Friday, 11 October 2013

5 things I love about GIMP


GIMP stands for the Gnu Image Manipulation Program. It's a free piece of software that pretty much does any design work you could ask of it. My only limitation in working with it is that I often run up against the end of my knowledge, but that never seems to stay a problem for long, as you'll see. Here are my favourite things about it!

  1. It's free and open source! This means it is always without cost, and anyone with a code-monkey brain can fiddle with it and add new bits, and there are lots of those new bits floating around for anyone else to use as well. Native to Linux, it also does just fine on Windows.
  2. Imagine it? Then do it. If there's something I want to do in my design but I'm not sure how, it's a simple matter of hunting down one of the huge number of crowdsourced instructionals and following the steps until I get the gist of it. A search string like "gimp metal effect on layer" will bring up various results.
  3. Preset Logos aka Text Effects! These may sound scary, but essentially you can take any piece of text or a whole layer and apply a 3D effect to all of it. There are only a couple dozen presets, however when one considers that each can be tweaked in inexhaustible variations from the default, paired with the use of different colours and fonts and backgrounds and textures...Yeah. I ain't gonna run out of options.
  4. Standard Functions. Everything you expect in a graphics program, from sliding colour adjustments to freehand painting and line drawing with customisable brushes; sophisticated cloning tools, layer mechanisms, transparency, powerful undo options, filters and shadows, animated GIFs, perspective, alignment, and exporting to all standard image file types. It takes a while to learn it all, but every item works just as it should.
  5. It's fun! This may be more of a personal thing, but I very much enjoy the way the program is set up and the endless tweaking I can do on any project. Yes, in some ways it's like a pencil and paper; yes, it lacks physicality, but goes a good way towards making up for it in potential pizzazz.
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