If you want to learn GIMP . . .

Open-source programs can be hit or miss. How about a graphic manipulation program? Specifically, GIMP — the one to get if you can’t afford Photoshop. GIMP is hit and miss and hit again and miss again and finally, bingo!

I think I learned it the hard way:

  1. Try to edit a photograph using GIMP.
  2. Read the online manual.
  3. Use my newfound knowledge to try to edit pictures using GIMP.
  4. Repeat step 2 and 3 till I know how to use it.

That’s usually how I master new programs. But it’s really not a good idea, unless you already know terms like “RGB color” and “channels” and “alpha mask.” This is what I should have done:

  1. Try to edit a photograph using GIMP.
  2. Watch a Youtube tutorial.
  3. Refer to the online manual if confused.
  4. Try out what I learned.
  5. Repeat steps 1-4.

And here are links to the Youtube videos I should’ve watched.


I watched the Paths one today because that was one thing I didn’t know how to do. Coulda saved myself maybe 50 hours if I’d watched it sooner.


Today I watched #12. In it, a kid uses GIMP to create a piece of surreal art involving trees and waterfalls and a castle in someone’s cupped hand. That’s worth watching just to be impressed with the kid.

So that’s that. Just in case the “me” from last spring is listening.

2 responses to “If you want to learn GIMP . . .

  1. You’re the smart one, then . . . 🙂 Still, you might try a Youtube tutorial next time you want to do something simple. The main thing to know is: open the right dialog boxes so you can see what the heck you’re doing, and make good use of layers, and finally, if something seems to hard to do, there is in fact a magical easy solution . . . somewhere.

  2. Whenever I’ve thought I might want to use GIMP for something—and learn to make it my default graphics editor—I’ve wound up deciding to use something simpler until some magical eon when I would have time to learn GIMP.

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