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on 7 November 2009
Akkana Peck has done a Stirling job, at publishers Apress, with her Beginning Gimp - From Novice to Professional. It comfortably lives up to its title but suffers (slightly) from the anomaly of being for version 2.4, when version 2.6 is well and truly available. That said, having possibly misjudged their release timing, Apress and Peck pull it back with a chapter; 'preview of GIMP 2.6', at the end of the book. The fact that most of the tasks haven't changed significantly between these two releases helps too. I do have reservations but in the round, this is a well written, pretty comprehensive and useful book for most levels of GIMP expertise.

Because I'm reviewing the book, rather than using it in anger, I used serendipity, the contents and the index to explore. I have to admit, I was looking for holes and found surprisingly few. It's a comprehensive and accessible read, covering everything you're likely to need and many bits you'll not.

The book is laid out in a logical order, with a brief introductory chapter introducing all the basic paraphernalia required to get started. Chapter 2, Improving Digital Photos, lead me to think that the driving principle for this book would be how to achieve common tasks. A task oriented approach! Whilst this was pretty much the way this and other chapters proceeded, the following chapter reverted to the same old menu tour, albeit well executed. The chapters are a mix of task oriented, tool oriented, concept oriented and the odd bucket chapter ('Additional Topics').

One of the first things I noticed is that this book makes good use of colour images. On the whole, they do a great job of illustrating the point. (It's possibly irrelevant to their utility but they're, well, a bit uninspiring.)

Peck has a nice balance between the principles behind the tools and the practice of using them. Understanding the principle makes it a whole lot easier to use the tools - having a goal in mind! Her chapter on Colour is particularly good. Many reference books are much more literal, merely describing a list of actions. Peck and Apress have, to some extent, got away with the book being GIMP 2.4 centric precisely because it expands on many principles behind the tools.

Another strength of this book is that the hints and gotcha panels are generally genuinely useful. Reading through, I found myself secretly pleased that I'd be able to avoid Googling forum hell to find out why I wasn't getting the results I expected.

Filters and Plug-ins - Many are fantastically useful: I use edge detect, then levels to target my unsharp mask, so there's two! They seem to be a strange mix of tools that either help you realise your artistic vision or take your artistic vision and stick a faux-Greek portico on it. To my mind Peck's coverage of the latter type of filters could have well done with a few lines or an example on each about how to use these judiciously and with taste for those who dip into them occasionally.

Personally, I've never used scripting in any serious way in any product and I don't suppose that many other users do either but clearly there's a core of users for this feature and this book even covers this pretty comprehensively.

All-in-all. This book is a great reference and easy to read. GIMP has always had criticism for aspects of its user interface (not aping Photoshop, is not least amongst them) but this book really does help to up productivity for users of all castes of taste and levels of experience and makes it fun.

Greg (I guess I'm a GIMP intermediate user.)
First published on [...]
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on 16 April 2009
This is a satisfyingly large book that does justice to Gimp, a fine free image-editing product that seems to do pretty much everything Photoshop does. I've been using Gimp, self-taught, for some time, to handle images intended for websites and a newsletter, and have recommended it to many of my friends. Now I have Akkana Peck to fill in the gaps in my knowledge, offering step-by-step examples of quite complex procedures. She's my new hero.
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on 6 September 2009
Gimp can be quite daunting at first. Lots of tools and settings to master. But Akkana Peck's guide is so easy to follow, even with trickier tasks, its like having an endlessly patient tutor at hand!

I hadn't expected such a big book when I ordered it, especially for the price! But it's packed with really helpful images as well as blissfully straightforward text. Akkana not only explains how various Gimp features work but why things work as they do - and all in an easy unhurried way.

If you're wondering whether to get Gimp or drain your piggy bank and get Photoshop? Get Gimp (its free) and this book. You'll never look back!! Five minutes spent reading will add another useful tip to your armoury.

This book is a 'must have' for Gimp users everywhere.
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on 28 January 2010
I have moved from using Photoshop to using Gimp for processing my photographs. I was really wanting to know how Gimp differed from Photoshop as well as knowing how to get the best from Gimp. This book was excellent for that purpose, although no comparisons with photoshop are made. For people who have not previously used Photoshop or similar, some more discussion of the basics might be useful.

The chapters of the book are well thought out and mostly in the best order. The chapters for writing your own plug-ins or adapting the code for Gimp will be useful for those who understand programming or are willing to learn but it was lost on me. The book assumes you are using Gimp with the Linux operating system, but as Gimp will also run on Windows and Mac computers some more mention of the differences those users will experience would perhaps be useful.

This is a very useful, well written book, and I thoroughly recommend it.
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on 20 September 2010
The Amazon reviews I read before buying indicated that the book would at least be useful, in fact it is very good, very clear and seems pretty complete (I'm still working through it, a relative GIMP beginner). I can't imagine there's a much better practical book for people (like me) who don't know much about GIMP but would like to do more than just basic photo manipulation, but there also seems a lot of more advanced stuff too (it's a sizable book!), so it could well also be a book for people who already know something about GIMP.

Definitely worth considering....!
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on 17 August 2010
If you want to learn how to really use Gimp then this is the book for you with pictures and easy to understand language very well written and worth every penny , so go on down load Gimp which is free and just as good as one of the best other software packages that you can pay hundreds of pounds for buy this book you will be astonished as what you can achieve .
marks out of 10 ... 10.
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on 13 August 2010
This is a great book - successfully demisting the art of design. I work with highly creative designers and have always been a little in awe of their talent. However, having picked up this book, I now realise that everything is at the end of a mouse click. It's really helped to put into perspective what can be achieved for even the most basic of users. The book neatly progresses though every application of the programme, using small tutorials to build up your skills.
It could benefit from having a glossary and a quick reference section (summarising how to use each design tool) but hey ho...p'haps they'll include this in the next issue.
There are one or two screen/command refs that didn't reflect the GIMP program, but there is a website where such errors are updated.
I urge you to buy this - the software is legal and free to download and the joy from creating your own design is immeasurable.
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on 2 May 2010
If you want to learn how to get the best out of this great piece of free software, then this is the book to read.
It leads you gently by the hand through all the Gimp's features.
Noteworthy is the section on Layers. I have in the past found Layers to be a difficult concept to get my head around.
Akkana makes the concept so much easier to understand, and I am now using this feature regularly in my photo editing.
I highly recommend this book.
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on 11 January 2010
Having used GIMP in various versions on Windows and Linux for a while my wife thught she'd get this book so I could really do more than scratch the surface of what the program is capable of.

This book is fantastic from the very first section there are easy to follow confidence building and tool learning projects that are easy to understand and undewrtake.

The projects cover every aspect of the software capabilities and help to make learning easier and more intuitive. There is also a section dedicated to the differences between older and the newest 2.6 version with explanations of the new menus and tools and layouts .

Very well written and produced an excellent choice for anyone considering moving away from Photoshop or other programs ,Probably the best Gimpbook avsilable .
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on 29 October 2010
As GIMP is free photo imaging software it made good sense to purchase a guide to make full use of it and this book does exactly that.Excellent guide
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