My note on GIMP to edit digital photos

Before struggling with Canon EOS 400D or 30D, or … making money first…, I figured out that before I have money to buy a DSLR, I’d play around with digital photo editing softwares in Linux first. I then searched for a good photo editing software for sometime. But a voice told me in my head: “Hey, dude, don’t you know GIMP was in your Ubuntu from the very beginning.” Yeah, I am stupid, how can I ignore such a powerful tool that comes with Ubuntu (in fact, I think most distributions would have it). Then I started to learn it. Here are some notes in case I forget them:

 

  • Remove red eye. Comes from here. Quick steps:
  1. In the picture window, zoom to the pupils, press “Z”.
  2. Play around the threshold to select red areas.
  3. Filters/Colors/Channel Mixer. Choose around “Red 10%, Green 60% and Blue 30%” , done.
  • Blur background, focus object. Comes from here. Doing this can make my picture more like taken from DSLR. The link shows a wee complicated way, my lazy way is:
  1. Always select object area first. Either use quick mask (Shift+Q, then use white brush to brush areas to select, and black brush to brush unwanted areas, then Shift+Q again to see the selection area), or use keyboard “I” to select.
  2. Use Filters/Enhance/Unsharp Mask to sharp the object a bit.
  3. Ctrl+I. Use Filters/Blur/Gaussan Blur to blur background. (radius around 20 would be OK)
  • Make colors better. This comes from a lot of links.
  1. First of all. Tools/Color Tools/Levels/Auto would be a good automatic way to better color.
  2. If I feel some colors are too thick in the picture (say blue), change chanel in the Levels dialogue from value to that chanel, say blue. and drag the righ triangle to left. Need to play around.
  3. Also /Tools/Color Tools/Curves is worthy playing around. I haven’t figured out the principles of these tools, but they are good…
  4. /Tools/Color Tools/Brightness-Contrast is self-explained.
  5. Tools in /Layer/Color/Auto can also do some automatic jobs to make colors better.
  • Heal picture. This is so amazing. With this Clone tool, I can remove dust in the picture. It can achieve some amazing effect far more than dust removing. Just play around it once, you’ll get the idea.
  1. In the picture window, zoom to the dust I don’t want. keep some good area around it, because clone tool needs place to clone. Press “C” key.
  2. Ctrl+Click the spot you think that is very similar to the dust area that you want to heal. This is the original area to clone.
  3. Click on the dust to heal it with the clone area. Choose proper brush size. Sometimes I find a big fuzzy brush can do better job than small ones.
  4. Notice that if you click hold and drag the brush around the dust area, the original clone area are moving too. This can avoid making picture too fake (all copy from the same spot). There is an option of Alighnment to select, try it, you’ll get the idea.

These are the notes I learned so far. Anyway, GIMP is an amazing free software, I’ll keep learning it:). The picture below is my practice, with my normal Kodak digital camera without flashlight (along with the original picture). First I used Levels and Curves to deal with the color. Then I used unsharp mask to sharpen nemo, then Gaussian blur to blur the background.

Nemo Nemo origin

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4 Responses to My note on GIMP to edit digital photos

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