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.