Gimping Along

I have to be bold and say that Gimp has been a challenge!  It it not for the faint of heart, but those that are persistent and refuse to settle for defeat.  Typically, I have no trouble learning a new technical skill, but I have been ‘Gimping Along’ since week 6 in ISD 581 with my ego a bit wounded because this free photo editing program has definitely gotten the better of me.  Therefore, I decided to make a more concerted effort to become better adept at using it.

Now just so there is no misunderstanding I have had some limited experience with photo editing.  Although, I have not had experience with Adobe PhotoShop I did use a free program many years ago (at least 13 or more) to distort some photos of my children.  I enjoyed manipulating the photos and turning them into playful creations.  Unfortunately, not long afterwards my computer’s hard drive crashed and the program with it.  Thankfully, I backed up some of the pictures (see below).

Elizabeth solarize2
Bubbly Elizabeth
Ryan Lighting
Electric Ryan


I have found the best tools to help me learn are YouTube videos along with trial and error.  I used the following video tutorials to assist me in learning.

Unlike Microsoft Paint or Apple Preview, Gimp works in layers.  Working in layers allows you to manipulate each layer independently, therefore making it much easier to edit.  In Paint or Preview when manipulating an image is it done on one screen or canvas which limits flexibility.  When working in Gimp as long as you save it as a Gimp file (<File <Save As saves it as a .xcf file) then the image can be opened again in Gimp and each layer edited if changes need to be made.  To use your image in other programs or upload online you will need to go to <File <Export and save it as a .png, but remember it will consolidate the layers and you will be unable to go back and edit any of the layers in Gimp.  Therefore, I recommend saving your file in both formats.  

I also recommend using filters in Gimp.  They can do some amazing things that add novelty or interest to your image.  I took the image below and added the old photo filter (<Filter <Decor <Old Photo) and a border filer (<Filter <Decor <Border) to make it have a more antique feel.

Ben in Swing
Old Photo & Border Filter

I also used Gimp to make a collage of images from our previous career fair events in USA Career Services.  I had images from previous career fairs that I cropped and resized in Gimp (<Image <Scale Image and set the width at 300 and the height was automatically kept in proportion).  I created a background in red, dropped in each of the photos, dropped in the logo, and added the text.  I angled the text to add more interest.  I added a border by going to <Filter <Decor <Add Border and choosing my color and border width.


I wouldn’t say I have conquered Gimp, but with this additional practice I am more comfortable and confident that I will use it again for photo editing.  Hopefully with added practice I will gain proficiency and skill.

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