Gimp 2.6 for Photographers Review

GIMP 2.6 for Photographers

Image editing has become a crucial element in the photographic workflow. Image editing tools, most notably Photoshop, are usually sophisticated and deep applications, and are fairly expensive. The only open source tool in this market is the GIMP, which has developed into a powerful, multiplatform system running on Linux, Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows.

GIMP 2.6 for Photographers (Rocky Nook, $39.95 USD) is a beginner’s guide to the only open source image-editing tool that provides a no-cost alternative to expensive programs such as Photoshop. Topics include the basics of image editing and simple adjustments, as well as advanced techniques using layers and masks, stitching panoramic images, and preparing high-quality black and white images. The most important editing functions are presented in individual, easy-to-follow workshops.

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This review comes from my better half, Father Geek.
In today’s world of digital photograph, one is not limited to a simple “point-and-click” to define their final image. Indeed, some digital cameras even allow you to crop and adjust the brightness of a picture after it has been taken. With powerful and affordable color scanners now available to you, even the old wedding pictures from your great grandma can be digitized. But even when you have taken 100 digital pictures of your trip to Hawaii and scanned in all the old photos, you are still not done! By using image manipulation software, you can continue to crop, clean, brighten, sharpen, and add effects to your photo you could never do with a traditional Single Lens Reflex (SLR) camera or without access to a million dollar photography lab and years of field experience.
Image manipulation software, or more commonly knowns as simply “image editors”, are one of those few products available on the market where you literally get what you pay for. For free, most computers come with a very basic image editor that will allow you to crop a photo or remove the “red eye” effect”. For under $100, you could get a much fancier image editor that provides more functions and features. For over $100 (think in the $500 to $600 or more range), you can purchase the equivalent to a fully equipped photography studio that will provide the user with so many options as to give them a nose bleed.
Clearly, you have your work cutout for you when it comes to answering the question “what should I buy”. And, honestly, the answer to that is based on your needs, your skill level, and how much cash you are really willing to spend. But before you go off reading about all the different image editors available to you, I highly advise you do yourself a big favor and download the very free, very legal, and very powerful image editor named “GIMP”. [ http://www.gimp.org/ ]
“GIMP” is an acronym for “GNU Image Manipulation Program”. I won’t bore you with the software’s history or the origins of its silly name, but you should be made very aware of two things before you download it. First, GIMP is powerful. It is comparable to Adobe Photoshop on many different levels and is an outstanding application to get and learn for anyone who is looking to really get into the exciting world of countless hours of image manipulation. Second, the GIMP is not easy, but it is not easy only because the odds are you (the reader) are not necessarily all that well versed in the many different ways an image can be manipulated, what layers are, or even know that a “stroke path” is worthwhile and does not mean a quick trip to the emergency room. Luckily, there is a good deal of free documentation available to you in the form of tutorials and how to’s.
All the free documentation, however, lacks for the most part a clear, “take you by the hand” path that will teach as well as demonstrate. This is where buying a book comes in handy, and considering you didn’t need to pay for software, dropping some cash on one book should be a cakewalk.
There are lots of books available to you, about GIMP and all the other image editors available on the market. I have personally read a few of them and they all have their pros and cons. When the Mama Report asked me to review yet another book about image editing, I was understandably rather “ho-hum” about it as most of these books tend to be either too watered down or too advanced to be anything other than a door stop or the single book you read for an entire summer. However, GIMP 2.6 for Photographers, by Klause Goelker was anything but stuffy or weak. I found the writer’s style to be “conversational” and very easy to follow as he flowed from one subject to another.
The book itself (347 pages, not including the appendix or index) is very well layed out and the example images are colorful, clear, and (most importantly) very relevant to thi topic being covered. The chapters are organized in a way that are easy to quickly reference for on the go tips and tricks, but also intended to help individuals new to image editing get their feet wet one toe at a time. Indeed, there is this wonderful sense of hand holding and “partnership” that seems to permeate the entire book to a point where the reader will immediately begin to feel confident about the subject matter and more than willing to start working on their own images.
This book would not be of great interest to anyone who is already very comfortable with image editing, but it would serve as a handy quick reference guide. There a number of advanced topics not covered in the book, but these will not be missed by no one other than those who most likely work in the field of digital photograph on a daily basis.
In summary, GIMP 2.6 for Photographers is an outstanding book that will take the reader from “newbie” to “expert” clearly, intelligently, and quickly. Digital confidence is yours for the taking! I think you get the picture.

 

 

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