Friday, May 16, 2008

Open Source: GIMP

Sorry I haven't been doing any "normal" posts lately (i.e. not videos) but hopefully summer will give me much more time to do this kind of thing.

So anyway...

I couldn't forget The GIMP if I'm listing open-source software. For those who don't know, that stands for The GNU Image Manipulation Program.

It's basically Photoshop, but for free. There have even been some people who switched from Photoshop to GIMP because they like it more. I use it for almost all of my image editing. I occasionally still use MSPaint for things like pasting screens, but otherwise, it's the GIMP.

So, what can it do? Even if you don't want to take the time to learn to use it, you can still do a few awesome things as soon as you open it. Even without creating a new image, you can open up some awesome effects. It's got some presets for creating buttons, (like for a website,) it's got about 25-30 presets for creating logos, (for example, I used the neon logo creator to create the logo for "The Blog",) and it's got some other things like pattern generators (like camouflage) and web page themes.

But, of course, GIMP's strength is not in it logo generators, but in it's editing options. As of right now (version 2.4.1) there are 33 different tools for editing images, and far more options available in the menus. Some of my favorite tools:

*Fuzzy Select/Select by Color:
These both let you select parts of the images with similar colors. They each do something slightly different though, and I use both about the same amount.

*Foreground Select:
Using this tool, you can select an item separate from the background. It's a lot like keying in videos, but you don't have to be in front of a green screen or anything (although something like that would help). I've used this for a few things, one being removing my head. :p

*Crop Tool:
You may think "Bah. Every image editor has crop!", but in GIMP, the way they do it is REALLY easy to use.

*Bucket Fill:
Yeah yeah. Everything has bucket fill, also. But I do use it a lot. Also, the colors don't have to be EXACTLY the same, (like in MSPaint,) but you can set the threshold for similar colors.

This is really helpful for creating textures that I use in Blender. Unfortunately, I can't make anything good since I'm not using a tablet. :p

Yay for the clone tool! VERY helpful. I use it for removing dates from photos (and stuff like that).

After fixing some things, it helps to get rid of the sharp edges with the smudge tool. :)

And those are just some of them.
Some of the other awesome things that the GIMP can do? Layers, for one. I LOVE layers. I use to have to do all my editing in MSPaint, and I would have to save a new image for practically every change I made, or to edit in "layers".
Another awesome thing: practically infinite undos. It always annoyed me how MSPaint only had 3 undos, so now I can know that whatever changes I want to make can be reversed.
There's also a ton of different filters and changes you can make to an image, so... yeah.

The only downside I know of: long loading time. It takes like 2 minutes to start up. Other than that, it's amazing!!!


NOTE: I just found this out: Apparently, someone has created a hacked version of GIMP that looks and behaves more like Photoshop, called Gimpshop. So, if you use Photoshop and you want to see what GIMP is like, you might want to consider using Gimpshop.


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