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Chapter 1. Introduction

1. Welcome to GIMP

GIMP is a multi-platform photo manipulation tool. GIMP is an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program. The GIMP is suitable for a variety of image manipulation tasks, including photo retouching, image composition, and image construction.

GIMP has many capabilities. It can be used as a simple paint program, an expert quality photo retouching program, an online batch processing system, a mass production image renderer, an image format converter, etc.

GIMP is expandable and extensible. It is designed to be augmented with plug-ins and extensions to do just about anything. The advanced scripting interface allows everything from the simplest task to the most complex image manipulation procedures to be easily scripted.

One of The GIMP's strengths is its free availability from many sources for many operating systems. Most GNU/Linux distributions include The GIMP as a standard application. The GIMP is also available for other operating systems such as Microsoft Windows™ or Apple's Mac OS X™ (Darwin). The GIMP is a Free Software application covered by the General Public License ( GPL license). The GPL provides users with the freedom to access and alter the source code that makes up computer programs.

1.1. Authors

The first version of the GIMP was written by Peter Mattis and Spencer Kimball. Many other developers have contributed more recently, and thousands have provided support and testing. GIMP releases are currently being orchestrated by Sven Neumann and Mitch Natterer and the other members of the GIMP-Team.

1.2. The GIMP Help system

The GIMP Documentation Team and other users have provided you with the information necessary to understand how to use GIMP. The User Manual is an important part of this help. The current version is on the web site of the Documentation Team in HTML format. The HTML version is also available as context sensitive help (if you installed it) while using GIMP by pressing the F1 key. Help on specific menu items can be accessed by pressing the F1 key while the mouse pointer is focused on the menu item. Read on to begin your GIMP journey.

1.3. Features and Capabilities

The following list is a short overview of some of the features and capabilities which GIMP offers you:

  • A full suite of painting tools including brushes, a pencil, an airbrush, cloning, etc.

  • Tile-based memory management, so image size is limited only by available disk space

  • Sub-pixel sampling for all paint tools for high-quality anti-aliasing

  • Full Alpha channel support for working with transparency

  • Layers and channels

  • A procedural database for calling internal GIMP functions from external programs, such as Script-Fu

  • Advanced scripting capabilities

  • Multiple undo/redo (limited only by disk space)

  • Transformation tools including rotate, scale, shear and flip

  • Support for a wide range of file formats, including GIF, JPEG, PNG, XPM, TIFF, TGA, MPEG, PS, PDF, PCX, BMP and many others

  • Selection tools, including rectangle, ellipse, free, fuzzy, bezier and intelligent scissors

  • Plug-ins that allow for the easy addition of new file formats and new effect filters.

  Published under the terms of the GNU General Public License Design by Interspire