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The Artist’s Guide to GIMP Effects

If you have read this blog for a while, or scoured the Vaults religiously you will know that I have used and reviewed GIMP and GIMP books in the past. I have always been a big fan of GIMP, and although I know use Photoshop, I am always interested to see new books on using GIMP.

As such I was interested and appreciative to receive this from regular reader Wayne.

Chris, I thought since you where about to make a trip to the homeland, I might try and make things a bit easier on you and contribute a review. I know your back now, but my intentions are still there! I’ve recently read the book, The Artist’s Guide to GIMP Effects. Creative Techniques for Photographers, Artists, and Designers by Michael J. Hammel. Published by No Starch Press.

Although not an inexpensive manual at $44.95 USD, I was immediately impressed with how much information is offered. As you may, or may not know, GIMP is short for GNU Image Manipulation Program. Basically, it is a free Adobe Photoshop type pixel pusher, and well worth trying before spending a lot of money on the branded product. It is now on version 2.4.1 and multi–platform, however it’s not the easiest application to install. Running GIMP on Mac OS X requires Apple’s X11 environment. It is included on the “Optional Installs” package on the OS X install disk. (Under the new Leopard install, X11 is automatically installed, unless you uncheck it on the initial installation.)

The web site at No Starch explains that The Artist’s Guide to GIMP Effects shows you how to harness the GIMP’s powerful features to produce professional-looking advertisements, impressive photographic effects, as well as logos and text effects. And author Michael J. Hammel, who has used the GIMP since its first public release, won’t mince words or waste your time. His extensively illustrated, step-by-step tutorials are perfect for hands-on learning and experimentation.

In all practicality, it does this and more. This is the stuff you see on DIGG in individual articles as a way to do neat effects. I’m sure you’ve seen a few of them, anything from putting smoke and flames into your photos to changing the weather and creating your own type effects. This book has them all. After a crash course in using the GIMP’s interface and core tools (such as brushes, patterns, selections, layers, modes, and masks), you’ll learn:

  • Photographic techniques to simulate ripped edges, create sepia-toned antique images, swap colors, produce motion blurs, alter depth of field, and even fix rips in an old photo
  • Web design techniques to create tiled patterns, navigation tabs, rollovers, and fancy buttons and borders
  • Type effects to create depth, perspective shadows, metallic and distressed text, and neon and graffiti lettering
  • Advertising effects to produce movie posters and package designs; simulate clouds, cracks, cloth, and underwater effects; and create specialized lighting
  • Interface design tips for creating textures, navigation bars, and buttons

I cannot even begin to list all the tutorials, but some of the neater ones are putting in reflections from glass to lakes, creating a waving flag, making things look like they are underwater, and making text look like anything from metal to neon. Each tutorial has plenty of pictures, and offers a true step–by–step approach making it almost impossible to mess it up.

If you use GIMP, you really should take a look at this book. If I was handing out stars, I’d have to give it 5, because you really do learn how to do a lot of very cool stuff.

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8 Comments

  1. i’m not an artist in anyway but i surely appreciate it that you shared this! I could find something to use this info on anyway1

    Cheers!

  2. I read about creating shimmering gold effects in another blog yesterday, but I can’t remember for the life of me where it was! Nice effects though.

  3. @Marie Craig
    “I need some help with rollover buttons with GIMP! Cn you help me??”

    Hey what Gimp are you talking, can you specify please.

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