Episode 104: Filling the Gap with Bamboo

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Download the Companion File! (if there is one…. otherwise 404….)104This weeks show starts with some additional talk about tablets. After Episode 101 there still was the question if a Wacom Bamboo tablet is “good enough”. Matthias visited me with his tablet and we sat in a street café and compared. (Sorry, the sound in this segment is not very good and out of sync.) The Bamboo is as good as the Intuos if you don’t need diffenrent pens. I would buy one. (Too bad that I don’t get money from W….)

Then I follow a comment from Steinar and explore the Device Status dialogue. It gives you all information you need about your row of input devices. Even if they are plugged in too late. ;-)

In the image I tackled last week were some really big damages. And I tried to fix them with the Resynthesis plugin and G’MIC. Both did well with small defects and considerably good with the big ones. They were only at loss where knowledge about the world was needed – like in the back of the chair. We know that the wood goes on – the computer does not. Perhaps the result would have been better with the first plugin if I had followed Tobias’ tip thoroughly.

UPDATE: If you call the Resynthesis plugin via Filters/Enhance/Smart remove selection you get a much better result. See in the image on the right.

Both plugins are not easy to use and need ore time to explore than I was motivated to invest. I found no way to “automagically” select the damaged parts of the image. Perhaps a scan in full colour mode would have been better. There may be a colour difference between dirt and image that can be exploited for a selection. So, scan in RGB!

There is a an other plugin perhaps usable for such work. It’s the Wavelet decomposer. I’ll try that in a later show.

At the end of the show I tell you a bit more about this young man, show Norman’s version of the reconstructed image and propose a different approach with an oval “matte”, like it must have been in the original.


00:30 Comparing the Wacom Bamboo with the Intuos
05:40 2 tablets, 1 machine
06:30 The “Device Status” dialog
13:30 Going back to the “Portrait of a Young Man”
14:00 Resyntesizer and Wavelet Decompose
16:15 G’MIC
17:30 Comparing G’MIC and Resynthesizer
18:00 Please scan in RGB even if the image is monochrome!
19:20 Take care with the eyes!
20:30 Preparing a mask for the plugins
24:40 Using a colour for the mask
28:30 The G’MIC plugin at work
32:40 Resynthesizer at work
34:40 Comparing the results
36:00 Conclusion
37:00 Who is in the image?
39:00 Norman’s version of the image
39:40 Making an oval frame
43:40 Good bye!

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Meet the GIMP Video Podcast by Rolf Steinort and Philippe Demartin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://meetthegimp.org.

34 thoughts on “Episode 104: Filling the Gap with Bamboo

  1. Rolf,

    Thanks for another excellent episode. I cannot imagine how much effort you put into to this. It is a great gift to the community of GIMP users.

    I want to remark on your comments regarding the installation of GMIC. The downloadsection on the GMIC website also offers debian packages for the different ubuntu flavours. So it is possible to install the plugin by just installing the .deb package.



  2. Rolf,

    Just one other comment. When comparing the Resynthesizer and the GMIC plugin, you concentrated mainly on the face, where both plugins achieved similar results. However you also selected some defects in the background, just above the head. I had the impression that the Resyn plugin had better results there. Due to the compression and resolution of the video it is hard to tell, but maybe you can confirm it from the originals.


  3. Wim, I have updated the posting. Resynthesis is better than G’MIC (with the default settings) when done right. And it’s not done right in the video. ;-)

  4. Comments about Resynthesis have been noted and I am now encouraged to carry out a series of tests. I will endeavour to report back when I have finished.

  5. So far I have failed dismally with resynthesizer. I have tried to remove a black blob from some grass and all I am able to do is change the black blob to a grey one, there is no sign of any texture.

  6. Hi Rolf,
    I’ve watched many of your videos and would like to thank you for all your work.
    This site is one of the best online resource for anyone trying to get started using GiMP.
    Thank you and keep up the good work.

    And since you have a lot of content i think it would be best to organize them so we can browse through them by their content rather than the date published.

  7. Still pressing on with tests I tried G’MIC which also could not deal with the black blob on the grass. I wonder whether the difficulties are because the images are monochrome even though the image is set to RGB. Unless something spectacular turns up I think that I shall stick with the clone and heal tools.

    In a book I have dealing with restoration using Photoshop, there are references to 2 tools which seem to get used quite a lot in addition to the clone and healing tools. They are called “Spot healing brush” and “Patch Tool” and I wonder if there are GIMP equivalents.

  8. You know, the ergonomics of the bamboo pen really should not be a problem. You can purchase pen grips for less than a euro, and they fit very nicely onto the pen.

    You do good work and I eagerly await your next cast. Auf Wiedersehen

  9. The Bamboo is definitely “good enough”. A pen grip is a good idea. Perhaps it will be necessary to modify it a bit for access to the buttons.

  10. I am using a Baboo tablet. So I am very interested in shows about tablets. Your show about tablet was very inspiring. I didn’t know about switching the pencil to work like a rubber ;-)

    Sorry Rolf: You do a very, very excellent job but I don’t like those “outside screen-cast” like in show 104.
    If you present the tablet its looks (german: abehackt) “choppy” to me.

    Hope you understand me: It is very, very, very strange to me to write English.

    I feel bad if critique someone (Rolf) not in my native language

  11. I would like to know more about the use of the tablet in using the various tools in Gimp and how the tablet and monitor interact. For example, how are the tools selected and, if I am using the clone tool or the healing tool, am I following the output of the stylus on the tablet or the monitor? Presumably, I still need to use the mouse when making selections from the menus or adjustments to sliders and so on or do I? Please, point me in the right direction so that I can decide whether or not I can justify buying a tablet having recently bought myself a new monitor.

  12. Norman, the tablet acts as a mouse. You can do everything with the tablet that can be done with a mouse, even operate other programs. But I find that a bit cumbersome and switch to my trackball then.
    The OS recognises it as a mouse pointer and only tablet aware programs use the enhanced features.

    There are two differences to the mouse – the feel and the positioning – and the pressure sensitivity. No Spanish Inquisition around, I hope.

    The feel is that of a pen or pencil. You can get even different tips for the pen from hard (feels like a ball point pen) to soft (like a felt tip pen on paper). So drawing a line feel like drawing a line and not like moving the hand while a button is pressed.

    Unless you shell out the money for one of the top models you still paint on the tablet and look on the monitor – like with the mouse. But the active field of the tablet is equivalent to the screen. This is a big difference to the mouse. If you lift the pen and move it, the pointer still moves if you stay in about an inch of distance to the surface. If you put it down on the surface the left mouse button is pressed.
    If you lift the pen far away of the tablet when the cursor s in the top left corner and come near to the surface in the bottom right corner, the cursor just jumps to the bottom right corner of the screen.

    This needs some time to getting used to, but is a lot better for drawing, selecting and all the stuff you do on the image. Going through the menus is a bit better with the mouse in my eyes, but I don’t switch for that. Basically it’s less work for the brain and you can work more precisely.

    Pressure sensitivity is great and would justify the purchase alone.

  13. @irgendjemand: I got mixed reactions on my appearance as a “talking head” in back shows. More pro than con. But feel free to mail me in German, I understand that too. ;-) info@meetthegimp.org

    Comments on all aspects on the show are very welcome, only feedback allows improvement. Please point me also to persistent language blunders, like Gauss, double or Billard. ;-)

  14. Rolf, thank you for your explanation it all helps to penetrate the cobwebs of time. Just a thought, when using the mouse, I am able to steady my hand by resting it on the work surface, is this also possible with the tablet?

    I have just read a mail in the ubuntu-uk list where the writer says he is having problems getting a Wacom Intuos4 to work. Further he says he was inspired to get it after watching your video. I suggested that he write to you but he implied that you only got it to work because you have an xorg.conf file from an old version of Ubuntu. Is this correct, please, as it could radically affect my plans?

  15. Working with the pad is like working with a pen on a fresh pad of paper. The Bamboo is about as thick. So you can let your wrist sit on the pad or in front of it. Or just put a mouse mat in front of it.

    I have no special xorg.conf file. I just plugged the thing in and it worked. I had to change xorg.conf before Ubuntu 8.04, AFAIR. But this was also only a small copy and paste job.

  16. The response I had was that you must have been a lucky person. However, I note that he is trying to use a Wacom Intuos4, perhaps this is too new for the drivers to be in Ubuntu.

  17. @Norman and Mac, I found your conversation while seaching for clues to this problems. http://www.nabble.com/Wacom-Intuos4—how-to-install–td23904157.html#a23904157

    I didn’t want to register, so some short answers here (Norman, please post them there):

    - I use a Intuos3, years old and on the market before the Bamboos. It runs straight out of the box on Ubuntu. I wasn’t aware of the 4 and the problems, would have mentioned it otherwise.

    - The Bamboo of Matthias was running on my new laptop with a fresh 9.04 install by pluging it in, so Bamboo seems to be safe.

    - Bert reported the phased out Volitos to work perfectly – therer are cheap leftovers at the usual places.

    - http://ubuntuforums.org/showpost.php?p=7093065&postcount=104 has instructions how to get this running. Just do the stuff in part one of the instructions and end there – the rest is for tablet PCs. Just copy the lines in the boxes and paste them into a terminal window. Nothing of that stuff is risky, the worst that can happen is, that your tablet is not working. You are there already. ;-)

    - for cross reference http://wiki.ubuntuusers.de/Baustelle/Wacom_Intuos_4 has the process with a German description. I

    - 9.10 will have plug and play for the 4 too, I think.

  18. @Rolf
    As you say, Norman and I have been talking on the Ubuntu-UK list about my problems getting an Intuos4 working on Ubuntu.

    I had been trying the linuxwacom driver with Hardy, but found that doesn’t work with the Intuos4. And I’d also been trying the 0.8.3-4 driver with Jaunty (as HowTos recommend), but discovered there’s an issue with the Jaunty kernel and this driver, so that the Intuos4 doesn’t work with this set up.

    So, I installed the linuxwacom 0.8.3-4 on a Hardy system, using only Section 1 of the HowTo at


    as you mentioned above. My Intuos4 is now working as it should. Many thanks to you and Norman. I hope this note helps other frustrated Ubuntu / Intuos4 users.

  19. Rolf,
    I’m new in meetthegimp since about three or four weeks and first of all I had to view all the past shows and I must say: Its great and “mille gracia” to you and your team.
    But now I have a question to episode 103 and 104: I wonder you didn’t use – or didn’t tell us why not – the gimp build-in filter “verbessern – Flecken entfernen” (Filters/Enhance/Despeckle – Rolf) – sorry its in german, but I won’t switch to the English-version of gimp, because my English is far away from yours, perhaps you can put in the correct english titel of this filter if its interesting.
    I’ve tried this filter and found out, it works quit well, specially if used in two turns with different layer modes “Nur abdunkeln” (Darken only) and “Nur Aufhellen” (Lighten only) perhaps in combination with layer masks. That could help, to eliminate the spots in an nearly automatically way – or did I make a big mistake ?

  20. You have a point there – I never tried this filter. But I’ll do that in the next show, #106 is already finished and on the server.
    I put the translations into your comment.

  21. Rolf,
    Many thanks to you (and to Steinar) for presenting the Device status dialog. I played with it using my Wacom tablet and discovered that you can change the FG and BG colors by dragging a swatch from either the toolbox or from the Device status dialog itself and dropping it onto any of the FG or BG icons.

    I also found that you should change the pen tip status using the pen tip (not the mouse!). Similarly, you should change the eraser status using the eraser (again, not the mouse!). If I use the mouse to change a non-core pointer status, it changes the Core pointer status! Try it with the brush and see. Is this bug or a feature, or do you think my tablet mis-configured?

  22. Since the mouse is the core pointer, choosing a tool with the mouse should also change the tool for the core pointer, not the tablet pen. So if you if you spear some food with the fork in your left hand you don’t want it sticking on your knife in your right hand, do you?

  23. A nice analogy, but only when choosing a tool, color, pattern, or gradient in the Toolbox. When configuring one of these in the Device status dialog, it logically shouldn’t make any difference which pointing device is used to make the selection, since each device is clearly indicated in the dialog. But it was probably easier to implement this way.

  24. I am working with 4 x 5 inch glass negatives more than 100 years old. These have many small black spots, similar to the ones in the Portrait of a Young Man. The emulsion is very grainy and exhibits distinct basket weave pattern, visible even at less than 100% magnification. I have tried repeatedly to get good results with Resynthesize (using both Filters -> Map -> Resynthesize and Filters -> Enhance -> Smart remove selection), but the results are consistently the same: White ghost spots remain in the image after running the filter. They are clearly visible, even at low magnification.

    If you magnify one of these ghost spots, you see that the texture from the surrounding area has been cloned faithfully — much better, in fact, than Region inpainting, which just seems to smudge. But for some reason the resynthesized area is lighter than the surrounding area! I have tried varying the size of the neighborhood, but nothing works well.

    I have posted one of my photos here: http://tinyurl.com/l4tlo6

    Maybe someone else can get good results and tell me what I’m doing wrong. Just try fixing three or four spots in the upper left corner.

  25. John, are you sure this pattern is on the negative? It is too regular in my eyes. Can you see it on the glass with a loupe?

    Do you have a sheet of paper behind it while shooting them? It looks a bit like the pattern in “gestrichenem Papier” – paper made in a machine with big rolls.

  26. Rolf,
    You are right: the pattern is not in the negative. My home-made light table was too small for 4″ x 5″ negatives, so I used my monitor (an old CRT) as a light table. I held the negative against the screen (emulsion side up) and photographed it. The “gestrichenem Papier” was surely from the monitor interlacing!

    After realizing my mistake, I reshot the same negative on my real light table (I could only fit the upper left quadrant of the photo), inverted the negative in ufraw and saved as jpg. This time, I left it in RGB, as you suggested in the episode . I posted it here: http://tinyurl.com/ns25no

    As you can see, the pattern is gone.

    Unfortunately, the result is even worse when I Resynthesize. Instead of leaving white ghost spots behind, Resynthesize with default options creates solid gray spots that completely infill the selections!

    Using Gimp 2.6.4 on Windows.

  27. Follow-up on Resynthesizer bug.

    On the Windows binary download page for Resynthesizer (http://registry.gimp.org/node/9148) there are posts describing a problem with Resynthesizer similar to what has been reported here by Norman and me. Why only certain users are experiencing such problems and not others is a mystery. The one thing we have in common is that we are using the plugin for Windows! I am using the latest version of Resynthesizer plugin in Gimp 2.6.5, but I had the same problem with Gimp 2.6.4.

    The bug: Resynthesizer is simply copying pixels from the top of the photo. One comment on http://registry.gimp.org/node/9148 suggested the following experiment to demonstrate the bug. I modified the experiment slightly to simplify it and to make the results even more dramatic.

    1. In Gimp, File -> Open location with URL= http://tinyurl.com/m2hp8t This image is the flag of Croatia, which is divided vertically into three horizontal bands with red on top, white in the middle, and blue on the bottom.
    2. Use the Ellipse select tool to select a small region within the white band
    3. Filters -> Map -> Resynthesize. The selected area will be filled with red!
    4. Edit -> Undo Resynthesize
    5. Image -> Transform -> Flip vertically
    6. Filters -> Repeat Resynthesize. The selected area will now be filled with blue!

    So as you can see, the Windows version of Resynthesize is broken. Perhaps it relies on assumptions about Gimp which changed. In any case, it is unusable.

  28. I went on a jag two weeks ago, and spent a whole day working on getting resynthesizer to work (finally!) I’d discovered it back in early 2007, installed it, and never really figured it out properly.

    It was a busy day. Had lots of trials (& errors), and some confusion thrown in as well. (One thing was that even after upgrading to a reported-working version, I still had an old copy of the script in the directory, and just renaming the file to file.DISABLED didn’t disable it! The name that shows up in the Script-fu menus is generated from WITHIN the script, so just having it there in the directory was giving me problems. That took hours to figure out…)

    Anyway! I found this page to be very helpful: http://newslily.com/blogs/96 and it has links to the newer version that works! I read a lot about this “data-pulled-from-top-of-the-page” problem, and was having some of that, myself.

    One thing I noticed is that while the “Heal selection” filter (as this newer version calls itself, rather than “Smart Remove”…if you see that, you’re using the wrong version!) works fantastically when you call it, I remember getting crashes and needing to restart GIMP if I tried to use the Resynthesizer plugin tool/interface directly, rather than with the simple script. (Haven’t had time to do investigation into that, so I haven’t tried more advanced stuff like generating textures from a layer copied elsewhere, temporarily (Texture Transfer function).

    This is discussed and shown in this tutorial: http://schwarzvogel.de/resynth-tut-sa.shtml and it looks like a powerful technique, but I haven’t gotten to try it. However, I found this tutorial to be an excellent intro into more advanced ideas about processing, such as his example of turning the horizon a bit, and then growing texture to fill in the corner slivers.

    It also has a few great examples of selection ideas, such as using “Layer/Transparency/Alpha to selection”, and “Grow Selection” to make sure to get the weird pixels that hang around the edges of things. As someone who’s only a very occasional GIMP user, and fairly basic in my skills, I’ve realized that not knowing how to do various selections and use the more advanced tools & settings (other than the rudimentary rectangle & oval, basic feathering, etc.) was hindering me, so I’ve been trying to learn new ways to do things. Really, doing proper selection is the major portion of getting resynthesizer to work well for you. Too much or too little can cause problems, and probably 80-90% of my time is spent analyzing stuff, figuring out how to accurately select what I want. Hitting the “run script” button and waiting a minute while it cranks out the results is simple! Even hitting “undo”, tweaking parameters, and then re-running the script is simple. Selection is the key. (Well, that and a working version of the software! ;-) )

    I’m not sure about the links to the plugin version from that 2nd page, though. It may be older, so I recommend the first tutorial (above) for software links. I’m using v0.13b.zip, as linked from the newslily.com page.

    And now, for some results! Here is a sequence of before & after shots of a reduced panorama that I was working on which didn’t have sufficient overlap to join in some places. It also has the usual black gaps around the edges, which I sometimes crop down, sometimes leave in place, depending on the photo.

    Make sure to click through to the full-size images. I recommend putting them on 3 tabs so you can flip between them easily & compare:


    There were more tweets in the series as I explained a bit more about what resynth is/does, but you all know that, here, so these are just links to the photos/results.

    I was blown away by what resynthesizer did! I’ve cropped many panoramas with wild edges, but this was the first time I’d ever GROWN one out to heal it. (Though I have done some tricky things with editing bits of photos together to patch up holes & slots before building the panorama in the past, I think this is my new preferred method.)

    I was using a 10% sized reduction, because I was learning, and wanted something fast that I could play with. When trying the full-sized pano (14,600 pixels wide), it was taking too long to process, giving me warnings about memory, etc, and wasn’t a fast-enough turn-around for me to learn effectively with trial & error. So, I recommend trying on small stuff while you get the hang of it.

    Also, don’t get TOO ambitious too quickly! I was trying some work with a coral reef, and realized that it was probably biting off more than I could chew. (Again, selection was difficult for me, and with that much variance in the scene, it’s hard to do accurately. That’s probably why Adobe showed how to remove a piece of litter from a grassy lawn in their recent “Content Aware Fill” video, rather than how to remove an ex-boyfriend/girlfriend from a family group photo! :-) )

    I’m currently working on growing out the edges of a panorama of that coral reef that I took recently, and the initial results are looking promising, though I’ve run into a different snag, where my new patch is lighter colored than the rest. I read something about that before, so I’m (re)searching it for it, now…

    Have faith! It *DOES* work, and even if you have to fight with it for a whole day to get it sorted out…it’s worth it! Really! :-)

    Santa Cruz, CA

  29. Pat, the links to you images are not working. Can you send them to me by eMail? I would like to put them on the server and get your comment from here to the front page. This is too good to be buried here.

  30. Pingback: MTG: Эпизоды 2 квартала 2009 « Блог фотолюбителя :)

Anything to add from your side of the computer?