Image Editing has become a key element in the photographic workflow. Image editing tools, most notably Photoshop, are usually sophisticated and deep applications - and fairly expensive. The only open source tool in this market is the GIMP, which has developed into a powerful multiplatform system, running on Linux, as well as OS X and Windows.
This book has evolved from the classroom materials the author developed and used in courses and workshops on Image Editing with the GIMP. It covers the basics of image editing and guides the reader through the functions and tools of GIMP from simple adjustments to more advanced techniques with layers and masks. The more important editing functions are presented in individual workshops. Moreover, the book covers the stitching of panoramic images and preparation of high-quality black and white images.
GIMP 2 for Photographers provides essential help-by-example in the use of the many advanced GIMP tools. It does not claim to be a complete manual, and does not address the paint and art creation aspects of the GIMP. It does an outstanding job demonstrating its use in the advanced photo editing procedures that are normally well beyond the capability of common photo editors, such as the ones bundled with camera software.
The GIMP is often included in desktop Linux distributions. A CD included with the book contains recent versions of the GIMP for Linux, Windows and OS X. It also contains practice images for use with the examples in the book.
After an introductory chapter, the book presents chapters covering correcting and touching up images, using masks and layers _ painting, filling, and color tools, and working with black-and-white and color images. A typical exercise describes how to improve a scanned image. The initial image is tilted and needs to be righted, using the angle tool to measure the degree of tilt to be corrected. A moir_ effect is removed with the Gaussian blur tool, the levels and curves tools are used to correct the tonality, and contrast is increased for better definition. The different options available for these tools are briefly discussed. Another example shows how to restore an old, faded and scratched picture using various cloning and healing tools.
The use of layers and masks is shown to modify an originally dull landscape photo. The colorless sky is replaced with a blue sky with natural-looking color gradient and some light clouds and a setting sun low in the sky is added. The text tool is then used to convert the image to an Easter card.
Some of the examples towards the end of the book are getting complex enough to go beyond the scope of ordinary photo editing but serve to demonstrate some of the most sophisticated tools available in the GIMP.
I highly recommend this book as an excellent and essential guide to using the GIMP. Adobe's Photoshop Elements 5 may have more bells and whistles, but the GIMP will let you do most of the same editing steps for free. Of course, Linux users don't have a choice and are fortunate to have this powerful editor available.