Nov 03



Wilbur, the GIMP mascot

Have you ever been in the position where you needed to edit a picture – perhaps as little as crop or resize a photo, or remove the red eye effect – but can’t. Maybe you even have paid for Adobe Photoshop, but just haven’t got it installed on the computer you’re on? Well, the GNU Image Manipulation Program can help.

A free, and open source project, the GIMP (as it is known) is what I’ve heard called a “raster editor”. This doesn’t mean it belives that Heile Selassie was the reincarnation of Jesus, but actually means that it is geared towards editing bitmapped images, such as photos, rather than drawings with lines on them (which are known as “vector” drawings). In fact, I think I’d like to skip over that part.

GIMP comes with a plethora of plugins – you can count the number of options on the “Filters” menu if you like, but I gave up around the 60 mark. You can apply various types of blurs, including motion and Gaussian blurs, do more fun things like turn it into an old painting, put a coffee mug stain on the pictue, erase every other row, make your photo look like the Predator is viewing it, make it look like a screenshot off the TV and too many more to list here – for the rest, you’ll just have to read the manual or the FAQ.

It opens and saves in a bewildering (or, if it has the obscure one you need, delightful) array of formats, its own XCF format now being officially documented (you know the drill – full list in the tags). You can even save your pictures as C source code, for the programmers amongst you.

Gimp’s available for Unix/Linux, Windows and MacOS X. And thanks GIMP – without you, we couldn’t do this blog!

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