Learn Photo Editing

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The GNU Image Manipulation Program (or GIMP, as it's affectionately known) is a very powerful piece of software used for graphic manipulation and is equally at home as a simple paint program as it is at retouching photographic images you may have. It may be extended using the plug-in technology common to a number of Linux applications but may also be enhanced by using the internal scripting interface that allows you to automate tasks.

The GIMP has been released under the GNU General Public license and as such is freely distributed software. It is installed by default within Red Hat Linux 9 and it has a web site at, where you'll find documentation, support, and downloads.

You can start the application by selecting Main Menu | Graphics | The GIMP, or by typing gimp at the command line. A variety of configuration and control windows appear when you start the application, and you can control which dialogs are open at any given time by using the File | Dialogs menu of the main GIMP window (which is the top-left of the three windows shown below):




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As you can see, the GIMP application is a discrete window containing a menu, an icon toolbar, and color information. Each new image is seen in its own separate window (not shown here), which carries its own menu (accessed by right-clicking on the image).

The application is considerably more powerful than Microsoft Paint, and its features are more closely aligned with applications such as Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro. For example, it supports:

• Numerous paint tools

• Support for layers and channels

• Advanced scripting and plug-in capabilities

• Gradient editor and blend tools

• Transformation support such as rotate and scale

• Multiple file formats

The GIMP's features are too numerous to list in detail, and again we will leave you to play with the application. The online documentation (found at is very thorough and this can be supplemented by the documentation found at its main web site (at In addition, a large collection of resources, available from the web site, covers patterns, palettes, brushes, gradients, scripts, and fonts, and contains links to other important web sites for The GIMP (such as a plug-in registry at and the very useful GIMP User Group - or GimpForce - at


GQView is a simple application that allows you to view a number of graphical images simultaneously. You start by selecting the directory in which the graphic files exist, and then either selecting the file from the left-hand pane with its image being displayed in the right hand pane or using the Slideshow feature available on the View menu.

To start this application, select Main Menu | Graphics | More Graphical Applications | GQView Image Viewer or run gqview from the command line. The screenshot below shows the utility being used to display screenshots from the Red Hat Linux installation process that we covered back in Chapter 1:

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