Essential GIMP for Web Professionals

Overview

  • Create great Web graphics with The GIMP 1.2 — today!
  • Learn from real-world examples and a live Web site
  • Every key technique — quick, clear, and handy!
  • Logos, textures, image maps, animations, effects, scripting, and more

This concise, example-rich guide shows Web professionals exactly how to create high-quality graphics with the GIMP, the free open source alternative to ...

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Overview

  • Create great Web graphics with The GIMP 1.2 — today!
  • Learn from real-world examples and a live Web site
  • Every key technique — quick, clear, and handy!
  • Logos, textures, image maps, animations, effects, scripting, and more

This concise, example-rich guide shows Web professionals exactly how to create high-quality graphics with the GIMP, the free open source alternative to Photoshop(r). It delivers no-nonsense, practical coverage based on real-world projects you can see and download from a live Web site! Master layers, selections and masks, text, color management, drawing, painting, image maps, animation, working from scans, using effects and rendering filters — even scripting!

Use The GIMP to create all these Web graphics, and more!

  • Logos
  • Text elements
  • Background textures
  • Buttons and other navigation tools
  • Image galleries
  • Drawings, paintings, and more

Look to Essential Books for ALL the Web Skills You Need!All these books share the same great format, and the same dynamic Web site... so once you've used one, learning from the others is a piece of cake!

  • Essential CSS and DHTML for Web Programmers
  • Essential GIMP for Web Professionals
  • Essential Flash 5 for Web Professionals
  • Essential PERL for Web Programmers
  • Essential Photoshop for Web Designers
  • Essential JavaScript for Web Programmers
  • Essential PHP for Web Professionals
  • Essential Design for Web Professionals
  • Essentiamore to come, including Cold Fusion 4.5, JSP, and WAP
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Written for Web professionals, this guide offers instruction on creating high-quality graphics using the GIMP, a free open source alternative to Photoshop. It delivers practical coverage based on real-world projects you can see and download from a companion Web site. Topics include: layers, selections and masks, text, color management, drawing, painting, image maps, animation, scans, using effects, and rendering filters. Hammel is a freelance writer and software developer. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

Read an Excerpt

PREFACE:

Preface

In the past few years the World Wide Web has become a medium where writers, editors, and software developers have migrated, either by choice or by request, to the world of publishing. Beyond the need to develop content-the articles and other information we find online-these new publishers are finding it necessary to learn about the world of graphic arts. The Web, unlike print publishing, is actually an easy medium upon which to learn about color, texture, form, and function. That's because the medium used for display is the same medium used for creation: the computer. Tools are available for many platforms to create the simple logos and the many navigation aides we find on the Web today. The GIMP is one such tool.

Developed originally for the Linux platform, the GIMP now runs on most major flavors of UNIX and on both OS/2 and Microsoft Windows-based platforms. A port is also underway for the BeOS platform. Despite the underlying differences in these computer systems, the GIMP itself is the same on all of them. GIF images are the same no matter what platform you work on, so using the GIMP to create a GIF image is the same on all of those platforms.

The user interface for the GIMP is similar to Adobe's Photoshop, a tool popular with computer-based artists but which is inordinately expensive. In fact, much of what the GIMP does is modeled after Photoshop and tools like it. There are many advantages to using the GIMP instead of Photoshop:

  • The GIMP has an open architecture making it easy to extend its feature set.
  • The GIMP on UNIX, BeOS, and OS/2 won't crash your OS if something goes wrong.
  • The GIMPsupports scripting using multiple languages (Perl, Scheme, and Python in the 1.2 release)
  • The GIMP fixes various architectural problems found in Photoshop which amounts to better performance in various areas (layer composition, for example).

But for many new graphic artists the best reason to work with the GIMP is price—the GIMP is free. It is included with all Linux distributions and can also be downloaded from the gimp.org Web site or one of its mirror locations. Photoshop does deal with printing issues much better than the current version of the GIMP (Pantone colors, for example, are not supported in the GIMP) so if you need to worry about getting your images onto the printed page, Photoshop is currently a better solution (at least for high end publishing; it can still be used for prints where color matching does not have to be quite so accurate). But for new artists and those who don't make a living creating the artwork, the cost of Photoshop is prohibitive. The GIMP fills the gap by providing a quality alternative at a reasonable (nonexistent) price.

How This Book Is Laid Out

What we want to do with a book like this is to address the needs of those people who are new to graphic design and who need to generate graphics for Web pages. To accomplish this we break the book into five parts:

  • Part 1: GIMP Basics for Web Image Production introduces the basics of the GIMP that relate heavily to Web image production.
  • Part 2: Drawing, Painting, and Color Management moves into color, drawing, and painting issues.
  • Part 3: Formatting Images in Web Pages and Animation Issues looks at generating Web imag images.
  • Part 4: Capturing Images, Applying Special Effects, and Scripting looks at advanced features like effects and rendering filters.
  • The last part consists of a set of appendixes that can be used for quick reference.

Each of the four parts contains two or more chapters and ends with a project showing how to use what was learned in that section. The appendices contain handy references for color management features, filters, and the Perl scripting interface. Although you can skip forward through the book, you may want to read it front to back if you're new to both the GIMP and graphic design.

This book is not a comprehensive reference for the GIMP. Such a text would easily take up 1,000 or more pages and is far more detailed for someone who just wants to jump in and quickly get started. You won't be an expert after reading this text-but you will be able to get some work done. And you'll have the base upon which to start a more detailed study of the GIMP.

The Projects

Each of the four parts concludes with an example that demonstrates the features covered in the preceding chapters. These examples are referred to as Site Design chapters and show how you might approach designing the front page of a new Web site. Although these examples show basic layout and design for a fictional Web site, this book doesn't actually cover how to decide where buttons go, how to decide upon a site color scheme, or how to fit it all into the HTML. That would take another text on its own. The focus here is to show how to use the GIMP to generate the various images you'll be needing. With the exception of the chapter on making Image Maps, how you create your HTML be up to you.

Writing About Open Source Tools

The GIMP is part of a moderately new design philosophy with software—that is, the software is freely available to developers to maintain and distribute. This philosophy has been termed Open Source or Free Software, depending on whom you talk to. At the time that this book was started, the GIMP's 1.2 release was in early beta testing. If you're not familiar with beta testing, it means that the software developers have agreed that no new features are to be added and a period of time is to be spent making sure the existing features work properly. The initial beta test date might be more familiar to you the way Microsoft refers to it, which is "Launch Date."

The hard part about writing a book on a beta-level product, including one from an Open Source project, is that the product tends to change often and sometimes without notice. Fortunately, the maintainers of the GIMP project are actually well organized. Keeping up with the latest developers' releases helps in knowing what has been changed or added. Plus they're really friendly people who have never refused to answer any of my questions, no matter how silly they might have seemed. Hopefully, I've managed to catch all the updates to the 1.2 release of the GIMP before this book went to print. Since the book was timed to be delivered at about the same time GIMP 1.2 was to be released, it should match closely with the final 1.2 version. Even better, the book should be hitting the shelves at about the same time the 1.2 release is starting to be widely distributed with the popular Linux distributions. In that case, you might actually get a copy with the right information at the time you actually need it.

Isn't Open Source fun?

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Pt. 1 GIMP Basics for Web Image Production
Ch. 1 GIMP and the Web 1
Ch. 2 Layers 13
Ch. 3 Selections and Masks 31
Ch. 4 Font Techniques 43
Ch. 5 Site Design 1: Logos 59
Pt. 2 Drawing, Painting, and Color Management
Ch. 6 Color Management 69
Ch. 7 Drawing and Painting 85
Ch. 8 Site Design 2: Background Textures 103
Pt. 3 Formatting Images in Web Pages and Animation Issues
Ch. 9 Web Imaging 115
Ch. 10 Gallery Images 127
Ch. 11 Image Maps and Carvings 143
Ch. 12 Animations 155
Ch. 13 Site Design 3: Site Navigation 175
Pt. 4 Capturing Images, Applying Special Effects, and Scripting
Ch. 14 Scanning and Digital Cameras 193
Ch. 15 Effects and Filters 203
Ch. 16 Rendering Filters 217
Ch. 17 Scripting 231
Ch. 18 Site Design 4: Image Galleries 249
App. A: Toolbox Reference 269
App. B: Color Management Tools Reference 291
App. C: Effects Filter Reference 301
App. D: Rendering Filters Reference 325
App. E GIMP Keyboard Shortcuts 339
Index 343
Read More Show Less

Preface

PREFACE:

Preface

In the past few years the World Wide Web has become a medium where writers, editors, and software developers have migrated, either by choice or by request, to the world of publishing. Beyond the need to develop content-the articles and other information we find online-these new publishers are finding it necessary to learn about the world of graphic arts. The Web, unlike print publishing, is actually an easy medium upon which to learn about color, texture, form, and function. That's because the medium used for display is the same medium used for creation: the computer. Tools are available for many platforms to create the simple logos and the many navigation aides we find on the Web today. The GIMP is one such tool.

Developed originally for the Linux platform, the GIMP now runs on most major flavors of UNIX and on both OS/2 and Microsoft Windows-based platforms. A port is also underway for the BeOS platform. Despite the underlying differences in these computer systems, the GIMP itself is the same on all of them. GIF images are the same no matter what platform you work on, so using the GIMP to create a GIF image is the same on all of those platforms.

The user interface for the GIMP is similar to Adobe's Photoshop, a tool popular with computer-based artists but which is inordinately expensive. In fact, much of what the GIMP does is modeled after Photoshop and tools like it. There are many advantages to using the GIMP instead of Photoshop:

  • The GIMP has an open architecture making it easy to extend its feature set.
  • The GIMP on UNIX, BeOS, and OS/2 won't crash your OS if something goes wrong.
  • The GIMPsupports scripting using multiple languages (Perl, Scheme, and Python in the 1.2 release)
  • The GIMP fixes various architectural problems found in Photoshop which amounts to better performance in various areas (layer composition, for example).

But for many new graphic artists the best reason to work with the GIMP is price—the GIMP is free. It is included with all Linux distributions and can also be downloaded from the gimp.org Web site or one of its mirror locations. Photoshop does deal with printing issues much better than the current version of the GIMP (Pantone colors, for example, are not supported in the GIMP) so if you need to worry about getting your images onto the printed page, Photoshop is currently a better solution (at least for high end publishing; it can still be used for prints where color matching does not have to be quite so accurate). But for new artists and those who don't make a living creating the artwork, the cost of Photoshop is prohibitive. The GIMP fills the gap by providing a quality alternative at a reasonable (nonexistent) price.

How This Book Is Laid Out

What we want to do with a book like this is to address the needs of those people who are new to graphic design and who need to generate graphics for Web pages. To accomplish this we break the book into five parts:

  • Part 1: GIMP Basics for Web Image Production introduces the basics of the GIMP that relate heavily to Web image production.
  • Part 2: Drawing, Painting, and Color Management moves into color, drawing, and painting issues.
  • Part 3: Formatting Images in Web Pages and Animation Issues looks at generating Web imag images.
  • Part 4: Capturing Images, Applying Special Effects, and Scripting looks at advanced features like effects and rendering filters.
  • The last part consists of a set of appendixes that can be used for quick reference.

Each of the four parts contains two or more chapters and ends with a project showing how to use what was learned in that section. The appendices contain handy references for color management features, filters, and the Perl scripting interface. Although you can skip forward through the book, you may want to read it front to back if you're new to both the GIMP and graphic design.

This book is not a comprehensive reference for the GIMP. Such a text would easily take up 1,000 or more pages and is far more detailed for someone who just wants to jump in and quickly get started. You won't be an expert after reading this text-but you will be able to get some work done. And you'll have the base upon which to start a more detailed study of the GIMP.

The Projects

Each of the four parts concludes with an example that demonstrates the features covered in the preceding chapters. These examples are referred to as Site Design chapters and show how you might approach designing the front page of a new Web site. Although these examples show basic layout and design for a fictional Web site, this book doesn't actually cover how to decide where buttons go, how to decide upon a site color scheme, or how to fit it all into the HTML. That would take another text on its own. The focus here is to show how to use the GIMP to generate the various images you'll be needing. With the exception of the chapter on making Image Maps, how you create your HTML be up to you.

Writing About Open Source Tools

The GIMP is part of a moderately new design philosophy with software—that is, the software is freely available to developers to maintain and distribute. This philosophy has been termed Open Source or Free Software, depending on whom you talk to. At the time that this book was started, the GIMP's 1.2 release was in early beta testing. If you're not familiar with beta testing, it means that the software developers have agreed that no new features are to be added and a period of time is to be spent making sure the existing features work properly. The initial beta test date might be more familiar to you the way Microsoft refers to it, which is "Launch Date."

The hard part about writing a book on a beta-level product, including one from an Open Source project, is that the product tends to change often and sometimes without notice. Fortunately, the maintainers of the GIMP project are actually well organized. Keeping up with the latest developers' releases helps in knowing what has been changed or added. Plus they're really friendly people who have never refused to answer any of my questions, no matter how silly they might have seemed. Hopefully, I've managed to catch all the updates to the 1.2 release of the GIMP before this book went to print. Since the book was timed to be delivered at about the same time GIMP 1.2 was to be released, it should match closely with the final 1.2 version. Even better, the book should be hitting the shelves at about the same time the 1.2 release is starting to be widely distributed with the popular Linux distributions. In that case, you might actually get a copy with the right information at the time you actually need it.

Isn't Open Source fun?

Read More Show Less

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