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JerryL
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Posted: 11 April 2008 at 5:37pm | IP Logged Quote JerryL

Today I am going to show you how to do a few of the most common things you may need to do and or should do to your digital photos using GIMP. GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a photo editor that is very powerful but fairly easy to use. GIMP can pretty much do anything that Adobe Photoshop will do.

The reason I choose GIMP is because it is available for multiple platforms and is available to anyone at a very low cost. When I say low cost, I mean free! So if you don’t have an image editor this is a good one to get. To get a copy go to www.gimp.org, select your operating system and download and install.   

Ok, now that you have your copy of GIMP we are ready to go. For this quick tutorial I am assuming you know how to do basic stuff like open files and navigate the menu tabs.

So first off we need an image. For this tutorial I choose a picture of my son and our Chocolate Lab puppy watching his new train that he got for Christmas. All in all it is not really a bad photo. The main reason I choose this photo over some of my worse ones is that it does have a little bit of everything that you may want to fix or do using a photo editor.



Here is a list of what I think needs done to improve this picture.
1.     Remove the Red eye from my son and the dog.
2.     Adjust the colors a little bit. To me the entire picture is a little dark. Also it is a chocolate lab not a black lab.
3.     Crop. My wife doesn’t want a photo of the furniture for her scrap booking.
4.     Sharpen it slightly.

Ok, here we go. The first image is a view of the picture opened in GIMP. With an image open in GIMP you will start off with three windows. The window on the far left is the tools menu, the middle window is your image, and the far right window is the layers channels paths window. You can arrange these windows however you like. In this screenshot I have the picture opened and the zoom tool selected. This is in prep for the Redeye removal. If you need to know what each icon in the tools window does just hover your mouse over it and it will tell you.   



GIMP has a tool that can quickly and easily remove redeye from a photo. It can be used just by selecting it, but the best results are obtained by selecting an area for the tool to work in. To do this you will first need to zoom in on the redeye itself using the zoom tool. Once this is done use one of the selection tools located in the top left corner of the tools window to select the redeye itself or the area around the redeye. The rectangle selection or the ellipse works well for this. Depending on the angle your subject is at, you may need to do each eye separately. Once you have an area selected for the tool to work in you will need to select the Red eye removal tool. To do this click on the filters tab of the main image window and then select Enhance then Red eye removal from the drop down tabs. At this point you should now be seeing the below screenshot. Depending on your photo you may or may not have to play with the red eye removal tools settings. If you do need to change some settings you get a nice little preview of what it will do before any changes are done. To commit the changes just click ok. Your red eye problem should now be eliminated. Repeat these steps for any other red eyes in the photos.





Now that we have that fixed lets adjust the colors a little bit. To do this I am going to use the levels tool. You can also do this using the Curves tool which is a little better way to do it, but it is harder to do. Since we want to make adjustments on the entire photo make sure you don’t have any areas still selected from the above step. The levels adjustment is found in the Colors tab of the main window. Just click on it then select Levels. You should now have an image like the one below.

The Levels tool shows you graph of your color levels. It has three arrows or pointers under this graph. The far left arrow controls your dark colors, the middle your mid tones, and the far right arrow is the light colors. To get a feel what each one does go ahead and grab one and drag it around and watch what happens to your photo. Once you know what each one does you are now ready to adjust your levels. There are a couple of ways this can be done.

The first way is to do it automatically by just hitting the auto button. If that works for you go ahead and hit ok. If not the next method is to adjust your levels manually. For a picture that is a little to dark I like to start by dragging the right arrow to the left until I am happy with the color. I then will drag the left arrow to the right until I am once again happy. Next I will adjust the mid tones. After doing this you may have to go back and make slight adjustments to the lights and darks. In the end you will probably end up with your right and left arrows being at the beginning and end of the color graph in most cases.

A way that may be easier for you to set your light and dark for the levels is to use the dropper tool located right under the color graph and next to the settings point for the light and dark color pointer. The left dropper is used to select a dark color from your photo that you want to call black. The right dropper is used to select a color that you want to call white. To use them just click on the appropriate dropper and then select the colors that you would like to be black and white for your photo. Then adjust your mid tones by dragging the middle pointer back and forth until you are happy.

I know this all sounds complicated but once you play with it you will be surprised how quick and easy it is to do.    



     Now you probably have a picture you are more or less happy with. You could just stop and save at this point and send the photo off to be printed but most likely you will want to crop the picture. This is easily done by selecting the Crop tool from the tools window. Once it is selected the tools windows lower part will be dedicated to that tool. Since I like to send my photos out to be printed in standard sizes the first thing I will do is check the fixed aspect ratio box. I will then set my photos aspect ratio in the box. For this picture I went with a 4 by 6 aspect ratio. You put this in the box by typing 4:6. You can then select if you would like your aspect ratio for you crop to be either portrait or landscape by clicking on the appropriate diagram next to the aspect ratio box. Once all this is done you can just drag a box on your photo and crop out what you do not want in the picture. Once you have your crop area selected just hit enter. If you want to try a different aspect ratio or make some other change just hit the esc key to start over.



     Now we are looking pretty good, but I want to show you how to do one final thing. You don’t have to do this, but sometimes it makes a big difference in your end result. The final thing you will usually want to do after doing any editing is to use a sharpening tool. A quick and easy tool to sharpen a photo in GIMP is the Unsharp mask. It is found under the Filters->enhancements->Unsharp mask tab of the photo window. Once you have selected it you will need to play with the settings. The first setting you may want to play with is the amount. Drag it slowly back and forth till you are happy with what you see. You can try playing with the other settings but you usually won’t have to bother with them. Click Ok to apply the sharpening to your picture. Alternatively you can use the sharpen tool located in the same tab. It only has one slider to worry about playing with.



     Once you have a photo you are happy with remember to save it. I like to use the save as setting and then save it as a Jpeg. Here is the final image reduced in quality for internet posting.



I hope this short tutorial will be of some help to you in editing your photos. I know it does seem a little complex, but once you start to play with your image editor it becomes very easy.

Jerry
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JerryL
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Posted: 11 April 2008 at 6:31pm | IP Logged Quote JerryL

Here is another example. I used the exact same steps as above, minus the cropping and removing of redeye.

Before:


After:

Jerry
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rigmarol
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Posted: 11 April 2008 at 7:06pm | IP Logged Quote rigmarol

Thank you! Very useful.
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Capt_Tom
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Posted: 30 July 2010 at 1:06pm | IP Logged Quote Capt_Tom

Jerry,

If this post is still active.... I was looking at the GIMP software, and was not sure what version I should download for my Windows XP computer. I clicked on windows download, and it opened an FTP page that had over 100 files... My old brain became quickly confused.

Wonder if I could get a little help from an expert?

Tom
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JerryL
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Posted: 01 August 2010 at 12:25pm | IP Logged Quote JerryL

Sure Tom. If this works it should download the version 2.6.10 which should be the latest stable version for Windows. This should include the Windows installer package.
http://downloads.sourceforge.net/gimp-win/gimp-2.6.10-i686-s etup-1.exe
Jerry
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Capt_Tom
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Posted: 02 August 2010 at 5:17am | IP Logged Quote Capt_Tom

That worked, Jerry. Thanks!

Now I'll play with it and see if I am savy enough to make it work for me.


Thanks again

Tom
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maxcommodity1
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Posted: 29 October 2010 at 1:17am | IP Logged Quote maxcommodity1

Delete unwanted items

Despite all of your talents as a photographer, outside factors, disruptive, can come to spoil your images. Tourists and electric pollute the landscape, waste abandoned on a beach immaculate, buttons or the imperfections on a face or just dust on the sensor of your camera or on a poorly cleaned.

The advantage with digital is that you can cheat, and that with a little patience, it is easy enough to clean a picture of all these troublesome elements.

Step 1: Prepare the cloning tool

   1. A landscape postcard (an idyllic beach with a fishing boat) would probably be even more heavenly without waste on the white sand and tourists. Do not worry, we will in a few clicks get rid of it. For this, we use the cloning tool, which is denoted by an icon shaped stamp which can duplicate parts of an image to copy them to another place.
   2. To clone a portion of the image that we named source, just click above by holding down the Ctrl key. Go on then where you want the copy, the destination, and click again, it's magic! If you move the mouse click now supported, the source moves parallel to the destination. Proceeding by successive clicks, you always clone from the same source.
   3. To delete the pieces of wood and plastic bags that litter the sand, set a hard brush (Circle) with a diameter slightly greater than the object to remove and with an opacity of 100%. Zoom in and click on the virgin sand near by holding the Ctrl key to identify a source. Click on the item to delete and, without releasing the click, drag it to buffer the blur.


Step 2: Disappear tourists

   1. To eliminate the tourists do the same, but this time by successive keys, with a soft brush on board (Circle Fuzzy) and average opacity so that your patches are not too visible. Vary source constantly taking care to respect the line of the waves and the different shades of the sea Stop the body parts in front of the boat.
   2. To create the right side of the boat hidden by tourists, you'll choose the Selection tool to select hands and the left side of the boat to the center, roughly. Then go to the Edit menu, click Copy first, then Paste. The selection appears in a rectangle surrounded by yellow dots. Reverse the tool with the Flip, and then with the Move tool, position it so as to reconstitute a full boat. Click outside the selection rectangle to select and merge the image.

      Repeat the cloning tool and polish your trick by removing body parts and erasing the remaining solder in the middle of the boat.

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