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Beginning GIMP 466

Posted by samzenpus
from the get-started dept.
Ravi writes "Any one who has had the opportunity to manipulate images would be aware of Adobe's Photoshop - considered to be the market leader in image manipulation software. But with its high price tag, buying Photoshop is akin to putting strain on your bank balance. What is interesting is that there is a very popular free alternative to Photoshop in GIMP. For those in the dark, GIMP is a state of the art image manipulation software which runs on multiple architectures and OSes and which is released under the GNU free License (GPL). I have been using GIMP exclusively for touching up images for many years now and it has met all my graphics manipulation needs." Read the rest of Ravi's review
Beginning GIMP - From Novice to Professional
author Akkana Peck
pages 550
publisher APress
rating 9
reviewer Ravi
ISBN 1-59059-587-4
summary A great book to learn Gimp


Unfortunately, for a beginner who is taking his first baby steps in GIMP, the interface might feel a bit kludgy and he/she might need some hand holding. This is where a book related to Gimp gains prominence. I recently came across this book called "Beginning GIMP - From Novice to Professional" authored by Akkana Peck. Divided into 12 chapters and 6 appendices, this book aims to cover the whole gamut of features found in Gimp.

In the first chapter, the author takes the reader through an in-depth tour of Gimp interface. This chapter introduces various dialogs,windows and configuration options that play an important part while working on ones images in Gimp. Even though I was conversant with most of the features of Gimp, I found this chapter impart a very good understanding of Gimp interface which is imperative for putting this software to productive use.

But it is not enough if one jumps right into editing images. It is important to have a good understanding of the various image formats used, their pros and cons as well as situations where different formats are ideal to use. The second chapter of this book titled "Improving Digital Photos" explains just that. The author further shows the image settings in Gimp which helps one to optimize the image while saving to disk as well as tips which could be very useful for photography buffs such as color correction, viewing the histogram to aid in bringing clarity to an image, rotating the image, fixing red eye and so on.

One of the most useful features of any graphics suite worth its name is its support for Layers. In Gimp, it is possible to save different images in layers. The third chapter of this book deals exclusively in giving an introduction to the concept of Layers and how it can be put to use in Gimp. At the end of the chapter, the author also explains how to create simple Gif animations.

Gimp has a great collection of tools at par with any other graphics suite in the market. These tools form the life line of any graphics artist in aiding his creations. In the subsequent three chapters , the author provides a detailed explanation of all these tools and how they could be put to use. Almost all the tools are covered in these three chapters and the author even provides the steps in creating images using these tools which gives it a practical touch to the whole narration.

In the seventh chapter titled Filters and Effects, one gets to know about the rich set of filters and scripts which are bundled with Gimp. There are hundreds of filters and effects categorized into three sections of Filters, Python-Fu and Script-Fu and most of them are described in this chapter with the aid of relevant examples.

From the 8th chapter onwards, the author turns to explain the more advanced concepts which pertain to graphics editing, knowing which, differentiates an expert from a beginner. Concepts such as color manipulation, compositing, masking and the different layer modes are described in detail with the aid of examples.

One of the biggest advantages a Gimp user has is the capability to create his own scripts in Gimp which allow him to accomplish complex tasks with the click of a button. Gimp scripts and plug-ins can be created using various languages like python, perl or C. But it also has its own scripting language called Script-Fu which also simplifies the process of creating scripts. And not surprisingly, there are hundreds of scripts bundled with the default installation of Gimp which makes it a viable option for creating complex graphical effects with ease. The 11th chapter of this book titled "Plug-ins and Scripting" gives an introduction to creating ones own scripts using different languages including script-fu. But I found this chapter to be more useful for a person who is interested in creating plug-ins than the normal users.

The final chapter of this well illustrated book deals with topics which couldn't fit in any other chapters such as tips on configuring Gimp to use the scanner and printer. There is a section which gives details of various resources found on the web which could be used to further enrich ones knowledge on using Gimp.

All along, the author gives interesting tit-bits on various aspects of image creation and modification which would be eye openers for most people who are getting introduced to the art of graphics manipulation. Reading the book, I was able to get valuable insights into different aspects of image editing such as antialiazing, hinting text and such, which plays an important part in creating good graphics.

In relevant sections, the author has provided important details which are highlighted in a bright vibrant color which makes reading this book a pleasant experience.

Many might wonder why some one would take time and efforts to write a book on Gimp when Adobe's Photoshop is considered the dominant leader in the graphics market. But the truth is Gimp enjoys a wider user base than all the other non-free graphics manipulation products combined as it is bundled by default on all Linux/Unix distributions worth their name. Considering that Gimp has also been ported to Windows and Mac OSX coupled with its hard to beat price (it is a free software released under GPL) and excellent features at par with any other professional graphics suite, this software has become a viable option for any one interested in developing graphics for the Web. And I found this book to contain relevant information which could be invaluable in ones journey into the fascinating world of image manipulation using GIMP.


You can purchase Beginning GIMP - From Novice to Professional from bn.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.
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Beginning GIMP

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  • by wfberg (24378) on Monday July 17, 2006 @03:18PM (#15732863)
    Does it have a "healing brush"? That's really the only neat feature I can think of that photoshop offers that the gimp doesn't/didn't. The "healing brush" basically makes retouching a picture to remove, say, a zit a fool-proof 5 second job. Which is nice.
  • by Whafro (193881) on Monday July 17, 2006 @03:20PM (#15732879) Homepage
    While I can buy the notion that The GIMP is suitable for many tasks that programmers might require, does anyone on here who considers him/herself first and foremost a designer use The GIMP as their daily composition tool?

    I've always seen it (rightly or wrongly) as a tool made by programmers for programmers who want to make/modify and image here and there, but I'd like to be shown to be wrong about this.
    • by andrewman327 (635952) on Monday July 17, 2006 @03:22PM (#15732899) Homepage Journal
      If you are looking to see if it has similar power to Photoshop without having to learn a new interface, try GimpShop [gimpshop.net], which is the GIMP with a Photoshop interface.
      • by Tlosk (761023)
        Your link might be fruity, it's not to the developer's site but rather to a "fan" site, whatever that means. The exe wouldn't load and gave a suspect error message, also it is a different size than the one from the real site.

        http://plasticbugs.com/?page_id=294 [plasticbugs.com]

      • If you are looking to see if it has similar power to Photoshop without having to learn a new interface, try GimpShop

        After testing the Windows version (2.1.8) found at plasticbugs.com for a few minutes:

        In PS, Ctrl-T while clicking on an object will select that object's layer. In GS, this does not work, exactly as in Gimp. But the Gimp method of PgUp/PgDn to select next/previous layer works.

        In PS, while moving, both the outer edges and the center of the object will snap to guides. In GS, only outer

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, 2006 @03:32PM (#15732974)
      I've used it to do professional compositing work and with three books in front of me I managed to make it do the job.

      I would love to recommend it as a free tool to my friends that do this sort of work 45 hours a week. But I can't. Not due to any single missing feature but because Artists are not inherently computer-people. It's not just a list manipulators to them, it's a set of tools like pencils or brushes-in-the-hand that they have invested their thinking in. Until GIMP does a great emulation of an existing popular UI it would be a crime to put someone through that painful learning curve to save a couple days wages on a toolset that they don't already "think in."
    • I've used the GIMP for almost *everything* related to raster images for several years now. I'm not a designer, but I do work with web technologies. It is my opinion that certain aspects of the interface are annoying (as hell), but overall, it gets the job done.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I use it for my sketches on windows with a wacom tablet and it's nice enough. Working with the paths to "ink" is pretty straightforward and only took me a few days to figure out fully. Part of my problem was thinking that I didn't need to use the tutorials on gimp.org. They're basic, but very helpful (like for drawing a straight line). The layers are nice and intuitive, but sometimes when I undo after switching layers I forget that I'm on the wrong one. Also, it's crashed once or twice so badly that it
      • Does it work for you with the tablet?. One of the things that got me back in photoshop last time I tried the gimp was that for some reason it doesn't work too well with my tablet, basically when I use it it draws a bit to the left of where the cursor actually is. Once I started to make the trace I had no problems by looking at where it was drawing instead of where the cursor was, but anytime I had to start a new trace it was mostly try and error. Granted, I don't have a wacom (couldn't find one here in Vene
    • Actually, it is quite useful. My girlfriend uses it for doing her own basic image editing. I pointed her to GIMP because I know that it could do everything she needed, and didn't feel she should buy or pirate something she didn't have to. Once you realize that it isn't photoshop, and that not everything will be done exactly the same way, it becomes easy to use. She has no problems using it, and really likes all the cool effects that GIMP has built in. I realize it's just anecdotal evidence, but for me
    • by lbrandy (923907) on Monday July 17, 2006 @04:17PM (#15733353)
      While I can buy the notion that The GIMP is suitable for many tasks that programmers might require, does anyone on here who considers him/herself first and foremost a designer use

      Really? I tried to create myself a simple test image in GIMP and needed 5 tutorials to do anything. Sure I can do "burn marks" with a single button, but drawing a straight line requires a tutorial [gimp.org]. It may be powerful, but it is so unintuitive, and made me long for MSpaint.
    • To a lot of people creative individuals Gimp is lacking one major feature(last time I checked): Pressure sensitivity
      You can't go into a studio these days without seeing a tablet of some sort that is pressure sensitive, yet Gimp doesn't support this. Even many photography nuts use Wacom tablets to manipulate their works. I have a tablet PC and my comic (Sig) is exclusively digital. You want more, look at my art gallery. I couldn't have drawn any of that crap without pressure sensitivity. I would have sooner
    • by eno2001 (527078) on Monday July 17, 2006 @04:37PM (#15733503) Homepage Journal
      If you're talking print, you'll probably find very few designers who use GIMP. But if you're talking artists and web designers, there are plenty. GIMP might lag on some features and tools that Photoshop has, but it's every bit as useful as Photoshop. I dropped Photoshop from my DTP business some years back when the costs were too much to justify and I don't believe in piracy. I haven't looked back since. GIMP can do everything that Photoshop can but in some cases might require the workaround skills you learned in Photoshop 3.x and up. Most of the timesaving features of the newest versions of Photoshop might be missing, but that doesn't mean you can't get the same output. The only issue remaining is print...
    • by delire (809063) on Monday July 17, 2006 @06:15PM (#15734192)
      Disclaimer: I'm a fan of the GIMP and am extremely glad for it's existance.

      I've used GIMP for some years and on the odd occassion have used it to do professional 2D work. While it is extremely powerful when used with knowledge, the core developers are a guarded and decidedly stubborn bunch with a penchant for ignoring basic feature requests from users that they feel might somehow 'threaten' their political differentiation against Photoshop. Of course they care very little to admit this overtly apparent and often discussed tendency.

      As a result we are still stuck with an insane GUI windowing model whereby all palettes, brushes, dialogues, and main toolbar need to be *managed* as separate windows. This makes GIMP a very click-intensive application to use, and this is something that no RSI-fearing designer worth their weight in pixels would want to dance with.

      Is it really such a demoralizing design concession that GIMP adopts the 1 parent window, many-child-window model that nearly every graphical application (including 3D modelers) use? Providing a toggleable full screen option (tricky in X I know) and the ability to quickly define which of your child-windows are visible would boost productivity with the GIMP (for most) a great deal (currently GIMP is really only as productive as Photoshop with a dual-screen setup - a luxury not all have). It would also aid those that want to transition from Photoshop - and there are many, believe it or not.

      Frankly, although Inkscape is a vector graphics application, it's general interface model is light years ahead and GIMP should really take note. If you haven't tried it, you should. Inkscape is one very sensibly designed graphics application and is an absolute pleasure to use.

      Furthermore, GIMP has bizarre and difficult keybinds in place for the most common operations. SHIFT-CTRL-A (note not the easier CTRL-SHIFT-A) to select nothing, and then depending on what window is in focus, it may simply not take at all. There is also counter-productive persistence in the tool-states. Should you have cropped an image with the crop tool and then click somewhere on the image, the crop tool dialogue will pop up again (very likely and annoyingly *on top* of the to-be-cropped area). Why not just go back to a default pointer tool after a tool operation? What are the chances I'm going to want to crop an image twice instead of do something else with it? This persistence leads to all sorts of back-tracking and I for one have never quite got used to it. There are several other gripes but one line more would qualify as a rant.

      If I've spoken wrongly about GIMP, or am missing some fundamentals on it's use, please let me know about it.
  • Gimpshop! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Monday July 17, 2006 @03:22PM (#15732893) Homepage Journal
    I tried and failed a few times to get into GIMP, but the interface just wasn't doing it for me. I recently discovered Gimpshop, [plasticbugs.com] an elegant hack of GIMP which emulates the Photoshop interface. It's fantastic, I find it much more intuitive than plain GIMP, and I've even managed to use it to get a Photoshop-trained graphic design guru to explore FOSS with it.
    • Re:Gimpshop! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Monday July 17, 2006 @03:26PM (#15732930) Homepage Journal
      I find it much more intuitive than plain GIMP

      I believe you meant to say:

      I find it much more like photoshop than plain GIMP

      Familiarity and intuitivity are not the same :-)
      • However, you must also consider that like-photoshopness and intuitivity might well be the same thing. Adobe has done some useability research, after all. Have GIMP developers?
        • Re:Gimpshop! (Score:3, Informative)

          However, you must also consider that like-photoshopness and intuitivity might well be the same thing

          No, no I don't have to consider that. People mistake the ease of use familiarity gives with actual intuitivity. Most gimp complaints are about menu placement, etc (now the right click for everything monstrosity is gone).

          Adobe has done some useability research, after all. Have GIMP developers?

          yes they have. [relevantive.de]
          • Adobe has done some useability research, after all. Have GIMP developers?

            yes they have. [relevantive.de]

            Reading through that site, I think you just proved the argument of the poster before you.

          • You still haven't explain why you refuse to accept that Photoshop MIGHT ACTUALLY BE more intuitive than the GIMP!

            I don't use either more than casually, and don't have an opinion either way, but it seems strange that you can believe that people like PS better ONLY if they're used to it as opposed to the GIMP.

            Adobe has made PS for a long time and geared it toward professional users. I'd have to believe there's AT LEAST A CHANCE that it's superior to the GIMP in the area of user interface, if not others.
        • I have to agree here. As with most of my apps I'm entirely self-taught in Photoshop, and didn't have much of a problem at all in finding my way around it when I started. I just can't say the same for the standard GIMP, the interface was quite a barrier. Of course I can only speak for myself, such things are entirely subjective, and your mileage may vary.
        • by SirTalon42 (751509) on Monday July 17, 2006 @03:55PM (#15733180)
          "Have GIMP developers?"

          Of course, do you think the GIMP devs created the worst UI ever made purely by luck? NO!
      • Familiarity and intuitivity are not the same...

        Actually, it is my opinion that photoshop is more learnable than GIMP. There is always a learning curve moving tools, but GIMP breaks a number of UI design rules (not that photoshop doesn't) and is more than a little kludgy. GIMP could improve their learn-ability and usability for current photoshop users by adopting a more similar interface or they could do so by building a different, but more usable interface. In either case I think the money Adobe spent on

        • Re:Gimpshop! (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Cal Paterson (881180)
          breaks a number of UI design rules

          It's not that it breaks design rules - it's that the GIMP team have a different set of design rules they use. I like theirs better.
      • Let's face facts. Photoshop is easy to use. Paint Shop Pro is easy to use. Even MS Paint is easy to use. Why can't GIMP be easy to use? It has nothing to do with familiarity and eventhing to do with yet another open source project with a user-hostile interface.

        Gimpshop does a lot to improve things but it can only do so much.
      • "Not-Gimp-like" and "Intuitive" are synonyms. :)

        I haven't used Photoshop much, since I use Linux at home, so it's not a familiarity issue for me. It's just that Gimp is completely, 100% unituitive. I've self-taught myself dozens of other programs, and Gimp is by far the hardest for me to understand.
    • Re:Gimpshop! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by geekmansworld (950281) on Monday July 17, 2006 @03:28PM (#15732946) Homepage
      Gimpshop really did hit the nail on the head in a powerful way. Let's face it; most amateur graphics artists are using a pirated copy of Photoshop. They'll continue to do so not only because it's the interface that they're familiar with, but also because the thousands if not millions of graphics tutorials in print and on the web assume the Photoshop interface. The issue is not introducing novices to the concepts of Layers and Color Correction, but rather transitioning the Photoshop savvy into the GIMP environment. Open source is software developed by the community for the community. But the problem is always that the development community isn't very interested in making it easy for the community at large to use said software.
      • Re:Gimpshop! (Score:4, Interesting)

        by ScentCone (795499) on Monday July 17, 2006 @03:34PM (#15733001)
        Open source is software developed by the community for the community. But the problem is always that the development community isn't very interested in making it easy for the community at large to use said software.

        Which means... it's actually not "for the community," but for the developers who actually give it birth... since they're always going to be intimately familiar with it, and don't have to scratch their heads about an inscrutible UI. Making it for the user community would mean making their UI needs an important part of the effort - which isn't the case with the GIMP.
    • You are my new favorite friend. I will have to check this out.
      I like the GIMP since it's free(aka an arm and a leg cheaper than PS) and there's the karma boost from using OSS. I can also get it to do pretty much whatever I want it to do. However, using the interface is like pulling teeth compared to using Photoshop.
    • Re:Gimpshop! (Score:2, Informative)

      by jehnx (556498)
      Another good site for it is http://www.gimpshop.com/ [gimpshop.com] for a straight-forward download site.
    • Or, if you're a mac person who refuses to run X11 on your machine, you could try out seashore at http://seashore.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]
  • by Compuser (14899) on Monday July 17, 2006 @03:22PM (#15732894)
    See review, then see subject.
    • by Tackhead (54550) on Monday July 17, 2006 @03:31PM (#15732966)
      > What's a tit-bit?

      Zed: Bring out the Gimp.
      Maynard: But the Gimp's not installed.
      Zed: Well, I guess you're gonna have to go compile it, won't you?

      (a few minutes later)

      Marsellus: What now? Well let me tell you what now. I'm gonna call a couple layer-usin' designers, who'll go to work on the source image here with a pair of plugins and a tit-bit.

    • A tit-bit is a fake nipple that falls off of the female android when she was showing off her nipples in Jason X [wikipedia.org]. Personally, my favorite tit-bit is still Hershey Kisses. :P
    • It's like a tid-bit, except it's for more mature audiences.
    • A small amount [wiktionary.org], according to Wiktionary. It comes from the small amount that could be carried by a tit [wikipedia.org]. At some point in the last century, the common US pronunciation changed to tidbit, because the average American was unable to say 'tit' without sniggering. Titbit is still in common use in the rest of the English-speaking world.
  • Save tons of cash (Score:3, Informative)

    by future assassin (639396) on Monday July 17, 2006 @03:22PM (#15732897) Homepage
    One thing that will save you tons of cash when buying PS is to get a used/old stock PS 5.5 and just buy the upgrade. At aprox $275 CDN you'd have to be stupid not to take this route.
  • Unfortunately, for a beginner who is taking his first baby steps in GIMP, the interface might feel a bit kludgy

    Photoshop has a really great interface. When I want to get work done I could care less if there is an "open source" alternative. I want the best tool for the job that's the easiest/quickest route to completeing that job. Not the tool that best suites my techno ideology.

    Something the open source community needs to understand.
    • Photoshop has a really great interface.

      ...where "great" is defined as "acts like Photoshop". It's downright weird by any other standard.

    • Did you totally miss the part of the story about PS straining bank accounts with it's steep price. GIMP is free and therefore a lot of people may use it, not because it "suites [their] techno ideology," but because it won't keep them from paying bills or eating. Maybe you did read it but realized you couldn't post your weak little flame unless you ignored it. Either way, your point is poorly made since GIMP could easily be "the best tool for the job" in many cases.
    • When I want to get work done I could care less if there is an "open source" alternative. I want the best tool for the job that's the easiest/quickest route to completeing that job. Not the tool that best suites my techno ideology.

      I'd also prefer the better tool over the one that provides socialistic warmth and fuziness... but doesn't that mean you couldn't care less, rather than could?
    • The Gimp has a really great interface. When I want to get work done I could care less if there is an "intuitive" alternative. I want the best tool for the job that's the easiest/quickest route to completing that job and all future jobs in the same area. Not the tool that best suits my need to learn quickly, so I can get that first job done faster.

      Something the people who pay $500 for a graphics editing program need to understand.

      Unless you really think it will take $500 worth of your time to learn the be
    • I want the best tool for the job that's the easiest/quickest route to completeing that job.

      Most CEOs use the best text editors there are. The best text editor enter over 200wpm per minute using voice recognition, corrects your spelling and grammar, can enter a good template matching your intentions then fill it in according to general guidelines, has good legs and firm breasts and makes you coffee or gives blowjob when you ask.

      Similar with gfx, if you want the job done easiest, quickest and best, hire a pro
    • "Photoshop has a really great interface. When I want to get work done I could care less if there is an "open source" alternative. I want the best tool for the job that's the easiest/quickest route to completeing that job. Not the tool that best suites my techno ideology."

      Personally, I want the one I don't have to pay for. Yes, I'm very selfish. Disgusting, isn't it?

  • Photoshop Elements (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 2nd Post! (213333) <gundbear@@@pacbell...net> on Monday July 17, 2006 @03:23PM (#15732904) Homepage
    Hmm, well, for those who think GIMP is too hard and Photoshop too expensive, there does exist an $80 version of Photoshop called Photoshop Elements.

    Sometimes you can get a good discount with bundles for scanners or cameras or printers, too.

    I figure the GIMP isn't the only player in the "low end" space. Of course if you are dedicated to free/OSS, you can feel free to ignore PE.
    • $80 may be low in the US, but in countries like Poland it's still ridiculously expensive. Firms, companies etc may buy Photoshop. Home users install pirated. That's the reality. If photoshop is not essential in a firm and the boss wants to play it safe, you get GIMP instead.

  • First Krita post (Score:4, Informative)

    by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Monday July 17, 2006 @03:26PM (#15732928) Homepage Journal
    I like The GIMP and still use it most often for routine graphics stuff. However, I've recently come to love the direction Krita is going. A lot of it is personal preference, just as the single-window interface, but some of its features are very nice (like built-in CMYK, color management, a line drawing tool that works like you'd expect it to, and a file chooser that doesn't make me want to commit hari kari).

    It's not perfect, and not quite yet a complete replacement for The GIMP, but it's close enough that I've started testing it on a regular basis. If you simply can't wrap your brain around GIMP, then it's probably worth your time to check out Krita.

  • I'm sure that there will be the usual discussion of GIMP's shortcomings, etc., etc., but I for one am happy to see any book that makes using the GIMP easier. Go to any bookstore and it is pretty obvious that most of the other books concerning image creation and editing have been written for Photoshop. So if you can't afford Photoshop and are using something else like the GIMP, you have to use a lot of time translating techniques described for Photoshop into their GIMP equivalents. So anything GIMP specific
  • GIMPshop (Score:2, Informative)

    by jehnx (556498)
    Just for those who are interested in Photoshop's interface, but would like to use The GIMP, there is GIMPshop: http://www.gimpshop.com/ [gimpshop.com]
  • by Haeleth (414428) on Monday July 17, 2006 @03:36PM (#15733023) Journal
    "State of the art"? For web graphics, perhaps. In fact, for web graphics GIMP has quite a few nifty tricks up its sleeves.

    But please don't pretend it's anything like a Photoshop competitor. It doesn't even compete with low-end professional tools like Corel Photopaint. Far from being "at a par with any other graphics suite in the market", for print work GIMP is no more "state of the art" than MS Paintbrush is. It can't even do trivial, bottom-of-the-range, entry-level stuff like simply working with CMYK images (no, the Seperate plugin is not a solution, or even the beginnings of a solution).

    Let's not deceive ourselves here. GIMP is a great amateur tool for anyone whose needs begin and end with websites and cheap inkjet printers. But show me a professional who uses it, and I'll show you a professional who someone else has to clean up after before his work is any use to anyone.
    • I agree. So much. I make ad's. Real print ad's in newspapers and magazines. I need the colors to look right. I need to know how much I have to brighten an ad that appears in newsprint vs glossy. I need to send my work to printers, other artists and other ad designers who all have a wide range of equipment.

      GIMP is good for making web images. But it does not address the mechanics of making real world images.
    • by Mycroft_514 (701676) on Monday July 17, 2006 @04:15PM (#15733337) Journal
      And Me too. I use Photoshop EVERY day to do images of ER diagrams, that are then written as Acrobat files. Does GIMP have the auto tool to allow me to batch together as many as 50 diagrams into one command of the tool and save myself time? Some of these diagrams are measured in FEET across, too.

      I've been using Photoshop since version 2.3, when I actually bought a full blown copy. I recently upgraded to CS2. Still the leader of the pack. Upgrading was only about $100, so it didn't break the bank. I have one copy at work (company pays for that) and one at home - mine. And the big reason for Photoshop - compatibility with my scanners - which GIMP isn't.

      I also managed to finally get a full blown copy of Acrobat, using a student discount. (Even as a working professional, I still have a current student ID at a local college). With the correct plug-in, I set up 9 hour runs from my case tool thru Acrobat. This by automating the process, including Photoshop and Acrobat. Let's see GIMP do that.
  • gimp is an excellent tool, especially when used in tandem with inkscape. there is very little that gimp can't do for most non-professionals and even most pros alike. for non-pros, it will handle every photo problem, while not handling colors well enough for pros is a killer for it. however, for web development, used intandem with inkscape, it is an awesome tool. my wife, who is a professional photographer and needs photoshop, is asked all the time about using it. if you aren't a photographer, photoshop
    • I'm not going to mention the GIMP/photoshop comparison, but I have personal experiance with inkscape/illustrator, and I found that inkscape doesn't even come close to illustrator. I actually started with inkscape, but when I needed to rotate a bitmap I had pasted in, and found that I could only rotate to 90 degree angles I looked for another solution. Illustrator also has features such as the ability to rotate surfaces in 3d within the image that I came to find invaluable.
  • The GIMP has a very bad interface. I know there are many people who love its interface, but as someone who has used every graphics suite in a professional setting, the GIMP's interface is by far the worst. It's inconsistent, confusing, and almost nothing behaves in the expected way. There are plenty of good open source apps with decent interfaces (Inkscape is great for instance), but the gimp is a program you have to aggressively memorize every bizarre thing it does. It's not a program where you get used to
  • Sorry, it is not feature-wise but most people do not like the GUI of GIMP and how the features are accessed. I think that GIMP works less productive than most other tools while having the same features. It was, despite the GimpShop hack, impossible to implement changes.

    This is well understood and no problem per se. However, 4 years ago interfaces were far more chaotic than today. But GIMP remains.

    My hope is that Krita continues to make progress. It looks good and is easy and powerful to use.

    The advantage of
  • by vossman77 (300689) on Monday July 17, 2006 @03:43PM (#15733087) Homepage
    I love GIMP, but I am still waiting for GEGL [gegl.org] and/or 48 bits per pixel [gnome.org] (16 bits per channel per pixel) support. I conduct scientific research and the thought of trowing away extra data to work in the 24 bits per pixel space is unnerving. I mean most digital cameras support 48bpp pictures now using the RAW format which is supported by linux.
  • Just as Perl and Apache must have been responsible for interesting many uninformed users in Free / open software, surely Gimp must have been responsible for alienating many people permanently. I'm sure it's great if you're able to spend weeks learning the interface by agonising trial and error, but god help you if you'd just like to hack up a quick diagram. How do you draw a circle? How do you draw a line come to that?! I have no idea how it compares to Photoshop, and no doubt these are not the apps I'm lok
  • Buying Photoshop (Score:5, Interesting)

    by eebra82 (907996) on Monday July 17, 2006 @03:52PM (#15733166) Homepage
    "But with its high price tag, buying Photoshop is akin to putting strain on your bank balance."

    Which leaves me asking if this could be one of the most warezed applications ever. Photoshop is a must have for a lot of teenagers nowadays and since no one gives a shit about Photoshop Elements, I wonder how many actually buy it. Sure, I bought my own copy but even I started out with a cracked version because I simply couldn't afford it. Adobe knows it: it is better for them to let pirates copy their software rather than funding competitors like Paint Shop Pro and Gimp, which ultimately results in more competition. They might even turn out to buy Photoshop in the end when they can actually afford it - like I did.

    The price of Photoshop is so steep that most people who get it don't even know if they want to use it as a serious tool or not. When I first got it, I only manipulated a few images. When I discovered that I had skills, I purchased the copy. Before that, if there was no pirated version whatsoever, I would NEVER consider buying Photoshop simply because it would seem like buying something I don't have enough time to evaluate.

    All in all, Photoshop requires a year of evaluation. Amusing but true :)
    • it is better for them to let pirates copy their software rather than funding competitors like Paint Shop Pro and Gimp

      Fund Gimp? heh.

      Seriously though, Adobe has historically been pretty cool with Gimp. I used to hear about people asking Adobe to create a Linux version of Photoshop. Most companies give a bullshit answer like, "we're evaluating the marketplace and have not committed one way or the other", but Adobe would actually tell people to use GIMP. As a software consumer, I appreciate that sort of di

  • by sakusha (441986) on Monday July 17, 2006 @03:59PM (#15733214)
    Street prices:

    Beginning Gimp (book) - $40

    Photoshop Elements 4.0 (software) - $80

    Note that Photoshop Elements includes a printed manual with tutorials, and extensive help files. Gimp does not.
  • I bought "Grokking the GIMP" some time ago

    http://gimp-savvy.com/BOOK/ [gimp-savvy.com]

    I found it to be very good indeed. It perhaps isn't an absolute beginners book. I learnt a huge amount about making better selections and adjusting colors. These tips would probably work just as well in Ph*toshop but I've never tried it!

    It looks like it is now available online too so you can see if you like it first!
  • For those in the dark, GIMP is a state of the art image manipulation software which runs on multiple architectures and OSes and which is released under the GNU free License (GPL).
    This writer begins by making sure his audience knows exactly what he's talking about. That is not allowed on Slashdot!
  • by rjnagle (122374) on Monday July 17, 2006 @04:05PM (#15733259) Homepage
    I've been reading and using this book for a few weeks. It's great!

    One thing not mentioned in the review is how badly the open source community needed an updated gimp book. Gimp is already a mature open source project, and two books that came out a few years ago were long outdated.

    The best thing about the book is the generous use of images to illustrate her points.. A Press did a fantastic job with layout and making it easy to find things.

    I appreciate how the book reviewed a few basic points with general information. In short, this book has a little bit for everybody.
  • by jma34 (591871) on Monday July 17, 2006 @04:28PM (#15733430)
    First off let me just say that I've never used Adobe Photoshop so I can't speak to its features as compared to Gimp, but I can say that my wife uses Gimp for all of her photo editing needs. My wife is not a pro, yet. She does do some cool things with our photos, and I would say that Gimp is very competative with Photoshop Elements. (I have used this once.) My wife feels that the Gimp is superior to elements.

    Just to point out a few things that make the Gimp great for your average user with a digital camera.

    1) Most consumer digital cameras, including mine, use RGB color space and usually JPEG as storage. The Gimp does RGB so you can edit your photos. You are not creating original art for commercial printing as much as a derivative work based on your photos, as such my wife doesn't need CMYK.

    2) The Gimp, in its attempt to lure creative types, has features that PS elements will not have for fear of poaching on full Photoshop teritory.

    3) The Gimp is free. Let me just stress this. I am a student. My wife enjoys digital photo manipulation and digital scrapbooking. The Gimp meets all of our needs. My wife also is somewhat of a Gimp evangelist now on some of the digital scrapbooking forums where PS elements reigns supreme. I don't know how many converts she has, but she has received inquiries and is very outspoken on the economic advantages of a free program that gets the job done well.

    That said, there are a few "rich ladies" (my wife's term) on the message boards who have the full Photoshop and expensive DSLR cameras. Some produce, by my wife's admission, spectacular photos and pages, but some others produce the highest resolution garbage you've ever seen. Often money cannot buy results.

    I am very happy with the Gimp. It provides a creative outlet for my wife and doesn't break the bank. For editing your personal digital photo collection, I and my wife think it is a first rate piece of software.
    • Your wife has discovered something that any half-decent photographer has known for year, long before digital cameras even existed.

      You cannot turn a crap photographer into a good one by giving them fantastic tools. Ken Rockwell puts it quite nicely and I shan't waste my time further essentially repeating him: http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/notcamera.htm [kenrockwell.com]

      Contrariwise, a good photographer who is used to the fantastic tools (ie. photoshop) may well find the Gimp limiting.

      For those of us in the middle of the s
  • by odie_q (130040) on Monday July 17, 2006 @04:53PM (#15733622)
    Everyone is whining about The Gimp's interface, and I can't see why. I like the interface. Could someone please tell me what is so horrible about it, 'cause I feel like I'm missing something here.

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