In digital image creation, Adobe reigns supreme. Photoshop is the default tool for graphic designers, artists and photographers all around the world.

And there’s nothing wrong with Photoshop, other than the price tag. It’s heavy.

Photoshop piracy is rampant, but this post is not about how to crack Photoshop or even why you shouldn’t. This post is about some free alternatives.

The go-to alternative, and what I’ve been using for years now, is The Gimp. I’ve known for years that Gimp allows scripting, so it can be really powerful. There are also a large number of plug-ins available. Yesterday I downloaded and installed the Math Map plugin. Once it is installed, the Math Map interface is called by going Filters -> Generic -> Math Map -> Math Map in Gimp.

Math Map is an easy-to-use image processing toolbox. Basically, you can do maths but in pictures. Like this filter:

filter fun_gradient ()
A = (1-x)/2;
B = (y+1)/2;
C = (x+y+2)/3.5;
rgbColor(A, B, C)

produces this image:


I wanted to see what all the permutations of A, B and C will give me. There are 27 of them (A,A,A; A,A,B etc).

Now I sit with 27 images. They’re rather pretty, but a bit boring to look at individually. I fired up Photoscape, another free photo editing tool. Yes, I could have done the following steps in Gimp but it was much quicker in Photoscape.

First: an animation!


As you can see, gif is not the most suitable format for a gradient.

I tiled them together to create a jpeg.

gradients tiled

I recon they used a more advanced version of this gradient filter to create this book.

The Gimp is here.
More information about Math Map here.
Detailed instructions on how to install the Math Map plugin here.
Download Photoscape here.

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