GIMP Free Image-Editing Software
Adobe Photoshop is one of the world’s most popular software programs but it is expensive and not affordable for the casual digital photographer. GIMP is a powerful image editing program available for free at http://www.gimp.org/. It has many of the same features of Photoshop and is easy to use. It is missing some of the more popular Photoshop features but for most amateur photographers it will be more than adequate and, it is FREE! In this article we will discuss some of the basic features of GIMP. In future articles we will explore advanced features in more depth.
1. GIMP has a different look and feel from Photoshop. There are two distinct windows on your desktop when GIMP opens. One is the PICTURE window which allows you to open a picture and the other is the TOOL window which shows all of the available tools. First, we need to open and select a file. When you open GIMP, you will just see the tools window. Select FILE and OPEN to select your file.
2. The OPEN FILE window is actually an improvement over Photoshop. Notice the tabs at the top which give you instant access to your photo folders. GIMP has a huge selection of recognized file types including EPS, TIFF, JPEG and Photoshop formats. It will open RAW and NEF files but not properly. It will only give you a thumbnail resolution of these files.
3. Once you open your file, it will be displayed in a separate window unattached to the tools menu. This allows you a lot of flexibility in arranging your desktop. Look at the top menu, does it look familiar? It is pretty similar to the Photoshop format. Some of the tools are in different locations. For example, the CURVES feature is under TOOLS not IMAGE, like it is in Photoshop.
4. To crop this image, select the RECTANGLE SELECT tool from the toolbar. This tool is similar to the MARQUE tool in Photoshop. Draw the box around the image you want to keep. Select the IMAGE menu and CROP TO SELECTION to crop the image. If you don’t like the cropped image, you can select UNDO or UNDO HISTORY from the EDIT menu in the image window. The undo history is the same as the History Panel in Photoshop and allows you to step backwards through your edits.
5. Here is the cropped image.
6. To add text to the image, select the TEXT TOOL from the toolbar window. Notice that when you select a tool, the properties window changes to provide parameters for that tool. When we select text, we can then select font, size, and color from the properties panel in the tool’s menu.
7. Click on the image where you want the text, and the text input box will appear allowing you to add the text. After you enter the text and click close, the text will appear in the image.
8. The text can be moved using the selection tool. When you have the text where you want it, save the image to complete the editing. GIMP is a powerful and free program. In future articles, we will focus on the different tools and features of GIMP. In the meantime, it is a free download so give it a try.