How To Master GIMP, For Graphics, Quickly And Easily
If you're in any way interested in graphics, you're probably already familiar with GIMP, one of the very best of all open source applications and certainly one of the best graphics applications.Users new to GIMP, though, are often unhappy with the level of documentation and the tutorials that are immediately available for it. The good news is that the open source community has offered up many alternative resources for GIMP learning--and they're free. Here is our updated collection of some of the best of them.
GIMP, the GNU Image Manipulation Program, is a long-standing and hugely respected open source graphics program, and many readers probably already use it. Originally created at U.C. Berkeley its interface and feature set run neck-and-neck with expensive proprietary alternatives such as Photoshop, and it has a thriving community of developers and plug-in creators.
There are many good books on GIMP, but you may very well find everything you need in the way of instruction in Grokking the GIMP. The book is available in a free HTML tarball in addition to a printed copy that you can buy. I highly recommend looking at the links in the contents. This free, online book takes you through layers, filters, resizing tips, masks, blending colors, case studies and way more than that. The screenshots and instructions are from an older version of GIMP, but many of the tutorials will still give you what you need to perform advanced tasks. (For many more free books on open source software titles, check this post.)
Among GIMP tutorials, some of my very favorite specialized examples come from Scott Photographics. For example, here is a very slick tutorial on how to create see-through text effects with GIMP. You should also check out this tutorial on creating cosmic wallpaper with GIMP. Search the Scott Photographics site for many more GIMP tutorial gems.
One of the best aspects of GIMP is that it has a thriving community of plug-in developers. There are plug-ins for granular tasks such as new ways to edit images, plug-ins for more flexible graphics printing options, and more. The registry of plug-ins is here.
Keyboard shortcuts always come in handy with graphics programs, and many Photoshop users employ them. In the link at the bottom of this page, you'll find useful shortcuts for GIMP.
On GIMP's own site, you'll find many tutorials. With them, you can create floating logos, learn how to do red eye removal in photos, make vignettes out of photos, and more. There are lots more community-driven and video tutorials at Gimp-Tutorials.net. Many of the tutorials there are complemented by useful comments and tips from readers.
Of course, don't forget about GIMP documentation. There's plenty of it, and you'll find it available in many languages.