GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program), like so many other open source programs, began as a student project at the University of California, Berkeley. It was developed by Spencer Kimball and Peter Mattis in 1995, and the first version (0.54) was released in 1996.
From the current version (2.10), GIMP has become a truly incredible photo editing program. It is not as complex as Photoshop, but it is not as simple as PC Paint. It competes with all the top dogs on the market today. Best of all, it's free!
If you come to GIMP via Photoshop, however, you may be frustrated by some of the differences. Here are a few user tips to get you started, whether you're a rookie or a pro.
Tip 1: Read the tutorials
Who has time to read the tutorials? Users of Photoshop, Paintshop Pro or Corel Paint will eventually save some time if they do, because the GIMP & # 39; s menus are very different. There are more than a dozen tutorials on the GIMP Tutorials page on the GIMP.org website. Although I advise you to view them all, these two (including one from another site) will help you on your way:
Tip 2: Assign the shortcuts again
If Photoshop and the shortcuts are part of your muscle memory, you can reassign the GIMP shortcuts to Photoshop & # 39; s. To reassign your shortcuts in GIMP, select Edit > Shortcuts and the Configure Shortcuts dialog box opens. Follow the instructions next to the light bulb at the bottom of the window and then click on Save .
GIMP adds the new reassigned shortcut to the correct GIMP menus, so you can always see what they are. Note that some of the shortcuts in both programs are the same, such as Copy, Cut, Paste, etc. – a CUA (Common User Access) standard that still applies.
Tips 3 & 4: Select and transform tools
Looking to the Pointer tool (which moves objects) or the Hand tool (which displays the image in the active window), as in Photoshop? Sorry. There is no hand tool in GIMP and do not search for the Pointer / Move tool in the & # 39; s selection menu. The Move tool is located in Tools >> Transformation tools > Move .
Use a selection tool ( Tools > Selection tools ) to draw a circle, rectangle, or square; or use the Free selection tool ( Tools > Selection tools > Free selection to sketch an existing object.
Then select Tools > Transformation tools > Move . The cursor changes to the cross hair symbol, but before you can use it, make sure that Move the Active layer is checked in the panel Move on the left side of the screen . Then click and drag.
At this point it is just a floating object (see description in the Layers palette on the right side of the screen. Right click on the layer named Floating selection / Floating layer in the layers palette and then choose Move to new layer in the pop-up menu Now the object you created or selected in the photo is in its own layer, so you can change the color, change the size , can add a filter, or edit it in a hundred different ways, much different than Photoshop, but not as confusing as you've tried it a few times.
Tip 5: Removing backgrounds
It is easy to remove the background if it is a single color and the foreground object is considerably lighter or darker is worse than the background color or the colors of the foreground object are fairly simple such as a yellow sunflo wer, a red umbrella or a blue wagon.
Of course the colors in photos are rarely that basic. A sunflower can have nine shades of yellow, which is fine, as long as it does not have the same colors that are used in the background.
If the sunflower has white stripes and the background is white, using the Fuzzy Select tool (the Magic Wand called in Photoshop) will be more difficult because it will select the white background AND the white stripes in the sunflower. If the background is very busy with dozens of images and colors, such as a train station full of people or a garden full of plants, click that Fuzzy Select tool 50 times or more. It is not as easy as many of the online tutorials claim.
Because most photos have busy backgrounds and millions of colors, the trick is to use a combination of tools to cut the object in the "foreground" from the background, remove or replace the background. You can start with the Fuzzy Select tool and then refine the selection with the Free Select tool (called the polygonal lasso in Photoshop). Hold down the Shift key to add to your selection.
Or you can simply use the Free Selection tool, outline the object, select Cut and then Paste as > New layer . But do not forget that you have to right click on that layer in the palette Layers and choose Go to new layer in the pop-up menu before it becomes a real layer.
NOTE: If the edges of your new layer are a bit rough, choose Select > Edge . When the dialog box Border Selection is opened, choose 2 px in the field Border Selection By and then choose Smooth .
Tip 6: change the size of photos without losing the image quality
This is one of the most important photo tips, because anyone who prints digital photos must understand how to resize.
Most digital cameras take photos with a low resolution such as 72, 120 or 180 ppi (pixels per inch), unless you open the Settings menu and this to a higher resolution setting such as 300 up to 600 ppi. The larger the photo, the higher the ppi must be to prevent the image quality from being lost. In general, 300 ppi is sufficient for an 11×14 print. Larger formats would need more pixels.
Resize in Photoshop via Image > Image size . If you uncheck the box Resample Image you can change the 72 ppi to 300 ppi and the physical image size is automatically adjusted to the new ppi. This method preserves the image quality.
In GIMP the command is Image> Image scales . The Image Scaling dialog box appears with the image size (width and height), the resolution (X and Y) and the quality interpolation. If you want to automatically adjust the physical image size when the ppi changes, choose NoHalo in the Interpolation field.
NOTE: The NoHalo and LoHalo options have replaced the Sinc (Lanczos3) option in earlier versions.
First, change the pixels to inches, then choose NoHalo and then enter 300 in the field box X resolution . All other relevant fields are automatically changed to maintain image quality. When you are finished, click on the Scale button and it is ready.