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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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The GIMP is often included in desktop Linux distributions. A CD included with the book contains recent versions of the GIMP for Linux, Windows and OS X. It also contains practice images for use with the examples in the book.
After an introductory chapter, the book presents chapters covering correcting and touching up images, using masks and layers - painting, filling, and color tools, and working with black-and-white and color images. A typical exercise describes how to improve a scanned image. The initial image is tilted and needs to be righted, using the angle tool to measure the degree of tilt to be corrected. A moiré effect is removed with the Gaussian blur tool, the levels and curves tools are used to correct the tonality, and contrast is increased for better definition. The different options available for these tools are briefly discussed. Another example shows how to restore an old, faded and scratched picture using various cloning and healing tools.
The use of layers and masks is shown to modify an originally dull landscape photo. The colorless sky is replaced with a blue sky with natural-looking color gradient and some light clouds and a setting sun low in the sky is added. The text tool is then used to convert the image to an Easter card.
Some of the examples towards the end of the book are getting complex enough to go beyond the scope of ordinary photo editing but serve to demonstrate some of the most sophisticated tools available in the GIMP.
I highly recommend this book as an excellent and essential guide to using the GIMP. Adobe's Photoshop Elements 5 may have more bells and whistles, but the GIMP will let you do most of the same editing steps for free. Of course, Linux users don't have a choice and are fortunate to have this powerful editor available.
"designed to facilitate your entry into the world of digital image editing with the help of the GIMP...You will learn the fundamentals of digital editing, familiarize yourself with common image editing tools and their functions, and acquire a working knowledge of the GIMP 2 program."
And that is exactly what it does. The tutorial style is almost like being in a classroom. The steps are explained, then set out in detail, starting with pixels, color, resolution, and file formats. Towards the end of the book there is less explanation, as the exercises build on what has already been learned and focus on new ways to use the tools.
This really is not a beginner book. It assumes a certain amount of knowledge about computers, cameras and scanners. But you don't have to be an expert in any of those areas. In fact, although the book discusses importing RAW formats and scanning images, the actual editing exercises are done with images included on the CD which comes with the book. Also included on the CD is the entire book in PDF format, copies of what the exercise images should look like after the editing exercises, the GIMP program for Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux (with source files), plugins for the program, and a copy of Irfanview, a free image viewer and conversion tool (for Windows).
Although intended for all formats, the book presents material from a Windows-centric perspective. I worked through the exercises on a Mac, however, and had no problems, thanks to the GIMP having virtually the same interface across platforms.
As seems to be the case with all books, this one is not without a few flaws. There were many typos, although few of them really serious. It would be better if there was an errata page (having marked them all in the book, I could probably put up one myself at this point). Some of the tools could use more explanation. I wish the beautiful, color screenshots were bigger. But my biggest surprise was the book itself: I don't think I've ever had a cover on a brand new book start separating from the book after only one week.
I have been using the GIMP for a couple years already, but there was a lot in the book that was new for me. In fact, I wish I'd read the book a few weeks earlier: it would have saved me a lot of time on a Christmas project! Despite the flaws, and even with the defective cover, I'd recommend it. It will give you more than a working knowledge of the GIMP.
This book began as materials that the author has used and refined in his workshops and classes.
For beginners just getting into image editing, as well as those who are starting to work with GIMP 2, GIMP 2 For Photographers is an excellent addition to your library. It will get you up to speed in no time and lay the framework for your future success.
In fact to be totally accurate I use GimpShop as well.
First, the blurb on the book:
"Image editing has become a key element in the photographic workflow. Image editing tools, most notably Photoshop, are usually sophisticated and deep applications - and are fairly expensive. The only open source tool in this market is the GIMP, which has developed into a powerful, multiplatform system running on Linux, as well as OS X and Windows. This book has evolved from the classroom materials which the author developed and taught in courses and workshops on image editing with the GIMP. It covers the basics of image editing and guides the reader through the functions and tools of the GIMP from simple adjustments to more advanced techniques of working with layers and masks. The more important editing functions are presented in individual workshops. Moreover, the book covers the stitching of panoramic images and preparation of high-quality black and white images."
Second, my views:
This certainly isn't a reference book. It is a well constructed tutorial which makes good use of the sample on the enclosed CD to take you through a number of exercises to develop your skills and your confidence. Made up of five (5) chapters:
* Using the GIMP: Correcting and Touching Up Your Images
* Using Masks and Layers - Painting, Filling and Color Tools
* Working with Black-and-White and Color Images
I found that it struck a good balance between generic tasks i.e. layering, creating and editing a path, cropping and clipping etc., with some good GIMP specific tasks i.e. Typing in the GIMP, artistically manipulating shadows. The one thing that it proves without doubt is that "managing" your digital photography isn't a skill that you will learn overnight. It is complicated, frustrating and time consuming, but as the book proves it is possible.
Will I buy Photoshop? Possibly - but not for a year. This book has given me enough skill and confidence to explore and practice with GIMP for at least that long.
About the author: Klaus Goelker is an architect and photographer who lives and works in Munich, Germany. He also teaches courses on image editing at a local art school. He chose GIMP to teach this class because it was free and yet powerful enough to do serious photographic image editing.
Target Group: Photographers, Designers, Illustrators
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