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Getting Started with GIMP

Welcome to GIMP! You can use GIMP to edit, draw, crop, retouch and resize images, convert between different file formats and so much more. Once you’ve downloaded and installed GIMP, you’re ready to get started. Below is a basic introduction to GIMP’s handy Toolbox and instructions on how to select images.

  • First, open GIMP as you would any other program. For example, in Windows you can double-click the GIMP icon on your desktop or click Start > All Programs > GIMP
  • When GIMP opens, the only thing you will see is a toolbox. These are your master tools! It will look like this:
  • In the first row of the toolbox you will see all of the tools that are used for selecting different parts of your image. Note: One of the most important things you will need to master in GIMP is how to carefully select parts of your image.
  • The rectangle select tool is used for creating a square selection. Press Return or click inside the selection to finalize your selection.
  • The elliptical region select tool is used for creating a circular selection.
  • The freehand select tool is a combination of a freehand and polygon select tool. Click the mouse in the areas you want to place nodes, combine the two modes however you like, then press Return.
  • The continuous region tool selects and connects areas. To use this tool simple click and drag.
  • Color select is used to select areas of similar color. Click and drag to choose from a wide-range of colors.
  • Select shape allows you to select a precise edge.
  • The foreground select tool is more of an advanced tool that allows you to precisely cut items and people from photos.
  • The path tool creates “paths” that can be adjusted and modified to any shape you like.
  • You can use the colors picker tool to pick colors.
  • The zoom tool is used to zoom in or out of an image.
  • The measure tool is used to measure pixel distances and angles.
  • The move tool allows you to move layers and selections around.
  • Use the align tool to align or distribute layers that are relative to each other.
  • The crop tool can be used to crop images.
  • The rotate tool can be used to rotate a selected area or layer.
  • The scale tool can be used to select an area or layer.
  • The shear tool can be used to skew a selected area or layer.
  • The perspective tool can take a 2D-part of your image and angle it downward.
  • The flip tool flips your selection from one side to the other.
  • The text tool allows you to place text in your image.
  • The bucket fill tool fills parts of your image with a desired color or pattern.
  • The gradient fill tool fills parts of your image with a gradient.
  • The pencil tool can be used to create jagged lines.
  • The paint brush tool is like a real paint brush. It can be used to create smooth, more realistic lines.
  • The eraser tool erases.
  • The airbrush tool is like a real airbrush. It can be used to create soft, fuzzy lines.
  • The ink tool is like a fountain pen. It can be used to create precise lines.
  • The clone tool can be used to clone parts of an image.
  • The healing tool is a specialized tool that will allow you to remove small blemishes in your photos.
  • The perspective clone tool is a more advanced tool that can be used for cloning parts of an image into a plane different to the screen.
  • The blur tool can be used to blur, soften or sharpen edges and blend colors together.
  • The smudge tool mimics finger painting.
  • And the last tool, the dodge/burn tool, will allow you to selectively darken or brighten the area you paint.

Tips For Image Selection Using GIMP

  • One very common problem beginners often face, is forgetting where they made a selection on an image. If this happens to you, don’t worry! Just remember this trick: click the menu option Select > All or Select > None. Here are the keyboard shortcuts: Shift+A and Shift+Ctrl+A.
  • To add/remove from an existing selection, hold Shift or Ctrl down.
  • Hold down Esc to abandon a selection and Return to finish it.

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