GIMP is an advanced image manipulation program with multiple tools at its disposal. The core structure consists of an image window and toolbox; they can both be docked together for easier navigation or be displayed independently as needed.
The first section of a toolbox consists of selection tools, such as rectangle, ellipse and free select tools as well as fuzzy and select by color tools.
Free and open-source
GIMP is an open-source software application which enables users to edit its source code freely. With numerous customizable features and plugins for Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X; support for most image file formats (JPEG, PNG, TIFF, BMP and GIF); as well as use cases such as film frame retouching capabilities – GIMP has something to suit most needs!
Lighter than Photoshop due to using less system resources, Paint Shop Pro runs on PCs with as little as 200 MB of disk space, requires less memory, and can even be run off a USB drive without needing an extensive installation process.
GIMP community members are constantly improving the program. Beyond its core developers, many other people and smaller teams contribute. Some contributions have been integrated directly into GIMP while others stand on their own; healing brush and perspective clone tools were developed as part of Google Summer of Code in 2006 and can now be found in version 2.8.0; however there are other plug-ins that work alongside it as well.
Full suite of painting tools
GIMP features an impressive set of painting tools such as brushes, pencils, airbrushes and an ink tool, plus cloning and selection tools. Tile-based memory management ensures image size is limited only by disk space while subpixel sampling provides high-quality anti-aliasing. Furthermore, its scripting capabilities include accessing GIMP functions from external programs as well as supporting numerous file formats with transformation tools such as rotate, scale shear flip.
Many paint tools feature settings to allow for precise control over the intensity distribution of brushstrokes they produce, with some sharing common settings while others being specific to certain tools. You can also adjust their opacity via the Tool Options dialog.
Opacity settings affect how transparent or opaque a tool appears when used, though these only affect its usage when active and not when being selected or un-selected. Shift can be used with any paint tool to draw straight lines based on pointer location on screen – making this mode useful if your goal is creating lines parallel with one another.
Advanced scripting capabilities
GIMP boasts advanced scripting capabilities to facilitate the creation of powerful image manipulation tools, and supports various programming languages including C, C++, Perl and Python. Furthermore, it provides an advanced framework for image-based workflows between GIMP and other applications.
It supports an expansive list of file formats and permits the development of custom plugins to accommodate for new file types and filter effects, and supports various input devices including scanners and graphics tablets with styluses. Furthermore, its customizable interface helps users quickly adapt to using this software effectively.
This versatile tool can handle a range of images, such as photographs, drawings and paintings. While not intended to serve as a professional photo editor replacement, it can still provide basic retouching and restoration such as eliminating scratches or red eyes from photos.
GIMP images consist of “channels”, which are rectangular arrays containing components for every pixel in an image. RGB images consist of red, green and blue components; grayscale or indexed color images use gray and transparency (Alpha). Once displayed onscreen or printed out they’re transformed into pixels of color for display onscreen or printer display.
GIMP makes using multiple undo and redo actions effortless, making it simple to experiment with various edits without wasting time or effort. You’ll find its Undo command in the Image menu or use its universal keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Z (Command + Z on Mac). Undoing an action is an integral component of image-editing processes and you may find yourself using it frequently.
GIMP allows you to configure both the number and amount of undo steps as well as how much memory GIMP allocates for them via its Preferences menu. By default, 10 undo steps should be sufficient for most users; however, you can increase this limit up to 100.
GIMP can also display an Undo History panel to track changes step-by-step and make it easy to revert back to specific points in the edit process. This feature is particularly beneficial when dealing with layers or complex filters which make undo/redo actions tediously laborious to handle manually.
GIMP’s undo system differs significantly from that of Photoshop in that its history isn’t saved when saving an image; you must restore the undo history each time you reopen the file to restore all previous undos. While this can be frustrating if undos become necessary frequently, this tradeoff must be considered when using such an advanced and powerful editing program as GIMP.
GIMP features various transform tools that allow you to alter the size and position of image elements. The Unified Transform tool (Shift + T) works similarly to what Photoshop users might be used to, while Handle Transform is more intuitive for applying distortion effects. With it, handles appear along your image’s edges that you can drag along; their shape determines whether they apply scale transform, shearing adjustments or perspective transform.
All these tools work on selected layers, paths or the entire image itself. A first mouse click with any of them brings up a dialog for selecting an action; subsequent clicks apply that action.
Some settings are shared across tools; for instance, Interpolation sets how pixel data is created or compressed when changing size; Cubic is fast and effective while NoHalo and LoHalo offer higher quality but require more CPU processing power. Finally, Clipping gives you control over what happens when transforming selections or images: when checked, any new layer created as a result of transformation will only contain those parts within its boundaries – anything outside these boundaries will be disregarded.
Support for a wide range of file formats
GIMP can read and save multiple image formats, such as JPEG (JFIF), PNG, TIFF, BMP, GIF and PSD. In addition, it supports many file types including PostScript documents, X bitmap images and Windows icon files – it even imports EPS and CMYK color palettes! Printed files are supported via various external devices and printers.
GIMP utilizes the GTK+ 2.x graphical toolkit, offering a tabbed workspace with an image window, menu bar and docked dialogs. When GIMP is closed it saves its window layout automatically and any open dialogs reappear when started up again; most modifications made can be undone and history of editing changes saved for future reference.
GIMP’s native XCF file format stores all its information, such as layers and selections, though it may be difficult to read in most file explorers. You can convert it to more readable formats like JPEG or PNG using one of GIMP’s codecs; furthermore it can open Adobe PDF documents and raw image formats produced by many digital cameras, plus can export these files using additional plug-ins such as HTML, C source code or ASCII art formats.
GIMP features an adaptable user interface that can be tailored to fit your exact requirements, from simple to complex options that make it a powerful tool for photo retouching and digital image composition. Furthermore, there is an abundance of drawing/painting tools as well as transformations/filters included with GIMP for drawing/painting as well as various transformations/filters available for transformation/filters/transforms etc.
Customize the Image Window and Status Bar backgrounds as well as change its pattern used to indicate transparency of an image; by default it uses checkerboard with mid-tone checks; however you may choose another pattern or no transparency at all. Furthermore, adjust image sizes in this window, as well as whether or not to display its thumbnail.
GIMP themes determine many aspects of its user interface, from font choice and icon positioning to dialog spacing and dialog tab spacing. Two default and Small themes are provided with GIMP; with the latter more suitable for low-resolution monitors.
Customize Themes from the Preferences dialog by selecting from a list and clicking “OK”. Alternatively, download additional themes from the internet and customize them according to your needs.