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GIMP 2 for Photographers: Image Editing with Open Source Software Paperback – 19 Nov 2006
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A great book for anyone with more than a passing interest in improving their photos
-- samzenpus, Slashdot.org, October 2007
In conclusion, I would have no hesitation in recommending GIMP 2 for Photographers ... a simply essential purchase. -- John Allen, Perl Mongers, October 2007
From the Publisher
GIMP2 for Photographers is a beginner's guide to the only open source image editing tool which provides a low-cost alternative to expensive programs such as Photoshop. Topics include the basics of image editing and simple adjustments, as well as advanced techniques using layers and masks, stitching of panoramic images, and preparation of high-quality black and white images. The most important editing functions are presented in individual, easy-to-follow workshops.
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Rather helpfully, the GIMP software (for Windows, Mac, and Linux) is included on the book's accompanying CD. This means that you can follow each tutorial using the exact same version of software as the author, which really helps to build confidence that you're doing everything right.
As well as the GIMP application, the CD also includes all of the sample images used in the book, and for each editing tutorial the "final" image is provided so you can check your own work against the expected result.
Even more usefully, the CD contains an electronic copy of the complete book as a PDF file, so you can keep it on your laptop as a reference guide, invaluable when editing images on location (or on holiday!).
So, the CD gets full marks but what about the book itself?
After showing how to install the software, the author takes us through basic GIMP operations - opening and saving files, cropping, resizing images, and printing. Once these basics are out of the way, the book moves on to a series of examples based on "real-life" image editing scenarios.
These examples are very well chosen, both in the fact that the vast majority of the technques shown are genuinely useful, but also in the way that they are ordered. Each example introduces a new feature of the software, building up your knowledge as you work through the book. By the end you can expect to be skilled not only in "standard" editing - adjusting colour balance, fixing red-eye, removing dust spots, and so on - but also in compositing, perspective correction, lighting and shadow effects, and building panoramic images.
Between the examples there is a good amount of more "reference" type material, with detailed descriptions of the various menus, toolbars, and dialogs you will encounter while using the software. Combined with lots of well-labelled screenshots this strikes a very good balance, ensuring that even after going through all the tutorials you'll still get value from the book as something to refer back to.
Overall the quality of the writing and general production standard is very high indeed. There are some points where it is noticable that the book was originally published in German, but this never becomes a stumbling block to the reader's understanding. Most importantly though, the author employs the "show, don't tell" philosophy throughout which is key to successful teaching.
In conclusion, I would have no hesitation in recommending GIMP 2 for Photographers to anyone with more than a passing interest in improving their photos. And even if you already use image editing software, the book is well worth a read - I have been using GIMP for several years and still learned a great deal. The accompanying CD is the icing on the cake, making GIMP 2 for Photographers a simply essential purchase.
The style of writing is also a little bit tortured, being a translation from a German book.
Part of the problem stems from the fact that the book was written for a previous version of GIMP 2 (the current version is 2.6). This is compounded by the original text being written in German. It has suffered pretty badly in the hands of the translators and editors: blocks of text are repeated unnecessarily (which can be confusing); the instructions do not always flow smoothly; and the sentence construction is clumsy.
This is all a great pity - the book is attractively produced and in its original form (language and software version) it probably worked very well.
I have since invested in "Beginning GIMP - From Novice to Professional" (Akkana Peck) - which appears to be more comprehensive and more up to date.
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