Kaleidoscope

A new version of Gimp has been out for around a year now, the first major overhaul in six years. I’ve put off installing it until this week, knowing I’d have to spend some time relearning my way around.

Gimp 2.8 is an apartment with kinks I’ve learned to ignore and live with, like the cigarette smell sweating from underneath the current paint layer, and the toilet that sometimes needs the flush shut off with a wrench. Gimp 2.10 is a fully renovated duplex—but the new paint fumes burn my eyes, and I can’t figure out how to use the toilet because it’s a customizable Japanese bidet with a built-in child safety lock.

It’s very shiny, and pretty damn intimidating. And it’s going to be a bit of time before I get the hang of it. But there is a particular new tool that is slowing me down, bigly. Not because it sucks, but because it’s freaking awesome.

Kaleidoscope.

It appears that it was a plug-in on the 2.8 version, because if it was on the standard menu, I WOULD HAVE NOTICED. I hope. Anyway, here’s what it can do—or at least, what I can do with it.

Sharpie and Shrinky Dink paper.

Sharpie and Shrinky Dink paper.

Sliced off a nice meaty piece. Cleaned and scaled into a proper square

Sliced off a nice meaty piece. Cleaned and scaled into a proper square

Image fed to the Kaleidoscope filter. Changed from 6 mirrors to 8 to make the corners repeat correctly.

Image fed to the Kaleidoscope filter. Changed from 6 mirrors to 8 to make the corners repeat correctly.

Tiled to ensure the pattern is pleasing to the eyeball. Always use a copy of the original layer so you don’t lose it.

Tiled to ensure the pattern is pleasing to the eyeball. Always use a copy of the original layer so you don’t lose it.

Original, colored

Original, colored

A little more color adjustment and some texture for additional eyeball pleasures

A little more color adjustment and some texture for additional eyeball pleasures

Retiled x3 and color adjusted just a little bit more.

Retiled x3 and color adjusted just a little bit more.

The kaleidoscope filter can be found in Filters>Distorts. Once you get in there and fine tune your image with Center X, Center Y and Zoom, you can lose hours. (I don’t have the technological vocabulary to explain what the Center X and the Center Y are, but watching it in action looks a little like a donut spinning in and out of it’s own hole. ) Now I know what heroin feels like. I kid—I already knew what heroin feels like. Pfizer exists.

Apparently, the makers of Gimp 2.10 felt that the small tiles filter was useless and took it off the menu. They are clearly terrible people. After flailing for more minutes than I care to admit, I found it in Help>Search and Run Command (type in sm and double click on small tiles.)

You can also feed your finished product back into the filter. But don’t do it too many times, because it will freeze up everything, and then you’ll have to do a hard shut off, or whatever the nerds officially call it when you futz around too much and screw up your computer.

Finished product rekaleidoscoped and repeated x2.

Finished product rekaleidoscoped and repeated x2.

Personally, I prefer the black and white version. If you agree, you can pick up a little something here.