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Beginning GIMP

samzenpus posted about 8 years ago | from the get-started dept.

466

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

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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466 comments

Ten-thousand Freenet User Identities Compromised (-1, Troll)

MasterofGS (989146) | about 8 years ago | (#15732850)

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After DiKKy collapsed in a pool of his own filth, GNAA Security officer supers made the following statement, "Once we were able to trace which IPs had been uploading child pornography to the network (which in the end turned out to be every host that had ever connected to the network,) we were able to remove every IP controlled by our leader, timecop, from our compiled database and submit the remaining information to the Department of Justice. Fags."

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No one seems to mention the elephant in the room.. (0, Troll)

Proctal Relapse (467579) | about 8 years ago | (#15732854)

GIMP was designed by a Jew. in today's global market, you have to watch for these things, or the next thing you know, Hezbollah's flinging flaming bottles of arak at yuo.

BUYING Photoshop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15732862)

BWAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!

Next you'll say that people buy windows (lollerskates).

Oh slashdot, you slay me. ;D

Re:BUYING Photoshop? (3, Insightful)

advocate_one (662832) | about 8 years ago | (#15732991)

Officially, people DO buy windows... however, lots of people don't, and it suits Microsoft very well (however much they may "protest") for this situation to continue... after all, I'm pretty sure Microsoft would rather have someone running a pirated copy of windows than discovering the joys of Linux...

and I'm pretty sure Adobe enjoy this situation as well, as the ease with which people can get cracked copies of photoshop means fewer people are tempted to use The GIMP or other cheaper alternatives to PS.

Re:BUYING Photoshop? (1)

SharpFang (651121) | about 8 years ago | (#15733002)

Actually, if you buy a Dell, it goes cheaper if you buy windows (and dump it down the drain the moment you exit the shop) than if you don't. Computers with no OS preinstalled cost more than ones with Windows.

Of course if you "roll your own"...

Waiting till harddrives in shops come with windows preinstalled, cheaper than the blank ones.

Re:BUYING Photoshop? (1)

IflyRC (956454) | about 8 years ago | (#15733095)

Has Dell already stopped selling Linux PCs?

Re:BUYING Photoshop? (1)

SharpFang (651121) | about 8 years ago | (#15733154)

I'm not sure, aut AFAIR their price was... scary. I mean, like $100 more than identical Windows boxen.

Does it have a "healing brush"? (2, Interesting)

wfberg (24378) | about 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:Does it have a "healing brush"? (3, Informative)

Kesch (943326) | about 8 years ago | (#15732891)

Actually, I never liked the healing brush in Photoshop, half the time it wouldn't do a great replacement job. I prefer to use clone stamp and sample the replacement area myself which still only takes 5 seconds.

Re:Does it have a "healing brush"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15732919)

Its a summer of code project.

Re:Does it have a "healing brush"? (3, Informative)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | about 8 years ago | (#15733062)

Yeah, they just don't call it that: Gimp skincare [gimps.de]

Comments from people who actually create Creative? (4, Insightful)

Whafro (193881) | about 8 years ago | (#15732879)

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.

Re:Comments from people who actually create Creati (4, Informative)

andrewman327 (635952) | about 8 years ago | (#15732899)

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.

Re:Comments from people who actually create Creati (0, Troll)

stubear (130454) | about 8 years ago | (#15732926)

Put lipstick on a pig and you've still got a pig.

Re:Comments from people who actually create Creati (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15732970)

Ah, you've still got a pig, but is it now a PILF?

Re:Comments from people who actually create Creati (2, Funny)

andrewman327 (635952) | about 8 years ago | (#15733133)

"Put lipstick on a pig and you've still got a pig."


No, you get Pigshop!

Re:Comments from people who actually create Creati (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15733225)

Modded Troll? stubear speaks from experience!

Re:Comments from people who actually create Creati (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#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."

Re:Comments from people who actually create Creati (4, Insightful)

Golias (176380) | about 8 years ago | (#15733181)

Also, it's impossible to recommend a program called "GIMP" to anybody without sounding like a complete tool.

Honestly... Isn't it time somebody came up with a name for this app which can be spoken out loud in polite society???

Re:Comments from people who actually create Creati (1)

symbolic (11752) | about 8 years ago | (#15732993)

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.

Re:Comments from people who actually create Creati (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15733037)

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 seems to be able to destroy my work despite pressing save often.

The options for working with a tablet are great as far as being able to make my eraser another pen (just wish I could get it to initialize as an eraser instead of the default brush), and having the pressure control different things (thickness/opacity/whatever) is super easy. One annoying point is that you have to have your pen/eraser active to change the brush for that pen/eraser. So I have to hold the tip close (but not close enough to draw) and use my mouse to change brush, since just using the mouse won't change the brush for the pen.

I also have tried to make some cartoons with the gimp animation package, but it made almost no sense to me. I just didn't understand the GUI at all.

Re:Comments from people who actually create Creati (2, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 8 years ago | (#15733139)

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 it shows that non-geeks are capable of using GIMP.

Re:Comments from people who actually create Creati (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 8 years ago | (#15733167)

No. Most visual professionals do not use GIMP for many reasons. It falls into the "no there yet" category on most counts.

Gimpshop! (4, Informative)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | about 8 years ago | (#15732893)

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! (5, Insightful)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | about 8 years ago | (#15732930)

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 :-)

Re:Gimpshop! (1)

Surt (22457) | about 8 years ago | (#15733018)

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! (2, Informative)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | about 8 years ago | (#15733084)

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]

Re:Gimpshop! (1)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | about 8 years ago | (#15733188)

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.

Re:Gimpshop! (1)

mrscorpio (265337) | about 8 years ago | (#15733189)

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.

Re:Gimpshop! (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | about 8 years ago | (#15733113)

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.

Re:Gimpshop! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15733144)

Adobe has done some useability research, after all

And that research told them that people actually expect pressing a button to make more buttons appear if you hold it down long enough? Sure, after coming under fire for that, they've added a little arrow mark to all of the tools that do this, but what does the little arrow mean, intuitively?

Re:Gimpshop! (3, Funny)

SirTalon42 (751509) | about 8 years ago | (#15733180)

"Have GIMP developers?"

Of course, do you think the GIMP devs created the worst UI ever made purely by luck? NO!

Re:Gimpshop! (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | about 8 years ago | (#15733108)

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 usability engineers does show in this case.

Note, I use both programs fairly regularly, but for non-automated tasks I find myself moving towards photoshop more and more. As my workstation of choice is OS X, I really wish there was a better, third choice as neither is ideal. Apple already did a quarter of the work with their core graphics, if only someone would beat Adobe to the native Intel market by doing the rest.

Gimp's interface is crap (1)

Aexia (517457) | about 8 years ago | (#15733202)

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.

Re:Gimpshop! (1, Troll)

icebrain (944107) | about 8 years ago | (#15732938)

I'll have to give that a try later... never could get the hang of the default UI myself.

However, I do have a question... according to a co-worker, Gimp can't create images, it only manipulates them with advanced tools. He says that basic tools (paintbrush, line, circle, etc) don't exist. I find this hard to believe; Paintshop (of which I've been using version 5 for years) has these basic tools and is fairly intuitive now.

In other words, can it serve as a basic "paint" tool in addition to photographic manipulation? That's what 99% of my use is, anyways.

Re:Gimpshop! (1)

kwalker (1383) | about 8 years ago | (#15733017)

Co-worker is on crack. GIMP creates images just fine. It has paintbrush (In the tools palet), line (Hold SHIFT while using paintbrush or pencil tool), circle (Use circle select tool, then click Edit -> Stroke Selection). Circle is the hardest in that it takes two steps, but it's still there and it can be edited before applied. In fact, most of the tools have special modes that are activated by holding SHIFT, CTRL, or ALT while using.

Re:Gimpshop! (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | about 8 years ago | (#15733236)

It has paintbrush (In the tools palet), line (Hold SHIFT while using paintbrush or pencil tool), circle (Use circle select tool, then click Edit -> Stroke Selection).

And to think that people say it's not intuitive.

Re:Gimpshop! (1)

crabbz (986605) | about 8 years ago | (#15733238)

This is about my only complaint with GIMP. Why not add tools for line, circle and squre in the toolbox where people can find them? At least for circle and square. Shift-paintbrush isn't too bad for a line but Stroke Selection??? GIMP is great and I use it for everything but this seems like a big omission.

Re:Gimpshop! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15733032)

He says that basic tools (paintbrush, line, circle, etc) don't exist.

Your co worker is a retard - all of those tools have existed since the beginning, and are right there in the main toolbox. (sigh)

Re:Gimpshop! (1)

Surt (22457) | about 8 years ago | (#15733040)

Yes, it can, I use it for that purpose quite frequently.
Paintbrush, line, circle, other shapes, all there.

Re:Gimpshop! (1)

dolson (634094) | about 8 years ago | (#15733104)

As others have said, yes, it can do that. It also can do things that are reminiscent of Image Hoses from Metacreation's (now Corel's) Painter. I haven't touched Adobe Photoshop for many years, but I don't remember it having that feature (but likely it does by now).

Re:Gimpshop! (1)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | about 8 years ago | (#15733107)

Cow-orker is wrong. I can't remember off the top of my head how to do it, but it's easy (if you know how). Might involve creating a path and selecting a stroke, or holding a meta key while choosing a tool. Somehow I uninstalled Gimp in an orgy of recompiling, so I can't tell you exactly now, but yeah, it does lines just fine, and circles too!

Re:Gimpshop! (4, Insightful)

geekmansworld (950281) | about 8 years ago | (#15732946)

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! (3, Interesting)

ScentCone (795499) | about 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:Gimpshop! (1)

Kesch (943326) | about 8 years ago | (#15732948)

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! (2, Informative)

jehnx (556498) | about 8 years ago | (#15732973)

Another good site for it is http://www.gimpshop.com/ [gimpshop.com] for a straight-forward download site.

Re:Gimpshop! (1)

MustardMan (52102) | about 8 years ago | (#15733132)

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]

Re:Gimpshop!/ Paint.NET (1)

cornelius1729 (857214) | about 8 years ago | (#15733223)

Cheers for the link, I too have tried and failed with the GIMP. After hearing rave reviews about it, I recently downloaded a copy to give it a whirl.

My first task was to crop a bitmap image, and do some minor touching up. Pretty simple, it would have taken about 1 minute in even Paint, or some other hateful program.

However, in trying to figure out the GIMP's godawful interface, it took me over half an hour, and then I gave up. It goes well beyond kludgy, it's plain counter-intuitive.

Instead I downloaded a copy of Paint.NET [wsu.edu] , which is also free, and a damn sight more straightforward. Problem solved!

What's a tit-bit? (2, Funny)

Compuser (14899) | about 8 years ago | (#15732894)

See review, then see subject.

Re:What's a tit-bit? (4, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | about 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:What's a tit-bit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15733143)

That's nearly the funniest thing I've ever read on slashdot. I'd mod the living crap out of you if I had the points.

Re:What's a tit-bit? (1)

creimer (824291) | about 8 years ago | (#15733030)

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

Re:What's a tit-bit? (1)

Kesch (943326) | about 8 years ago | (#15733049)

It's like a tid-bit, except it's for more mature audiences.

Re:What's a tit-bit? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 8 years ago | (#15733192)

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 (3, Informative)

future assassin (639396) | about 8 years ago | (#15732897)

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.

Re:Save tons of cash (1)

_PimpDaddy7_ (415866) | about 8 years ago | (#15733218)

This is not as easy as you may think. This is the way I bought my Photoshop copy. First, if you get an older/used copy and it's already been registered you need to have the person who registered it, TRANSFER the ownership to you. You need to get the form from Photoshop and have both parties fill it out and sign it and sending it to Adobe.

The question then comes up is "where can I buy it used or an older copy"

I bought mine on Ebay but after a few weeks of going through all the fakes on there. If you find one that VERY low priced, chances are it's a fake in form or another.

One option Adobe may still be doing is if you own Adobe Elements 3.0 or above, you can get the full version of Photoshop, as an upgrade, for the price of $299. That is pretty good to get a lefit copy of of Photoshop brand new.

Chapter One: (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15732902)

"How to get rid of the awful GUI and replace it with a more usable one."

This is why I don't use GIMP (2, Insightful)

therealking (223121) | about 8 years ago | (#15732903)

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.

Re:This is why I don't use GIMP (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | about 8 years ago | (#15732963)

Photoshop has a really great interface.

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

Re:This is why I don't use GIMP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15732996)

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.

GIMP isn't actually a bad tool. But you are missing an important factor. Namely, Photoshop CS2 costs around 600 dollars. GIMP is free. "Techno ideology" aside, how can the user interface of Photoshop be so much better that it's 600 dollars worth? Proprietary software is expensive - something that people who want to "get work done" have to understand.

Re:This is why I don't use GIMP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15733011)

...I could care less...

I think you mean to say you couldn't care less, yes?

Re:This is why I don't use GIMP (2, Informative)

milamber3 (173273) | about 8 years ago | (#15733014)

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.

Re:This is why I don't use GIMP (2, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | about 8 years ago | (#15733024)

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?

And on the flip side... (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | about 8 years ago | (#15733054)

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 better tool...

I have an honest question. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15733071)

Can anyone name a SINGLE major peice of software that is simultaneously open source AND the best example in its field? I cannot think of any. Linux sucks compared to OS X. GIMP sucks compared to Photoshop. OpenOffice sucks compared to Microsoft Office. Firefox sucks compared to Opera. The only honest conclusion one has to come to is that the open source development model is an extremely poor way to develop software. It has ridden on a lot of hype and press for far too long.

Re:This is why I don't use GIMP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15733079)

Couldn't care. But I otherwise agree.

Re:This is why I don't use GIMP (1)

SharpFang (651121) | about 8 years ago | (#15733106)

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 professional. It will work much better than you yourself playing with Photoshop or any super-duper program.

On the other hand, if you want to take costs into account, you might want to install Photoshop instead. Or thinking more about the costs, maybe GIMP?

Re:This is why I don't use GIMP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15733117)

I've been using PhotoShop for years now. But I remember first trying it and getting very frustrated with the interface, which is decidedly not intuitive, standard or easy-to-use for anybody but those familiar with PhotoShop.

I have been trying the GIMP lately and, although it takes getting used to, I find Gimp's interface a lot less frustrating than what I remember PhotoShop's being as a new user.

Re:This is why I don't use GIMP (1)

Drachemorder (549870) | about 8 years ago | (#15733171)

"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 (4, Insightful)

2nd Post! (213333) | about 8 years ago | (#15732904)

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.

Re:Photoshop Elements (1)

SharpFang (651121) | about 8 years ago | (#15732960)

$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.

Scripting with Gimp (1)

ben there... (946946) | about 8 years ago | (#15732908)

I love Gimp. Even animations are relatively easy with it.

One thing I'd like to do with it is similar to the way VirtualDub [virtualdub.org] or AviSynth [avisynth.org] works: saving a script of all the actions I performed on an image/video, that I can then use on other images. You can save curves, but you can't save HSV adjustments that I can tell.

Is there a way to do this with Gimp?

Re:Scripting with Gimp (1)

manWorkSucks (745760) | about 8 years ago | (#15733076)

I think you may want to look into Script-Fu [gimp.org] . It's The GIMP's scripting language. As I recall, it's LISP-ish (I'm not great with all those parens, personally) but is farily powerful and can control all (or most) of the features in The GIMP

First Krita post (3, Informative)

Just Some Guy (3352) | about 8 years ago | (#15732928)

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.

The More Books The Better (1)

blueZhift (652272) | about 8 years ago | (#15732935)

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 is very very welcome. That said, I generally use Fireworks MX for my work in Windows, but I may pick a copy of the book anyway, since I use the GIMP when booted into Ubuntu.

GIMPshop (2, Informative)

jehnx (556498) | about 8 years ago | (#15732954)

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]

User base (1)

Grackle (570961) | about 8 years ago | (#15732983)

"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." Bundled with OS distro != used by every end user Size of *nix distro != size of Gimp user base

The cost of Photoshop (1)

c0d3h4x0r (604141) | about 8 years ago | (#15733005)

Photoshop Elements sells for well under $100.

And Photoshop is typically free to all the people I know who have warezed a copy.

If you're trying to sell GIMP based on pricing, you're not going to win -- certainly not with the lack of polish in GIMP's UI compared to Photoshop's.

Plus, the other big advantage to Photoshop is all the filters and plug-ins that work on it. Unless GIMP supports all of the same filter and plug-ins that work with the latest Photoshop, most professional graphic designers or artists won't find it useful.

Re:The cost of Photoshop (1)

jehnx (556498) | about 8 years ago | (#15733036)

I'm not sure about The GIMP, but I know GIMPshop actually does support most of the plugins and filters that Photoshop does. I imagine that means that The GIMP does, also. http://www.gimpshop.com/ [gimpshop.com] is the URL for downloading GIMPshop, the Photoshop-lookalike for GIMP.

Info (0, Offtopic)

certel (849946) | about 8 years ago | (#15733021)

Good information, thank you!

Oh, for crying out loud... (4, Insightful)

Haeleth (414428) | about 8 years ago | (#15733023)

"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.

ATTENTION MODS! DO NOT MOD DOWN! +5 INSIGHTFUL (-1, Flamebait)

Asshat_Nazi_v2.0 (989409) | about 8 years ago | (#15733026)

I submit David Hasselhoff is the AntiChrist
And I have the proof

How can one explain the phenomenal global success of one of this country's least talented individuals? There are only three ways.

* Mr. Hasselhoff actually is talented, but this goes unnoticed in his own country.
* Mr. Hasselhoff has sold his soul to Satan in return for global success.
* David Hasselhoff is the AntiChrist.

I vote for the latter -- and perhaps, after seeing the facts involved, the rest of the world will agree.

excellent in tandem (1)

b17bmbr (608864) | about 8 years ago | (#15733044)

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 will be of little help to you. and neither will gimp for that matter. photoshop can't help you take better pictures, nor will it magically turn you into a good photographer. and she can't really explain how, or why, to do x, y, or z, if you don't understand photography. (i don't.) but I can use gimp and inkscape for web design. i think the real push should be after web software like fireworks. there, gimp/inkscape can do everything and alot more. perhaps that is free software's biggest problem, that there are many good products, but nothing commerically packaged into a suite. i mean, wouldn't a gimp/inkscape/quanta+ suite be a killer design suite? I think so.

Re:excellent in tandem (1)

Umbral Blot (737704) | about 8 years ago | (#15733140)

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.

Experience. (1)

darcling (987237) | about 8 years ago | (#15733053)

It seems that people who started on Photoshop tend to love Photoshop and hate GIMP (or at least have a general dislike for it)

It seems that people who started on GIMP tend to love GIMP and hate Photoshop (or at least have a general dislike for it)

Personally, I started on Photoshop, but didn't really use it, then switched to GIMP. Now, I have a general dislike for Photoshop (some of this can be attributed to my OSS love).

I hear (and can kind of see) that GIMP has a "kludgy" interface a lot. Personally, I navigate it 20x easier than Photoshop, but that's because I've used GIMP more. It's all in your experience.

Re:Experience. (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | about 8 years ago | (#15733213)

It seems that people who started on GIMP tend to love GIMP and hate Photoshop (or at least have a general dislike for it)

I started out using neither, but tried using both programs in the mid 90s. I still use both for different tasks, but I prefer the UI of photoshop (which is mediocre) to that of GIMP (which is poor). I'd really like to see a completely different interface than either of them, but as a user of both and as a person who has done more than superficial study in the area of user interface design, I've got to say that the GIMP's interface is pretty weak and runs afoul of many UI guidelines. My advice, grab the Apple HIG manual which does a good job of covering the basics and sit down with some users who have never touched either system and do some real usability design.

mnb Features "on par" with Photoshop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15733055)

When claiming to have features "on par" with Photoshop for working with digital photos, one question that remains unanswered in the review is "Does the GIMP work with RAW format images?"

It's missing too many basic features (2, Insightful)

Siguy (634325) | about 8 years ago | (#15733061)

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 a few early eccentricities and then everything else makes sense once you understand how it works. Every single app and control works in its own way that has nothing to do with the way anything else works.

However, even if you can get past that, it's missing a lot of basic features. The brush system is years behind Photoshop (making a new brush everytime I want to change brush size is not acceptable). You can't rotate a canvas easily, directly work in a CMYK color space, all sorts of basic things.

Now the next response is, it's free. And that's right. There are a lot of tools in this for free software and if you were comparing it to photoshop you could say that ends the debate right there. But that only works if you don't need the power of photoshop, and if you don't, then you should spend 50 bucks on Ulead Photoimpact or Jasc Paint Shop Pro, since each is much better than the GIMP for under 100 dollars. Granted they don't have every single tool photoshop does, but neither does the gimp, and they at least are usable as professional tools.

But what about the hand? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15733066)

I am an avid Linux user, but I stopped using Gimp because I couldn't find the hand feature. In Photoshop, if you hold down the space bar, the cursor becomes a hand and you can drag the image around. Without this feature, I have to use the scrollbars, which is RSI-including and just plain annoying.

PS - I recently started editing my images in Picasa and their UI is even better than Photoshop. Thank goodness for Google UI.

Re:But what about the hand? (2, Informative)

ettlz (639203) | about 8 years ago | (#15733177)

Middle click and drag. Those other buttons are there for something. Click the cross in the bottom right hand corner of an image window to scroll over a thumbnail.

Review of a book or ad for GIMP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15733067)

This "review" reads more like an advertisement for GIMP than a review of a book. While the reviewer touches on what the various chapters contain, he really doesn't provide much critique (or when he does, it's usually very superficial, e.g. "I found this chapter impart a very good understanding of Gimp interface"). Is the book in fact good for a beginner to pick up and try to learn the tool? What are it's strengths and weaknesses (again the book, not GIMP itself). Does it make sense to purchase a $50 (list) for a $0 software package (i.e. is something like PS Elements which is just a bit more something to also look at). The reviewer starts off by saying that he has been using the tool for many years, is he really qualified to talk about a book geared for beginners?

Gimp, The (1)

Elektroschock (659467) | about 8 years ago | (#15733072)

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 Linux/open source lies where you apply the good old shell funactionality to image editing, think of Imagemagick. Commandline tools which just work.

In the GUI-world it makes no sense to create new interface schemes which are worse than what is offered by the big players.

still waiting for GEGL and/or 48bpp support (2, Insightful)

vossman77 (300689) | about 8 years ago | (#15733087)

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.

The good, the bad... (1)

Cally (10873) | about 8 years ago | (#15733138)

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 loking for if I want to hack up a quick diagram, but where are the alternatives? I mean, forget Fireworks, MS Paint is better than Gimp.

And BTW I am an experienced developer, one time on MS, then Perl/Apache, then Linux sysadmin, network admin, and now full time security bod running Linux at work and OpenBSD at home and Windows as rarely as possible (mandatory monthly reboot at work to apply latest patches.) I love free software and use it as much as possible, I will usually go without rather than use proprietary software. IAnd I can't stand Gimp. Yes, I eventually worked out how to draw a circle the one time I had enough similar drawings to do, I just googled for "nightmare draw gimp circle" [google.com] . (Try it! :)

Buying Photoshop (5, Interesting)

eebra82 (907996) | about 8 years ago | (#15733166)

"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 :)

Comparison Pricing: (2, Insightful)

sakusha (441986) | about 8 years ago | (#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 just want to know one thing and one thing only (1)

planetoid (719535) | about 8 years ago | (#15733228)

Don't get me wrong, I like the GIMP and its flexibility makes drawing specific things extremely convenient and intuitive for me compared to Photoshop. But the one thing that annoys me about GIMP is its interface in that, in both the Windows and Linux versions, each window takes up a program slot on the taskbar. Not only that, but when you start it up, you can see your desktop. Maximizing the main window doesn't help because it spreads all of its icons across. And maximizing the image window, basically obscures the other GIMP windows. To me, this is bad interface design.

I find it a bit irritating to work like this. If I want to see my tools while working on an image, I have to keep the windows at normal size, which leaves parts of my desktop exposed, and I occasionally accidentally click the icons with my pen and execute programs I don't want to execute (nothing to interrupt your concentration like loading Doom 3 inadvertently while practicing your landscape painting). I DO NOT WANT TO SEE MY DESKTOP OR DESKTOP ICONS WHEN WORKING ON AN IMAGE. Is there a way to get GIMP's interface to behave like or mimic Photoshop's interface more closely in this respect? Yes, I'm aware of peoples' complaints with how Photoshop's interface behaves and the pros and cons and yada yada, but I just so happen to prefer it that way -- I just "flow" better with it.

Unfortunately there's nothing in GIMP's configuration menus that indicate I can do this, but maybe there's some trick I don't know about?

Another book: Grokking the GIMP (1)

ncw (59013) | about 8 years ago | (#15733245)

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!

Not Allowed! (1)

fm6 (162816) | about 8 years ago | (#15733246)

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!
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