Use Gimp 2 For Windows

Published Date
01 - Dec - 2005
| Last Updated
01 - Dec - 2005
Use Gimp 2 For Windows
Most of those who work on a Windows-based machine use Adobe Photoshop as their primary photo editing software, while others are satisfied with simple editing software such as IrfanView. Those who use Unix/Linux-based OSes use 'The Gimp'-GNU Image Manipulation Program. This software on a Windows machine can mean the power of Photoshop for free!

The Gimp is free, so anyone can download, install and use it. The source code is also available for those keen on recompiling the software. Let's not dig into the intricacies of open source and recompilation, and concentrate on getting The Gimp to work on a Windows machine!

This workshop will also introduce you to the Gimp's *nix interface. We can't cover the entire process of editing an image, but we're sure you'll be able to do it yourself once you've understood the purpose of the tools in The Gimp.

STEP 1. Why Do I Need GTK When Installing The Gimp?
Every operating system has its own native graphic library. For example, Windows is based on the Win32 API, Linux's KDE is based on the Qt graphic library, and Gnome is based on Gtk . It therefore becomes difficult to implement a software that will have the same user interface on different operating systems.

Keeping this in mind, many software such as Gaim, Dia, OpenVPN-Admin, etc. are compiled to run with Gimp Tool Kit (GTK ), which is a multi-platform tool kit for creating a graphical user interface. GTK creates a runtime environment for such software so that they can run on Linux and Windows-based OSes with negligible changes to its compilation.

It is important to check which version of GTK is ideal for the software you want to install. You can download both GTK and The Gimp for Windows from stable.html.

After downloading the two executables, install GTK first and then proceed with the installation of The Gimp. The installation wizard will guide you through a simple installation procedure, but make sure you've selected 'Full Installation' under 'Select Components', and do not associate any file type with The Gimp. Both the above-mentioned choices are the default.

After the installation is done, Gimp will start a customisation process by which it will create a temporary folder for its files and a swap space-just follow the instructions and you are done with setting up The Gimp 2.

STEP 2. Familiarising Yourself With The Gimp
A regular Photoshop user will get accustomed to The Gimp in no time. The Gimp starts by loading two floating windows-one is the main 'The Gimp' window and the other for 'Layer, Channels…'

Closing the main 'The Gimp' window will close all other associated windows, but you can close the 'Layers, Channels…' window without affecting any other Gimp windows. Do [Ctrl] [N] to open a new file, or [Ctrl] [O] to open an existing file. The workspace with a new file or a chosen one opens in a separate window; as all these windows are detached from each other, they appear to be floating on your desktop.
The folder browser of The Gimp is new to Windows users, but it's not complicated. The left section shows the root (the parent folder); the central section displays all the files and folders present under a selected root partition/folder; and the right section shows a preview of an image if any is selected.

STEP 3 . A Demonstration
Let's move on to the tools section. 'The Gimp' window contains the main 'Gimp tool' panel and the 'Tool options' panel. The 'Tool options' panel allows a user to change a tool's setting such as brush size, opacity, colour etc. if the paintbrush is selected. The tools can be categorised into 'Selection tools', 'Sizing tools', 'Content tools' and 'Other tools'.

The 'Hand-drawn' selection tool is similar to Photoshop's Lasso tool. Choose this tool from the Gimp tool panel and, keeping the left mouse button pressed, draw a selection on the working image. The selection is marked as a dotted border.

Many other tools such as 'Fill with paint/pattern' (identical to Photoshop's Paint Bucket tool) can be used in conjunction to alter the selected area.

Using 'Fill with paint/pattern' and opting for pattern fill from the 'Tool Options' panel, you can change the black background to a pinstripe pattern. Almost all the tools work similar to those of Photoshop, making a migration to this free and powerful utility a cakewalk.

STEP 4. Saving an image
To save an image, use File > Save in the image window, and then choose 'Save as' or 'Save'. If the image is being saved for the first time, select a destination folder to save your work to. By default it saves in the current location; notice the 'Browse for other location' and 'Select file type' options, expand boths options and experiment.

Now that you have a brief idea about 'The Gimp' for Windows, let loose your creative talents to explore this free software!

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