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Reviewed by Major Keary
The GNU Image Manipulation Program was commonly known as The GIMP but, although the definite-article version of the name is still used, the unadorned GIMP seems to be in the ascendant. First developed in 1995 for Linux/Unix, The GIMP has been ported to Windows and Mac.
There is plenty of documentation available on the Web and several GIMP mailing lists, but there is no substitute for a well written book, such as Akkana Peck's Beginning GIMP: From Novice to Professional, which is now in its second edition. It is both a thorough and comprehensive user manual, and a tutorial. The mix does not always work well, but in this instance it is exceptionally successful.
A couple of features are well worth mentioning. One is the way in which the author includes discussions of concepts used in image manipulation applications. For example, a chapter—Introduction to Layers—explains what a layer is and how layers are used for various purposes. The other is the depth of detail that one would expect to find in a high-end textbook. A chapter, Advanced Drawing, reveals the maths behind various modes; another chapter, Plug-ins and Scripting, includes a section on writing a C plug-in.
The book is in full colour and makes generous use of example images to support the text. Appendices cover installation on Linux, Windows, and Mac platforms. There is also plenty of information about on-line documentation and tutorials, and mailing lists. Beginning GIMP will take you through from novice user to professional-level image manipulation. There is an eBook version, which purchasers of the hard-copy book can obtain for US$10.00.
This edition covers GIMP 2.4. The next version will be 2.6 and there in an appendix that outlines features expected in 2.6 with details of a website where updated information will be available.
There are some other good books on The GIMP, but in my opinion Beginning GIMP stands out for its breadth and depth of coverage; good indexing and an expanded table of contents makes information easy to find.
Akkana Peck: Beginning GIMP: From Novice to Professional 2/e
Published by Apress, 528 pp., RRP AU$ 89.95
Apress titles are distributed in Australia by Woodslane (www.woodslane.com.au)