GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is an astonishing program that allows us to create and manipulate graphics, including photo retouching, composition and even multimedia presentations. We can get GIMP totally for free as it is developed under the GNU project and available under the GNU General Public License. Today I'm going to go through its most important features and novelties for its latest stable version, 2.6.6.
GIMP's versatility comes from the fact that it offers an incredibly comprehensive set of tools for drawing, coloring, cloning, and many more options giving high quality anti-aliasing as results. It supports the handling of different layers and channels, possessing an integrated database for calling its own processing functions or from external applications also including advanced script functionalities.
GIMP also allows us to have multiple possibilities of "undo" and "redo", the capability for opening an "unlimited" number of simultaneous images (limitation should be hardware configuration) and includes several color tools like the color balance adjustment tool and the brightness and contrast tool.
With GIMP we can load and save animations in the format we believe is more appropriate, so, we can rotate images, resize them (scale), clip and apply mirror effects. This amazing program also allows the file conversion between different formats and the use of selection tools, as circles, ellipses, free and fuzzy. One of the things I found most interesting about GIMP is the use of brushes, there are so much of them and combining it with the text editor, we can make things like this in just a few minutes.
As I said, GIMP is really versatile, and its flexibility is not only present in terms of availability of tools and functionalities, but also in its ability to adapt to each usage requirements, we can customize the look and way of working in so many ways that one entire article should be dedicated to this aspect of GIMP. Just to mention a few, we can change GIMP's theme, meaning we can tweak window and icons colors, size, location and make our own customized tool box, there is also the possibility to add plugins and a lot of stuff available at GIMP Stuff.org.
Here is an example of a set of tools and brushes I added to GIMP.
Another very handy feature is the option to work in fullscreen mode, this possibility enables us preview our work and also perform the edition at the same time we make the most of our displays.
In this version of GIMP, available since October 2008, its interface and tools received deep redesign. Including free select tool and brush tools. Another novelty is that GIMP is capable of handling higher color depths and non-destructive editing due to the integration of GEGL in the tool level. So, the internal engine has been modified to integrate GEGL. This image processing library which GIMP fans have been waiting for a long time, about 8 years, is more powerful than the traditional engine of GIMP and greatly facilitates the processing of images, both inside and outside GIMP. In fact, if we compare the current version, we see that the engine is impressive compared to the previous. Anyway, to preserve compatibility and to give us an exit in case of a bug, we can choose whether to use the new GEGL engine for colors operations or to use the old one.
One Window GIMP
"The Utility Window Hint", or better known as the "One Window GIMP" is now supported in Windows, this feature was only available in GNOME till now.
From now on, the Toolbox window has no menus, forcing the main window (that is where we work on the image) to be always open, whether we have an image open or not.
The Free Selection Tool has been tremendously improved. Among other things, we can make a selection that combines several tools, in addition to the typical selection process which is done as we move the mouse, there is also a polygonal lines selection mode available.
The new brush dynamics engine is something really exciting and it really get us a bit closer (even more) to its competitor Photoshop.
As you can see improvements have been focused on integrating GEGL completely and in correcting and a handful of small errors regarding usability. It should be remembered that there is still a long way for the final version and developers can still add or remove features, yet we could still take a good look at the excellent work and the efforts level applied by GIMP developing team.
Are you a GIMP fan like me? Tell us what is your favorite feature of this incredible piece of freeware.
Author: Lucas Artigas Review on: GIMP for Windows 2.7.0 r28070/2.6.6