Save instead of Export in GIMP 2.8

Version 2.8 of GIMP saves images as .xcf files by default when you hit CTRL-S. I remember a development version did this years ago but it was reversed before final release due to user feedback AFAIR. I can understand the reasoning behind this decision but I hate it. It really, really bugs me. I don’t think it’s going to change in the future but if you must have your CTRL-S “save as a bloody jpeg because I said so” there is a way around it. You’ll use keyboard shortcuts. Go to Edit->Keyboard Shortcuts and then search for export. Now change the shortcut to CTRL-S for either “Export…” or “Export to”.… Read More

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The Curves Tool

The curves tool is a very basic tool that can be used to improve photos with a few clicks of the mouse. It is used to change the brightness and contrast of an image. It can also modify the separate Red, Green and Blue channels of an image too. The Curves Tool has a histogram to represent the shadow, midtone and highlight detail in the image. In the GIMP, you access it by right clicking on an image and go to Colors->Curves. This is the second article in my GIMP for Photographers series, but as usual, all of this applies to Photoshop, or any other image application with a Curves… Read More

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GIMP For Photographers: Levels

Many people find using the GIMP or Photoshop a daunting prospect but in fact those packages are quite easy to use once you’ve practiced a few times. This will be the first in an occasional series to help photographers use the GIMP to post process their photos. The Levels tool (right click on your image, select Colors, then Levels) is used to adjust the levels of the colours in your image by manipulating a histogram representing the image. In simple terms, you can make broad changes to the Red, Green, Blue and overall “Value” parts of your image. The single most useful function of the Levels tool is the “Auto”… Read More

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Children at play

Children at play A sign in Fermoy, Co. Cork warns motorists to watch out for kids playing on the road. I’ve seen so many people speed through built up areas these signs mean absolutely nothing to them. Technique: 1. Original image was flat and plain. Background sky was monotonous so I ran it through auto-levels which brought out the colours. 2. Then I duplicated that layer and blurred it using Gaussian Blur with a radius of 25px (original image is 3504px wide). By adding a layer mask I was able to rub out some of the blurred layer to expose the sharp original below. Opacity was set to 41% to… Read More

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First Draft: Ready to go!

John asked what did he original Ready to go! look like and I’ll oblige now. Showing what the original photo looks like is akin to showing what the first draft of a written essay or post reads like. Sometimes the image comes out perfectly in the camera but that’s rarely the case. At the very least light levels have to be balanced and if resizing for publication online then the resized image has to be sharpened. Hover over the image below to see what the original shot looked like. Hopefully this will work for RSS readers but if it doesn’t, visit the blog and leave your mark here! Notice how… Read More

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Simple steps to photo touch-up

In this post I’m going to show you how to go post-process this image: By the end, we’ll have an image that looks like this: This tutorial was created using the GIMP, but it’s equally applicable to your favourite editing software as long as it has the same tools. Photoshop, and other editing software should work equally well. The steps described here are worth practising, and will apply equally well to any portrait! First of all, I came across this photo on Flickr through my contacts page. Here’s the original photo, and Ayhtnic kindly let me use her image. After you load the image, the first thing to do is… Read More

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