Saturday, July 28, 2007

The magic of Hindi, GIMP, and some free time





GIMP is an image manipulation utility that you can download and use for free. I can't get over how powerful it is. Especially when you add in the ability to type in Hindi, and then perform all the usual transforms with it. Imagine if the truck-painters in India get the idea that they can use GIMP to generate their fancy logos.

I'm reading a book called "Beginning GIMP: From Novice to Professional", by Akkana Peck. It assumes zero knowledge of digital imaging, and patiently explains basic topics like additive colors, transparencies, layers. It is very helpful for a lay person like me who has little idea of the basics. I'm glad the book talks about these, instead of being a laundry list of what all the various tools do. Every chapter covers a single topic, which might cover many GIMP tools. At the end of the chapter, there is a project putting together the ideas of the chapter into a single task. True to its name, it ends with a chapter on writing GIMP plug-ins and scripting in GIMP.

Overall, the book is arranged very well. While I'm reading it cover-to-cover, I think it is just as good to randomly flip pages and see all the pretty pictures, and learn how to make them. The entire book is printed in crisp, glossy paper. And it has plenty of pictures of examples, and GIMP screenshots so you can follow the instructions easily. Considering that GIMP costs you nothing, $40 for a book+software is very good value for money. (The book itself doesn't come with GIMP. It is easier, and better to download the latest version from the GIMP website.)

I highly recommend the book. It covers the latest GIMP versions (2.2 and 2.4), and has a lot of information. It is helpful for both digital photography enthusiasts who want to touch up their pictures, and digital artists and tinkerers who want to play with GIMP to splash some paint around.

Feel free to use the two images above as you see fit. Better still, download GIMP and you can make much better pictures than the ones I did.