GIMP Introduction

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Image: GIMP: Introduction
Image – GIMP Introduction

GIMP is an open-source image editor for Windows, Linux, and Mac. Download GIMP (free) and get started with the navigation of the interface. In GIMP Introduction, get conversant with the interface which consists of a Toolbox, Image Window, and a Doc Window. Choose between the two modes either single-window mode or the separated view. The Toolbox contains a set of icons for selecting tools and can include foreground and background colors, brush, gradient. The Image Window is for drawing & editing. In the Doc Window or Layer Option, the toolbar list all functions such as setting layers, paths, and more. Create and save documents and adjust canvas. Work with colors, filters & text, and enhance photos. To increase the pace of your workflow and utilize the potential of GIMP to the fullest extent, familiarize yourself with the keyboard shortcuts. Print documents and export images for the web.

GIMP Interface & Keyboard Shortcuts

For more information on a photo editing software, click on optimize-images-for-web.

fig 1.0 - GIMP: Introduction - Interface - Default Theme
fig1 – GIMP-Introduction – Interface – Default Theme

GIMP Theme

To choose a Theme for GIMP, go to Preference fig1 under GIMP in the main menu bar and click on ‘Theme’. From the dropdown, theme box select the theme of your choice and hit O.K.

fig 1.1 - GIMP Interface: Darkest Theme
fig2 – GIMP Interface: Darkest Theme

fig2 – At the far left is the toolbox (1). To the center is the Canvas Window (2) or the work area. And on the left is the doc window (3) or the Layer box.

fig 1.2 - GIMP Introduction: Interface - Doc Window
fig3 – GIMP Introduction: Interface – Doc Window

GIMP Introduction – Interface – Doc Window

The Doc window fig3 holds the dialogue box eg channels, undo history, layers, or any dialogue box you want to add here. To add a new dialogue box click the top right icon. Next, go to the Adds tab and select any of the items from the drop-down menu to include. eg add paths, color maps.

fig 1.3 - Doc Window: Separate Window for Paths and Channel on the left side.
fig4 – Doc Window: Separate Window for Paths and Channel on the left side.

You can have separate windows for paths and channels in your doc window dialogue box. Drag any icon dialogue box from the top bar next to Undo History to the left edge of your doc window. Leave the icon when the left edge area gets highlighted in blue. As a result, fig4 window 3(i) and 3(ii) are created. You can also open a separate window at the bottom of your channel window. Do this by dragging the dialogue box icon to the bottom bar edge. Release the icon when it gets highlighted in blue.

fig 1.4 - GIMP Introduction: Interface - Toolbox
fig5 – GIMP Introduction: Interface – Toolbox

GIMP Introduction – Tool Box

In the toolbox fig5 window when you click on a particular tool icon eg: the text tool the features of that tool show up at the below of the toolbox window. So if you hit the paint bucket tool the below toolbox will now change to the features of the paint bucket tool. So check for other tools such as gradient tool. This allows you to fine-tune the features of that tool, how to add it in your work area. There are even additional tools that you can add to your toolbox.

fig 1.5 - Preferences: Toolbox - Appearance - Toggle on & off.
fig6- Preferences: Toolbox – Appearance – Toggle on & off.

For adding new tools go to the menu in the canvas window. Under GIMP if you come down to preferences fig6 in the toolbox side dropdown. Go to the tool’s configuration, You can toggle ‘Off’ or ‘On’ the tools, that you will not be needing or may require. If you scroll down further you can see additional tools such as desaturation tools that can be added and are not there by default. But if you find you are not using the desaturation tool then you can toggle it to ‘Off’. From the above, you have come to know how to adjust the work area within the toolbox window. Read more by clicking on GIMP Toolbox.

GIMP Introduction – Paintbrush Tool

fig 1.6 - Tools: Paintbrush - Foreground & Background Colors
fig7 – Tools: Paintbrush – Foreground & Background Colors

Click and drag the paintbrush tool in the image area and draw on the image. At the bottom fig7, the toolbox shows a small black and pink icon. The box at the top is the foreground color (white) while that at the bottom is the background color (pink). If I draw on the image now I get white color. Click on this icon and it will display a ‘Change Foreground Color’ box. Select red, blue, green & yellow colors and draw on the image by varying brush sizes. To swipe the foreground and the background color just click on the arrow at the top in the icon and now you can draw pink with the paintbrush tool selected. To go back to the defaults click on the small box at the base of the icon and you are back at the default.

Use the Size option in the ‘tool options’ box for Paintbrush to increase or decrease the brush size. Moving the slider will cause the brush size to increase or decrease. In this size-box, you can also use the ‘Up’ arrow to increase brush size or the ‘Down’ arrow to decrease the brush size.

fig 1.7 -Preferences-Additional Input Controllers
fig8 -Preferences-Additional Input Controllers

GIMP Shortcut to increase or decrease the brush size.

A GIMP shortcut allows you to scroll your mouse up and down to increase or decrease the brush size.

Click on GIMP in the main menu and go to Preferences. In the ‘Additional Input Controllers’ fig8 box which opens click on ‘Main Mouse Wheel’ in the ‘Active Controllers’ section.

fig 1.8 - Configure Input Controllers
fig9 – Configure Input Controllers

Double click the main mouse wheel which will display the ‘Configure Input Controller’ box fig9. Scroll down to tools-paint-brush-size-increase and double click or click on edit.

fig 1.9 - Select Action for Event Scroll Up
fig 10 – Select Action for Event Scroll Up

This action will open up a -‘Select Action for event Scroll Up’- box fig 10. Type increase in Search and scroll down to Increase Brush Size. Click O.K.

In the same way, go to the ‘configure Input Controller’ and scroll down to tools-paint-brush-size-decrease and double click or click on edit. This action will open up a ‘Select Action for Event Scroll Down’-box. Type decrease in Search and scroll down to Decrease Brush Size. Click O.K.

Before you close the Window ensure you click O.K . in the ‘Additional Input Controllers Window’ on exit. Now you will be able to increase and decrease brush size with mouse action.

fig 2.1 - GIMP Interface: Canvas Window (Default Theme)
fig11 – GIMP Interface-Canvas Window (Default Theme)

Canvas Window

Next in the menu area if you go to ‘new’ a dialogue box will pop up in the canvas window fig11. Go ahead and click O.K. with default settings.

fig 2.1 - GIMP Introduction: Interface - Single Mode Window
fig12 – GIMP Introduction: Interface – Single Mode Window

Single Mode Window

How to show up all the three windows in one window? In the menu, area select windows, and in the dropdown click on single-window mode fig12.

fig 2.2 - Single Window Mode - Tools in a single row.
fig13 – Single Window Mode – Tools in a single row.

Click on the toolbox panel right edge and drag towards left until all the tools are in one single row fig13. Working in this manner gives you so much space. Based on your screen resolution you may have to settle with two rows.

 fig 2.3 - GIMP: Introduction - Menu Bar - View
fig14 – GIMP Introduction – Menu Bar – View

GIMP Introduction – Menu Bar – View

In the menu, go to ‘View’ fig14 and the drop-down menu will show functions. For example, if you check and uncheck the ‘rulers’ function the ‘ruler’ will be visible or disappear. Similarly, check & uncheck for Show Scrollbars. Alternatively, click anywhere in the image area and from the drop-down select ‘View’ to go back.

Window Management – Closing the GIMP program

Under file, you can opt for a new image or create from clipboard, webpage, scanner/camera, screenshot & so on. Or you can open previous projects to work on those, better yet you can open as layers. At the bottom of the File menu, you can click on ‘Quit’ it will close all three windows simultaneously. You can also go to the top right and hit the (x) button in each of these windows to close all three windows. The best way to close the program is by hitting the quit button (Ctrl+Q- keyboard short cut) under the file dialogue menu.

fig 2.4 - Window Management
fig15 – Window Management

Close GIMP the right way by going to GIMP in the main menu and in the dropdown click ‘Quit’. But If you do happen to close GIMP by mistake by closing each of the windows separately, then come back to Window Management and click on ‘Reset window position to default values’ fig15. Alternatively, you can uncheck the box saying ‘Save windows position on exit’, arrange the three windows the way you want and click on ‘Save window positions now’. That way no matter how you close GIMP it will always open up the same way you left before you clicked on the ‘Save window positions’ now. While you are in the preferences box check out the other items as well

fig 2.5 - Configure Keyboard Shortcuts
fig16 – Configure Keyboard Shortcuts

GIMP Keyboard Shortcuts

Open GIMP. Choose GIMP in the main menu bar of GIMP and in the dropdown click on ‘Keyboard Shortcuts’ to open a dialogue box – ‘Configure Keyboard Shortcuts’ fig16. View the 17 categories listed in this box by default

fig 2.6 - Configure Keyboard Shortcuts - Option: Open Location
fig17 – Configure Keyboard Shortcuts – Option- Open Location

Click the + symbol next to the category eg file to find more options. In the more options under the category ‘File’ choose any option eg ‘Revert’ and click on the Disable button to show ‘New accelerator ‘and enter any key you wish and save the settings. Similarly, try with ‘Open Location’ fig17. While working in GIMP apply the new shortcut and check whether it is working. To identify a shortcut key that is not listed by default, type the query in the search box. The display will show the number of options related to your keyword.

fig 2.7 - Keyboard Shortcuts - Remove All Keyboard Shortcuts
fig18 – Keyboard Shortcuts – Remove All Keyboard Shortcuts

To remove all keyboard shortcuts, go to ‘GIMP’ in the menu bar, and choose preferences fig18. In the box displayed click on ‘Interface’. This will display the ‘User Interface’ sidebar dropdown box. Select the ‘Remove all keyboard shortcuts’ and hit the O.K tab.

Help Section – GIMP Image Editor

In the help section, get plenty of additional information that you can rely on. Check the User Manual here and GIMP Online provides the user manual website. The tip of the day allows you access to nuggets of knowledge as you move ahead. There is a ton more in using GIMP than what has been covered above. Get started and hope this has shown you enough to get interested in all the possibilities of using this free Image Editor called GIMP.