5 Top Tips for Working with Gimp

0Comments

We know that a lot of blog readers use Gimp and, in the interests of taking a step away from Photoshop for a minute, here are 5 of my top tips for working with Gimp.

1. Rounded corners

gimptips_1.jpg

Gimp makes it dead simple to round the corners of an image. To do this, choose Filters > Décor > Rounded Corners. A dialog will open. Select the Edge Radius, which is the amount of curve, and if desired, click to add a Drop Shadow and then set the Shadow Offset and Blur Radius. You can select to work on a copy of the image (rather than the original), and select whether or not to add some background behind the curved corners – the current background color is used for this. Click Ok to round the corners of the image.

gimptips_2.jpg

2. Reassign keys

When I use Gimp, I sometimes forget and use Photoshop keys for things like deselect. Unfortunately in Gimp, the Photoshop deselect keystroke duplicates an image! You can, however, remap your keyboard shortcuts by choosing Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts. So, for example, to map the Ctrl + D keystroke to the Select > None option, click to open the Select menu, locate the None option and click it so that the words New Accelerator appear in the Shortcut column. Then press the keystroke to use – I chose Ctrl + D, which is the Photoshop equivalent. Because this key combination is already used a warning appears – if you are ok with replacing the shortcut, then proceed to assign the new shortcut key.

gimptips_3.jpg

When you change or reassign a shortcut, Gimp is smart enough to add the new shortcut to the appropriate menu so the Select menu here shows the newly assigned shortcut.

gimptips_4.jpg

3. Move the selection mask

It is so much easier in Gimp than in Photoshop to move the actual selection marquee once you have made it. To see this at work, make a selection, then click the Move tool. Make sure that the Move option is set to Selection in the panel and you can now drag the selection into a new position. This works for circles, rectangles as well as selections made with the free select tool. Once you’re done, return to the tool to perform another task such as Ctrl + Alt + drag to move the selected area or Shift + Alt + drag to copy it.

gimptips_5.jpg

4. Merge to a new layer (and keep the original layers)

One command that is useful when you need to flatten an image but where you don’t want to lose the layers you have already created is the one which flattens the visible portions of an image to a new layer. This layer is at the top of the stack but is created in a way that leaves the original layers still in place. In Photoshop you do it by pressing Ctrl + Alt + Shift + E. In Gimp, choose Layer –> New From Visible. Now you can, for example, sharpen the image but, if you need to make changes to the image, you can delete the top merged layer, adjust the image on the layers below and then remake the new merged layer and sharpen it.

gimptips_6.jpg

5. Crop Tool Smarts

The Crop tool in Gimp includes a range of cool options. When you select it, check out the panel options. You can, for example, crop just the current layer (or all the image) or you can select the crop area from the middle out (rather than drawing from one corner). You can crop to a fixed aspect ratio or a fixed width (height is variable), fixed height (width is variable), or set both height and width. From the list which shows No Guides, you can choose to display a Rule of Thirds overlay, Center lines or Golden Sections to help you create a well composed image. Enable Highlight to see a dark border around the area you plan to crop to.

gimptips_7.jpg

So, there are my 5 top Gimp tips. It is over to you. What is your favorite Gimp tip to share with our readers?

Read more from our Post Production category

Helen Bradley is a Lifestyle journalist who divides her time between the real and digital worlds, picking the best from both. She writes and produces video instruction for Photoshop and digital photography for magazines and online providers world wide. She has also written four books on photo crafts and blogs at Projectwoman.com.

  • Thanks for the tips – I’m a casual GIMP user but did not know any of these!! Will definitely use now.

  • Hi Helen,

    This is a very useful post, thank you. I know it’s not the point of the post, but for those of us with a passion for travel as well as photography, could you tell us where the photo is from? When writers post photos of beautiful places like this, I always wish they could just mention in a caption or footnote or somewhere where the photo was taken.

    Thank you!

  • Richard

    I’d like to add the tip for vigneting found in this flickr discussion: http://www.flickr.com/groups/gimpusers/discuss/72157628320008749/

    (come to think of it, that group can be a tip in itself)

  • Thank you very much!

  • @abby what a great idea.

    These images were shot in Port Isaac, Cornwall, UK. If you have watched the UK TV series Doc Martin, this is the village that was used for shooting the external shots. It is a typical Cornish fishing village and very beautiful.

    I share your frustration, and a hint for the future (sort of a tip in a reply) check the filenames in the screenshots -sometimes the answer is right there!

    cheers …Helen

  • melly
    Whether it’s taking pictures of our friends, kids, partners or even ourselves – people are what we’re looking at through the viewfinder (or on the LCD) when we line up a shot.

    Yet so many of us struggle to take portraits with the ‘WOW Factor’.

    We wanted to help you achieve your true potential as a portrait photographer, so we’ve released a comprehensive 78 page downloadable e-book (this is not a hard cover book – it is a PDF e-book) to teach you the secrets of stunning portraiture.

    The Essential Guide to Portrait Photography is brimming with portrait photography advice, tips and imagery. It’s a collection of some of our best previously publish tutorials which have been updated for this edition – plus some new previously unpublished content.

    The main section of this ebook covers 25 topics including:

    How to bypass portrait mode on your digital camera and get great portraits
    Photographing Children
    Travel Portrait Photography
    Environmental Portraits
    Posing Tips
    What to Wear in Portraits
    Introduction to Portrait Lighting
    Plus much more!
    See a full listing of the topics covered here.

    Here’s a screen shot to show you a little of the layout.

    This is a pretty typical page – images to illustrate what’s being taught but no padding – just loads of quality teaching.

    FREE BONUS – Interview with 6 Pro Photographers
    The main section The Essential Guide to Portrait Photography are largely theory. While the teaching is solid and we believe you’ll get a lot out of it – we’ve also put together a further 17 pages of interviews with some great portrait photographers.

    While theory is great – it’s often when you see how someone else uses it where things really click – so as a free bonus we’ve picked the brains of six great portrait photographers and authors:

    David Duchemin
    Jack Hollingsworth
    Chase Jarvis
    Bert Stephani
    Neil Creek
    Kris Krug
    Grab a copy of this great new ebook here.

    What Others are Saying about It
    We’ve only had this new ebook available for purchase for a short time but the feedback has been fantastic – here are just a few of the reactions we’ve had so far on Twitter:

    30 Day Money Back Guarantee

    If you’re not satisfied that The Essential Guide to Portrait Photography ebook is helping your photography within 30 days just let me know and I’ll refund your money – that’s how confident I am that this is a resource that will help you improve your portrait photography.

    Why Invest in The Essential Guide to Portrait Photography?
    Lets answer the question of WHY this is a resource for you:

    Because it contains our very best portrait photography tips on 25 topics – all in the one easy to read book.
    Because it has inspiring illustrations to show how the teaching along side them can be implemented
    Because each page is Packed with teaching – there’s no padding here
    Because you get 6 Bonus Interviews with Pro Photographers who make a living from taking Portraits
    Because you get a 30 Day No questions asked Money Back Guarantee
    Because you get it immediately – there’s no delivery fee because it is a downloadable ebook.
    Improve Your Portrait Photography Today – The Details
    This cost of this e-book is $19.95 USD. Join thousands of others in grabbing a copy here with a Payment is via PayPal or Credit Card.

    Update: More of What People are Saying
    There’s been a lot of buzz around about this e-book – here’s a few more tweets from those who’ve bought it.

    Having trouble with the shopping cart? Click here.

    SAVE $10 By Bundling Our Two Most Popular E-Books Together
    Also in the dPS collection of E-books is a great new resource by the name of Photo Nuts and Bolts: Know Your Camera and Take Better Photos. Many of our readers buy both of these books so we’ve recently added the option to grab both and save $10 by doing so.

    Together these E-books make a great combination. ‘Photo Nuts and Bolts’ gives a great introduction to using your camera and ‘the Essential Guide to Portrait Photography’ talks you through an array of techniques on how to use your camera for photographing people.

    It’s a great combination of teaching. Due to popular demand we’ve now added the option to buy both of the above E-books together as a bundle at the special price of $39.99 ($10 Discount).

    We’re also throwing in a handy little Photo Nuts Pocket Guide when you bundle the books – it has a whole heap of suggestions on how to set your camera up for different shooting conditions.

    Save $10 by buying both of these E-Books today.

    © 2006 – 2010 Digital Photography School, All Rights Reserved / Disclaimer

    Designed & Developed by Matt Brett / Powered by WordPress

    What’s Your Preference?Daily DigestEach day we send out a quick email to thousands of DPS readers to notify them of updates. This email is just short excerpt of the first few lines of our latest post with a link if you want to read it all. You can unsubscribe from this this service at any time.
    This service is provided by a third party (Feedburner) and you can subscribe to it by leaving your email address in the following field and confirming your subscription when you get an email asking you to do so.
    Enter your email address for
    Daily Updates:
    Weekly SummaryFor those wanting a weekly summary of what happens on this site this free email newsletter is probably your best option. It includes a summary of the tips posted to the site each week. This newsletter is subscribed to by over 25000 readers (many who also subscribe to the other options above) – come join the community!
    To subscribe to this weekly newsletter simply add your email address to the following field and then follow the confirmation prompts. You will be able to unsubscribe at any time.
    Enter your email address for
    Free Weekly Newsletter:

    Tools
    Maximize Toolbar

    Wiwi Title
    Powered by
    Close window

    Read more: https://digital-photography-school.com/portraits#ixzz1jjDbPOW8

  • thanks a lot, this kind of tips briefly explained are a realy good way to get knowing the program.

    I hope you can keep posting more of them.

    Once again, thanks

  • Thank you for remembering that not everyone can afford Photoshop! 😉 Very useful tips.

  • I realize there are many fewer users of GIMP than Photoshop and really appreciate when you take the time to provide GIMP tips.

  • tinyhands

    #5 is awesome and I use it all the time. When cropping my vacation photos, I would select all, then use the crop tool with rule of thirds to select the best portion of the picture with fixed aspect ratio for printing. Done in seconds.

  • KP

    My tips would be (1) the use of layers before modifying anything and to experiment different blending methods for them, when merging, and (2) if you want to work on the image later, save it in gimp’s XCF format.

  • I use GIMP for almost all my editting, and I really have become so used to how it works, so much so that when I try to use photoshop I end up saying many mean things …
    GIMP is really a useful photo editting tool , I can do pretty much anything I need to do in GIMP.
    I do sometime rely on other tools to do bulk work but when I need finesse work I rely on GIMP.
    These, for example, were edited with GIMP:
    http://dsdphotography.co.za/megan-and-lee-fredericks-wedding-in-johannesburg/

  • Thanks a lot, Helen, really useful tips.
    I think another post worth discussing might be the batch processing scripts available for GIMP.
    I only do minor corrections (if any) and wish I could use something like that to quicken the post camera labour.

  • Lovely image Helen and very useful tips. I like Gimp, some things are so much easier then in PS.

  • julia

    there used to be a “brand” of gimp called gimpshop which I believe had all things set up for an easy transition for photoshop users.

  • @Julia You make a good point. GIMPShop is still available from gimpshop.com and it is a modification of Gimp made to look and feel more like Photoshop. You can even enable Photoshop shortcuts with this version.
    Helen

  • Phil Walker

    Haven’t used GIMP before but viewing the preceding piece and information could be tempted to give this post production programme software a try.

  • Thanks for the GIMP article! Would love to see more like this one!

  • Pavel

    There is a very useful site that has loads of video tutorials on how to use Gimp, it’s called Meet the Gimp.
    Go to http://www.meetthegimp.org

  • Vanessa Alfa

    hi. can one really get professional quality images from GIMp?

  • Ilia

    Hi Vanessa, I don’t see why not, GIMP has fantastic capabilities – and expensive software is not a guarantee of achieving a professional image. It’s about the user, their eye and knowledge as well.

  • Danish Hussain Danish Hussain

    Thank you very much,

Some Older Comments

  • Phil Walker January 26, 2012 02:38 am

    Haven't used GIMP before but viewing the preceding piece and information could be tempted to give this post production programme software a try.

  • Helen Bradley January 25, 2012 01:23 am

    @Julia You make a good point. GIMPShop is still available from gimpshop.com and it is a modification of Gimp made to look and feel more like Photoshop. You can even enable Photoshop shortcuts with this version.
    Helen

  • julia January 23, 2012 03:58 am

    there used to be a "brand" of gimp called gimpshop which I believe had all things set up for an easy transition for photoshop users.

  • Stasha January 20, 2012 09:09 am

    Lovely image Helen and very useful tips. I like Gimp, some things are so much easier then in PS.

  • Jeet January 19, 2012 12:34 am

    Thanks a lot, Helen, really useful tips.
    I think another post worth discussing might be the batch processing scripts available for GIMP.
    I only do minor corrections (if any) and wish I could use something like that to quicken the post camera labour.

  • Dewan Demmer January 18, 2012 10:42 pm

    I use GIMP for almost all my editting, and I really have become so used to how it works, so much so that when I try to use photoshop I end up saying many mean things ...
    GIMP is really a useful photo editting tool , I can do pretty much anything I need to do in GIMP.
    I do sometime rely on other tools to do bulk work but when I need finesse work I rely on GIMP.
    These, for example, were edited with GIMP:
    http://dsdphotography.co.za/megan-and-lee-fredericks-wedding-in-johannesburg/

  • KP January 18, 2012 05:03 pm

    My tips would be (1) the use of layers before modifying anything and to experiment different blending methods for them, when merging, and (2) if you want to work on the image later, save it in gimp's XCF format.

  • tinyhands January 18, 2012 09:41 am

    #5 is awesome and I use it all the time. When cropping my vacation photos, I would select all, then use the crop tool with rule of thirds to select the best portion of the picture with fixed aspect ratio for printing. Done in seconds.

  • George Fragos January 18, 2012 09:08 am

    I realize there are many fewer users of GIMP than Photoshop and really appreciate when you take the time to provide GIMP tips.

  • Helen January 18, 2012 07:00 am

    Thank you for remembering that not everyone can afford Photoshop! ;-) Very useful tips.

  • cpando January 18, 2012 06:01 am

    thanks a lot, this kind of tips briefly explained are a realy good way to get knowing the program.

    I hope you can keep posting more of them.

    Once again, thanks

  • haqrtyawet January 18, 2012 02:12 am

    melly
    Whether it’s taking pictures of our friends, kids, partners or even ourselves – people are what we’re looking at through the viewfinder (or on the LCD) when we line up a shot.

    Yet so many of us struggle to take portraits with the ‘WOW Factor’.

    We wanted to help you achieve your true potential as a portrait photographer, so we’ve released a comprehensive 78 page downloadable e-book (this is not a hard cover book – it is a PDF e-book) to teach you the secrets of stunning portraiture.

    The Essential Guide to Portrait Photography is brimming with portrait photography advice, tips and imagery. It’s a collection of some of our best previously publish tutorials which have been updated for this edition – plus some new previously unpublished content.

    The main section of this ebook covers 25 topics including:

    How to bypass portrait mode on your digital camera and get great portraits
    Photographing Children
    Travel Portrait Photography
    Environmental Portraits
    Posing Tips
    What to Wear in Portraits
    Introduction to Portrait Lighting
    Plus much more!
    See a full listing of the topics covered here.

    Here’s a screen shot to show you a little of the layout.

    This is a pretty typical page – images to illustrate what’s being taught but no padding – just loads of quality teaching.

    FREE BONUS – Interview with 6 Pro Photographers
    The main section The Essential Guide to Portrait Photography are largely theory. While the teaching is solid and we believe you’ll get a lot out of it – we’ve also put together a further 17 pages of interviews with some great portrait photographers.

    While theory is great – it’s often when you see how someone else uses it where things really click – so as a free bonus we’ve picked the brains of six great portrait photographers and authors:

    David Duchemin
    Jack Hollingsworth
    Chase Jarvis
    Bert Stephani
    Neil Creek
    Kris Krug
    Grab a copy of this great new ebook here.

    What Others are Saying about It
    We’ve only had this new ebook available for purchase for a short time but the feedback has been fantastic – here are just a few of the reactions we’ve had so far on Twitter:

    30 Day Money Back Guarantee

    If you’re not satisfied that The Essential Guide to Portrait Photography ebook is helping your photography within 30 days just let me know and I’ll refund your money – that’s how confident I am that this is a resource that will help you improve your portrait photography.

    Why Invest in The Essential Guide to Portrait Photography?
    Lets answer the question of WHY this is a resource for you:

    Because it contains our very best portrait photography tips on 25 topics – all in the one easy to read book.
    Because it has inspiring illustrations to show how the teaching along side them can be implemented
    Because each page is Packed with teaching – there’s no padding here
    Because you get 6 Bonus Interviews with Pro Photographers who make a living from taking Portraits
    Because you get a 30 Day No questions asked Money Back Guarantee
    Because you get it immediately – there’s no delivery fee because it is a downloadable ebook.
    Improve Your Portrait Photography Today – The Details
    This cost of this e-book is $19.95 USD. Join thousands of others in grabbing a copy here with a Payment is via PayPal or Credit Card.

    Update: More of What People are Saying
    There’s been a lot of buzz around about this e-book – here’s a few more tweets from those who’ve bought it.

    Having trouble with the shopping cart? Click here.

    SAVE $10 By Bundling Our Two Most Popular E-Books Together
    Also in the dPS collection of E-books is a great new resource by the name of Photo Nuts and Bolts: Know Your Camera and Take Better Photos. Many of our readers buy both of these books so we’ve recently added the option to grab both and save $10 by doing so.

    Together these E-books make a great combination. ‘Photo Nuts and Bolts’ gives a great introduction to using your camera and ‘the Essential Guide to Portrait Photography’ talks you through an array of techniques on how to use your camera for photographing people.

    It’s a great combination of teaching. Due to popular demand we’ve now added the option to buy both of the above E-books together as a bundle at the special price of $39.99 ($10 Discount).

    We’re also throwing in a handy little Photo Nuts Pocket Guide when you bundle the books – it has a whole heap of suggestions on how to set your camera up for different shooting conditions.

    Save $10 by buying both of these E-Books today.

    © 2006 - 2010 Digital Photography School, All Rights Reserved / Disclaimer

    Designed & Developed by Matt Brett / Powered by WordPress

    What’s Your Preference?Daily DigestEach day we send out a quick email to thousands of DPS readers to notify them of updates. This email is just short excerpt of the first few lines of our latest post with a link if you want to read it all. You can unsubscribe from this this service at any time.
    This service is provided by a third party (Feedburner) and you can subscribe to it by leaving your email address in the following field and confirming your subscription when you get an email asking you to do so.
    Enter your email address for
    Daily Updates:
    Weekly SummaryFor those wanting a weekly summary of what happens on this site this free email newsletter is probably your best option. It includes a summary of the tips posted to the site each week. This newsletter is subscribed to by over 25000 readers (many who also subscribe to the other options above) - come join the community!
    To subscribe to this weekly newsletter simply add your email address to the following field and then follow the confirmation prompts. You will be able to unsubscribe at any time.
    Enter your email address for
    Free Weekly Newsletter:

    Tools
    Maximize Toolbar

    Wiwi Title
    Powered by
    Close window

    Read more: https://digital-photography-school.com/portraits#ixzz1jjDbPOW8

  • Helen Bradley January 18, 2012 01:36 am

    @abby what a great idea.

    These images were shot in Port Isaac, Cornwall, UK. If you have watched the UK TV series Doc Martin, this is the village that was used for shooting the external shots. It is a typical Cornish fishing village and very beautiful.

    I share your frustration, and a hint for the future (sort of a tip in a reply) check the filenames in the screenshots -sometimes the answer is right there!

    cheers ...Helen

  • Leandro January 18, 2012 01:19 am

    Thank you very much!

  • Richard January 18, 2012 01:08 am

    I'd like to add the tip for vigneting found in this flickr discussion: http://www.flickr.com/groups/gimpusers/discuss/72157628320008749/

    (come to think of it, that group can be a tip in itself)

  • Abby Gordon January 18, 2012 01:05 am

    Hi Helen,

    This is a very useful post, thank you. I know it's not the point of the post, but for those of us with a passion for travel as well as photography, could you tell us where the photo is from? When writers post photos of beautiful places like this, I always wish they could just mention in a caption or footnote or somewhere where the photo was taken.

    Thank you!

  • BrandiK January 18, 2012 01:04 am

    Thanks for the tips - I'm a casual GIMP user but did not know any of these!! Will definitely use now.

Join Our Email Newsletter

Thanks for subscribing!


DPS offers a free weekly newsletter with: 
1. new photography tutorials and tips
2. latest photography assignments
3. photo competitions and prizes

Enter your email below to subscribe.
Email:
 
 
Get DAILY free tips, news and reviews via our RSS feed