Photoshop Alternatives

Photo Editor X with GIMP Tutorials

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Photo Editor X with GIMP Tutorials Overview


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Scanning within the GIMP

XSane has a plug-in that enables scanners to be used directly inside the GIMP (GNU Linux, Windows, Mac). Because you'll get creative with your scanned and imported images, using the plug-in is often quicker and more convenient than using XSane in stand-alone mode. In Ubuntu, start the GIMP by choosing Applications > Graphics > GIMP Image Editor on the GNOME menu. After the main GIMP window fills your screen, select File > Create > XSane > Device dialog the XSane device-selection window appears again. This time, though, because you're using the plug-in, scanned images open ready for editing and manipulation inside the GIMP, skipping the file-saving step (see Figure 3-11). Bear this fact in mind if you wish to keep unmodified versions of the scans save each image before you begin work on it, in this case. Figure 3-11. Scanning inside the GIMP enables a faster workflow. Figure 3-11. Scanning inside the GIMP enables a faster workflow.

The GIMPs Selection Tools

Notice that the GIMP has a floating Toolbox window, not unlike the one found in Photoshop. This Toolbox is divided into upper and lower halves the top half contains tool icons, whereas the bottom half displays options for the currently selected tool (see Figure 3-13). Starting with the top row of tools, five different selection methods are available. Selections are crucial for detailed image manipulation, because you need to be able to move and apply effects to individual elements of the image. That's why the GIMP offers five different methods for the same task. Figure 3-13. The lower half of the GIMP's Toolbox displays options for the current tool. First is the Rectangle Select tool, at upper left, which is straightforward. With this tool selected, click anywhere in the image window while holding down the button, drag the mouse pointer diagonally. This action results in a rectangle of tiny black and white dashes being drawn around your selection, sometimes called marching ants...

Audacity Blender Drupal GIMP Scribus and other Open Source Tools

Free creative software tool chains went from dream to reality in recent years. They are mature, world-class and competitive. There have been more than 61 million downloads of the Audacity audio editor, and more than 60 million downloads of the GIMP for Windows image manipulation tool from alone. Get productive with Ardour, Audacity, Avidemux, Blender, FontForge, the GIMP, Hydrogen, Inkscape, Mixxx, Scribus, Synfig and other tools.

Managing Document Layout

Much like images in the GIMP, Scribus documents can have layers, which you manage by choosing Windows > Layers from the main menu bar (keyboard shortcut F6). These layers can be convenient for separating backgrounds and images from text and other content. You can toggle individual layers as visible, as ready for printing, or as locked against accidental edits by checking the boxes in the Layers dialog (see Figure 7-32). A new book featuring Scribus, Inkscape, the Gimp. Synfig, KToon, Blender and

The Year of the Linux Desktop

At UC Berkeley, two students named Spencer Kimball and Peter Mattis wrote a Free Software desktop graphics application, which they released under the name General Image Manipulation Program (the GIMP). By 1997, it had been adopted by the GNU project and renamed the GNU Image Manipulation Program. Early GIMP user Larry Ewing designed a mascot for the Linux kernel project a cartoon penguin named Tux (Figure 1-5). (That's how GNU Linux came to be associated with penguins.) The GIMP (shown in Figure 1-6) was the first creative tool to be written for GNU Linux, but it was also the first cool desktop application for the platform generally. It was the right program at the right time for a lot of people working on GNU Linux systems in web-design start-ups and dot-coms. Figure 1-6. Version 1.2.1 of the GIMP, featuring multiple portraits of project mascot Wilber. Screenshot by Garrett LeSage. Figure 1-6. Version 1.2.1 of the GIMP, featuring multiple portraits of project mascot Wilber....

Which File Format to

The GIMP can save image files in a wide variety of formats, including JPEG, TIFF, and PNG. For images that you'll work on later, it's best to use the GIMP's native XCF file format. This format isn't widely recognized by other graphics programs, so it's not a great choice for final output or sharing with people who use different software. Having said that, it's a high-quality format with support for saving layers, channels, and paths. In these respects, it's similar to the native PSD format used by Adobe Photoshop. The GIMP can also save and open PSD files, so if you're working side-by-side with Photoshop users, PSD may be a better choice for you (see Figure 3-12). Of course, these high-quality, multilayered formats take Figure 3-12. The GIMP can save images in Adobe Photoshop's PSD format, but they will probably be larger than nativeXCF files.

Text and the Layers Dialog

When you're working with text, it's vital to keep an eye on the image's layers. If you put text on the same layer as your original image, it's much harder to manipulate the text independently. In particular, if you have more than one item of text in your image, you can only edit the lettering on the current active layer. Fortunately, the GIMP puts each new item of text on its own layer, which helps keep all the elements of your image separate. In the main GIMP menu, select Windows > Dockable Dialogs > Layers. (This is a frequently used window in the GIMP, so it also has a keyboard shortcut to open it Ctrl+L.) In the Layers dialog, you see that the original image is thumbnailed and has the label Background. Double-click the label if you want to change this name to something more specific. To make a particular layer active, so that tools work on that layer and not the others, you have to click the layer name in this dialog so that it becomes highlighted. In the case of Ubuntu, the...

Free Software for Movie Production

With the GIMP Animation Package (GAP) plug-in (GNU Linux, Windows) it's possible to create flipbook style animation from a series of pixmaps (see Figure 5-1). Using the GIMP with this plug-in is more suited to creating animated web graphics than a full-length movie, although GAP does support video file export. When this plug-in is installed, it adds an extra menu Video to the GIMP's main toolbar. Figure 5-1. The GIMP has an animation plug-in known as GAP. Checking compatibility with your installed GIMP version is recommended. The Ubuntu package for this plug-in is called gimp-gap you can find it in the universe package repository. It isn't visible in Ubuntu's Add Remove Programs application, but you can install this package using the more advanced software-management program by choosing System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager on the main GNOME menu. Source code for GAP is available from ftp pub gimp plug-ins , and also ready-made binaries are available for...

The Move and Alignment Tools

You can use the GIMP's Move tool to drag layers, selections, and paths around the image window by holding down the left mouse button. The icon for the Move tool looks like a cross with arrow heads pointing vertically and horizontally. In the options panel of the GIMP's Toolbox, the default is to move the layer or guide you click but you can choose to move the selection or path instead. By holding down the Shift key, you can move the active layer, or the active path when you're in path-moving mode. Even if you haven't created any layers yet, you'll notice that if you drag the original image, it's treated as a layer on top of a transparent background. The GIMP represents transparency as a checkerboard of dark and light grey squares rather than showing you the window underneath. You can't move the transparent background, so when you mouse over the checkerboard with the Move tool, a small no entry sign appears next to the tool icon.

Final Render and Output

To save the rendered image in a format that can be used by other graphics programs, click the far-right button in the first, main group on the left side of the Panels bar. This is the Scene button, which has an icon like a very small gray landscape, although this is hard to see (keyboard shortcut F10). The Format panel that appears includes a number of preset buttons for common video formats, including PAL, NTSC, and HD. For further use in a bitmap graphics program like the GIMP, choose the Full format button unlike PAL or NTSC, it doesn't scale down the number of pixels in the output file. Just to the left of these buttons is a drop-down menu for the output file format, which defaults to Targa. Several other obscure formats are listed here if you don't have a preference, PNG format is a good choice for compatibility. On the top menu, select File > Save Rendered Image (keyboard shortcut F3). A file-save dialog opens the first field shows the directory path, and you type the file...

Interface Components

Nearly everyone is drawn to color first and structure second. In some cases a design may be available in several different colors. The color may be controlled from within Drupal, or you may need to choose which colors you want to download the right theme. Designs can also be easily modified by altering the CSS style sheet and using the Colorize function within a graphics program such as GiMP or Photoshop. By altering the lightness and the hue of a color, you can convert a gray-scale design into

Page Design and Layout

At this stage you should sketch out what your Web site will look like, including all of the elements that will be displayed on the page. You might use a graphic design tool such as Illustrator, Photoshop, or the GiMP to accomplish this step, or you may want to start with paper and a pencil.

Inkscapes Transformation Tools

Below this is the Edit Paths by Nodes tool (see Figure 4-5), which has a black triangle icon and cursor and a lot in common with the Path tool in the GIMP. As you saw in the last chapter, a node is the point at which a line or curve can be made to change direction. Objects created in Inkscape aren't editable as paths by default instead, they must first be converted to path outlines using the Path > Object to Path menu item. After this, the nodes of the path appear as small gray squares. If you click one of these square nodes, you can drag it to another position, taking the path with it.

Splitting Cutting and Pasting

When you're editing a complex or lengthy recording, it makes sense to take advantage of Audacity's multitrack features to organize your project. It's a bit like using layers in the GIMP so that you can edit certain parts of the project, or apply effects to them, in isolation. The Edit > Split Cut command cuts the current selection out of the timeline without moving other parts of the audio (see Figure 9-14). By choosing Tracks > Add New > Stereo Track and the Edit > Paste command, you can arrange the audio clips that you cut anywhere on the timeline and manipulate them independently from the original recording.

Using FSpot to Import Photos

F-Spot's image-editing capabilities are basic compared to what the GIMP can achieve but F-Spot does have tools for common tasks, hidden at left (see Figure 3-6) you may need to click and drag out the left side of the window to see these tools. They include buttons for cropping, red-eye reduction, and adjusting the color of your photos. Note that when you make an edit using the tools in F-Spot, there is no Undo button. Instead, you can revert to the unmodified image by selecting original from the Version drop-down menu in the left-side toolbar.

Toon a Tool for Cartoonists

On the left side of the canvas window, you see three small icons with drop-down menus to the immediate right. These are the Brushes, Selection, and Fill menus they're similar to those you've seen in the GIMP and Inkscape in previous chapters. From the Brushes drop-down menu, which is the top icon, select the Pencil tool. You can also access this tool by choosing Tools > Brushes > Pencil on the canvas menus, as long as the Illustration tab is active.

Synfig a Tweening Animation Tool

Synfig Studio

Synfig (GNU Linux, Windows, Mac) is a vector-based 2D graphics application, designed to enable the production of feature-film quality animation with fewer people and resources (see Figure 5-10). It has both a server-side version and a graphical interface version that looks superficially similar to the GIMP. You can install the latter from the Add Remove Programs tool in Ubuntu by selecting the package synfigstudio. If you install just the synfig package, you don't get the graphical interface. Ubuntu also has a package called synfig-examples that puts demo files in the usr share doc synfig-examples directory on the system. If you use Ubuntu, the examples package should be installed automatically when you install the synfigstudio package if not, you can find it with the Synaptic package manager.

Bucket Fill and Blends

Just about every pixel-painting program has a fill tool, but the GIMP's version has plenty of special effects to keep you amused. Imagine you want to give the red and yellow bicycle a makeover with some hot pink paint. Select the desired shade in the GIMP's color-selection dialog, and then click the icon for the Bucket Fill tool a dripping pot of blue paint. In the tool's Toolbox options, set the mode to Color erase. Duplicate the original image on a new layer, and begin clicking the red and yellow bike. The effect is a little too harsh drop the opacity of the new layer to 50 so the original image underneath shows through (see Figure 3-33). I hope the owner of the bike likes the new colors I +bicycles.xcf-5.0 (RGB, 3 layers) 2304x1728 - GIMP ' _ T xf I +bicycles.xcf-5.0 (RGB, 3 layers) 2304x1728 - GIMP ' _ T xf The Blend tool, which has a square icon with a gray gradient fill, is a little different than Bucket Fill. You have to click the image to set the start and end points of the...

Selecting Colors from an Image

The final tool in the Inkscape toolbox is Pick Colors from the Image, which has a pipette icon and cursor just like the similar tool in the GIMP (see Figure 4-24). There's a crucial difference from the GIMP's color-picker tool, however. Inkscape's color picker doesn't set the active fill color in the Fill and Stroke dialog unless at least one object or path is selected. When you make the color choice with the pipette cursor, that selected object or path gets filled with the color you just chose. If multiple objects or paths are selected, they're all filled with the chosen color so you should use this tool with caution. If you fill the wrong object or path with color, there's always the Edit > Undo option (keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Z).

Inkscape An SVG Drawing Tool

Inkscape is a Free Software vector artwork program available for all major platforms. Here, a pixmap of a screenshot from the GIMP has been placed within an SVG document. Scaling up the screenshot demonstrates the limitation of pixel-based formats. Inkscape uses SVG as its native file format, but it can also export files in EPS, PDF, GIMP (.xcf), Adobe Illustrator (.ai), and AutoCAD (.dxf) formats, among others. On the import side, it can open PDFs and files from CorelDRAW and Adobe Illustrator version 9 or later, as well as import various pixmap formats. Pixmaps are placed in a new SVG document when opened directly, and can also be placed into an existing document. To start working with a blank document in Inkscape, choose File > New, and select a document size. Like the GIMP, Inkscape has a variety of preformatted document sizes available, including DIN A4 and US Letter paper sizes, CD and DVD cover dimensions, digital video frames, and desktop icons measured in...

Zooming and Measuring

After the Color Picker pipette icon, next in the GIMP's Toolbox are the Zoom tool, which has a magnifying glass icon, and the Measure tool, which looks like the kind of compass used on a drawing board. The Zoom tool is straightforward click to zoom in on an image, and Ctrl+click to zoom out. To save yourself switching tools constantly, you can use the keyboard shortcuts of plus (+) and minus (-). The only problem with these default shortcuts is that on many keyboards, you have to hold down the Shift key to get a plus sign and zoom in, which makes it slight less convenient than using the minus sign for zooming out. (On the main GIMP menu, you can use Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts to change these settings to any that you prefer.)

Cloning and Healing

The color dialogs in the GIMP allow you to specify individual solid colors, which you can vary in opacity when using the painting tools. However, real photographs have many complex patterns of color, as you'll discover if you attempt to paint solid colors while performing edits the results don't look natural. For detailed retouching work, you need to use the patterns already in the image and manipulate them using the GIMP's Clone, Healing, and Perspective Clone tools. The first tool you should consider for repairs is the Clone tool, which has a rubber-stamp icon. This tool samples an area of pixels and then duplicates them in another part of the image, which is very useful for copying complex color textures to cover damaged areas. To specify the area to be cloned, first select an appropriate brush size from the Clone tool options in the lower half of the GIMP's Toolbox (see figure 3-40). You're looking for a brush size that's small enough to make an invisible repair but large enough...

Managing Colors

When you're working with color designs, it's useful to know that like the GIMP, Inkscape supports standard ICC color profiles. If you have any of these profiles installed on your system, using the method described in the last chapter, they appear in Inkscape's Preferences dialog when you choose File > Inkscape Preferences > Color Management > Display Profile (see Figure 4-25).

Dodge and Burn

The Dodge and Burn tools also share an icon, which looks like a black dodging stick from the darkroom days (a round disk on the end of a handle). For the benefit of young people who've never seen a photographic enlarger, this dodging stick was a crude device that allowed photographers to reduce the amount of light that fell on a specific part of the print by holding it between the enlarger lens and the photographic paper. Burning was the opposite technique, in which parts of the print were deliberately over-exposed to make them darker. The GIMP's Dodge Burn tool is in Dodge mode by default but like Blur Sharpen, you can toggle Burn with the Ctrl key or click the radio button for it in the Toolbox options panel.

Sketching a Font

If you want to try designing a font from scratch, and you prefer a pen and paper to the mouse for quick drafting, you may want to try drawing an alphabet with a black felt-tip pen. This method is a practical starting point for font design, particularly if you have access to an image scanner. Make sure you leave enough space between the lines and keep the letters well separated, because the letters need to be cut out individually. When you like the look of the alphabet you've drawn, put the sheet of paper in the scanner and import the image into the GIMP using the File > Acquire > XSane > Device dialog, as you saw in the last chapter. You need to perform a grayscale scan at a resolution high enough to capture the detail of your hand drawing (see Figure 4-29).

Changing Views

Blender's default view looks decidedly 2D. The default square object is a cube, but it doesn't yet appear to be one on the screen. This is because although you're working in a 3D space, the default view in Blender is from directly above the canvas. (Unlike the GIMP or Inkscape, Blender doesn't use a paint and brush metaphor, so it calls the canvas a plane instead.) On the left side of the menu bar directly beneath the Blender workspace is a View menu. Click this menu with your mouse, and select Camera. The keyboard shortcut for this action is the zero key on the numerical keypad, over on the right side of most desktop keyboards. On a laptop, you may have to hold down a function key to access the numerical keypad.

Making a Custom Skin

Creating the skin background in the GIMP allows you to use the multilayered XCF file format making small adjustments to static elements is much less tedious if you put each element on its own layer. You can then export the background to a flat, single-layered PNG file for use in your custom Mixxx skin (see Figure 8-12). Using a combination of screenshots of Mixxx and the GIMP's measurement tool helps you to get the dimensions right.

Running Wubi from CD

Many different desktop environments and interfaces are available for GNU Linux, but the one provided by default in Ubuntu is called GNU Object Model Environment (GNOME). It's based on the graphical toolkit originally developed for the GIMP project, and it has lots of user-friendly features. GNOME is comparable to the desktop interface of Windows Vista or Apple's OS X but is a clone of neither. Fortunately, it doesn't take long to come to grips with. You get a much more comprehensive set of applications in the basic Ubuntu installation than you do with a typical Windows or OS X machine, which is all the more remarkable considering that Ubuntu fits on a single CD. Not only do you get the suite as standard, but you get the GIMP too and these aren't feature-limited or demo versions, but the full Free Software programs.

Bitmaps vs Vectors

When you're drawing or painting in the GIMP, you're working with bitmap files, which for color images are more correctly termed pixmaps (an abbreviation of pixel maps). As you have seen when editing photos, these pixmap files are just numerous rows and columns of identical size pixels in different colors and shades, like the tiles in a mosaic. This is a perfectly good way to represent typical photographic images, as long as you have enough pixels (resolution) for the job you're doing. A pixmap is sometimes referred to as a raster image, in reference to the way cathode ray tubes in older computer displays and TV sets drew images on the screen.

The Path Tool

The real power of the Path tool becomes apparent when you open its dockable dialog box. You've already seen how the Tool Options dialog is docked in the lower half of the Toolbox by default, but many other tool-related dialogs are available in the GIMP. You can leave these dialogs as free-floating windows or drag and drop them into the lower part of the Toolbox. Multiple docked dialogs appear as tabs, so you can flip through them with a mouse click. Tip At upper-right in each dockable dialog is a small gray arrowhead icon, pointing to the left. Click this icon to add more tool tabs to the dock or to close one. Helpfully, the GIMP remembers the changes you make to tool tabs the next time you start the program.

Drop Shadows

You'l first need to make a drop shadow image in your favorite image editor. This image needs to be large enough to cover the block area behind the image. You might make it slightly larger than the images if using ImajeCache. Or for versatility and reusability, you might rather just make a large image, say 800x800 pixels. In Gimp, you would use the Shadcuv option m the Script-Fu menu after creating a blank

Toons Drawing Tools

Like the equivalent tool in the GIMP, the freehand Pencil tool in KToon is most useful if you have a graphics tablet (see Figure 5-5). With a mouse, the results tend to be a little shaky. The Rectangle, Ellipse, Line, and Shape Brush tools are likely to be more accurate (see Figure 5-6). There is also a Polyline tool, but it appears incomplete as of KToon version 0.8. With any of these tools, click and hold the mouse button down while you drag the mouse to draw the line or shape. The Text tool is just as straightforward, offering a selection of the fonts installed on the system.

Layers and Colors

Like the GIMP and Inkscape, Synfig Studio works with layers but in this program, each object gets its own layer. This can result in a lot of layers being created Each layer has a set of parameters that define how it behaves, including distorting or modifying the layer below it. To create a background to sit behind your bouncing ball, you need to first choose the color and then create a new layer. In the Synfig Studio toolbox menus, select File > Panels > Layers. A small window pops up, which you may need to resize to see properly particularly the Cut, Copy, and Paste buttons on the right. (You can do this by mousing over the lower-right corner of the window and then clicking and dragging out the corner using the diagonal arrow cursor.) To fill the background of the animation, click the background square of the Color Picker in the Synfig Studio Toolbox (it's a white rectangle by default, just to the right of and below the black foreground Color Picker). This Colors dialog is...

The Scale Tool

The Scale tool's icon is two adjacent blue boxes connected by a diagonal arrow. Scaling in the GIMP works similarly to rotation a pop-up dialog box lets you enter precise figures, but you can also perform the required action by clicking and dragging on the image. In order to preserve the aspect ratio of the original image, you need to make sure the chain icon in the dialog box, to the right of the Width and Height numbers, is showing as linked, rather than broken. To toggle this setting, either click the chain icon or select the Keep aspect check box in the tool options part of the GIMP's Toolbox (see Figure 327). If you only need to lock the aspect ratio occasionally, you can hold down the Ctrl key while clicking and dragging the scale cursor. Getting this right is particularly important when you're scaling photographs of human subjects, because even a small change in aspect ratio can make the result look unnatural. No one ever complains about being made to look thinner, but they...

Making It Pretty

Many GNU Linux distributions include Gutenprint drivers by default. On Ubuntu, you can find these drivers in the cups-driver-gutenprint package, which is installed using the Synaptic Package Manager. You may also wish to install the gimp-gutenprint package it's a plug-in that adds a new print dialog to the GIMP, with finer control over printing options. An application used for preparing artwork for CDs should support vector file formats and have PostScript output, because you want your fonts to be crisp and clear. Inkscape and Scribus are good choices, with Scribus being particularly useful if you need to generate PDF output for someone else to print. You can use the GIMP if you prefer, as long as you make sure your bitmap output has high resolution but the following example uses Inkscape. Refer to Chapter 4 if you've skipped ahead and don't have Inkscape installed and running.

Shape Tools

If none of the colors in the Palette are quite what you have in mind, drag the slider directly under the swatches to access more colors. You can also click the chevron to the immediate right of the Palette to select alternative preset color schemes, including a Topographic palette for drawing maps. To select a custom color, click the paintbrush icon on the Commands Bar at the top of the main Inkscape window. A dialog box opens with a variety of color-selection methods it looks similar to the GIMP's color dialog (see Figure 4-8). Figure 4-8. Inkscape's color-selection dialog is very similar to the GIMP's. In this screenshot, a gray stroke has been applied to the rectangular object beneath the text. Figure 4-8. Inkscape's color-selection dialog is very similar to the GIMP's. In this screenshot, a gray stroke has been applied to the rectangular object beneath the text. A tool for creating 3D objects is much more useful when you can place other objects onto the boxes you make. To do this,...

Text and Fonts

For the sharpest possible results, typography should usually be done with vector graphics, which you look at in the next chapter. However, in some circumstances, using a bitmap (pixel-based) program like the GIMP to put text on an image is appropriate. Creating graphic buttons for the Web is a common example, because bitmaps should look the same in any web browser. Click the icon for the Text tool, which is a big, black, bold letter A. In the options panel of the GIMP's Toolbox, you see the default font, size, and color. In the version of the GIMP that comes with Ubuntu GNU Linux, this font is Sans, 18 pixels high, in black. When you click with the Text tool in a highresolution photograph, notice that text 18 pixels high looks very small. Your computer may have different fonts installed, particularly if you're running the GIMP on Windows or a Mac. You can easily download additional font packages for Ubuntu using System > When you click the image with the Text tool, a pop-up window...

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