After having been tired of the comparably low quality the Gimp 2.6.7 offers, about one week ago I stumbled upon a .deb file1 of CinePaint 0.25, and much to my surprise, it worked! (In the past, making CinePaint work under Ubuntu was sort of a challenge: often, there were no appropriate .deb packages available, and when compiling CinePaint from source I often ran into problems with the color management.) Now I’m in the process of applying the bitmap editing techniques I used to use with the Gimp to CinePaint. About the main issue are masks. While mask handling using the Gimp is a bit difficult, it is even more so in CinePaint. But: the reward is the really impressve quality one experiences when working with CinePaint. (I usually work in 8-bit mode, although CinePaint offers up to 32-bit color depth/channel.)
Since CinePaint is an application for retouching film, the requirements are somewhat different from those of say, Photoshop. One thing, though, I would really love to see in CinePaint is the possibility to tweak an existing mask. (And, maybe, a quickmask mode. 😉
When starting CinePaint, it becomes immediately apparent that it is targeted at pros. The interface, somewhat resembling the one of Gimp (CinePaint evolved out of Gimp 1.0), is stripped of anything unnecessary; the filters available are stripped down to the absolute essentials: blur, gaussian blur, motion blur, sharpen, unsharp mask, two noise filters, and a few others. But–unlike the Gimp–CinePaint offers, as I said, up to 32-bit color depth/channel (including HDR), proper CMYK, and a well-designed color management system, afaik based on LittleCMS.
CinePaint is currently available for Linux, MacOS X, and BSD. Additionally, a tarball is available, in order to compile CinePaint from source. (There used to be a version for Windows available as well, and, according to the information on the CinePaint web site, will be availabe again sometime in the future.) In addition to the current version (the ‘Film Gimp’ version, which is based on GTK 2) , a new version named ‘Glasgow’ is under development. Unlike the ‘Film Gimp’ version, ‘Glasgow’ is based on FLTK and will consist of a number of different applications (see the overview on the CinePaint site).
To sum it up, due to the really professional approach and the clear interface, CinePaint is one of my favorite graphics apps. I’m especially curious how the new ‘Glasgow’ version will evolve.
1 You can find it at http://www.megaupload.com/?d=EY4W6NAX.