb Ryan Stark:

"Now that's a really neat idea.  What (affordable) MIDI controller do you

I use a Korg NanoKontrol. The one here with the sliders and knobs:

I'm not sure how much it is but it's cheap compared to what there used
to be. It's very small and portable so ideal for Gimp. It communicates
with alsa (via USB). You have a small GUI app called aconnectgui where
you can see the Korg output and Gimp input. You just connect them up.
I actually do it from command but that's because I couldn't find
aconnectgui in the Arch repo. Here's some info from the Ubuntu site:

One problem is that you need the Korg editor (Windows or OSX) to
change MIDI functions on the NanoKontrol. That should work via wine
but I didn't try that. The reason you have to change some things is
that by default some of the switches are momentary or maybe that
wasn't the problem. I can't remember exactly but I had to edit a few
things. I'm not on Linux at the moment to look at it exactly but
you'll find MIDI under Input controllers in Gimp. You have a vast
choice of Gimp parameters and you set them by choosing the one you
want then moving the appropriate knob on the controller to set it to
the parameter. There is stacks you can do. I like to set it to change
colours i.e. one knob will increase red etc. Selecting colours, values
etc in the colour wheel suddenly starts to become obsolete. Actually,
thinking about that particular function, I think that was why I had to
edit the Korg via its OSX(or Windows) editor. I think you need that
particular value to not go to zero value. Probably I should document
all this somewhere properly.  The huge advantage over a graphics
tablet slider is that MIDI has continuous controllers. This means you
move the knobs and sliders up and down to exact values. You are not
sending a keyboard command. It's really quite ingenious whoever
thought of adding that to Gimp and I bet hardly anyone uses it.

even more so since this really interesting piece of information got buried
in one of
those threads i really cannot justify spending my time to wade through such
slurry :)

I'm really curious about the following passage:

[..] I like to set it to change
colours i.e. one knob will increase red etc. Selecting colours, values
etc in the colour wheel suddenly starts to become obsolete.

How is your setup working here?
Can you still you use the colour wheel (via mouse/tablet) in parallel?
How do you keep the slider/knob position in sync with the current color

Is there a kind of adjustment that the controller offers the most advantage
for you?
I'm thinking here of relative vs. absolute adjustments, that is
   - a "bit more of blue", or a little darker vs,
   - all RGB sliders down: instantly gives black;  all three sliders at 50%:
perfect mid gray.

I mean, one compelling advantage of using the color wheel is that you can
see all available colors in
advance, before choosing one of them.

best regards,

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