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Review The Artist's Guide to GIMP Effects

Discussion in 'Articles, Reviews and Interviews' started by tripwire45, Sep 20, 2007.

  1. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

    Author: Michael J. Hammel
    Format: Paperback 360 pages
    Publisher: No Starch Press, First Edition, August 2007
    ISBN-10: 1593271212
    ISBN-13: 978-1593271213

    Review by James Pyles
    September 19, 2007

    I've played around with GIMP for awhile now but it was basically just playing around. I didn't really have a lot of time to try and "trial-and-error" my way through actually learning it so I stuck with what I already knew and did the best I could. Then Michael Hammel's book was delivered to my door. Wow! Move over PhotoShop. The GIMP has entered the building.

    This is and isn't a "how-to" book on the GIMP. Yes, Chapter 1 is a crash course in the nuts and bolts of using GIMP's features but the author says he's not going to throw every possible control and setting at you right from the start. You'll learn that as you go through the tutorials in each chapter and probably (my opinion) once you get through the book and build up a level of comfort using GIMP, you'll discover new things on your own.

    Past the first chapter, you can go in a number of different directions. Each chapter stands on its own and which ones you read depends on what you want to do. If you're a photographer, move on to Chapter 2 "Photographic Effects". Want to design a logo for your company's website, try Chapter 3 "Web Design". Personally, I recommend reading all of the chapters because the skills you learn in one area are more than likely able to be applied to another. I thought the Web Design chapter was too short, but that's my area of interest. Still, I wish it had been fleshed out just a little more.

    The tutorial sections in each chapter are pretty straightforward and the graphics are of good quality and in full color (which you'd expect from a book on graphics). The end of each chapter has a "Tips" page which provides general suggestions on that chapter's topic. The Acknowledgments section contains a list of credits including the URLs to a number of sites containing royalty-free collections of stock images. I was sort of thinking there'd be site dedicated to the book that would contain such material but perhaps working with a free software application lends itself to less formal image sources.

    I think that the author could have added a whole lot more material to this book if he'd wanted to. Just going through what's there between the covers gives the reader a good idea of what the GIMP is actually capable of and it's capable of quite a bit. I wasn't kidding when I said "Move over PhotoShop". The GIMP has really matured as a graphics editor and Hammel's book illustrates (sorry about the pun) that fact very well. If you are an artist or at least need to create and edit graphics from time to time, I highly recommend "The Artist's Guide to GIMP Effects". The book isn't free, but GIMP is...on Linux, Mac, and Windows platforms. What are you waiting for?
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