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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Neil Monks MyMac.com Review
GIMP, or the GNU Image Manipulation Program to give it its proper name, is a graphics-editing program broadly similar to Adobe Photoshop in terms of functionality. The GIMP is an open source program that can be freely downloaded and installed on most computers, including maps. But on the downside it doesn't come with a manual, so figuring out how to use GIMP can be...
Published on December 17, 2007 by Tim Robertson

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars A little dated
Good book for tips on using Gimp. It's a little dated now though.
Published 4 months ago by cj


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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Neil Monks MyMac.com Review, December 17, 2007
By 
Tim Robertson "Publisher MyMac" (Battle Creek, Mi United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Artist's Guide to GIMP Effects: Creative Techniques for Photographers, Artists, and Designers (Paperback)
GIMP, or the GNU Image Manipulation Program to give it its proper name, is a graphics-editing program broadly similar to Adobe Photoshop in terms of functionality. The GIMP is an open source program that can be freely downloaded and installed on most computers, including maps. But on the downside it doesn't come with a manual, so figuring out how to use GIMP can be tricky.

But 'The Artist's Guide to GIMP Effects' isn't simply a book explaining what all the different tools and features do. Michael Hammel pitches this book quite a bit higher than that, focusing instead on how to use GIMP to perform a variety of useful and common tasks. From trick photography to building graphics for web sites, Hammel leads the reader expertly through nicely illustrated tutorials. The end result is more than simply a better understanding of the program, but a richer appreciation of what the program can be used to do.

There are six chapters, the first of which introduces many of the basic concepts. Although there is some attention given to where the relevant tools are found and how to use them, the focus here is on what they do and why you need them. Fundamental to success with any graphics program is understanding how different tools work when applied together, and Hammel finishes off this chapter with a set of multi-function tutorials that underline this point.

The second chapter concentrates on manipulating photographs. These include softening images, adding motion effects, and creating reflections. In each case the process is taken step-by-step, with clear text and relevant screenshots. At this point it's also worth mentioning something about the layout of the book. No Starch has really done a good job here. The book is wider than it is tall, and each page holds two columns of text. The flexible binding lets the book stay open at any page. As a result, it's an easy book to use alongside the computer.

The next chapter is about creating artwork for web sites. These include things like tiles for web page backgrounds, buttons, tabs, and menu bars. The first tutorial in this batch is all about creating glossy, gel-like buttons of the type Macintosh users will be familiar with. One of the later tutorials looks at the ubiquitous rollover buttons, though from the perspective of creating the actual artwork required rather than the necessary JavaScript or CSS coding. That said, if you use a WYSIWYG web page layout program like Freeway, you probably won't need to manually any of that sort of code to your page anyway; all you need are the graphics.

Like all the other chapters, the web design chapter finishes with a collection of useful tips. Some of these should be required reading for any web designer, and it's great to see the author lay them out fair and square.

The fourth chapter is very unusual but actually makes a lot of sense. It's a chapter devoted to creating advertising. While no substitute for a degree in marketing, there's some great stuff here for anyone who needs to produce things like packaging and posters. Small businesses attracted to GIMP by its low cost will likely find this chapter worth the price of the book alone. On the other hand, some of the tutorials in this section are only incidentally useful for advertising purposes though, and could be just as relevant to anyone creating computer artwork. Again, there's a wrap-up section with a slew of useful tips and tricks.

Chapter five brings text into the mix. This chapter kicks off with some tutorials covering things like neon, metallic, and gel-like text, among other typographic effects.

The last chapter is specifically for software developers, and illustrates the ways in which GIMP can be used to design and prototype application interfaces. While a clever and potentially useful chapter, what was obviously missing from this section of the book was something on designing icons for programs. The book then rounds off with a detailed index.

For $45 this isn't a cheap book, especially when you consider that GIMP itself is free and comes with its own online guides and tutorials. The question is whether having things laid out clearly and logically in a nicely illustrated book justifies the cost. In the opinion of this reviewer at least, the answer is yes. For the GIMP user looking to go beyond simply cropping and resizing digital images, this book is highly recommended.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent hands on guide..., November 5, 2007
By 
Erik S. Heyl (Kitchener, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Artist's Guide to GIMP Effects: Creative Techniques for Photographers, Artists, and Designers (Paperback)
I bought this guide not knowing much about the Gimp and was pleasantly surprised. It covers the interface to start and does so in a way that gets you immediately using the Gimp. It also covers such things as photo retouching, drawing, painting, textures, creating advertising pieces and interfaces (i.e. for media players), graphics for the web (buttons, navigation, etc),web page layouts and the use of filters as tools.

All this is covered in a relaxed, fun and practical style. If you want more than just a list of commands and want to UNDERSTAND why you do something, then this is the book for you.

Highly recommended!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Project-based book has great examples, April 4, 2008
By 
Diane Cipollo (Editor at BellaOnline.com) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Artist's Guide to GIMP Effects: Creative Techniques for Photographers, Artists, and Designers (Paperback)
In my opinion, there can never be too many books like this one by Michael J. Hammel. This project-based book has great examples of how the graphic designer can use the GIMP software to get the job done. Each tutorial in this book is an individual project, allowing the reader to pick which tutorials best meets his or her needs. But read them all. Each technique is not presented in a vacuum. Hammel discusses these techniques in a way that prepares the readers to reproduce the results in their own projects.

Besides being a project-based book, I also liked that Hammel did not waste the reader's time, and his own, discussing every detail about each panel, menu command and keyboard shortcut. Instead, he commits those pages to more information that you can really use. Don't get me wrong, he does give a short overview of the GIMP workspace in order to orient the novice to the software. But he does a good job of giving the readers only the information that they will need for the rest to the book.

So what does Hammel cover in this book? He writes each project-based tutorial from the point-of-view of the graphic designer. He begins with a short description of the design criteria for the project and ends each tutorial with suggestions for other projects where the reader might apply these techniques. He divides the book into six chapters and each chapter covers a different area of graphic design. Once he covers the basics, he moves on to techniques for the photographer, web designer, advertising designer and UI designer. Throughout each chapter, he discusses how type applies to the project and he also devotes a chapter to type effects.

For the photographer, he begins with some simple techniques for adding steam to a photo and creating a vignette. Then he covers more advanced techniques such as simulating depth of field. Have you ever wondered how graphic artists get type to look so good on top of any background? Hammel shows you how this is done, along with some other nice text effects. Also, he has one of the best techniques for converting a photo into a sketch that I have seen so far. His technique goes beyond the usual examples that you find in books and on the web.

Moving from photography to web design, Hammel states that "color is king" on the web today. Only just a few years ago, books were preaching just the opposite. But now with the better monitors, Hammel can share some of his techniques for creating mood, simulating 3D and reflections, and "popping" an image. He also has some great techniques for creating folds from texture and gradients and for creating the popular Toon style.

With the advent of widgets and other ways to create your own desktop applications, graphic designers are being asked to design user interfaces (GUI) for these applications. Hammel devotes the last section of his book to take you through the design process for creating a UI for a video player. He starts with the face plate and designs each part of the UI individually. However, these same techniques could be used to create environments for digital games and other design applications.

Hammel has been working with GIMP from its beginnings in 1996. He has authored and co-authored many GIMP related books and articles.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great tutorial book for GIMP, December 31, 2007
By 
M. MacBradaigh (Pacific Northwest) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: The Artist's Guide to GIMP Effects: Creative Techniques for Photographers, Artists, and Designers (Paperback)
If you don't know what GIMP is, it's an alternative to Photoshop that allows you to do the same things (essentially) but is free.

I was impressed and surprised (in a good way) on the depth of tutorials in this book. I was really looking for something that would give me a good overview of using GIMP from the top, and was surprised at how many things you can do creatively that I hadn't even thought of. My only criticism is the paper used is flat and it would be nice to have something a little glossier for the images. The images are in color, which is nice though. I've used photoshop and now GIMP from probably a pretty basic level (I'm not a graphic artist) for album coverwork for compilation CD's for myself and friends, posters, and just playing around with abstract art to frame and hang on my own wall. I've been impressed with GIMP as an alternative to Photoshop and I think this book is a great companion to help me get the most out of it. If you've tried GIMP, which is free to download, and want to get more out of it, I would recommend this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Any collection strong in Photoshop-type books needs it., December 4, 2007
This review is from: The Artist's Guide to GIMP Effects: Creative Techniques for Photographers, Artists, and Designers (Paperback)
The GIMP is an image editor whose power and easy use rivals the industry standard Photoshop - and is a popular free software item. While The Artist's Guide to GIMP Effects could've been explored in our Computer Shelf area, it's reviewed here to alert every artist working with computer images. It shows how to use the GIMP's powerful features to apply to ads, photos, and business pursuits, and comes from an author who has used GIMP since its first public release. From specialty photographic techniques available within the GIMP model to advanced web design features for special effects, no photo artist using the computer should be without THE ARTIST'S GUIDE TO GIMP EFFECTS - and any collection strong in Photoshop-type books needs it.

Diane C. Donovan
California Bookwatch
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great step by step ..., February 25, 2009
This review is from: The Artist's Guide to GIMP Effects: Creative Techniques for Photographers, Artists, and Designers (Paperback)
Great book. Highly recommended. Goes into step by step - steps which can actually be followed (Cant say that about many books). The only issue is that this is written fr 2.4, and I am using 2.6, Many things have moved around. Despite that, it proves to be a great reference. Looking forward to the next edition.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Get up and running in Gimp quickly, May 1, 2009
This review is from: The Artist's Guide to GIMP Effects: Creative Techniques for Photographers, Artists, and Designers (Paperback)
I found this book easy to use to get started using the Gimp. Very clear explanations with complete screen shots will get you producing images in no time.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent source of info, June 1, 2014
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This review is from: The Artist's Guide to GIMP Effects: Creative Techniques for Photographers, Artists, and Designers (Paperback)
If you're looking to use GIMP, then this book will definitely walk you through the process of using layers, masks, brush techniques and anything else you might need. Also, the book's author has additional lessons online.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great confidence builder, December 9, 2012
By 
Benny L Wallace II (Cincinnati, Ohio United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Artist's Guide to GIMP Effects: Creative Techniques for Photographers, Artists, and Designers (Paperback)
Great book for anyone just getting started with the GIMP! The projects presented in the book really help you familiarize yourself with the various functions and tools available to you. They also help build your confidence so that you can start creating your own techniques.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent but needs an update., October 12, 2011
This review is from: The Artist's Guide to GIMP Effects: Creative Techniques for Photographers, Artists, and Designers (Paperback)
I consult this book frequently. But it needs updating to at least Gimp 2.6.11 and possibly to Gimp 2.7. When the author updates it I will buy the updated edition.

John Culleton
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