GIMP is an outstanding, feature-rich photo (or image) editing program. Oddly enough, there are people who don’t know GIMP, even people who have paid large sums of money for a more famous photo editor – and that, I may add, almost makes me sad. The reason is that GIMP – which actually stands for «GNU Image Manipulation Program» is a great program that has so many features that it most likely is fully capable of doing everything most people purchasing the expensive commercial alternatives are looking for (you can download GIMP here for free). Also, GIMP is an open source program developed and supported by a large and vibrant community – it even has its own magazine!
The Book of GIMP, with the fun and intriguing subtitle «A Complete Guide to Nearly Everything», is a thick brick of a book, 650 pages. A beautiful, thick brick of a book printed on 650 pages of high quality paper with lots of great illustrations, is what I should have said. That’s much more precise. It’s a great-looking guide to the world of GIMP.
Like its more famous and quite pricey competitor Photoshop, GIMP is a professional-grade program that has a ton of options and can do an enormous number of things with a photo. So while most of us – me included – can make it do the easy things (like cropping photos or saving them in a different format, or similar tasks) after some trial and error, it is very difficult to tap the full potential of this powerhouse of a program without some guidance.
Using The Book of Gimp, the daunting task of figuring out what GIMP is capable of and the alternatives for doing various tasks is within reach. The book is very well organized: the first part is about learning GIMP, the second is a reference for using GIMP, and the third contains appendices – extra stuff you may or may not need, but which it is very handy to have within reach.
All three parts of the book are «how-to»-oriented; throughout the book the authors to their best to show you – in the text, giving directions and explanations, as well as using hundreds of really gorgeous illustrations that show the effects of what is being done – how to best get things done. The book shows in detail how to use outline tools and selections, what the effects of various filters are, how to get rid of red-eyes, and so on. If you want to know exactly what it contains, you can look at the detailed table of contents here.
I was very impressed by the look and feel of this book – it is a magnificent volume – and by the step by step tutorials. I have learned a lot from this book – I didn’t know, for instance, that the GIMP is great for drawing, has very advanced drawing tools, and that it’s capabilities for animations are quite sophisticated. The explanations of how to use GIMP for animation, drawing and illustration and website design all showed me aspects of the GIMP that I knew nothing or very little about.
The Book of Gimp is a valuable resource for learning GIMP and for getting the maximum benefit out of this program. I am sure there are many ways to think about this, but personally I tend to think that it is quite OK to spend a little on a good learning tool and reference for a great free program, not least because compared to the price of the alternative (Photoshop) the cost is quite moderate and reasonable.
The Book of GIMP is an excellent guide to an excellent program. Most likely the free program – available both for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux – and this book will be all you need even if you are a professional photographer or Web designer. And in addition to great content and aesthetic appeal, this book is also very well written. I strongly recommend that you try the GIMP and this book. It’s a powerful and useful combo!
Praise for The Book of GIMP:
If any reader is looking for a free and full-featured image-editing program, then by all means consider GIMP, as well as this outstanding tutorial and reference book.”
—Michael J. Ross, Slashdot
“Whether you are a GIMP beginner or a veteran user, this book will save you hours of trial and error when editing graphics files.”
—Jack Germain, LinuxInsider