Manipulating Images with GIMP

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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 O The GIMP or by typing gimp& from a Terminal window.

Figure 5-6 shows an example of GIMP.

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.

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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.

FIGURE 5-6

GIMP is a powerful tool for graphics manipulation.

FIGURE 5-6

GIMP is a powerful tool for graphics manipulation.

FIGURE 5-7

Use the GIMP window to choose tools for changing images.

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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 down the Ctrl key and click 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 the image, and begin typing to add text to that point in the image. From the options below, 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 and 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 want to include or change in your image.

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