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GIMP Resources

Online Graphic Design Degree Guide: GIMP Resources

One of the many successful open-source software programs, GIMP has risen to be the premier open-source graphic editor. GIMP is a raster-based program that can be used to digitally manipulate or create images. GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program, and like all GNU software it is free to use. Originally developed in 1996, GIMP has seen numerous updates and versions, with the most recent being 2.6.11. Current versions of GIMP are compatible for use with all major operating systems, and some minor ones, including the GNU based Linux OS. Like many other open-source software programs, GIMP is able to utilize user-created content and plug-ins. These can include such add-ons as brush sets, fonts and palettes. Additionally, GIMP has been modified to allow for the usage of Adobe Photoshop brush sets and other content, enhancing its ability to compete with its main competitor. While GIMP was not designed to compete with Adobe Photoshop, it fills that role in the current marketplace. The flexibility, creativity, support and lack of cost inherent in open-source software, as well as its fluid design has allowed for the GIMP to become a popular graphics editor.

As part of an ongoing effort to provide the best resources on graphic design, compiled below are resources for greater understanding of the GIMP and its usage in image editing and creation. The following resources include overviews and explanations of the elements and roles of GIMP, along with related tutorials and databases. Also included are associated forums and community sites for connecting with other GIMP users. Selected links have been chosen to help inform students of graphic design, as well as anyone else interested in graphic design or simply wanting to edit and enhance their photos.

GIMP Information and Guides

Using GIMP is relatively simple to learn, but there are numerous features and techniques to learn before mastering the software. While GIMP is similar to other photo and image editing software, it has some unique aspects associated with it. To learn these unique features as well as beginning to advanced methods and processes within GIMP, it is often useful to follow a tutorial or guide. The following resources cover the majority of lessons and advice associated with GIMP.

  • GIMP 2.6 User Manual – The official user manual for the latest version of GIMP, 2.6. Covers the basics of using the software up to advanced and technical features.
  • Gimp for Photos – Tutorials, guides and advice for getting the most out of your photos using GIMP software. Covers some useful effects for use in photography of various subject types (figures, nature, etc.).
  • GIMP Video Tutorials – A series of 11 video tutorials for understanding and mastering the basics of GIMP software. Focuses on the various tools of GIMP and what they can accomplish.
  • GIMPHelp.org – A website for troubleshooting and tutorials related to GIMP software. See the right column for an index of how-to guides.
  • Using Layers in The GIMP – An article about how to properly utilize layers within a GIMP project. This website also includes a good deal of related articles on GIMP software and how to use it.
  • GIMP Tips – A selection of tips and tutorials for the latest version of GIMP. These include shortcuts, organization tips and guides to using more advanced features and tools within GIMP.
  • GIMP Tutorials Database – A collection of over 200 tutorials for multiple aspects of GIMP software. Covers topic such as animation, drawing, effects, textures and web design.
  • GIMP Developers: GIMP and Standards – A directory of specifications for files and formats used in association with GIMP. These standards are useful for developers utilizing GIMP for image processing and other tasks.
  • GIMP vs. Photoshop – A brief comparison of GIMP with its chief competitor, Adobe Photoshop. Focuses on the differences between layouts and interfaces.
  • Meet the GIMP – A regularly updated blog featuring video tutorials for learning how to use GIMP.  Covers imaging tools and processes as well as scripting and other advanced topics.
  • Grokking the Gimp – An online publication of the book by Carey Bunks. Gives an in-depth explanation of what GIMP is and how to fully use it.
  • Gimpology Tutorials – A large collection of tutorials, focusing on specific tasks and advanced features within GIMP. Tutorials are regularly uploaded and updated in a blog format.

GIMP Community

As an open-source software program, GIMP accordingly has a strong community of followers including developers, programmers, graphic designers and everyday users. This community helps create new plugins and add-ons for GIMP while maintaining its viability and usefulness. Perhaps the most important aspect of the GIMP community is communication between users, sharing tips and shortcuts to help each other become better users of the software.

  • GimpTalk – An online forum for discussing GIMP software and projects. Users can upload their GIMP created images as well as offer tips and guidance and discuss GIMP-related news.
  • GIMP Activity – The GIMP page at ostatic.com is a community driven resource featuring user created images, discussions on news and topics relating to GIMP, Q&A and uploaded GIMP articles.
  • GimpUsers – An online community for professional and amateur GIMP users. Features downloads, news, tutorials and regular contests.

GIMP Accessories

There are a ton of available plugins, add-ons and content available online for use with the GIMP software. These accessories provides users with a wide variety of design possibilities, much more than the standard ‘out-of-the-box’ program. The ability to add a large amount of free, customized design content is one the strengths of the GIMP program. The following resources cover the various user-created add-ons and plugins available for GIMP.

  • 1000+ GIMP Brushes – A collection of over 1,000 brush sets for GIMP, which is now compatible with Photoshop brushes. This article also contains further sections on how to install and implement brushes.
  • GimpStuff – An online database of user-created brushes, palettes, scripts, fonts and more for use in GIMP. Includes additional resources such as forums, job boards and networking for graphic designers and artists.
  • GIMP Add-ons Guide – A guide to finding, installing and utilizing various types of GIMP add-ons. Covers brushes, gradients, palettes, fonts, scripts, modules and themes, and includes helpful reference images.
  • Top 20 GIMP Plugins – A selection of popular and useful GIMP plugins as chosen by the author. Includes a brief summary for each plugin along with guidance on how to install and use them.
  • Handy Tweaks To Make GIMP Replace Photoshop – A walkthrough of some simple tweaks, downloads and preference changes that can improve the performance of GIMP. While not explicitly changing GIMP to resemble Photoshop, this guide attempts to help users who are more familiar with the Photoshop interface and design process.