THE BOOK OF GIMP

“The Book of GIMP,” by Lecarme and Delvare, $50 from nostarch.com, is a great guide to the GIMP photo-editing program.

The oddly named “GIMP” is an editing program like Photoshop — a powerful tool for serious photographers and hobbyists.  One major difference is that Photoshop costs around $600 to buy or a minimum of $20 a month on a subscription basis, but GIMP is free. You can also get a free program at GimpShop.com that provides commands similar to Photoshop.

GIMP is from GIMP.org. Experienced users say it’s easier to use than Photoshop and requires fewer computer resources. Photoshop is notorious for being what is called “resource intensive.” In practice that means it doesn’t run well on older computers.

“The Book of GIMP,” is the sort of hands-on guide we like. It starts right out with things GIMP is good at, like removing  something ugly from a photo (e.g. your brother-in-law), adding color and brightening to a dark photo, swapping out a gray sky for clear blue with puffy clouds, mixing two photos together, and creating digital art such as logos and animations. You can replace an ordinary background with the Oval Office, or swap your friend’s eyes for your cat’s eyes. The book’s website, nostarch.com, has the examples you need for each tutorial.

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