The first part of this book focuses on mastering core tools: layers,
selections, masks, and colorspaces. The second part builds on the
first by presenting an in-depth treatment of touchup, enhancement,
compositing, rendering, and image creation for the web. The following
gives a synopsis of what you will find in each chapter.
1 reviews the GIMP basics. It introduces the
GIMP dialogs, reviews window features, and explains a host of
functions that are basic but should not be taken for granted. An
experienced GIMP user could quickly flip through this chapter of the
book, especially if he or she's already familiar with the main
features of version 1.2.
2 covers layers. Layers are the fundamental
building blocks of the GIMP. They are the image unit that plays the
most important role in our work, and it is important to understand
them and the functions that manipulate them. Even if you are already
familiar with layers, this chapter will be worth reviewing because it
contains many insights into how to use layers efficiently and
4 give a unified and
in-depth presentation of selections and masks. To the casual observer
selections and masks may seem like very different animals. However,
they are really complementary implementations of the same thing. The
goal of both is to isolate a part of an image. Selections do this by
selecting a group of pixels in the image, and masks do it by masking
some pixels, leaving the rest exposed. Thus, selections are masks, and
masks are selections. These two chapters explain how selections and
masks can be made to work efficiently and effectively together.
Because selections are often the most time-consuming part of any
3 compares the different selection
tools and describes the applications for which each is best suited.
4 makes the conceptual link from selections to
masks. This chapter describes a host of advanced mask techniques,
including methods for refining selection edges and a super technique
for finding natural masks you won't want to miss.
5 adds the final component of our basic
skill set by describing colorspaces and the tools used to get results
with color. The first half of this chapter is conceptual, covering
RGB and HSV colorspaces. The second half covers the GIMP's blending
modes. These are often poorly understood and under-utilized by
beginning users. As will be seen in later chapters, the blending
modes are valuable tools, without which many needed operations would
be quite impossible. The material covered in this chapter is critical
for color correction, compositing, rendering, and web graphics...
the entire second half of the book! The chapter's intuitive approach
explains the aspects of color theory you'll need for your GIMP
6 presents techniques for photo touchup and
enhancement. The main feature of this chapter is the use of Curves, a poorly understood but amazingly powerful tool. I think
that the material covered in this chapter alone is worth the price of
the book. In addition to the use of Curves, this chapter also
covers the use of the Clone tool for the elimination of
blemishes and the use of a sharpening filter, oddly named Unsharp
One of the most interesting, fun, and useful uses of the GIMP is
compositing. Compositing is collage, photo montage, and all the
techniques that go with these. Compositing is probably the premiere
use of an image manipulation program such as the GIMP, and
7 covers this topic in detail. This
chapter more than any other depends on using the methods and
techniques presented in the earlier chapters and is strongly oriented
around project work. The projects show how to effectively use
selections, masks, and color correction techniques, among other tools,
to achieve terrific compositing results.
8 describes the tools and techniques for
creating shadows, punchouts, and bevels. In addition, it gives an
in-depth description of the Emboss and Bump map filters.
These are powerful tools for creating 3D effects in images
9 is the final chapter of this book. It
covers some of the most useful features in the GIMP for Internet web
applications. This chapter describes tools for creating animated GIFs
and clickable image maps. It also covers several other topics that
are required reading for anyone creating graphics for the web.