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Reviewed by Major Keary
Gimp 2 for Photographers is an elegant book from Rocky Nook, a niche publisher with a small list of excellent titles on modern photography, each one closely focused on a particular field or application. These are not big, all-singing-all-dancing books that claim to be complete references or 'bibles'; they are large format (205 × 255 mm), have a modest page-count, and—as well as being most attractive to look at—are practical guides for both lay readers and professionals. Anyone interested in good typographic design should look at Rocky Nook books, as should anyone interested in high quality documentation and technical communication. The more I look at this title the more I am surprised by the depth of coverage that is achieved in less than 200 pages; it is not just about using the GIMP, but discusses a wide range of photography-related issues.
GIMP 2 for Photographers deals with the use of GIMP for image editing without overselling the software: "Many people find the GIMP extremely useful, but you should be aware that the GIMP is not a replacement for Adobe Photoshop, particularly if you are using Photoshop professionally. However, if you are a semi-professional or amateur who simply wants to edit your digital images, the GIMP's price-to-performance ratio is unbeatable. The GIMP 2 is definitively on its way to becoming a professional tool".
This is a well-crafted manual-cum-tutorial on using the GIMP to edit photographic images and will suit Windows, Mac, and Linux users (the GIMP seems to present a common interface on all platforms). A companion CD contains the executables for Windows and Mac, and source code for Linux (most Linux distros include the GIMP). The CD also contains the image files used in the book's tutorials, thus providing users with hands-on exercises and material for experimentation.
I was impressed by the detailed discussion of installation under Windows and Mac; there is a sequence—spelled out in the text—in which the executables (all contained on the CD) should be installed on a Windows system.
Most of the content follows a tutorial style, providing step-by-step instructions on how to use each of the GIMP's image editing tools and features. It is not a bare-bones step 1, step 2, step … presentation, but offers discussions that provide an understanding of the various processes. The text is well supported by screen shots, example images, and other graphics.
Most imaging software comes with a panoply of tools and plug-ins that can be downright confusing. The GIMP has its repertoire; those tools that are of direct use in editing photographic images are well covered, both by description and example. There are useful tables that serve as a quick look-up resource.
There are bigger and more comprehensive books on the GIMP, but if you want to use it just for photographic image editing this is the text you need. Compact and comprehensive, it is presents detailed solutions to many common editing tasks.
Klaus Goelker: GIMP 2 for Photographers
Published by Rocky Nook, 186 pp., RRP AU$ 65.00
Rocky Nook titles are distributed in Australia by Woodslane <www.woodslane.com.au>