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Customer Review

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great, easy-to-follow intro to the GIMP, 18 Aug. 2012
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This review is from: The Artist's Guide to GIMP: Creative Techniques for Photographers, Artists, and Designers (Covers GIMP 2.8) (Paperback)
The GIMP is a powerful image editor, similar in many ways to Photoshop, but with the distinct advantage of being free, open-source, and cross-platform (it will happily run on Windows, Linux and Mac). As with most high-end image editors, there's a bit of a learning curve, and The Artist's Guide to GIMP is a great way to start out on it. After a decent (but no-nonsense) introduction to the basics, it goes on to expose the reader to a wide range of image editing techniques via a set of focused how-to guides, each with detailed, easy-to-follow instructions. In the process, the reader learns a lot about using the GIMP effectively, building up an array of useful techniques that can be applied elsewhere as they go.

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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