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Beginning GIMP: From Novice to Professional 2nd Ed

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the read-all-about-it dept.

The Gimp 232

r3lody writes "An extremely large amount of the information we get on a daily basis comes from what we see. Imagery is therefore very important to those who want to communicate with us. When computers had advanced enough to be able to process images in a digital fashion, the market opened up for programs that could manipulate them in many ways. While many professionals would opt for the paid programs, there is a free alternative: GIMP (Gnu Image Manipulation Program). The only stumbling block is learning how to use it properly. That is where Beginning GIMP: From Novice to Professional, Second Edition by Akkana Peck comes in." Read below for the rest of Ray's review.I first attempted to use GIMP to fix a photograph or two of mine, but was quickly bogged down in the many options available in the program. That is why I was happy to get my hands on a copy of Beginning GIMP. The book is based mainly on GIMP 2.4, but the author included a preview of GIMP 2.6 in Appendix D. When I downloaded the latest verson of GIMP from gimp.org, I received GIMP 2.6.0. So I used the PortableApps version of GIMP (2.4.6) on Windows XP while reviewing the book and found only minor variations from the text.

One thing that strikes you as you open the book is the extensive use of color. Most texts are black-and-white throughout, but here you are presented with a pleasantly colorful tome. To follow the examples as best as I could, I downloaded the images available on the gimpbook.com web site. Although the images are supposed to be for the 2nd edition, several of those shown in the text for demonstrations purposes are not included. It appears that the images for the tools new to GIMP 2.4 are missing from the web site. This is surprising, since the 1st edition of the book covered version 2.4, so you would expect the images to be there.

The book begins by giving the reader a brief tour of the three main windows of GIMP: the Toolbox window, the Layer/Channels/Path/Undo window, and the Image window. Some basic navigation is presented, along with tear-off menus and how to modify tool placement. It concludes with a simple project layering a small image onto a larger one was given. Unfortunately, the files supplied from the web site did not include the PNG file used in the text, so it's difficult to reproduce the picture as shown. I later found the missing image in a GIMP-format file called wilber.xcf.gz. Unfortunately, xcf files are not discussed until the next chapter.

After the simple introduction, the author, Akkana Peck, gets into the most common adjustments a beginning user might need: re-sizing, cropping, rotating, brightening and darkening, and fixing red-eye. Each manipulation is presented with careful step-by-step instructions. I was able to match the pictures shown in the book, providing me with a level of comfort that I was learning the right way to fix photos.

One of the most common and useful methods of altering photographs uses the concept of layers. Layers act like cinematic cels, being mostly transparent with some opaque portions to lay on top of other layers. Chapter 3 gives a clear description of how to use layers to make changes. Two sample projects use layers to add text and another image to an existing photo, and to create an animated GIF using a series of layers for each frame of the animation. While I found minor differences between the text and the version of GIMP I used, I had no real problem understanding how the concept is applied.

You will probably need to do some freehand drawing from time to time, and chapter 4 covers the tools you'll need. While these tools are familiar to anyone who has used a basic painting program like Microsoft Paint, there are enough differences in how they are applied to warrant their own chapter. After creating some basic shapes (rectangle and circles), outlining and filling them, the author explores various fills and patterns. The chapter ends with a tutorial of creating a tree in a planter box, using just the drawing tools.

Every tool you use in GIMP works on the current selection. Knowing how to select just the parts of the image you want affected is important to getting the results you want. The author devotes an entire chapter to the numerous ways to select areas, add to or subtract from the selections, and fine-tuning them to only touch the parts you want touched. Basic rectangle, ellipse, and free-hand selections are followed by more sophisticated methods including the intelligent scissors and SIOX (Simple Interactive Object Extraction). The book also shows how to save selections as channels, so you can return to them in future editing sessions.

Sometimes, however, all you really need to do is a little touch-up on a photograph. Is someone's face in shadow or too much sun? Did you wish to get rid of some little irritating extra in a photo? Maybe you just wanted to draw attention to one subject and blur out the rest. Chapter 6 provides the information on how to make these basic adjustments. Darkroom techniques called dodging and burning provide minor adjustments to brightness, while cloning and healing can completely eradicate unwanted portions of the image. To draw attention to portions of the picture, you can enhance it using the blur and sharpen tools.

In addition to simple adjustments, GIMP offers a plethora of various tools to modify or create images. Under the Filters menu, you will find a large selection of tools. When I first looked, I felt that there were so many, who would need all of them? In the Filters and Effects chapter, Akkana Peck goes through them all, showing how they can be used to enhance your image. Because there are so many, she does not provide examples of each effect, but each one is described and you are encouraged to play. Remember, Undo is your friend here!

Chapter 8 delves into a very important aspect of your photos and drawings — the colors. First, the concepts of the RGB (Red-Green-Blue) and CMY (Cyan-Magenta-Yellow) colorspaces are described, followed by the HSV (Hue-Saturation-Value) space. A lot of time is used reviewing how these different colorspaces are used, and how they can be manipulated. The tools for breaking the image into its component layers, and demonstrations on how manipulating them can enhance your photo follow. The chapter concludes with some discussion on color profiles.

Now that you've learned quite a few niceties of GIMP, you need to learn more advanced techniques. The next two chapters go into more detail about drawing and compositing. The chapter on Advanced Drawing covers three main topics: mask and layer modes, realism using perspective and shading, and making new brushes, patterns and gradients. The Layer Mode section is the most interesting, showing how blending layers using various modes other than simple overlays can produce interesting effects. There are a number of examples, all easily followed and replicated. Once you've got a basic understanding of the advanced drawing techniques, it's time to put them to use on photographs. The chapter on Advanced Compositing shows how to use layer modes to play with images to improve their looks. You can brighten images, improve contrast, create eerie landscapes, fix noisy photos, and create panoramas, all using various layer modes. Many examples are shown, so you can get a good feel for the technique.

GIMP plug-ins provide automated tasks for the user. In fact, a number of GIMP's tools are provided by plug-ins. A variety of languages is supported. Plug-in scripts can be written in Scheme (the default — always installed), Python, and Perl (if available on your computer). If you need greater speed, you can write a plug-in in C. Chapter 11 uses the sphere plug-in as an example. Xtns — Misc — Sphere creates a sphere on a solid background. Akkana explains how to modify the script to provide a transparent background. A full discussion of the programming of the original script follows. Each step is carefully explained so only a minimal amount of programming background is needed to understand the concepts. Finally, examples in Python, Perl and C round out the chapter. Also included are explanations of how to find plug-ins and help on callable routines.

Unfortunately, there is so much to GIMP that one medium-sized book cannot contain it all. There is a potpourri of topics in the final chapter, including printing, scanning, setting preferences and the configuration files. The chapter ends with information on where to go for more help, source code, and images.

The appendices offer information on how to get and install GIMP, how to install it on older systems, and how to build it from source. Naturally, GIMP is always evolving, and Appendix D offers a list of enhancements in GIMP 2.6 that were not incorporated into the main text.

Over the course of reading the book, I had very little trouble reproducing the examples as demonstrated. I must admit that, despite the book's subtitle: From Novice to Professional, I am now at best an intermediate user. The depth of the capabilities available within GIMP is much deeper than the author could provide in the text. At almost 600 pages, this book is just about the right size, and provides the right amount of instruction for most people. The Additional Topics chapter provides information and links for further study and training, for those so inclined. If you are a beginner to image manipulation, and want to get fairly proficient with GIMP, then definitely get Beginning GIMP. It's not leaving my desk any time soon.

You can purchase Beginning GIMP: From Novice to Professional, Second Edition from amazon.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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232 comments

Great book (-1, Troll)

jetsci (1470207) | more than 5 years ago | (#27242329)

I picked this up for my personal use. I used to use CS3 and the like for work and that was fine but I was tired of booting into Windows to help clients. I know game! [wittyrpg.com]designers use gimp. Gimp itself is a great product, I did notice that the book was solid but it left a lot to be desired in covering the lackluster interface. Your mileage may vary.

Re:Great book (5, Interesting)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 5 years ago | (#27242435)

I flipped through Beginning GIMP in the bookstore, but I ultimately went with GIMP 2 for Photographers [amazon.com] because my only real concern is editing photos that I've taken. You're right that game designers use GIMP, but so do people on *nix boxes who just want to retouch less than perfect photos. GIMP is such a multifaceted tool with diverse user communities that a guide to the program can't be everything for everyone.

Re:Great book (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27242451)

-1 Spam

Re:Great book (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27244103)

man you really love to push that silly rpg site don't you?

First 5 Chapters (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27242347)

are about arranging all windows from GIMP so the novice can start drawing.

Re:First 5 Chapters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27242595)

"are about arranging all windows from GIMP so the novice can start drawing"

It is not a drawing application. But yeah, all 3 windows, wow. Better than PS on the Mac. It is one large window that takes up your whole 2560x1600 screen to edit your 1024x1024 Flickr photo.

Why use Gimp ? (3, Interesting)

ehack (115197) | more than 5 years ago | (#27242385)

What the author of the review doesn't explain is the niche Gimp fills.

- Why use such a complex piece of software for fixing red-eye or cropping?
- Why one needs to use PS for certain prepress jobs.
- Why one should use Film-Gimp (Cinepaint) for its 16-bit deep editing abilities.

Gimp is not appropriate for every job, just like Perl or C++ have niches, and a review should explain what the appropriate tasks are.

Re:Why use Gimp ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27242481)

Indeed. Gimp is not everything to everybody and it is definitely not a replacement for PS, nor it intends to be.

Re:Why use Gimp ? (0, Offtopic)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#27242579)

Perl is a niche, C++ is not.
There isn't any program that can't be done well in C++

addendum (3, Funny)

coryking (104614) | more than 5 years ago | (#27242797)

Given infinite time and resources, [t]here isn't any program that can't be done well in C++

Fixed that for you.

Re:addendum (2, Insightful)

SupplyMission (1005737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27243757)

Given infinite time and resources, [t]here isn't any program that can't be done well in C++

Fixed that for you.

Not true. The assertion that you will somehow need infinite resources and time to develop programs, just because you're using C++, is completely false, not to mention ignorant.

With a solid knowledge of C++ and STL, Boost and a handful of other what I'd call core libraries, you can accomplish most tasks very quickly. Similarly if you are experienced in Perl, you can accomplish tasks quickly with few lines of code. On the other hand, if you are a beginner in Perl or C++, you can easily waste days or weeks solving simple problems in messy, convoluted ways.

This knee-jerk response that C++ absorbs "infinite time and resources", for no reason other than the fact that it's C++, is not constructive at all, and just serves to exhibit your own tunnel vision when it comes to Perl (or whatever your tool of choice happens to be).

Re:addendum (1)

overlordofmu (1422163) | more than 5 years ago | (#27244195)

I always liked this one:

"C combines all the elegance and power of assembly language with the portability of assembly language."

Re:Why use Gimp ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27244025)

Good luck running your C++ program natively in a browser.

Re:Why use Gimp ? (5, Interesting)

BetterSense (1398915) | more than 5 years ago | (#27242693)

For a linux editor of a somewhat more picasa-style everyday touch-up nature, check out digikam. It has a lot of fantastic utilities for basic editing; I particularly like it's "convert to B&W while providing previews of different colored lens filters". It really has the slick interface that gimp doesn't. But then gimp can do fancy layers and stuff, which digikam can't. If I could figure out how to use digikam to clone out dust etc. I would probably never use gimp.

Re:Why use Gimp ? (3, Informative)

xSauronx (608805) | more than 5 years ago | (#27243347)

fwiw, you can *use* picasa on linux. google offers a standalone package for the installation. i use GNOME so i went with picasa instead of digikam a while back, since it offers all I need for basic retouching and effects.

Re:Why use Gimp ? (2, Insightful)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 5 years ago | (#27243743)

What the author of the review doesn't explain is the niche Gimp fills.

He is not reviewing GIMP, he is reviewing a book about it, so that kind of commentary is outside the scope of this book review.

Gimp Rocks! (3, Insightful)

qwertphobia (825473) | more than 5 years ago | (#27242439)

I love the Gimp. I find many features are easier to learn than Photoshop. It goes both ways though... some stuff is much nicer in Photoshop. I miss a few features though - Gimp doesn't do 16 bits per color channel (yet), and it doesn't do clipping paths in JPEG files (which arent part of the JPEG standards). If it could do both of these it would meet all my professional needs.

Re:Gimp Rocks! (3, Interesting)

moteyalpha (1228680) | more than 5 years ago | (#27243021)

I use gimp in conjunction with blender, inkscape, video editors, and other FOSS. I just recently discovered a new plugin for FFT. The greatest advantage to me is the fact that all the FOSS tools are integrated and I can modify them at source level, if I need to have something special.
I quite often get the source package and make changes to make it more effective. This is something you can't do with PS or other closed source. I think this is the greatest advantage , if you are a programmer and graphics artist.
Here is a link to gimp FFT if anybody might find it interesting.
http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/The_GIMP/Remove_coherent_noise [wikibooks.org]
gimp FFT [wikibooks.org]

Re:Gimp Rocks! (1)

bishiraver (707931) | more than 5 years ago | (#27243487)

Or layer grouping, or really anything useful when it comes to layers other than basic masking. If you're constructing anything more complicated than an icon, inkscape is better for you. And even that's annoying to use compared to illustrator.

Such a useful tool (3, Informative)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#27242449)

It's really interesting how professionals pretty much ignore the GIMP in favor of Photoshop.

Both toolkits have plenty of features, and GIMP certainly has many of the necessary features the Photoshop has provided for a while. Layers, filters, etc, GIMP has many of them. And support for plug-ins also helps make the case for the image editor.

But in the end, professionals use Photoshop. It would be a pleasant surprise to hear that the last chapter of the book "Beginning GIMP: From Novice to Professional" was dedicated to the purchasing of Photoshop.

Re:Such a useful tool (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27242685)

There are some pretty big differences between GIMP and Photoshop that aren't apparent to hobbyists and casual users. Yes, GIMP has layers. However it doesn't have the extensive real-time editable and dynamic layer effects that Photoshop has. Common steps like adding an inner-glow and/or shadow in GIMP are awkward compared to Photoshop. That's not a big deal if you do it once in a while. If you do it all day long it's a pain in the ass and a waste of time.

I could go on and on as to where Gimp falls short compared to Photoshop, but in the end I still LIKE the GIMP. It is a good tool for MOST people and certain jobs. It just doesn't work well with my work flow (most of the time). I've still put in 100's of hours using GIMP and I'm not afraid of using it or relearning how to do something, but at the end of the day you need to choose the best tool for the job and for most "professionals" Photoshop is the better tool.

Re:Such a useful tool (2, Insightful)

mpapet (761907) | more than 5 years ago | (#27242741)

But in the end, professionals use Photoshop.

Just like the legal community is pretty much still using WordPerfect. It has little basis in merit or features.

The GIMP does the work of 80% of the worlds photoshop users, with about the same learning curve. The other 20% would run into a limitation and need to use some feature that is Adobe specific.

Re:Such a useful tool (1)

pdabbadabba (720526) | more than 5 years ago | (#27243007)

"Just like the legal community is pretty much still using WordPerfect."

I was surprised myself to discover that this is actually not true. Some lawyers still prefer it, but in most large firms they pretty much use MS Word across the board.

(IHWWALOLF = I have worked with a lot of large firms.)

Re:Such a useful tool (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27243265)

OK, let's assume for the moment that the statement "The GIMP does the work of 80% of the worlds photoshop users" is true. The issue comes in that when you need any feature form the other 20%, you need to use PS. So, why learn two apps? Just learn PS and be done with it and then you have 100% of the features all the time. Yes PS is damn expensive. But, it's a world-class piece of s/w that is rivaled by none. Oh, and I doubt the the original supposition about Gimp having 80% of the features is really true. Certainly not when you count plugins, tutorials, and so on.

Re:Such a useful tool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27243355)

The choice of Photoshop over GIMP has a huge basis in merit and features. It's not just crotchety old geezers too narrowminded to try somethign new. GIMP is an acceptable basic image editor--but as anything more than that, it falls short. By a LOT:

Lack of high bit depth, lack of adjustment layers, lack of 4 color/spot color, lack of sophisticated tools (ala the automated HDR and Focus stacking in PS or 3D in PS Extended), lack of plug-ins, and the lack of an integrated design suite (Inkscape/Gimp/Scribus are not integrated at all, unlike Photoshop/Illustrator/Indesign/Dreamweaver/Flash/Fireworks/etc). Gimp is also cumbersome, especially for someone coming from PS.

And don't think I'm an OSS hater--Inkscape is pretty much at parity Illustrator, and even has some cool features that Illustrator hasn't adopted (like Spiro vector editing). Scribus is a pretty good page layout program. But GIMP? No way. Gimp isn't anywhere near PS. It's not even near PS Elements.

Re:Such a useful tool (1)

yo_tuco (795102) | more than 5 years ago | (#27243857)

"lack of sophisticated tools (ala the automated HDR and Focus stacking in PS or 3D in PS Extended)"

Features that have ruined landscape shots. Most everyones digital landscapes all look like fantasy pictures and the are all the same. Same tools, same sensors and same colors. Boring.

Re:Such a useful tool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27244133)

Who gives a fuck about HDR landscapes? What if I want to shoot architectural interiors without having the windows turn into big blown out blocks of white? Don't make assumptions about how I want to use certain features.

Re:Such a useful tool (0)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27244051)

$1,000 is peanuts for something that you use everyday for years at a time. That suggests that features have plenty to do with it (even if a major feature is "I learned it first and it is what I am used to").

Re:Such a useful tool (2, Interesting)

gregthebunny (1502041) | more than 5 years ago | (#27243061)

But in the end, professionals use Photoshop.

Simply using Photoshop because it's Photoshop and "it's what the professionals use" is dumb, and a follow of blind faith. The company I work for has been using GIMP more often for our projects, and our clients don't know the difference. The end result looks exactly the same. I don't doubt that we will drop Photoshop altogether once our licensing expires.

Re:Such a useful tool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27243135)

Does your firm have a web presence? I'd love to see some samples of what your company does.

Re:Such a useful tool (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27243527)

Gimp is only free if your time is worth nothing.

http://piestar.net/?p=17 for a good review of Gimp :)

I like GIMP (4, Insightful)

koan (80826) | more than 5 years ago | (#27242521)

Takes some getting use to but it is very powerful and I currently use it side by side with photoshop (GIMP has some interesting features not in CS3)
I want to say thanks for the people that toil over these free programs.

Re:I like GIMP (1)

Piata (927858) | more than 5 years ago | (#27242677)

What does the GIMP have that Photoshop doesn't?

I haven't touched the GIMP in a while, but when I did it was woefully lacking in every department. As a hobbiest application, I'd recommend it over Photoshop Elements, but I've never seen a reason to use it instead of Photoshop.

Two things (1, Insightful)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 5 years ago | (#27242747)

Well, Freedom for one, and price for another.

Re:Two things (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27242817)

lol, fuck you.

Re:Two things (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27243287)

I'll just point out that the Photoshop Elements that the grandparent mentioned came free with my Wacom tablet - a tool that's nowadays rather common for many of the professionals and hobbists that would use either Photoshop or the GIMP.

Re:Two things (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27243485)

Well, Freedom for one

You ignored the parent poster's primary point--it was that GIMP lags behind Photoshop in every feature area.

Why not address the meat of the post, rather than give a smart-ass answer to a rhetorical question?

Yes, GIMP is Free and free. But a F/free product that doesn't do what you need it to isn't very useful, now is it?

Re:Two things (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27244121)

Does it have anything that matters to someone using it professionally?

Re:I like GIMP (3, Interesting)

koan (80826) | more than 5 years ago | (#27242949)

GIMP has come a long way you should try it now, and for me running CS3 there is a function in GIMP (I think it's MathMap)that Adobe didn't have (it's in CS4 now) but it was a math like function that created pretty interesting photos.

Tons of plug ins now, a lot of added functionality and as the other person said it's free and you can use the source as you see fit.

Re:I like GIMP (4, Informative)

astralpancakes (1164701) | more than 5 years ago | (#27243701)

One thing I like about Gimp that Photoshop does in a confusing way is the way it presents alpha channels to you. In both apps you have a Channels palette. In Photoshop it contains R, G and B channels for the whole image, plus whatever extra channels, active masks etc you might be working with at the moment. If you want to save an image as partially transparent, Photoshop will in some cases, like when saving a .png, understand that transparent areas of the canvas should be given an alpha value of zero. In other cases, such as when saving a .tga, you need to select all the opaque areas manually and paste the selection as an alpha mask in the channels palette. What Gimp does is that it continuosly keeps an alpha channel in the channels palette, in addition to red, green and blue. This corresponds to the transparency of the entire image with all layers, just like the other channels correspond to the combined values of the entire thing. No confusion arises.

I also like the fact that Gimp has a sensible, single undo system instead of the undo/redo-history state duality in Photoshop. Granted, the history does offer some stuff like multiple states, history brush etc that afaik isn't in Gimp.

I'd probably find Gimp too limiting to go back to, now that I'm used to Photoshop, especially since X11 seems kind of iffy under OSX. If I didn't have Photoshop I'd probably use Pixelmator, but that's Mac only, so probably not an option for most.

As an extremely casual follower of the gimp-dev mailing list, I also feel a certain amount of antipathy towards the developers, who a lot of the time seem to make things different from Photoshop just because they can. Like it or not, Photoshop is the de facto standard for image editing, and what many of your potential users will be familiar with. If someone complains that say, the controls for the unsharp mask filter are hard to use compared to what he's used to, the correct response should be to help him out, and maybe think about how you can make them easier, not flame him.

On the other hand, people like the Pixelmator devs, the core Blender developers (who admittedly do get a lot of, in my opinion misguided, flak for the user interface of their program..) and yes, Adobe too, all seem to understand that if their apps are to function as tools for artists, then they should see themselves first and foremost as servants to the artists.

Aw man... (0, Flamebait)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 5 years ago | (#27242523)

Why didn't they name it "Bringing Out the Gimp" From Novice to Professional 2nd Ed
Seriously, who wouldn't buy this book with that name?

If nothing else, you'd get some awesome looks in your office when people see it sitting on your bookshelf. (right next to your orange ball-gag, of course)

dead on arrival (2, Insightful)

viridari (1138635) | more than 5 years ago | (#27242527)

I've got Gimp 2.6.1 on my box. Why would I want to buy a new book published about the 2.4 series?

Re:dead on arrival (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 5 years ago | (#27243861)

Are there any decent books on 2.6 yet? It's been out for 5 months, that's not long in publishing cycle terms.

Gimp doesn't need a book (-1, Flamebait)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#27242545)

it needs a proper UI.

Re:Gimp doesn't need a book (1)

gustgr (695173) | more than 5 years ago | (#27242627)

Just because it does not have an MDI it doesn't mean the GUI is bad. Gimp's interface follows a common pattern amongst *nix software -- or what they used to look like.

Re:Gimp doesn't need a book (1)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#27242869)

That may be so, but with all those windows and the redundant access to functions, it just adds unneeded complexity and confusion.And if you have an email client open, browser and a file browser open, you have a very busy desktop and taskbar.

Many times when I'm working with it, I put my browser in focus and then my email client and maybe something else. When I go back to GIMP by clicking on one of the taskbar items or one of th window frames, only that particular GIMP window comes up, upon which, I have to go hunting for the window that I actually need at that time. I wish ALL the GIMP windows would come into focus.

No, I don't like the UI at all: it's too confusing, cumbersome, redundant, and complex.

Like it or not, the Windows and Mac UIs are the standards that just about everyone expects with regards to GUIs.

Re:Gimp doesn't need a book (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27242947)

That may be so, but with all those windows and the redundant access to functions, it just adds unneeded complexity and confusion.And if you have an email client open, browser and a file browser open, you have a very busy desktop and taskbar.

Giving The Gimp its own virtual desktop considerably eases these problems.

Re:Gimp doesn't need a book (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 5 years ago | (#27243155)

That's what I do on Linux. But on Windows, that's obviously not an option (at least not without virtual desktop software, which comes with its own set of problems.)

Re:Gimp doesn't need a book (3, Interesting)

Millennium (2451) | more than 5 years ago | (#27242913)

Just because it does not have an MDI it doesn't mean the GUI is bad.

This is true as far as it goes. MDI is a blight on UI design that belongs in the dustbin of history. However...

Gimp's interface follows a common pattern amongst *nix software -- or what they used to look like. ...just because it follows patterns established on systems that were never designed for GUIs in the first place and never really "got" the concept for years even after the introduction of X11 doesn't mean the UI is good. GIMP has made great strides in usability since 1.0, but it still has quite a long way to go. There's a reason it was, and still is to some degree, the poster child for bad GUIs on Linux.

Re:Gimp doesn't need a book (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27243079)

Want to move your gimp session to a different virtual desktop? must move at least 3 windows. what a pain in the ass.

Re:Gimp doesn't need a book (2, Insightful)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 5 years ago | (#27242885)

[Gimp] needs a proper UI.

And just what do you think is "improper" about the one it has now?

Re:Gimp doesn't need a book (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27243789)

[Gimp] needs a proper UI.

And just what do you think is "improper" about the one it has now?

the multiple windows. It interferes with multiple desktops, other app windows and some focus policies, that regularly get me to select the wrong image or present the options for a tool in a window below the image (so I go window hunting).
And yes, I use only Gimp, have used it for numerous many projects, I use more than the average 25% of its features, know many keyboard shortcuts, and am a total Linux fan (have nothing else at home).
It should be a docking app, like Eclipse, Kdevelop, Karbon, and ... Photoshop.

Re:Gimp doesn't need a book (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27243103)

The GIMP's UI is what keeping most of the potential users from using it.

Maybe a Photoshop UI compatibility mode for GIMP would help.

Re:Gimp doesn't need a book (2, Interesting)

Skrynesaver (994435) | more than 5 years ago | (#27243263)

check out gimpshop [gimpshop.com].

Re:Gimp doesn't need a book (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 5 years ago | (#27244163)

Gimpshop is a disgustingly stupid attempt at reimplementing Gimp in an MDI. It's like a bicycle with a helicopter interface: awkward and doesn't make any sense whatsoever. Also, it's several years outdated.

If GIMP had a decent GUI... (3, Insightful)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 5 years ago | (#27242549)

and a more intuitive workflow, a lot less of this book would really be necessary and GIMP might actually find some greater acceptance.

As goofy as the Adobe GUI is, Photoshop is the poop, pure and simple, and all other image appas are compared to it. Painter, for example is slower and clumsier, but it has awesome brushes, MS Paint is its own hobbled ugliness but has its uses, GIMP is ugly and retarded, but it's free and it works, etc. The day Adobe puts CS on Linux is the day GIMP gets a stake driven through its heart. Ad that day can't come too soon, IMHO. I'd love to run CS on a Linux box and be done with Mac AND Windows and run on generic hardware.

I've been advocating for YEARS for Adobe to sell Linux boxen with CS locked on and pre-installed. They could give the computer away for practically free. BUY SOFTWARE - FREE COMPUTER!

I would also suggest that Adobe needs to jump on this now, as Linux is gaining greater acceptance, GIMP will also, and they don't want GIMP to rule that platform - first in and all that.

I'll definitely buy this book. I dislike GIMP intensely, but knowing it better might take an edge off.

RS RS

Re:If GIMP had a decent GUI... (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#27242871)

Linux boxen with CS locked on and pre-installed.

I think I just had an orgasm. That would be the greatest system seller since Steve Jobs realized he could charge 50% more for a computer if he painted it orange and rounded some corners on the case.

Re:If GIMP had a decent GUI... (0)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 5 years ago | (#27243025)

I agree - but of course stating the obvious and coming up with a great idea gets modded flamebait... Mustn't ruffle the feathers of the true believers...

Re:If GIMP had a decent GUI... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27243145)

GIMP is ugly and retarded

Stuff like that is considered flamebait. Can't you think of anything intelligent and constructive to criticize it on?

Re:If GIMP had a decent GUI... (0)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 5 years ago | (#27243107)

-1 get off this guy's lawn.

(apparently you've pissed off the pro-Gimp folks with mod points)

The funny thing is that people have been complaining forever about the gimp interface, but I guess you've struck a nerve.

Re:If GIMP had a decent GUI... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27243463)

Of course it strikes a nerve.

For as long as people have been complaining about the gimp UI, pro-gimpers have been saying "that's how linux UIs work, it's better, get over it and get a virtual desktop to manage the windows"

They can't for the life of them figure out why prospective users aren't eating that up, as opposed to (quite reasonably imo) wanting a UI consistent with the majority of other ones the users work with.

For the record I do use Gimp, but I quite regularly feel as if I'm fighting with the interface to get something done, or having to make lots of extra clicks to deal with window focus changes.

Re:If GIMP had a decent GUI... (2, Interesting)

mpapet (761907) | more than 5 years ago | (#27243169)

I've been advocating for YEARS for Adobe to sell Linux boxen with CS locked on and pre-installed.

Adobe has a long history of hatred for Free software going way, way back to ghostscript. The hatred is born from the fact that they can't IP litigate Free software to a certain death like they have most graphics software innovators.

Re:If GIMP had a decent GUI... (1)

cathector (972646) | more than 5 years ago | (#27243187)

i agree, the reason i don't use GIMP is not a lack of features, it's the cumbersome UI. technically, imagemagick has a ton of these features also. i feel like i spend 70% of my time with GIMP just managing windows, navigating dialogs, etc, compared to about 30% with CS. for simple image tasks like futzing with brightness or mocking up a UI for work, my app of choice is PaintShop Pro 7. it launches instantly and is very lightweight yet has layers, a UI that does the job and gets out of the way, etc. But Corel bought PSP and since version 9 and especially 10 it's been a bloated unfriendly beast.

Re:If GIMP had a decent GUI... (1)

gregthebunny (1502041) | more than 5 years ago | (#27243189)

I'll definitely buy this book. I dislike GIMP intensely, but knowing it better might take an edge off.

Have you tried GIMPshop [gimpshop.com]?

Re:If GIMP had a decent GUI... (1)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 5 years ago | (#27243389)

Yeah - I know about GIMPshop and:

In OS X, you will also need X11 or XDarwin in order to launch and run Gimpshop.

I'm not going to dump out to X11 to run something that, while close, is not BETTER than Photoshop. That exceeds my hassle factor. I should click it and it should open, period. Running X11 or XDarwin is NOT why I run OS X. I have better things to do with my time.

RS

Re:If GIMP had a decent GUI... (2, Insightful)

lena_10326 (1100441) | more than 5 years ago | (#27243437)

GIMP is ugly and retarded, but it's free and it works

You may find it unintuitive, but I think that's more of a symptom of expecting GIMP to function like Photoshop (or possibly a misunderstanding of the more complex functions). It's a different app; it's going to present a different solution for solving the same problem.

I've been using GIMP for years on and off and much more so in the last 2 years. The menus and dialogs have decent organization, with the one exception in 2.6.x. They moved the dialogs under Windows -> Dockable Dialogs. Pulling up a dialog is a very common action so adding 1 more thing to click becomes noticeable. Nonetheless, I'm highly skeptical your opinion is based on anything substantive and not coming from religious disagreement.

Re:If GIMP had a decent GUI... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27243495)

Funny. I could say the same thing as a long time GIMP user only recently exposed to Photoshop.

"How do I do this? I have to do what?! But in GIMP it's a simple as..."

Re:If GIMP had a decent GUI... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27243737)

and a more intuitive workflow, a lot less of this book would really be necessary and GIMP might actually find some greater acceptance.

As goofy as the Adobe GUI is, Photoshop is the poop, pure and simple, and all other image appas are compared to it. Painter, for example is slower and clumsier, but it has awesome brushes, MS Paint is its own hobbled ugliness but has its uses, GIMP is ugly and retarded, but it's free and it works, etc. The day Adobe puts CS on Linux is the day GIMP gets a stake driven through its heart. Ad that day can't come too soon, IMHO. I'd love to run CS on a Linux box and be done with Mac AND Windows and run on generic hardware.

I've been advocating for YEARS for Adobe to sell Linux boxen with CS locked on and pre-installed. They could give the computer away for practically free. BUY SOFTWARE - FREE COMPUTER!

I would also suggest that Adobe needs to jump on this now, as Linux is gaining greater acceptance, GIMP will also, and they don't want GIMP to rule that platform - first in and all that.

I'll definitely buy this book. I dislike GIMP intensely, but knowing it better might take an edge off.

RS

RS

I run CS3 on Suse Linux 11.0 using Wine. It seldom freezes and only when I have to, do I switch to CS4 running on a Windoiz 64-bit box.

In the beginning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27242565)

In the beginning, there was the General Image Manipulation Program, and it was good, if primitive. This was the first year.

Then was created version 0.56, and even though it still depended on Motif, it was still good. It was the second year.

In the third year, version 0.60 was releasedeth, and the name changethed to GNU Image Manipulation Program.

The rest is history.

Call me gimpy... (1)

Hoyty1 (1502645) | more than 5 years ago | (#27242831)

when it comes GIMP that is. I downloaded GIMP a few months ago to try it out and because I needed something to make simple graphics for a class I was taking in XNA.

I wanted to draw a circle with some sort of automated device to point click and drag out the size of what I needed.

I never figured out how to do it. I spent about 15 minutes (yeah I'm impatient, bite me) looking for some kind of plugin to do so, nothing was immediately apparent, or easy to install for that matter. So I gave up and downloaded paint.net, which fulfilled all my needs instantly.

I'm pretty new to trying to get deeper into computers but this was not a good start for me, and instantly dropped this sort of venture down a few points in my eyes.

I might however give this book a try, maybe I'll find a gem within this tangled mess yet. However this book may be too little to convince those looking for simple functionality. I think that too many people have been infected with the need for everything they want to be there right away. At least in regards to simple functions, if I want to make a stick figure I shouldn't have to read a readme file, I should have line and circle drawing tools immediately apparent.

This is the part where you all say "Stupid Hoyty1, the button you needed was right there."

Re:Call me gimpy... (4, Informative)

fl!ptop (902193) | more than 5 years ago | (#27243041)

This is the part where you all say "Stupid Hoyty1, the button you needed was right there."

  1. using the ellipse select tool, draw your circle.
  2. open the paths dialog
  3. click 'selection to path'
  4. click 'paint along the path'

Re:Call me gimpy... (2, Interesting)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27243697)

This seems like about twice as many steps as it should be.

Is there a technical reason for making it be regarded as creating a path from a selection and then filling it, rather than say something like this:

1) Ellipse tool (optional checkbox to force ellipse to be circular, brush size, hardness, etc)
2) Click on center point of ellipse, drag out to desired dimension, release
3) Ellipse gets painted with whatever color you have in the palette

Re:Call me gimpy... (2, Insightful)

DrLang21 (900992) | more than 5 years ago | (#27243705)

While I love GIMP for my home use of cropping, rescaling, and general minor editing of images, it's these kind of ridiculous UI complexities that drive many professionals right back to photoshop. I don't know how difficult it is to implement a click/drag approach to drawing a circle or a straight line, but it's something that should be on the priority list for the development community, along with a "Photoshop Compatibility Mode" interface option to ease transition of professionals who's experience is entrenched in Photoshop as well as making it easier for Photoshop and GIMP users to talk back and forth about how to do the something that can be done on both applications.

Re:Call me gimpy... (1)

chammy (1096007) | more than 5 years ago | (#27244105)

GIMP isn't really made for creating images. It says right there in the name it's for manipulation, not drawing/painting. Use the right tool for the job and you'll be happy with the results. Try to change a tire with a banana peel and you'll have just as much frustration.

Re:Call me gimpy... (1)

LiXiang (1501599) | more than 5 years ago | (#27243091)

You can draw a circle by using the ellipse selection tool, then Edit -> Stroke from either the menu bar or the context menu.

Re:Call me gimpy... (1)

Fallingcow (213461) | more than 5 years ago | (#27243273)

Don't feel bad, The Gimp is notoriously hard to get used to. IIRC, to make a circle you have to make a circular selection then tell it to make a line around that, or something along those lines. "Draw a straight line" is another common task that newbies often fail at.

I'm so glad to finally be back in Photoshop. I've got more total time in The Gimp by far, but Photoshop's still easier to use and gets in my way less often (though it is buggy as hell, which is something I've never had a problem with in The Gimp)

How to move a part of the image (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27243307)

1. Select a part of the image with a selection tool.
2. Click and drag the selected part.
3. You probably thought the selected part will be moved? Nope. It's the selection which got moved.
4. OK, let's try to move it with CTRL or ALT. No, it still does something else.
5. Ah, the 'Move' tool. Finally you can move those tricky pixels! Wait, the whole layer got moved instead, oh shi...
6. ???
7. F**k it, fire up Photoshop.

Re:Call me gimpy... (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27244171)

If you are on windows, give Paint.NET a try. It doesn't cost anything, so make sure to use the official download (there are 'opportunists' that charge for it):

http://www.getpaint.net/download.html [getpaint.net]

Not as feature laden as Photoshop, but a lot more similar to Photoshop than the Gimp (there are silly redundant path tools right on the default toolbox).

Subtitle is misleading. (5, Interesting)

owlnation (858981) | more than 5 years ago | (#27242945)

"From Novice to Professional"

Sorry no, but in your dreams. GIMP is not a professional tool -- very far from it. It's has little more functionality than Elements. It lacks essential professional tools. It's worthless to a professional.

Perhaps the subtitle should be "From Novice to Enthusiastic Amateur".

Re:Subtitle is misleading. (1)

gregben (844056) | more than 5 years ago | (#27243511)

OK, so what does a professional image editor have to have that GIMP doesn't?

Astroturf? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27243553)

Adobe must be scared to send its astroturfers here.

(There: this post as unfounded and baseless as yours)

Re:Subtitle is misleading. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27243913)

"Professional" is a naked adjective, completely meaningless by itself. One that computer graphics artists for some reason seem to throw around a lot when talking about how much someone spent on their software. Let me guess, you post regularly on cgtalk.com?


Protip: there's a shitload of fields where the image editing needs of the "professional" in that particular field would be adequately filled by GIMP.

prediction: (1)

lemur3 (997863) | more than 5 years ago | (#27243045)

there will nearly be as many usages of the word 'photoshop' as there will be 'gimp' for this story

About the actual book... (1)

VoxMagis (1036530) | more than 5 years ago | (#27243125)

I am NOT an artist, photographer or other graphic professional, but I have had serious need to act like one in my job.

I didn't want to buy a giant commercial package, because I didn't need that kind of investment in occasional products. The Gimp to the rescue!

The book, for someone like me, was vital to actually learning and using the tools available, and really gave me a chance to understand what I was doing as I learned how to do things.

What is the book's license? (1)

kfogel (1041) | more than 5 years ago | (#27243183)

A lot of free software documentation is released under free licenses these days. Was this? Or maybe a non-free but still liberal license like CreativeCommons Attribution-NonCommercial or something?

(Might be good to tweak the Slashdot book review guidelines to make stating the license a standard part of these reviews...)

mod Up (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27243199)

were compounded decentralized is mired in an How it was supposed they're gone mac AMERICA) might be

fucking faggots (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27243385)

open sores will fuck you in the ass. but we know you like it little faggot boy. having tux on your property is like having a faggot gaynbow on your property. keep sucking that dick fag boys. we'll keep laughing at you and pushing you out of the loop.

Gimp is good! (1)

Mantrid (250133) | more than 5 years ago | (#27243503)

I've been using Gimp (on Windows) for quite awhile, even use it for some 2D games and such. It's actually fairly easy to use. Now I've actually managed to click with Blender...tried it a few times over the years and I just couldn't quite "get it". But now that I'm rolling along with that it's quite exciting to be able to do so much for free! Especially since Autodesk seems to own everything else; so it doesn't look like affordable commercial packages will be out any time soon. I may have to donate to both of the projects, assuming they take donations. I own Zbrush 3, which looks like to will work well with Blender now that I know what I'm doing (somewhat). Yay OSS! Still using Windows there, so :P

Re:Gimp is good! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27243961)

no one gives a fuck what you're running. fucking bitch. take your oss and jam it up your ass.

UI needs work. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27243685)

Nothing beats Gimp on Linux but in Windows I'm a fan of Paint.NET over Gimp just because the interface works better for me.

An even better way to go... (1)

bgspence (155914) | more than 5 years ago | (#27243927)

Drawing with a mouse is like drawing with a brick. You need a graphics tablet.

Just get something like this http://www.amazon.com/Bamboo-Small-Tablet-Graphics-Software/dp/B000V9NU2A/ref=pd_bbs_sr_6?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1237396057&sr=8-6 [amazon.com] for less than $100 and you get Adobe Photoshop Elements 5.0 Win/4.0 Mac, Corel Painter Essentials 4.0, and Nik Color Efex Pro 2.0 GE included for free.

It's not CS4, but much cleaner than the Gimp.

Get the Gimp if you want to program, get some graphics software and a tablet if you need to draw.

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