While many of the other programs introduced so far mirror the Windows look and feel in some way, The GIMP walks a different path. It has its own unique way of working, which takes a little getting used to. But it's very much worth the effort, because The GIMP offers photo-editing tools on par with professional products like Adobe Photoshop. It's certainly more than powerful enough for tweaking digital camera snapshots.
To start The GIMP, select Applications > Graphics > GNU Image Manipulation Program. Once the program is running, you'll notice that it's actually little more than a large toolbar on the left side of the screen. Everything else that runs within The GIMP—whether it's a window containing the image you're editing or an additional configuration dialog box— uses its own program window. This also means that each program item that you activate gets its own button on the panel at the bottom of the screen.
To open a picture, select File > Open and select your image from the hard disk. Once an image file is opened, you can manipulate it using the tools on the toolbar (which are similar to those found in other image editors). On the bottom half of the main program window, you'll find the settings for each tool, which can be altered, usually via click-and-drag sliders.
To apply filters or other corrective changes, right-click anywhere on the image to bring up a context menu with a variety of options. For example, simple tools to improve brightness and contrast can be found on the Colors submenu, as shown in Figure 11-10.
For an in-depth look at The GIMP package, see Chapter 20.
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