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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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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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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).
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.
Also, one or two of the examples aren't of the same standard as the rest of the book, with a few effects (like adding reflections in water) either falling flat, or looking very artificial. Of course, making photorealistic effects can be a very difficult task, and so perhaps it's sufficient to just cover the basics here and let the reader experiment on their own.
All in all, this book is easy to follow, and will get you up to speed with the GIMP in a short space of time.
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