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The Artist's Guide to GIMP: Creative Techniques for Photographers, Artists, and Designers (Covers GIMP 2.8) Paperback – 2 Jul 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: No Starch Press; 2 edition (2 July 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593274149
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593274146
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 1.6 x 25.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 481,815 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

About the Author

Michael J. Hammel has been a contributor to GIMP since 1996 (version 0.59). A former contributor to Linux Format magazine, Hammel is the author of three books on the GIMP: The Artist's Guide to the GIMP (SSC, 1998), Essential GIMP for Web Professionals (Prentice Hall, 2001), and The Artist's Guide to GIMP Effects (No Starch Press, 2007). Hammel currently works as an embedded software engineer in Colorado Springs.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By PhilB on 18 Aug. 2012
Format: Paperback
The GIMP is a powerful image editor, similar in many ways to Photoshop, but with the distinct advantage of being free, open-source, and cross-platform (it will happily run on Windows, Linux and Mac). As with most high-end image editors, there's a bit of a learning curve, and The Artist's Guide to GIMP is a great way to start out on it. After a decent (but no-nonsense) introduction to the basics, it goes on to expose the reader to a wide range of image editing techniques via a set of focused how-to guides, each with detailed, easy-to-follow instructions. In the process, the reader learns a lot about using the GIMP effectively, building up an array of useful techniques that can be applied elsewhere as they go.

The guides are short, only a few pages long at their lengthiest. After a brief introduction explaining each technique, along with an example "end product", the reader is given a set of to-the-point step-by-step instructions to follow. These tend to be very clear, and given enough time, anyone should be comfortable following them. Once the basics are down, many of the examples are then extended, with further steps on possible enhancements that could be applied.

One criticism of the book is that it's relatively light on techniques for photographers. While there is a whole section on photographic techniques, most of these concern less serious tasks like adding filters and effects - there's much less on the sort of tweaking and touching-up that are core to photography work, and guides on handling RAW images and more advanced masking techniques would have been appreciated. That said, there is a good guide on restoring old photos.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 23 Nov. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book itself is very well written and informative. It gives you a good overview into how to use GIMP to produce artistic digital content and covers all of the tools and methods required to do such. Everything is well laid out and clearly explained and it should work equally well for those new to GIMP or someone with prior experience (covering the basics early on, before moving on to more advanced methods).

My only criticism is that it feels fairly dated throughout. I was hoping (given the publication date was 2012) that it would give an overview into using GIMP for producing modern-looking web and print content. It seems a bit of a missed opportunity, for me, as most of the examples and illustrations look like they are from the late 90s or early to mid 2000s . As the publication date is recent, I can only assume that mainly parts of the text were edited to work with the latest edition (2.8) of GIMP.

That said, though, with a bit of thought, you can translate the teachings given (which are very good) to create more modern-looking content, it just seems a shame that it looks so dated and uninspiring (compared to modern Photoshop books).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Warren Draper on 31 Aug. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Whereas Olivier Lecarme and Karine Delvare's 'The Book of GIMP' (also from No Starch Press) is the most comprehensive book on GIMP currently available, Michael J. Hammel's 'The Artist's Guide to GIMP' is perhaps one of the most inspirational. It uses a series of projects to introduce the key elements of the world's best free bitmap design software, each of which have been cleverly designed to fuel your own creative juices. Above everything else this book proves beyond doubt that GIMP is not simply a poor-man's Photoshop (although with Adobe forcing people into a cloud based subscription this is not a bad thing!), it is a powerful creative tool which can breathe new life into your photography and graphic design projects.
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By Alex on 25 Nov. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been using gimp for some time. This book did have a few new tricks. I would recommend this book to someone with limited experience.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 38 reviews
32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
A Comprehensive Teaching Tool 19 Jun. 2012
By Iris Yoffa - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
The GIMP is an impressive open source image editor. However, like any
full-featured and robust application, the learning curve can be steep.
No matter where you begin, you can feel as if you are bobbing around
in the middle of the GIMP pond. This well-organized book can be just
the trick to getting you started and learning the more intricate
workings of the GIMP.

The Artist's Guide to GIMP begins with an overview of each tool,
showing the toolbox icon and explaining its function, all laid out in
an easy to read chart. These pages could prove useful to keep handy by
the computer when working in the program. Descriptions of dialogs and
panels come next, interspersed with helpful tips and keyboard
shortcuts, followed by the descriptions of the menus and preferences.

The first 115 pages are essential for any user new to the GIMP or new
to digital editing concepts and practices. The exercises are clear,
brief, and easy to follow. Learning by doing has always proven to be
the method for me when learning new technologies or brushing up on
forgotten skills. The basic tutorials start on page 62 and continue
through Chapter 2. Each section ends with suggestions for further
exploration. Each chapter ends with a section on additional tips.

The six chapters cover the beginner and advanced user subjects, with
exercises to guide you through the presented subject matter. In
addition to the digital imaging fundamentals and photographic
techniques, you'll also be guided through creating graphics for the
web and special effects for type. The explanations of how to
accomplish the various techniques and why you want to use a particular
approach are very good.

I found this title to be a comprehensive teaching tool, packed with
tutorials that are easy to follow and just work. The author presents
the theory and process behind digital imaging and working with photos
in a succinct and interesting manner. He has done a commendable job of
creating an excellent guide to this free-of-charge and open source
image manipulation application. Use this book to quickly learn the
basic and not so basic skills for using the GIMP to edit photos and
create original graphics.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Excellent illustrations. 31 July 2012
By Michael J. Edelman - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Photoshop is still the gold standard for digital image editing, but not all of us can afford to spend $700 on editing software, The inexpensive Photoshop Elements is affordable, but lacks most of the power of the full program. Luckily there is a community of coders out there dedicated to continuing to develop Gimp, a program with much of the power of Photoshop, but with a much lower price- free. And it's available not only on Windows and OSX, but also on just about every flavor of unix, including FreeBSD, SunOS, NetBSD, Solaris, IRIX, and of course Linux. There's also a fair about of documentation out here for Gimp, both on line and in print. So how does this volume compare with the competition? Exceptionally well, I think.

A short digression: The great promise of what used to be called "desktop publishing" was that anyone with a computer could produce their own camera-ready copy without the need for professional design, layout, and editing help. Unfortunately that also turned out to be its greatest weakness. Far too many computer books go into print these days with unreadable text, ugly layout, and terrible illustrations. But in The Artist's Guide to Gimp we have a notable exception. The layout is exceptionally clear, the text clear, and fe from errors, and the illustrations- glory be!- are, without exception, clear, sharp, and perfectly reproduced. If only all computer books were like this.

The target audience for this book is the artist, and to that end author Hammel concentrates on creating images in Gimp. But there's still plenty of information here on fine tuning and manipulating photographs and other existing images. Even though I've been using Gimp for a good many years, the first 100 pages taught me a few new tricks and a number of improved ways of accomplishing tasks. My main tool for photo editing is Adobe's Lightroom, but there are still times I need to do the kinds of edits that would ordinarily require Photoshop, like cutting and pasting, fixing stained or torn photos, combining layers, or doing selective blurring to simulate a shallower depth of field. It's all here, and presented in a very clear way, too.

In short, this is an excellent introduction to Gimp, not only the novice user, but also for the experienced Photoshop user interested in learning how to adapt their techniques to the Gimp world. My copy now sits on the shelf next to my computer desk, whereI keep the manuals I need to consult on a regular basis.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
The Artist's Guide to GIMP 26 Sept. 2012
By Muffin - Published on
Format: Paperback
The GIMP is one of the world's most popular open source software programs. It makes available to
any user a fantastic array of graphical tools on almost any computer and it's free. Users across the
world have downloaded and installed the software and have quickly achieved amazing satisfying
results by manipulating images. With experience and developing skills many go on to create
astonishing digital artwork from scratch. Probably most will have struggled on the way to master a
technique they have seen displayed by more experienced users or to realise an idea this
wonderfully creative software allows users to envisage. Initially, most will have turned to the
internet to seek answers from the extraordinary mixed library of resources to help them understand
the software's many areas of functionality. The tutorials, help pages, user groups and most
importantly the world wide family of users all assist to address issues, concerns, problems and
Then, for me, along came this book. Just a browse of its contents pages suggested chapters I
would make a bee-line for; its index references I have typed hopefully into Google countless times!
So I approached the book almost licking my lips in anticipation.
I am an avid reader of novels - I don't, usually, take non-fiction away with me, This sort of book I
would have by my computer as reference or at my bedside to dip into to enjoy finding out about
one area of the software. But I did take this on vacation and started reading the basics from page
one! Was I surprised by the sheer quantity of what I learned about the simplest and most obvious
processes that I assumed I knew! I am almost too embarrassed to note here some of the workenhancing
fundamentals I have not previously taken on board, and how marvellous to have one's
understanding of terminology painlessly slotted in to deepen the experience. So to all readers I
would offer this advice: step back and read section by section all the basics sections.
The clarity of explanation is a delight. Campaigns for clear language surely could use this as a
reference - concepts that seem impossible to encapsulate in simple language are arrayed on
every page in every paragraph. Diagrams and screenshots are in colour, clear and of good size -
you can read them! The comment is made in the text that underlying complexity should not be a
barrier to appreciating a general idea and this approach keeps the explanations helpful and above
all understandable. So again to any reader I would advise: approach all sections with the certainty
that there will be something on offer for you.
Much of the book takes projects and then explanation follows about the tools needed to achieve
this: changing colours, adding depth of field, creating reflections etc
Most users will have their own favourite areas of GIMP or areas they use more than others This
volume will take many users into areas they might not use regularly, areas such as web design and
advertising with an emphasis on using GIMP to make an impact. Text effects are comprehensively
covered with many tips for its effective use.
We are reminded that most of what we can do in expensive software like Photoshop we can do in
GIMP - they are both, we are told, tools for "twiddling with pixels". Learn and practice the tools and
processes then let your imagination be unlimited. The last section is a very effective building on
previously discussed techniques, designed to give the reader the encouragement to break new
For many experienced GIMP users this wonderful creative open-endedness of possibilities
continues to enthral us. We hone basic skills by using them on a daily basis. We would use this
tome as an valuable reference and find much help and encouragement here. But a book of this
sort will never stand alone. In every tutorial contained within, with every technique outlined the
imaginative user thinks, "But what if?" or "But I want to..." or "where's the next step?" What about
menu items not covered, GMIC for example or closely related software that sits very comfortably
with GIMP workflow like Luminance HDR? The sheer quantity of support and resource available on
the web is staggering and perhaps a manual of this sort would do well to suggest sites to look up
whether they contain information or examples of GIMP users' work. Perhaps a summarising
section might just have achieved this.
The Artist's Guide to GIMP is a great asset to GIMP users, new and experienced alike. Somehow it
manages to continue to make us feel that this is a tool for all and we all can share in its exploitation
and development and everyone's input into it and creative output from it is valid and worthwhile
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Really Nice Orientation to GIMP 18 July 2012
By Mark Hudgik - Published on
Format: Paperback
The Artist's Guide to Gimp is a wonderful orientation to the key features and functions of GIMP. Whether a brand new GIMP user or someone who has played around with it for a while, the information and tutorials in this book will help you understand the tools and processes to make the most of your photos.

As an amateur photographer with no formal experience in photo editing, I appreciate the way in which Hammel explains the "why" of choosing particular tools or settings in achieving desired effects to better understand how else they may be applied. I had been using GIMP for nearly a year before reading this book and I still found a wealth of helpful tips for making my editing more creative and efficient.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A very good set of tutorials 25 Aug. 2012
By Steve - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
There are not many books about using GIMP. Most information is online. But sometimes, in order to follow along, you need the information separate from the computer (or you need two computers or two monitors). So I was excited to get a book with some advanced information. The book is written a very good stock. It is a wide as opposed to tall book and it stays open by itself after about 25 pages (important for following along) on the computer. The book is broken up into 6 sections with section 1 being some basic how to information and sections 2 - 6 being tutorials.

Section 1 introduces some tools (but not all) used in GIMP. It concentrates on those tools used in the tutorials that follow. So you get good information on layers, color modes and selections. But you get almost nothing on paths, which the author states is for a more advanced book (this is too bad as I think it could have fit well in this book). It also includes three tutorials, one on creating a cloud effect, one on creating steam (a variation of the clouds) and one on a rip/tear effect on photos.

Section 2 contains tutorials for use with photos. Including soft focus, photo to sketch, sepia tones, color change, depth of field, reflections, restoration, light effects and miniaturization. Most were well done. I had a few issues. In the photo restoration tutorial the author mentions that he used Sharpen (as opposed to unsharp mask) because the photo did not contain many straight lines. But then later in the tips section, the author states that unsharp mask is best for photos. Is he saying most photos have a lot of straight lines? I tend to think almost all portraits would be without them. A little confusing. Also during the restoration section, the author glances over how the eyes were fixed. He mentions doing the same as was done to fix the sweater but to use an air brush for a mask to better merge. I would have preferred an example.

Section 3 contains tutorials for building graphics to use on web sites. These include gel buttons, metal buttons, tabs, banners, logos and icons. One thing missing from these tutorials is a screenshot showing how the various objects look on a web site. I also think the author could have replaced the section on metal buttons (I do not see them often on web sites) and maybe used the space to offer an alternate way to build a logo using paths instead of straight raster. Since logos are most likely an object a business would want displayed at different sizes and this would have given a place to use paths. Also, the objects are built large. I think they either need to be smaller or the tutorials should have covered reducing the size.

Section 4 contains tutorials on creating images for advertising. I would have thought a company logo would have been done here, but it was included with section 3 web design. Besides the tutorials there are some pages discussing building images for printing vs for web. The tutorials include creating a text effect using a paragraph of text as a mask for a photo, creating an image so that it appears a 3D package or box, creating a reflective emblem, removing the background of part of an image, creating a shiny emblem, creating a wine bottle, creating a gear, creating a cityscape, an underwater effect, colored lighting, and creating an ipod added to a silhouette. Since I work with photos and web mostly, I don't see myself using these much, but it was interesting to see how they were done in GIMP.

Section 5 contains tutorials on creating text effects. They include, chrome/metal, gel, distressing (wooden aged effect), frost, neon, and spray paint. Very good tutorials here. The section also includes a little bit about the built-in text effects available in GIMP.

Section 6 contains many creative tutorials including; girl on fire, star field, creamsicle effect, and black and white with rain. Again very well done.

Overall this covers a lot of examples. Some images used in the tutorials are stock photos and the author states where to find them. Other images are examples and the author suggests you finding your own that are similar. I would have liked more examples on photo manipulation and I would have liked a discussion and tutorial on using paths to create reusable vectors that can be resized and skewed to fit a background in perspective, but overall I was very pleased. Not a 5 star book, but still very good.

If you use the GIMP, then I suggest getting this.
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