Manipulating images with The GIMP

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The GIMP is a free software program for manipulating photographs and graphical images. To create images with GIMP, you can either import a drawing, photograph, or 3D image, or you can create one from scratch. You can start GIMP from the system menu by selecting Graphics C GIMP Image Editor or by typing gimp& from a Terminal window.

Figure 5-6 shows an example of The GIMP.


The GIMP is a powerful tool for graphic manipulation.


The GIMP is a powerful tool for graphic manipulation.

In many ways, GIMP is similar to Adobe Photoshop. Some people feel that GIMP's scripting features are comparable to or even better than Actions in Adobe Photoshop. One capability that GIMP lacks, however, is native support for CMYK (cyan-magenta-yellow-black) separations. If CMYK is not critical for your graphics needs, you will probably find GIMP to be just as powerful and flexible as Photoshop in many ways.

See for a CMYK plug-in for GIMP. This plug-in provides only rudimentary support for CMYK, according to its documentation. Even so, that may be enough for your needs. ■

With an image open, you can select tools from the GIMP window to work on the image. When you select a tool, notice that options for that tool appear in tabs below. Figure 5-7 shows the GIMP tools, along with callouts indicating what the tools do.

Use the GIMP window to choose tools for changing images.


Color pit


Color pit

Text tool

.-Transform tools

Paint tools

Foreground &



The following list describes the tools shown in Figure 5-7:

• Path tool—Use the path tool to create special types of rectangle, elliptical, or free-form shapes. Try creating a rectangle, with the final point ending on the first. Hold the Ctrl key and click on the first point to close the box. With the shape complete, select Stroke Path to define the shape with a solid or pattern line.

• Color picker—Use the color picker to select any color from your image as your foreground or background color.

• Magnify—Select this tool, and then click and drag to choose an area of your image. That area of your image will fill the screen. Or just click to zoom in or Ctrl+click to zoom out on the image.

• Measure—With measure selected, click and drag your mouse from one point to another. The status bar shows the distance (in pixels), angle, width, and height you just measured.

• Select tools—Use the select tools to select different areas of your image. You can select a rectangle, ellipse, hand-drawn area, a region based on color, an edge of an element, or an area based on foreground objects. Once an area is selected, you can cut, copy, fill, paste, or do other things with it.

• Text tool—Select the text tool, click in the image, and begin typing to add text to that point in the image. From the options discussed next, you can change the font, size, color, justification, and other options relating to the text.

• Paint tools—Use these tools to add lines and colors to your image. The bucket tool fills a selected area or similar color with the current foreground color, background color, or pattern. The gradient tool lets you shade an area from one color to another. Use the pencil, brush, ink, or airbrush tools to draw lines. Paint over one part of an image from a sample taken from another part of an image or from a selected pattern using the clone tool. Use blur, smudge, and dodge/burn tools to blur and soften selected areas of the image. Erase (to transparency or to the layer below) using the erase tool.

• Foreground & Background Colors—The two color boxes show the foreground (upper right) and background (lower left) colors. Click to open a dialog to change either of those colors. Click the swap arrows to switch the two colors.

You can also access the tools just described from the Tools menu. Select the Dialogs menu to see a list of dialog boxes you can display to work with layers, channels, paths, patterns, fonts, and other elements you might need to work on your image.

GIMP also supports a variety of plug-ins. For example, the cartoon plug-in gives an image a cartoon effect, red-eye-removal lets you correct red eye, and cubism lets you convert an image to randomly floating square blobs. Many of these plug-ins are available from the Filters menu in GIMP.

If you make a mistake, select Edit O Undo from the GIMP menu, or press the Ctrl+Z key combination to undo the most recent change. You can do multiple undos in this way as well. ■

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Understanding Adobe Photoshop Features You Will Use

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Adobe Photoshop can be a complex tool only because you can do so much with it, however for in this video series, we're going to keep it as simple as possible. In fact, in this video you'll see an overview of the few tools and Adobe Photoshop features we will use. When you see this video, you'll see how you can do so much with so few features, but you'll learn how to use them in depth in the future videos.

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