Gimp background tweaks

Posted on November 28, 2018. Filed under: Everything, Freeware/Shareware, Graphics | Tags: , |

MakeUseOf has a post on using the freeware Gimp image editing tool to tweak backgrounds: make them transparent, change them, remove them, etc.

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Switch from Photoshop to GIMP

Posted on June 28, 2018. Filed under: Everything, Freeware/Shareware | Tags: , , , , |

MakeUseOf has a post on how to switch from Adobe Photoshop to the freeware GIMP.

With the release of version 2.10, GIMP is now a truly viable alternative to Photoshop. So is it the right time to cancel your Adobe subscription and adopt this free open-source image editing package that works on every platform?”

Of course, those of us who are cheapskates (c’est moi!) have been using GIMP for years!

GIMP can’t do everything Photoshop can. The most common deal-breaker is that GIMP does not have native CMYK support, meaning it isn’t suitable for professional print work.

Less important, but still noticeable, is the absence of adjustment layers, making non-destructive editing harder to achieve. And some of Photoshop’s smarter features, like content-aware fill, are also missing. You can get plugins to replace these.

Support for Actions is also limited. It is possible to use them, but you have to code GIMP scripts manually.”

Also check out the MakeUseOf guide to photo-editing with GIMP, and seven GIMP versions of Photoshop techniques.

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Vunky Search for GIMP

Posted on August 7, 2009. Filed under: Freeware/Shareware, Graphics, Tutorials | Tags: , , , , , |

(That may well be the most bizarre title for a post on Computer Helpers!)

Vunky Search is a search engine for GIMP tutorials.

GIMP is the open-source freeware graphics creation/editing software, often compared to Adobe Photoshop.

To learn to use GIMP effectively, use Vunky Search.

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How to make a transparent background using GIMP

Posted on March 11, 2009. Filed under: Graphics, Techniques | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

How to make a transparent background/selection on an image using GIMP is a post from Tim Huffam’s blog:

  1. “Open your image.
  2. Select the area you want to make transparent.
    1. Select the appropriate selection tool from the Tool window or the Tools – Selection Tools menu on the Layer window.  I usually use the magic wand/fuzzy select (Select contiguous region) tool or the Select regions by color tool.
    2. Click in the region you want selected.  Use shift-click to add more regions/colors.
      Tip: It’s easier if you zoom in (View – Zoom menu) to see finer details of exactly what you’re selecting.
  3. In the Layer window (the one showing your image), select Layer – Transparency – Add Alpha Channel.  If this is blanked out then it’s already done.  This makes sure your image can store transparency data.
  4. Select Edit – Clear.  This makes the selection transparent.
  5. Save the file. “

Since Tim notes that IE doesn’t support transparencies in PNG format, saving the image as a .gif file is safer for website use.

(ed. note: I used this method to adapt some logo graphics and it works very well.)

Some other methods are also listed in the comments on this page.

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Photoshop alternatives

Posted on March 10, 2008. Filed under: Freeware/Shareware, Graphics | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

[updated link 2014.3.13]

Adobe Photoshop is the professional standard at present for many professional graphic artists, as well as a number of other people. But, since it is expensive and proprietary software, students may need to find something more in the price range of freeware, which still has enough features to be useful. has an article with some alternatives, some of which are also available for Windows (and sometimes Macs).

Raster (Pixel by Pixel) image software

For just working with raster images (basically, a grid of pixels), photographs, and the like, the open source GNU Image Manipulation Program (better known as the GIMP).  This is available for Windows and Linux.

However, GIMP is very different from Photoshop, so if you trained on Photoshop, you might have an easier time learning Gimpshop.  Gimpshop is a ‘hack’ built on top of the original Gimp project which changes all menues, dialogs, etc., in order to make them look like Photoshop. Of course, some features of Photoshop are still not available in Gimpshop, if the original GIMP doesn’t have them.

Vector graphics

Vector graphics is a more sophisticated form, and often lends itself better to resizing.

Inkscape is “An Open Source vector graphics editor, with capabilities similar to Illustrator, CorelDraw, or Xara X, using the W3C standard Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) file format.

Inkscape supports many advanced SVG features (markers, clones, alpha blending, etc.) and great care is taken in designing a streamlined interface. It is very easy to edit nodes, perform complex path operations, trace bitmaps and much more. We also aim to maintain a thriving user and developer community by using open, community-oriented development.”

Inkscape is a fork off an earlier open source program called Sodipodi, which is also available.

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