Wednesday, October 1, 2008

6 GIMP Tricks Everyone Should Know!

[Image]Having used both GIMP and Adobe Photoshop I must say I personally believe GIMP is much better for common folks like you and me who need a relatively simpler set of tools to make quick edits to our Vacation pictures. Photoshop is undoubtedly more useful graphic designers, however for making quick tweaks, nothing beats GIMP. Recently GIMP 2.6 was released, so I decided to make this tutorial for those who still haven't discovered the magic of GIMP and don't know how to use GIMP productively.

1. Rounded Corners: There is something about Rounded corners which make Photos look very cool. So here's how you can give your photos rounded corners:
Open up the image you want to apply rounded corners effect.

[Image]

Now select the 'Rectangle Select Tool'. It is in the GIMP Tools window. Now select entire image or the part of the image you want to round off. Now go to menu Select > Rounded Rectangle.... A box would pop up asking you to specify the radius in percentage. 50 is the default value. I'd recommend something like 15-20.

[Image]

Next right click on the image and go to 'Select' in the menu and then click on 'Invert'. Now hit the delete button. Now hit Ctrl+S to save your creation. Here is an example.


[Image]


2. Crop an Image: Many times it is necessary to cut out those boring parts of a picture, like say that happy picture of of your husband in the backyard, in which a dog could be seen peeing in the background. So here is how you can 'Crop' that dog away:
Open up the image in GIMP and use the 'Select Tool' to select the part you want to keep in the image. In this case, it will probably be your husband.

[Image]

Now this is VERY important. After selecting the proper image part, you should right click on the image and click on 'Select' in the right contextual menu. Now click on the 'Invert' in the sub menu. Now hit delete button on your keyboard. Cool, You have successfully kicked out the dog! But still there is the ugly white space around the part the dog once existed. So go to the menu, Image > Autocrop Image. This will get rid of the white space.

[Image]
OR
simply use the Crop Tool from the Tools, it is above the 'Text Tool' it can do the work in a better way.
[Thanks Borge]
3. Red Eye Removal: May times the downside of using flash on your camera is that your subjects get Draculla like blood red eyes. So if you have couple of pictures which need to remove Draculla eyes here is how it:
Open up the image, select one eye at a time and then go to menu, Filters > Enhance > Redeye Removal... you will get an pop up box which will allow you to set the amount along with a live preview.

[Image]
Adjust the level and now select the other eye.
I have used the bright red Opera icon to illustrate my point. Here are the two images. Before and after using the Redeye Removal tool.

[Image][Image]
4. Change the size of an image: You may want to change the size of the image so here is how you can do that.
Open the image in GIMP and go to menu, Image > Scale Image...

[Image]
Here you can specify the size of the image. But wait, the size is in pixel and normal human beings like you and me don't know how to use pixels, so click the small box with pixels and change it to inches. Now you can change the image to something like 4X6 inches. Click on the link connecting the X and Y size boxes to resize them individually instead of having them changed in unison.

[Image][Image]
5. Reduce the file size of images: Many times you have to send your images to someone (like your grandmother)as mail or upload it on sites like Flickr. But your digicam takes pictures as small as 4 Mb per image, so sending your entire European Vacation images will be a nightmare for your grandmother. So here is a tip to reduce the file size of your images without reducing the size:
Open up the image you want to reduce, now go to menu, File > Save As...
Now if the image isn't in JPEG format click the 'Select File Type (by extension)', and hit 'Save' button. Now drag the slider in the pop up box to any level you want. Check mark the file preview box to get a live preview. The less size you want the less this number should be. But remember that lower size means less quality.
6.
Adding text

Use the text tool to add some text. You will get a new text layer which you can also see if you look at the layers dialog. You can use the move tool to move the text where you like to have it. Then merge it with the white layer below by choosing Merge Down from the Layer menu. You should now have one layer with black text on white background. Using Layer -> Colors -> Invert you will achieve something like the picture above.

So now that you have learnt a bit about GIMP hit anyone who says that Photoshop is better with a big fat book! For home use GIMP rocks!
Please Digg This if you liked this article. Do you know have any such GIMP tricks? Please add them in the comments.
Here are some web sites which you can use to learn GIMP:

Loading image

Click anywhere to cancel

Image unavailable

48 comments:

  1. Croping: You could also just use the crop tool, which does all of that in one step.

    ReplyDelete
  2. "who need a relatively simpler set of tools to make quick edits to our Vacation pictures."

    Then do not touch gimp. Download Picasa, Windows live gallery or some other gallery alternative.

    Gimp interface is not meant for doing these things in the most simplest of ways. It's a photo manipulation software, not a quick fixer.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I wonder... what are the things that make photoshop more powerful for graphic designers? :S ...I can't even tell 1 difference.

    There are some professional projects that used gimp.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Adobe's products are integrated and project oriented, it is easy to move your project along.

    ReplyDelete
  5. You don't have to invert anything for Crop to work - select the area with the crop tool and tap ENTER (not Delete).

    ReplyDelete
  6. I can't believe you didn't mention Levels in a tutorial about how to touch-up photos!

    Go to the Colours menu and go to Levels. This brings up a box with a graph. Underneath the graph are three controls.

    First, move the rightmost control a bit to the left; this adds vibrancy. When you're satisfied, move the leftmost control to the right a bit - usually to where the data on the graph begins. This stops the dark colours from being too light. If you want, you can also move the middle control a little to the left, but usually you don't need to.

    Click Ok and you'll have a more vibrant picture.

    Another tip: When outputting the image to photo paper (for instance, if you're touching up your digital photos for printout on a Frontier machine), add some brightness because your photos will look darker on paper.

    ReplyDelete
  7. The one thing with adjusting levels "until you're satisfied" is that you're trusting your monitor's display. A better suggestion is simply to make sure the controls are brought from the left and right to wear the histogram begins, ensuring no loss of photo data.

    ReplyDelete
  8. "I wonder... what are the things that make photoshop more powerful for graphic designers? :S ...I can't even tell 1 difference."

    Obviously you've never needed to do more than what the author has taught in this article. Personally I use GIMP as an alternative to MS Paint rather than an alternative to Photoshop.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Definitely agree with the above commenter. I used to never use Photoshop because it was too complex to do simple things. It wasn't that those simple things were too complex, it's just that those simple things were a very tiny drop in the bucket of the amount of features in Photoshop.

    I use GIMP at home because I don't have the money for CS4 of Adobe, but I would never even consider using GIMP at work where I have access to the newest version of the full CS4 suite at all times. Hands-down, there is no alternative to Photoshop on the market.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Pixelmator is better than both. :P

    ReplyDelete
  11. The comments here are more useful than the post...

    ReplyDelete
  12. Gimp is a bit overkill to use as an alternative to MS Paint. Basically, Gimp fits the happy medium for people who would like more features than paint, but don't need all the features of Photoshop. In many cases, people don't know what the differences are; both have a similar set of primitive tools, the ability to save in a wide range of formats, the ability to work with layers and channels, and both support a variety of plugins. That said, professional graphics designers swear by Photoshop. Is that difference worth several hundred dollars to the average user? No. If you beg to differ, ask yourself, are you basing this on your experience, and are you the average user? Heck, the average user would probably have trouble with much beyond what's offered in MS Paint.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Personlly I find Irfanview easier to do numbers 2, 4, and 5.

    ReplyDelete
  14. IrfanView is definitely easy to use for all except the rounded corners. And the value of rounded corners seems somewhat marginal.

    ReplyDelete
  15. GIMP is more for those people that want to perform more advanced techniques than what MS Paint has to offer. On the other hand, GIMP is also better than Photoshop for those individuals because they don't need (nor would they know what to do with) 80% of the features available in Photoshop.

    All in all, GIMP is a great medium between a basic MS Paint-like application and the god-like beast of Photoshop.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I used PS when my (graphic designer) son was living at home and loved it. Now I don't have that luxury and have turned to Gimp ... and love it!

    My son was prepared to pay for the full PS suite, so there must be something that makes it better for him. I'll ask when I see him.

    Anyway, thanks for the tips.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I think CMYK support is an argument for PS.
    And some filters reach better Quality.
    But i personally like the GIMP Interface best. Therefor it's my favorite.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Yep, GIMP is really getting to the stage when it can be used by amateur photographers (even those who live and sleep with their dSLR). Although it still lacks certain features, like when I sharp the image, I want to see a preview on the big picture, not a small one - or at least I want to be able to see a larger picture in a preview window.

    I think if GIMP guys shall finally pay most serious attention to usability, it'll really rock.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I've always found that MS Paint is a very piece of nice, simple image editing software..!

    ReplyDelete
  20. this is a ridiculous tutorial. Thanks for wasting my time. How do you save an image in gimp? That would be really useful too.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I'll agree with most the negative comments; however, in the author's defense, those are good, basic things to know.

    There's a whole raftload of features Photoshop has that GIMP does not; however, if you can't tell a difference between the two, you obviously don't need those features and should just happily use The GIMP. For some of us, though, The GIMP falls short. For us, there's always the option of buying a license to Photoshop. And no, thanks to legal problems, The GIMP cannot offer all of the features of Photoshop.

    ReplyDelete
  22. MS Paint is lame. No control at all beyond kiddie crap.

    GIMP FTW!

    ReplyDelete
  23. http://www.ogimp.com.br/gimpzine/ cool!

    ReplyDelete
  24. I have found that GIMP does whatever I need for web graphics. However, for print jobs, Photoshop is superior.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Try Filters | Decor | Round Corners.

    ReplyDelete
  26. If you're using the select tool for cropping, it's probably easier to just select the area you want to keep, and then click the drop down menu item "crop to selection".

    ReplyDelete
  27. Yeah, these might be basic, but they're really just a start. If all you use GIMP for is these 5 things, then you're missing the boat.

    ReplyDelete
  28. How do I only round two corners? It rounds all four but I only want the upper two rounded.

    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  29. How do I only round two corners? It rounds all four but I only want the upper two rounded.

    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  30. How do I only round two corners? It rounds all four but I only want the upper two rounded.

    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  31. @ Allan,
    First use the select tool to select the upper half or the lower half of the image and then do the rest steps as given in step 1.

    ReplyDelete
  32. A number of professionals, myself included, began with Photoshop & switched to GIMP. The tools GIMP has for the more advanced artist are huge.

    I have said many times GIMP is more intuitive than Photoshop, it is what you do with any tool that makes it truly great.

    ReplyDelete
  33. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  34. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  35. I have to admit a use GIMP as an advanced MS Paint, but its much more than that, i love its custom brushes.

    For points 2,4 and 5 especially when working with multiple pictures (i.e. your entire vacation pics)i would suggest Fast Stone Image Viewer, its free and very feature rich.
    I haven't found anything better for croping.
    And with its batch resize, convert, rotate and much more, it's the best.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Gimp is free, and runs on Linux, Apple and Windows. Does enough for most average users. Essential.

    ReplyDelete
  37. To those comparing GIMP with MS Paint, can I have some of what you're smoking? If you're looking for a Paint-like application on Linux, look no further than KolourPaint. While it is obviously highly inspired by the former, it does have some tricks of its own that make it better.

    GIMP, while not comparable to Photoshop yet (at least, until the integration with GEGL is complete at which point it will become more useful for people doing graphic design on paper or those that need to handle more info than what is currently available with 8 bits per channel) is a very capable tool and the effort that it takes to learn it is really worth it.

    ReplyDelete
  38. i love the gimp and dont use non-free/open software, but the big problem with gimp for pros is that only supports 8bit images. Not a big deal for web work or most design work but for photography this is a big drawback. Upcoming versions will support 12bit (or is it 16?).

    ReplyDelete
  39. I need my image editor to run on a 1024 CPU single system image and on my Wii, and Photoshop can't. :-D

    ReplyDelete
  40. What I've always struggled with is getting an image to have a transparent background. Say you download an image that's fine to use on your website. Trouble is, it has a white background and you have a black or blue background on your site. It looks like crap. So instead of having a tux picture that blends in with your site, it sits in this square blob of white.

    I've found some pretty involved tutorials to get rid of the backgrounds and make them transparent but if anyone here has found an easy way in Gimp to do this, that would be cool.

    ReplyDelete
  41. @TheUpperAnonymous:
    There are two ways to do this:
    1. Using the GIMP equivalent of magic wand tool start selecting all the white areas and then delete them one by one.
    2. Using the eye drop tool set the foreground color as that which is the background color of your website.Then upload it.
    3. Will all of you please start using your real names? I'm planning to change the settings to stop people from using Anon.

    ReplyDelete
  42. I'm glad to see that at least at the end two people brought up a specific feature that PS has that GIMP doesn't (8-bit vs 16(?)-bit). From my limited knowledge of what that means I could see that being a real sticking point for users who need it. But I also don't see why anyone would pay $500(?) for PS if you don't need to.

    Other than those two people, your arguments that PS has more features fails to stir me. I could say that GIMP has more features than PS. Does that make it true? I'm getting really tired of people using this baseless argument with no listing of specifics because of what seems like a personal vendetta against GIMP (which is actually a personal zealotry for PS. Just because you paid $500 doesn't make it the greatest thing ever that everyone needs, it just means you wasted $500).

    On a final note, of all the people I know who use PS, none of them paid for it (no, none of them are professionals). If nothing else is to be said for it, GIMP is great simply because it has the ability to stop piracy. Please don't steal PS, just download GIMP.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Right, compared with the boring Photoshop, I found that GIMP is very cute.

    ReplyDelete
  44. I used photoshop for ages and know it inside out. I truly want to switch to Opensource and leave abode behind.

    I use Indesgin, Photoshop, Illustrator, dreamweaver mainly. I left illustrator and dreamweaver, I am using Krita as a Photoshop replcer at the moment as the learning curve in GIMP is just too steep... Sorry I am a lazy guy... Krita is the only K-app on my ubuntu box but so far I love it! Indisign is the only app i run in virtualbox as no decent replacement has been found by me... any suggestions as that would mean beybey Adobe!

    PS thanks for the great posts here! This one might not be the best but I had much help from other posts!

    ReplyDelete
  45. The gimp is not simple, it's a professional image program. Just like photoshop is. The difference is that photoshop comes with all adobe's suite, it's better integrated in 3d modelling software.. but if you need advanced 2d feature, than gimp is the answear.

    ReplyDelete
  46. you have a nice site. thanks for sharing this enormous resources. keep it up. anyway, various kinds of ebooks are available here

    http://feboook.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  47. These are some great suggestions that a lot of people seem to forget about. Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Content

Related Posts with Thumbnails