You can find a myriad of written tutorials and websites on GIMP, the open-source Photoshop alternative, as well as YouTube channels dedicated to GIMP tutorials, but which tutorials are more suitable and totally worthwhile for beginners?
Since I’m also a learner of GIMP, I thought that tutorials illustrating the first few points of the official user manual frommay just be what beginners need to familiarize themselves. This collection here gathers clearly-narrated screencasts and are thus very good starting points for those that don’t prefer to read long user manuals.
So hit the jump to learn more GIMP terminology.
This is a video walkthrough of the installation and user interface of GIMP, made by a university instructional design staff member, so you can expect a very easy-to-follow and informative narrative. In the video, he goes over how to perform 7 basic image editing tasks: scaling, cropping, cutting (with transparency), flipping, rotating, reducing and saving.
By watching these, you’re basically going over the first text tutorial on GIMP.org, GIMP Lite Quickies.
Optimizing Images For Web Use
The following video shows how to export a file to JPEG and monitor the file size of the new image. There’s a small hiccup from 1:10-1:30 in the video, but it’s definitely helpful to know that you can select and preview the quality of the new image before you save it especially now that lots of sites have restrictions on maximum file size.
In the video, the user tries to save a JPEG with the highest quality while keeping her image under 256KB which is the YouTube limit for channel background images.
This technique creates a fuzzy frame (this “frame” has an adjustable radius, of course) around a spot in the picture you may want to focus on or copy and paste somewhere else, in which case, the pasted image will blend “unobtrusively with its surroundings.”
The Paths (aka, Bezier curves) tool can help you create more defined shapes by making anchor points. The following GIMP tutorial shows how to cut a piece from image 1 to paste as a layer into another image, using the Paths tool to complete the outline around the piece. Using this tool will allow more control over the outlines or shapes.
According to the user manual, brushes are pixmaps from the paint tools (except for the ink tool) used for painting, erasing, copying, smudging, lightening or darkening, etc. GIMP has a set of basic brushes, but if you don’t find what you are looking for, check out the following video to see where and how to find and install brushes.
QuickMask mode is basically a more intuitive way to fully visualize your selection, so you can do more precise work and effectively adjust your selection when the marching ants just aren’t enough, as according to the official GIMP user manual, “what the marching ants show you as either inside or outside the boundary is really just a slice through a continuum.” For more information, watch the video below.
Red Eye Removal: If you’re ready to play around and get familiar with the simplest of the filters, try following this really simple GIMP tutorial, which you’ll be able to complete very quickly. This is useful if your camera doesn’t have settings to optimize lighting (and thus, prevent red eye) or you have older pictures lying around that could use some red eye removal.
Drop Shadows: To create more depth to text and objects, consider adding a drop shadow by selecting an image (in a specific layer) and going to Filter > Light and Shadow > Drop Shadow.
Layers are individual transparencies on top of an image that can add easily removable effects to specific parts. The following video will also go over layer modes, transparencies, and layer visibility.
This should get you pumped up enough to dabble in GIMP. After this, you should be able to follow those more advanced tutorials, whether they’re text or in video.
What beginners’ video tutorials did we miss? Please help the GIMP-learning author and let us know in the comments!
Image credit: Xylomon
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