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4.2 out of 5 stars
The Book of GIMP: A Complete Guide to Nearly Everything
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 16 April 2013
So you got tired of paying for Photoshop. You looked around and found that GIMP was used by many across the world to achieve the same sort of things. You were surprised perhaps that GIMP is not often talked about in the glossy books and articles about image processing and wondered whether therefore it was ever a serious contender. Then you downloaded it, installed it and tried it. Its unfamiliarity was a little disconcerting but you found a way round the absolute basics and then hit obstacles that required some new learning. You asked around and started to pick up advice from helpful forums and began to realise that the world of "free" software is welcoming and worthwhile. But maybe that advice was not as comprehensive as you'd hoped; it was coming piecemeal and somewhat unauthoratatively from different sources and you began to think that you needed a more formalised helping hand.

Well if that's the position you are in let me recommend this book because here's a labour of love that's been produced by two authors who have completed an immense task of cataloguing and detailing so much of what you need to know about using GIMP in its latest manifestation. It will take you through a sequence in its first section to properly "learn GIMP", provide you with a reference section which details all the menu items in the second section as well as providing an appendix which covers tricky areas like installation, tips, hints and resources.

So it's a book to keep close at hand while you are working with the software.

As an experienced user who has learned from many sources over the years almost on a need to know basis, it's fascinating to dip in just to move the skill set on a peg or two, and I will guarantee you will learn things that transform the way you work or in my case have been working for some time. For example, the section on basic image handling discusses working in different ways to suit the user's preferences. I like the full-screen mode but now I know that merely pressing the TAB key will turn on or off the display of toolbox and other menus - brilliant for properly appraising the results of changes made to images. The text throughout is uncluttered with overly technical terms and delightfully written in clear English. "The command Image: File > Save a Copy is similar to Image: File > Save as but it creates a copy without altering or changing the name of the current image." This is simple stuff explained simply and where necessary it is helpfully reinforced by full colour screen-shots or image examples.

The reference section performs that wonderfully detailed information that allows you to explore sometimes impenetrable territory, menu items, and there are so many, that do not appear interesting or sound useful. Well don't you believe it. Try almost any item and you'll come away again with something to try. Something as simple sounding as Image: View > New View, introduces you to the tantalising opportunities of having two views of the same image open at the same time, the full-screen version and then a magnified section so that you can try enhancement in any of its forms, see the result on all or just a section knowing that the routine being used is working on "both" images which are in practice the same image.

Whilst the book will never satisfy every user's whim about what's most important to them, it never closes the door to the great work being done by developers on certain areas not totally covered in the 650+ pages. It does not, for example, hold your hand through the rapidly developing G'MIC menu item; users make some dramatic images by utilising the over 200 filters available here, but only a few are only briefly mentioned. The authors acknowledge that each plug-in, like G'MIC would require whole dedicated sections adding to the already immense work making it understandable that they only endeavoured to cover the GIMP Animation Package which is an area that GIMP itself does not feature.

So a magnificent achievement to include such detailed content with such clarity making this a must have reference book for GIMP users whether new or experienced.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 3 April 2014
This covers (as it says in the title) nearly everything Gimp has to offer. However, for me, the examples are not very well written. The structure of the book is to run through tutorials that show you how to do various things. This usually involves multiple steps, using numerous different tools. However, the tools that you use are frequently left unexplained as to what they actually do - you're just told to 'apply this filter' or 'set this value to x' without any explanation of what that achieves (& it is not that obvious from Gimp's awful naming of tools!). I also found that you sometimes are asked to do steps that have not been covered yet - I don't mind flicking about the book a bit, but most text books these days guide you through a little better.
All in all, it does contain a lot of great info, but you are too often left in the dark about what you are actually doing with a certain step, and need to flick around the book too much.
It would be more useful if it was EITHER a pure reference book (i.e. i want to know what this tool does- so look it up in the index and read about it) OR a cover-to-cover tutorial style book where you work through doing various examples in order to gain a good understanding of how to do common tasks. This book is trying to be both and is a little muddled as a result. Still, as I say, it does contain most of the info you'll need to use the VAST depths of Gimp's functionality.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 31 August 2013
As with every other book I've bought from No Starch Press so far, his a very well thought out book. The first half consists of tutorials to get you up to speed and the second half is an incredibly comprehensive reference manual covering everything except GIMP's numerous third-party scripts (plug-in filters, effects, brushes, etc.)... although it does introduce the most useful ones from the GIMP Registry.

Whatever level you're at you will find this book very useful to have around. It has inspired me to start a range of workshops in my local area which have been designed to introduce photographers and designers to this powerful - and FREE! - piece of software.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
GIMP is the best known and most fully featured open source editing programme for digital photographs and is highly recommended. It is a good book but, in my opinion, it is more suitable as a follow-on book rather than an introductory one. In particular, a lot of space is devoted to detailed examination of the menus of GIMP's multitude of editing tools. As I stand at this moment, the book is bit too advanced but if I progress (fond hope!), I expect that this book will become my principal helpmate.
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on 19 July 2013
On first using GIMP, with no manual or other guide to help, I was at a complete loss, although I have used Paint Shop Pro and Adobe Photoshop Elements for many years. Other reviews of The Book of GIMP were largely positive, so, although it's not cheap, I went for it. So glad I did - it's got everything I was looking for, containing an introductory tutorial section which walks you through all the basics, followed by a very good reference section.

A definite must-have for anyone wanting to get to grips with GIMP.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 21 May 2013
I found this book very clearly written with excellent examples of what can be achieved using GIMP. I only give 4 stars as I would have liked an opportunity to work through some of the photo manipulation examples presented but there is no companion CD or (as far as I can tell) no website to download the images to work with. (My own pictures do not always behave they way the book suggests they should). I still think it was money well spent and recommend the book to anyone using or planning to use GIMP.
Update. I have increased the rating to 5 star as I have discovered a source for the images for the worked example. http://the-book-of-gimp.blogspot.co.nz/ This is a useful companion for the book for others who are just starting out with GIMP.
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on 25 December 2013
This is a great book for any one who wants to move from Photoshop to Gimp. The fact that you can download the exercise files so that you too can play along is a great bonus. This is not a beginners book but it has convicned me that GIMP can do 90% of what Photoshop can (In my humble opinion). There is a great section filters and what how each one works. One of the best books I have bought.
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on 4 February 2015
The only reason I can think why anyone other than a professional designer would pay for Photoshop is that they don't know about GIMP. And anyway, this book explains how to do a full range of cutting-edge image creation in GIMP. The book is perhaps not for the beginner, but I've found it invaluable, and now use GIMP almost daily. Goodbye 12-year-old version of Photoshop!
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on 27 August 2013
There are many books for GIMP. I randomly choose this book based on the community feedback and I have not regret it. I could have learned the basic features and usage of software form this book. It has sevred my perpose very well.
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on 7 December 2014
Very comprehensive, covers everything you could possibly need. Easy to understand step-by-step format with loads of illustrations. You will never need another GIMP manual. Perfect for beginners too.
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