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GIMP/Print version


GIMP/Print versionIntroduction

GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is an open-source image editing program, licensed under the GNU General Public Licence. It can be used for editing electronic bitmap images like photographs. Whilst GIMP can edit vector graphics such as SVGs other programs such as Inkscape or Adobe Illustrator are far more capable. GIMP, as a fully functioning image editor, rivals other industry standard software such as Adobe Photoshop and Corel Paint Shop Pro in terms of features such as multiple layers, the ability to resize and re-shape images, cropping, colour manipulation, and so on. The project was started in 1995, and its first public release (0.54) was in January of 1996. Now, 13 years after its first release, GIMP is used by a variety of people ranging from professional graphic artists, to computer hobbyists of all ages who don't want to put down $700 for a copy of the newest Photoshop. Since its original release for Unix and GNU/Linux operating systems, GIMP has been ported to many major operating systems and platforms including Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. GIMP requires the GIMP Toolkit (GTK), an advanced widget library created during the development of GIMP. If you download GIMP for any platform, you must first install GTK if it isn't installed already. Although this comes standard in most modern Linux distributions that ship with GNOME, it does not come standard with Windows nor Mac OS X. Additionally, GTK does not run fully native on Mac OS X and requires a special X Server package. Many image editing tutorials are available on the web. Some of the available tutorials can be used interchangeably, since the image-editing functionality provided by the GIMP and Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro are similar (images can be cropped, resized, colours altered, pixels erased, pixels added etc.). A moderately advanced GIMP user can follow Photoshop tutorials as if they were written for the GIMP, and vice-versa except when the tutorial uses a feature that one of the programs does not support. However, following a Photoshop tutorial using the GIMP (or any other image editor, in reality) as written can be difficult, or nigh impossible. Unfortunately, the GIMP lacks some

GIMP/Print version features that are commonly used in Photoshop, such as adjustment layers (which, for example, may affect the brightness or contrast of an image without permanently modifying it) and colorspaces other than RGB and grayscale (CMYK is essentially a necessity if you're wanting to print something). In most situations, luckily, these features do little more than just make your workflow a tad easier, thus there might just be a different way to achieve the same results. The current look of GIMP consists of 2 main windows - the image window and a toolbox. Also by default there's another utility window. The image window is always under the utility windows, but can easily go over by using the Tab key. Note that if you want to start using the GIMP right away, right clicking an image window will open a menu that gives access to most of the GIMP's editing tools and features. Obviously, all commands can also be accessed via the toolbar at the top of the window of the image you're currently working on. You can find out a lot more about GIMP on its website, [1].


The ToolboxGIMP provides a comprehensive toolbox in order to quickly perform basic tasks. Toolbox is fully customizable, this means that you can add/remove any tool you want. Just go to "Windows > Dockable Dialogues > Tools", and select any tool you want.

Toolbox from GIMP 2.6

By default not all tools are shown - GEGL operation tool and colour tools are omitted. All tools can also be accessed by opening the "Tools" menu. To switch the window to toolbox, you can use Ctrl + B. Note that shortcuts wrote here are the default values - you can change them any time you want in "Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts"

ToolsThese tools are available by default in toolbox.Icon Name Shortcut Selection tools Rectangle Ellipse Free (Lasso) Fuzzy (Magic Wand) By Colour Scissors Foreground R E F U Shift + O I (none) Selects square or rectangular regions. Selects circular or elliptical regions. Draw free-form selections. Select continuous regions of colour. Select all instances of a colour in an image. Create paths to select shapes. Select a region containing foreground objects. Brush tools Bucket Fill Shift + B Fills an area with a colour or pattern. Description

GIMP/Print version

3L N P Shift + E A K C H (none) Shift + U S Shift + D Fills an area with a gradient. Paints hard-edged lines; that is, the pixels are not anti-aliased. Paints soft- or fuzzy-edged lines; that is, the pixels are anti-aliased and/or feathered. Erases pixels from a layer. Paint tool with variable pressure. Paints anti-aliased lines with a simulation of a nib. Copies pixels from one part of an image to another. Heals image irregularities. Clone from an image source after applying perspective transformation. Blurs or sharpens an image. Spreads pixels in the direction of a "push". Lightens or darkens an image's shadows, mid tones, or highlights. Transform tools Move Align Crop Rotate Scale Shear M Q Shift + C Shift + R Shift + T Shift + S Shift + P Shift + F Other tools Path B O Z Shift + M M Allows selecting and modifying paths. Selects the colour of any image opened on your screen. Alters the zoom level of the image. Shows distances and angles. Places text into your image. Moves layers and selections. Align or arrange layers and/or other objects. Crops or clips the image. Rotates the active layer, selection or path. Scales the active layer, selection or path. Shifts part of the image to some direction. Changes the perspective of the active layer, selection or path. Flips layers and selections.

Blend (Gradient) Pencil Paintbrush Eraser Airbrush Ink Clone Heal Perspective Clone Convolve (Blur/Sharpen) Smudge Dodge/Burn

Perspective Flip

Colour Picker Magnify (Zoom) Measure Text

GIMP/Print version There are also some other tools, hidden by default. These tools need to be accessed from the "Tools" menu, or by showing them in toolbox (Windows > Dockable Dialogues > Tools).Icon Name Shortcut Colour tools Colour Balance Hue-Saturation Colourize Brightness-Contrast Threshold Levels Curves Posterize Desaturate (none) (none) (none) (none) (none) (none) (none) (none) (none) Modifies the colour balance of current selection or layer. Adjusts hue, saturation and lightness. Renders current selection or layer into a grey scale image seen through coloured glass. Adjusts brightness and contrast. Transforms the current layer or selection into a black and white image. Changes the intensity range of the active layer or selection in every channel. Changes the colour, brightness, contrast or transparency of the active layer or path. Reduces the number of colours. Converts all colour to the corresponding shades of grey. Other tools GEGL operation (none) Executes a GEGL operation. Description


Tool optionsBy default, activating any tool, will have the effect of showing its options under the toolbox. Each tool has its own set of settings and any changes to them are kept through the current session. There are also four buttons under any options. Save options to... - save options of the current tool Restore options from... - restore options from saved file Delete saved options... - delete saved options Reset to default values - reset the settings to default values. You can hide them by clicking on the arrow next to the tool name and deselecting Show Button Bar. You can also access these from the same menu under Tool Options Menu.

Colour, Indicator and Active Image areaBelow the toolbox can be placed these three areas. This is set in "Edit > Preferences > Toolbox" and any of the three can be hid there.

Colour area

Colour, Indicator and Active Image areas respectively.

Shows current foreground and background colour. Clicking on either will bring up the colour editor dialogue. Clicking on the symbol in the lower left corner resets the colour to their defaults. The D key has the same effect.

GIMP/Print version Clicking on the symbol in the upper right corner swaps the foreground and background colours. The X key has the same effect.


Indicator areaShows currently selected brush, pattern or gradient. Clicking on any of these allows you to change it.

Active Image areaDisplays a thumbnail of the active image. Clicking on it will bring the Images dialogue up, allowing you the select an image.

The BasicsShortcut: L The GIMP Blend tool enables you to make gradients. For instance, a gradient may be a paint fill or stroke which smoothly blends from red to green. A gradient may have sudden changes as well. And a gradient may be applied to selections or opacities. On the right side of the gradient dialog box, are the default settings: Mode - you can select mode here (more information in the Modes article) Opacity - set whether gradient will be transparent or fully visible Gradient - type of gradient Offset - effects how far along the start colour in the gradient begins Shape - shape of gradient Repeat - way of repeating Dithering - helps reduce banding by dithering the gradient.

Default gradient settings.

Adaptive supersampling - try to refine the gradient in high contrast areas. Choose how much difference is required before supersampling activates, and how hard GIMP tries to get good quality samples.

GIMP/Print version


OpacityThis bar controls the transparency of the gradient. Any value between 0.0 and 100.0 is possible with 100 being fully opaque and 0 being fully transparent. The default value is 100.

GradientThere are hundreds