You are on page 1of 20

What Is The GIMP?

GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program (formerly General Image Manipulation Program). GIMP is a free graphics editing package. It is typically used to do things like:
• • • • • • •

Touch up photos Resize graphics Scan photos Create logos Create animated GIFs Export graphics to web format ...and much more

It's basically a free alternative to Adobe Photoshop. Most of the things you can do in Photoshop you can do in GIMP.

What Does The GIMP Look Like?
Here's what the GIMP looks like in normal editing view. There are many other dialogs that you can bring up depending on what your task is, but this is the basic view. We will be looking at some of the other dialogs later in the tutorial.

Features & Capabilities
GIMP is loaded with features. If you've ever worked with commerical programs like Photoshop, you'll be familiar with many of GIMP's features. Below are some of the main features of GIMP. Don't worry if you've never heard of these features - we'll be covering many of them in this tutorial.

• • • • • • • • •

Painting tools including: o Brushes o Pencil o Airbrush o Cloning tool o ...and more Transformation tools including: o Rotate o Scale o Shear o Flip Selection tools, including: o Rectangle o Ellipse o Free o Fuzzy o Bezier o Intelligent scissors Layers and channels Advanced scripting capabilities Full Alpha channel support for working with transparency Multiple undo/redo (limited only by disk space) Tile-based memory management, so image size is limited only by available disk space Sub-pixel sampling for all paint tools for high-quality anti-aliasing A procedural database for calling internal GIMP functions from external programs, such as Script-Fu Support for a wide range of file formats, including GIF, JPEG, PNG, XPM, TIFF, TGA, MPEG, PS, PDF, PCX, BMP and many others Plug-ins that allow for the easy addition of new file formats and new effect filters.

Known Platforms

GIMP is the most widely supported image manipulation available. GIMP has been known to work on the following platforms:

GNU/Linux Apple Mac OS X Microsoft Windows OpenBSD NetBSD FreeBSD FreeBSD Solaris SunOS AIX HP-UX Tru64 Digital UNIX OSF/1 IRIX OS/2 BeOS Furthermore. installing GIMP is usually just a matter of clicking on the installation file that you downloaded. You can use the default options or change them as required. GIMP can easily be ported to other platforms due to the availability of its source code. Clicking on the file will launch an installation wizard. . Installing GIMP If you use Windows.

Oh./configure && make and then as root make install. If/once they are. you can install GIMP just as you would with any other program. For more info on installing on Unix systems. The toolbox looks something like this: . you will need to install X11 first. the only thing that appears is a toolbox. and thank you for supporting Quackit! Getting Started With GIMP GIMP's Main Toolbox When you open the GIMP. If you use a Unix based system. Once X11 is installed. You can get this from your installation CD. << Previous Lesson Next Lesson >> Enjoy this website? Share Add this page to your Favorites Link to this page (copy/paste into your own website or blog): <a href="http://www.cfm">Do wnload GIMP</a> from Quackit. you can compile as a normal user using: .com Link to Quackit using one of these banner ads.quackit.If you use Mac OS check out the official GIMP install help. the Gimp Toolkit (GTK+) and other libraries that must be installed first.

We'll create our own image for now. we have a choice of opening an existing image or creating our own for selecting areas of an image. We'll create our own little smiley face. in many cases you can press the F1 key to get help about the tool that you're hovering over. Hovering the mouse over an icon will usually bring up a "tooltip" that explains what the tool is or what you can do with it. and more. Like this: . The toolbox also provides tools for rotating an image.This toolbox is the centerpiece of the GIMP. adding text. The main toolbox provides shortcuts to the most commonly used tools in GIMP. adding color. scaling an image. you'll be using options from this toolbox. The top row includes selection tools . Also. Most of the time. Creating Your First Image in GIMP Creating Your First Image in GIMP Now that we've started GIMP.

simply type in the width and height as shown in the following screenshot: 72 dpi (as shown in the above screenshot) is perfect for displaying your image on a computer screen (such as on a website). untitled image.: 2. Feel free to select a template from the drop down menu.. 3. but it doesn't act like one! . Go to File > New. It looks similar to say. Well. For the purposes of this tutorial. To change the dpi value. the file size will become much larger and it will take longer to download/email etc.Open a New (Blank) Image To create an image. our blank image may look like a word processing document. you should increase this value.. Choose the size you'd like your image to be. You can also expand the Advanced Options menu for more options. If you intend to use your image for commercial printing purposes. or blank canvas. we first need to open a blank image. Beware that by using high resolution images. Click OK You will now see a blank. It is also sufficient for printing on a home printer. Commercial printers usually request high resolution images at between 240 dpi and 300 dpi. click on "Advanced Options" and change the resolution. a blank word processing document. Here's how to do that: 1.

Now click and drag within the image area (also known as the "Canvas"). The Ellipse icon looks like this: 2. 1. let's create a basic picture for now. we have the ability to manipulate every single pixel. we use a combination of the following tools: • • • The Ellipse selection tool The Paintbrush tool The Pencil tool. To do this. start somewhere near the top-left corner. For best results. a straight line. But more importantly. and release near the bottom-right corner. highlighted by an animated dotted line (also known as "marching ants"). Image Composition Our smiley face image consists of a bunch of circles. paste photos.With our blank image. and much more. We can type text. Select the Ellipse selection tool. It's basically a circle. create a drawing. so we can use the Ellipse selection tool. This will create a circular selection area. The Face Outline First. Here's how we do it. we have total control over where everything goes. Your selection should look something like this: . and a curved line. let's create the face outline. click the Ellipse icon from the main toolbar. To do ths. Anyway.

3. You can zoom in and out by clicking the down-arrow. Click OK You should now see a black line in the shape of your selection.. Your image should look something like this: . A dialog box will pop up.You can see by the above screenshot that the image is being displayed at its full size (the text "100%" is being displayed under the image). Set the stroke width to 6 px and ensure that Line Style is set to "Solid". you can select View > Zoom. Alternatively. 4. 5. Now we will create a thick black line around our selection.. To do this. select Edit > Stroke Selection.

Here's a screenshot of the color area: If you have trouble changing the foreground color. Before you continue to the next step. This will depend on what color is selected as the foreground color on your main toolbox. you will need to change the color. This is because the selection still exists (in case you need to do anything else with your selection). You do this by clicking and dragging. select Select > None (or keyboard shortcut: Shift+Ctrl+A). If white is selected. you can always "Undo" (Ctrl+Z) then try again. At this stage. your image should look something like this: . If you make a mistake. Again.You may notice that the "marching ants" remain on your selection. 3. To do this. To do this. if you make a mistake. Now draw a line where the nose should be. Ctrl+Z will undo it. there's a more detailed explanation on our lesson for adding color. You can do this by clicking on the foreground color and changing it. Select the Paintbrush tool. The foreground color is the black part on the left side of the color area. simply click on the image where you want the eyes to be. The Eyes and Nose We will now create the eyes and nose. 1. you should remove the selection. To remove the selection. We will do this with the paintbrush tool. The paintbox icon looks like this: 2. you won't see your stroke (because the background is also white). Now make two dots (where the eyes should be). If this is the case. click the Paintbrush icon on the main toolbox. Your line may be a different color.

we will use a more advanced tool. Then you can release the mouse. starting from where the left corner of the mouth should be. 3. But I recommend practicing with the Path tool as it will give you much more control over your image compositions. allows you to create a nice. You may be wondering why we don't just use the Paintbrush tool for the mouth? Well. You need to drag to the right. Now click and drag. The path forms between your two anchor points. We will use the Path tool. The Path tool on the other hand. It's the one that looks like this: 2. Here's what it should look like so far: . You will also see some levers with handles that enable you to change the shape of the path. 1. feel free go ahead and try! You'll find that it's extremely difficult getting the curved line to look nice and even while using the paintbrush tool.Now for the mouth. It's not as easy to use as the Paintbrush tool. Move the mouse around until you're happy with the shape. The Mouth For the mouth. I should mention that the Path tool can take a bit of getting used to. Click where the right corner of the mouth should be. You will see a path forming in the shape of the mouth. and slightly up. Select the Path tool. smooth curve. This tool allows us to create smooth curves.

4. When the dialog box pops up. it is automatically saved so that you can use it again later. This is the same dialog box that popped up before when we created the stroke around the face. Your face is now complete. click OK. You can view your saved path by opening the Path dialog box (Dialogs > Paths). For now. we'll be covering them in more detail later. Now for the stroke. It should look something like this: When you create a path. Now what? You should save your image (before something happens and you lose your 2 minutes of hard work!) . Saving Images in GIMP So you've created your first image in GIMP. we'll leave the stroke at the same setting as before (6 pixels and solid). Don't worry if you don't quite understand paths right now. Select Select > Stroke 5.

you still need to understand which is the best format to use. It's a good idea to have at least one copy of your image in native GIMP format. 1. there's nothing stopping you saving multiple copies of the image. you need to decide which format you want to save the image in. I recommend keeping multiple copies of your image .When saving images. Once the dialog box pops up. we'll save our image in XCF format (GIMP's native format). you can expand the "Select File Type" node to select your preferred file type.. You might even create multiple copies. For now. In any case. enter the image name ensuring you use a . You can also expand the "Browse for other folders" .. the way you specify an image's format is to save it with the applicable extension. Alternatively. Saving Your Image In GIMP. 2. each at different stages of modification. In fact.especially if you are doing a lot of work on it. each in a different format. Select File > Save As.XCF extension. Of course.

if you don't know what you're doing.node to choose which folder to save the file into. The graphic may look . channels. 3. you can either use the default values or adjust settings as required. I mean really big. you might not notice how big the file size is. By saving your file with a . This is the best format to use if you intend to modify the image in the future. When you open it up again.XCF extension. paths etc) is saved exactly how you created it. In this case.XCF Extension GIMP's native format uses a .XCF extension. you can continue from where you left off. About .you will only be able to open XCF files with GIMP. Note that only GIMP recognizes the XCF format . Click Save Depending on the file format you use. you may see another dialog box where you can enter values specific to the file format. you ensure that all image data (such as layers. Saving For Web There are two very important things to remember when creating graphics for the web: • • Keep the file size down Use the correct format File Size Graphics have the potential to be really big. The problem is that.

if you're saving for print. it should be the correct size. This could result in the image taking too long to download for your users to view. and maybe PSP (if you're exchanging images with a designer who has Adobe Photoshop). its file size could be much larger than you need it to be. go to Image > Mode. you will need to save it in a format that web browsers recognize. JPEGs are best for complex images with lots of colors (such as photos). GIFs on the other hand. grayscale).small on the screen but. when you view the image at 100% zoom. Color images should be RGB. JPEG. Check that the image is using a resolution of 72 dpi. GIF. For more information on the difference between GIFs and JPEGs. are better for images with flat colors (such as cartoon illustrations. The most common file formats to use for the web are GIF. and PNG. For print you'd be looking at EPS or TIFF. and PNG. you'd need to ensure that your images were created at a high enough resolution. The next lesson covers the file formats supported by GIMP. Black and white should be grayscale.e. see GIF vs JPEG. GIMP File Formats Now that you've saved your image in XCF format. You can see these formats whenever you save a file and expand "Select File Type" (as in the screenshot above). But that's another lesson! Popular File Formats These file formats are well known and their usage is quite widespread. logos etc). if it's using a high resolution. Correct Format If you intend to use your image on a website or blog. here's a list of the other image formats that GIMP supports. RGB. The current mode will be grayed out. To check this. Assuming that it is 72 dpi. the main image formats for the web are JPEG. Of course. . Don't worry about memorizing these just yet! When it comes time to save your images. Other Supported Formats GIMP supports many different file formats. Also check that you're using the correct color mode (i. In general.

Each table cell represents a different pixel in the image. It allows full alpha transparency.pat).bz2/bz2/xcfbz2 extension) compression. Bitmap is an uncompressed image format. and not partially transparent.gbr). including layer.xcf.dib GIF .html ICO . PNM (Portable Any Map. PPM (Portable Pixel Map). which is the internal image format for Windows and OS/2 Graphic Subsystem. you can use the compress option. Note that it doesn't save undo history.htm/. transparency. Graphic Interchange Format is often used for screenshots and computer graphics. Joint Photographic Experts Group is typically used for photographs. The GIF format allows transparent mask. JPEG uses lossy compression that results in a loss of detail.jpeg/. XCF images take up a lot of disk space. Hexadecimal colors are used in order to apply colors to each cell.pbm/ .xcf. Hypertext Markup Language. pbm. It is lossless if the image has under 256 color or otherwise it become lossy. Portable Pixmap. which have many smooth gradients. which means a pixel can only be fully transparent or fully opaque.gih). which uses either gzip (using xcf.ico JPEG .xcf/ .bz2/. The artifacts are usually most noticeable on images that have sharp edges. and pgm format).xcfgz/ .pam . Other GIMP's native format includes GIMP Brush (. commonly called artifacts. paths and guides. while less noticeable on photographs.pat BMP .gz/gz/xcfgz extension) or bzip2 (using xcf.jpe PNG PNM .gif HTML . and GIMP Pattern (.jpg/. a shorthand for ppm.gih/.bz2/. GIMP Animated Brush (.bmp/.png . XCF .gbr/. channels. GIMP will save an HTML page with the image represented by an HTML table.gz/. It uses lossless compression.pgm/. Portable Network Graphic is often used for screenshots and computer graphics.ppm/. which is why XCF is more suitable for saving images for future editing (rather than image exchange). and are not supported by most image viewers. If you must exchange a XCF file.pnm/. Icon Image File Format is Windows' image format for icons.File Format Extension(s) Description GIMP's native format which will preserve all image data. the current selection.gz/.xcfbz2/ .

xpm Postscript Document and Encapsulated Postscript Photoshop Document.xwd Description Alias/Wafefront Pix Image Autodesk FLIC Animation C/C Header Sourcefile Format Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine Image Flexible Image Transport System KISS Cel Silicon Graphic IRIS Image SUN Rasterfile Image ZSoft PCX Image X Windows Dump Limted Support The GIMP can read. Targa's native image format.tga .pdf Printable Document File .g3 G3 Fax Image .h . Extension(s) .svg Scalable Vector Graphic . PS and EPS PSD TGA TIFF XBM XPM .pgm (Portable Gray Map) and .rgb/. Tagged Image File Format X Bitmap 2-bit.psp/.pcx/.fits . Adobe Photoshop.tiff .tub Paintshop Pro . the native format of another popular graphic editing software.pix/.fit/. file formats.fli/.eps .im8/.sgi/.apm Microsoft WMF File .File Format Extension(s) Description .pam (Portable Arbitrary Map).dicom .xbm .als . Extension(s) Description .matte/. less popular.tif/.wmf/.rs .ps/.flc .mask/. files in the following formats. Monochrome Bitmap for X Window System X Pixelmap Color Bitmap for X Window System Less-Popular File Formats The GIMP also supports the following.pcc .im24/im32/. but not write. Truevision Graphics .im1/.dcm/.psd .pbm (Portable Bit Map).ras/.cel .icon .

the ocean. basically layers allow you to break your image up into separate parts . We'll cover layers soon but. You'll find that many tasks you perform in GIMP will involve a selection tool. I highly recommend becoming familiar with the various selection tools.all stacked upon each other. There are different selection tools for different situations. Example Take the following photo for example. . Choosing the right tool for the job can save you a lot of time. In this photo. It is also essential when selecting objects from photos. Once you make a selection.GIMP Selection Tools When we created our first image. The lighthouse. The Ellipse tool is from a group of tools known as selection tools. What Do Selection Tools Do? Selection tools enable you to select exactly which part of the image you want to work with. Selection tools are an essential part of GIMP. we used the Ellipse tool. the selection is made against the current layer. This is essential when building shapes (like the smiley face from our previous lesson). most of the hill has been selected. and the sky are not selected. When you make a selection. You can tell because "Marching Ants" follow the edge of the hill. anything you do will apply only to that area (the area that the selection covers).

you will need to make your selection again. if we grabbed the Brush tool and drew a big line through our image. it would only affect the part where the selection is. More on saved paths and channels below. Most are reasonably intuitive. "Deselecting" A Selection Once you've made a selection. If you decide that you don't need the selection. The table further down in this lesson outlines each tool and how to use it. Another thing we could do is copy the hill and paste it into another image. So now that the hill has been selected. you will wipe your existing selection and create a new one. Some require you to click and drag. our work on the image will only apply to the hill. Modifying A Selection You can modify an active selection by holding the Shift key down while modifying the selection. It selects parts of the image that are similar in color to the area you click in. Perhaps a more realistic task would be to adjust the colors or brightness of the hill. For example.once you "deselect" a selection it's gone forever. it will usually stay there. Another way of removing an active selection is by clicking outside of the selection (while still having a selection tool selected). You can also add to existing selections by using a saved path or channel. Saving A Selection Selections are generally temporary . We could also add the lighthouse to our selection.otherwise known as the Magic Wand. The Magic Wand works based on color similarity. You can remove/deselect an active selection by going to Select > None. If you don't hold this key down. Some require you to click various parts of your image in order to indicate the selection area. Once you deselect a selection. Others simply require a single click. you can remove it. or using the keyboard shortcut of Shift+Cntrl+A. waiting for you to do something with it.This selection was made using the Fuzzy Select Tool . . Creating A Selection The way you create a selection will depend on the selection tool that you use.

The Select By Color Tool. Allows you to draw a selection free-hand with your mouse or other pointer. The selection is made once you Selection Tool release the mouse. you can always save it as a path or channel. smooth path. if you think you might need to use the selection again in the future. regardless of their location on the image. The selection is made once you release the mouse. is that the fuzzy Select By Color select tool selects contiguous pixels . To use the Intelligent Scissors. To save as a path.Having said this. The difference between this tool and the Fuzzy Select tool. based on contiguous areas of a similar Tool (Magic color range. Once it has been saved as a path. You can reload the selection from within the Channel dialog box by right clicking on the channel and selecting Channel to Selection. The Selection Tools Let's have a quick look at the various selection tools. use the Save to Path option. selects all pixels within the color range. you can reload the selection from within the Path dialog box by right clicking on the path and selecting Path to Selection). Fuzzy Select Enables you to make a selection. The tool produces a Intelligent continuous curve passing through these control nodes. Simply click and drag to create Selection Tool a rectangular selection. Many experienced GIMP users tend to use the Path tool instead. Icon Tool Description Rectangle Selects an area in the shape of a rectangle. When you release the mouse button. use the Save to Channel option. You can go outside the edge of the image display and come back in if you want to. or close to. Technically. also referred to as anchors or control points. on the other hand. To save your selection as a Channel. what they do. The color range is determined by the point at which you click Wand) on and the value of the Threshold (within the Tool Options dialog). however it creates paths which can be turned into selections. following any highSissors contrast edges it can find. Allows you to select areas of an image with a similar color range. Simply click Ellipse and drag to create an elliptical selection. and how to use them. This tool allows you to draw around Path Tool . this tool is not a selection tool. you click to create a set of "control nodes". Tool each other. This tool is useful when you are trying to select a region defined by strong color-changes at the edges. the selection is closed by Lasso Selection connecting the current pointer location to the start location with a straight Tool line. Note that this tool doesn't always produce a nice. Selects an area in the shape of an ellipse (a circular shape). at the edges of the region you are trying to select.those that are next to.

More importantly.cfm . press Enter and your object will be selected. If there are Tool Foreground Select Description the edge of any object on your image. Similar to the Intelligent Sissors. Release mouse button when you’re done and look to see if there are dark blue spots on your objects. Using this tool is done in two steps. Reference: http://www. Then you paint over the selected area with a brush. When there are no more blue areas inside the object. The Foreground Select tool was released in GIMP version 2. First. not crossing object’s border. the Path tool results in control points that you can move around as required.4.quackit. it provides you much more control than the other selection tools when working with complex shapes. paint over them with a brush again and release to refine the selection. you make selection which contains the entire object.