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 Post subject: Which Free Software
PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 7:42 pm 
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What is a good alternative to Photoshop?

I was not able to use Paint.net that I had previously used before briefly, because I don't have the Microsoft service pack installed (I can't install this for several reasons). I have tried Gimp, but don't really know how to use it.

I am looking for something similar to Adobe, but that is free.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 7:53 pm 
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I am a dummy... Edited to say I didn't read it very carefully...

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 7:55 pm 
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I have heard a lot of people recommend Gimp


http://www.gimp.org/

I had it WAAY back when I was a newbie to the whole editing thing and only used contrast and saturate... So I have no clue how the program really is.

Hope that helped.



Sorry... I am a dummy and didn't read carefully... :/[/u][/i]

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:33 am 
Canon_500D - Getting a free app that does exactly what one that costs over $1,000.00 (retail full version) where I am - Sydney - is a pretty big "ask". There's a reason Mr Adobe charges quite a bit for Photoshop - he puts a vast amount of work into it as a commercial project - and wants a return on it!

That's one way of doing it - the other is OpenSource - which has many thousands of voluntary contributors, tied together by a Team - as does Gimp. And Gimp is about as good as you can get, no-cost, legally - unless you run Linux and want the advanced ImageMajick.

I do run Linux, and Majick is a bit heavy-duty for my needs, so I use Gimp and Digikam and DarkTable - and where those don't do things the way I want to (as a Photoshopper from version 4 back in Windows in the '90s) - I run Photoshop 7 in Wine.

You can buy a legit CD of Photoshop 7 quite cheaply in used-software places, these days. While it doesn't have all the automatics and advanced functions of the CS versions - for the photo image manpulation it was actually designed for - it still does very well.

In Windows you could combine Gimp and Photoshop 7 and use "the best of both".

Raw Therapee (2.4.1 is still the best stable version, as they sort the new one out) - is free for Windows and Linux (not Mac, yet) - and also has some pretty good functions and tools.

As for Gimp - nobody starts off with Photoshop the very first time, and is an instant-expert - it has quite a learning-curve - and Gimp is similar in that sense. It's a very powerful image manipulation app, nowadays - but doesn't "work like Photoshop" - as Mr Adobe wouldn't appreciate copying - so Gimp is "different".

Note that for the Windows version of Gimp, the User Manual is a separate download - see:

Ref: - w-w.gimp.org/windows/

You can also access Gimp Tutorials at:

Ref: - w-w.gimp.org/tutorials/

- Where it has sections for - Beginner - Intermediate - Expert - Photo-Editing - Web, and more.

The Gimp Plugin Registry is at:

Ref: - h-tp://registry.gimp.org/

And for an excellent multi-functions plugins toolset - G'MIC has 15+ sections, each of which has a subset of plugins-tools - all available from the G'MIC dialog, which appears at the bottom of Gimp's Filters Menu, when installed. Find it at:

Ref: - h-tp://gmic.sourceforge.net/

So there's a few hints - post back if any questions...

Regards, Dave.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 1:18 pm 
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I will give Gimp another go then. I am looking for multi layer editing.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 10:22 pm 
Canon_500D - You're probably looking for TIFF multi-layering - with an Alpha channel and multiple transparencies... You can layer-mask, group-layer, and single or group link layers.

Ref: - h-tp://docs.gimp.org/en/gimp-image-combining.html

And layer-masking is at:

Ref: - h-tp://docs.gimp.org/en/gimp-dialogs-structure.html#gimp-layer-mask.

- "GIMP has twenty-one layer modes. Layer modes are also sometimes called “blending modes”. Selecting a layer mode changes the appearance of the layer or image, based on the layer or layers beneath it...."

Ref: - h-tp://docs.gimp.org/en/gimp-concepts-layer-modes.html

Look through those - and you'll see that while Gimp doesn't manage layer functions the same as Photoshop (it'd be illegal to copy Adobe's work) - it does have rather advanced layer functions.

Gimp functions - any, not just layers - can "look wrong" if you're used to Photoshop, say at school or work. Almost always, Gimp is doing the same things, but the modes and/or sequences can be "different" and so initially seem to be "wrong".

There are several Gimp forums you can post questions to - one is:

Ref: - h-tp://gimpforums.com

Regards, Dave.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 10:58 pm 
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Can JPG or JPEG be used?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:06 am 
Canon_500D - Sorry, I was assuming that you were using TIFFs out of RAW post-processing, for your work.

You can put any format Gimp handles, and it handles most Windows and Linux/Unix file formats, in Gimp layers.

However, JPEG is a "lossy" format - that is, it has an old-style "light-duties" algorithm/coding - so that any time you re-save, or modify and re-save, a JPEG, you lose a percentage of the information in the file. That includes re-sizing as well as working on them with tools or filters.

In Photoshop it's advisable to change JPEGs to its 'native' PSD - a non-lossy format that can save open layer-structures - so long as you haven't 'flattened' or 'merged-down' the in-process image's layers.

In Gimp you can do the same with its 'native' XCF format. That is - it's a non-lossy you can convert JPEGs to for processing / working on. So long as you haven't flattened or merged-down the image, it will save the layers and re-open with them intact.

TIFF is a non-lossy format that can save layer structures, and is non-lossy. You can use it in Gimp and Photoshop - even use it as a work-between with those two applications.

JPEG format itself can't save layers - as mentioned, its algorithm is quite old and low-end.

You can use JPEGS - or parts of them - as imports to layers, in Gimp (or in Photoshop, of course) - but with any changes / mods you make to them when in the layers, will reduce their quality.

If you're not concerned with the quality, but are creating some sort of "effect" with JPEGs imported to layers - you "can" save the work-in-progress - with the layers - to open and work on again, later.

But you can't do that by saving to JPEG - which can't save layer structures. You 'can' save the work-in-progress IF you save the job to XCF or TIFF, in Gimp (PSD or TIFF in Photoshop) - but the images on the saved layers will then belong to that format.

In Gimp, sure, you could import JPEGs to layers, and work with them there, accepting the quality losses... However, to then save to JPEG, you'd have to flatten the layers into one level - background or merge all down to one layer - then save.

That would make the separate JPEGs you had imported to the layers unrecoverable as the separate images. If you save a layers job with its layers - in XCF / TIFF / PSD - you can open it again and access the contents of the layers.

As you say you're working with JPEGs - AND using layers - I'm not at all sure what type of task you're doing - perhaps you could describe the task / process - and then I - or others - might be able to be more helpful to you.

Regard, Dave.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 4:46 pm 
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Hi Dave,
I would like to do the following

Blurred layer (completely)
Blurred layer on top (with sharp parts)

How do I go about doing that in Gimp? Should I use a particular file format?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 7:26 am 
Canon_500D - Hmmm..., a blurred layer with a blurred layer over it - but that has some sharp parts...?

Can't really imagine what you're doing or what the result is intended to look like... But if you want an image, pattern, etc, on a layer, mostly blurred, but some areas/parts left sharp - you might use a transparency layer and masking - reduce the opacity to see which parts to 'paint-unblurred', which might be awkward, or, first Select (Tools > Selection Tools > Free-Select, etc) the parts to remain unblurred - then invert the selection - Select > Invert, and blur the main area.

If you're using low blur to enhance highlighted selections, doing Blur Overlays might suit better - there's a comprehensive tutorial on that, that goes through the procedure in sequence, with plenty of dialogs/pictures/words to explain it at:

Ref: - w-w.gimp.org/tutorials/Blur_Overlays/

Could you describe what materials/images you're using for this project - and what the result is intended to look like? There might be other easier/better ways to do it if we know what the result is going to be.

Regards, Dave.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 3:23 pm 
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I have seen how it is done in Photoshop, just not Gimp.

Apparently, you have several layers, and apply a white mask with black paint to one of them. You then paint over the blurred areas, and they become sharp.

I had a go in Gimp, and I can not seem to be able to do it. I just ended up with black areas where I had painted.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 10:05 pm 
Canon_500D - There's a tute for Gimp masking opacity/transparency at:

Ref: - h-tp://docs.gimp.org/en/gimp-layer-mask-add.html

It sounds as if you're not too sure about layers and masks in Gimp. Seeing it in Photoshop only shows the concept - not how it's done in Gimp, which has rather different methods.

Both are explained fully in the User Manual. In Linux this is included with Gimp - note that for the Windows version it's a separate download.

In the Manual Help Browser, Section 7, Painting With Gimp, shows Selections by using QuickMask. Section 8, Combining Images, shows using masks and layers.

- From what you're saying, it sounds as if you have the sharp image on one layer, and above it on another layer, a blurred version of the same image. For that top layer, you want to be able to mask-paintout parts, so the sharp areas selected "show through" from the lower layer image. If you then flattened the image to one layer - you'd then have one image, mostly blurred, but with areas of sharp-image featured. So as a flattened 1-layer image, you could then save that as a JPEG.

Is this what you're actually intending as the result?

Regards, Dave.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 11:51 am 
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Yes, that is what I am trying to do.

I tried to reply last night, but the forum had down time.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 5:37 pm 
Canon_500D - Forums have to do their regular maint, and as this one is worldwide and 24/7, there's no "2am periods" for doing that "overnight".... :D

If masking is a bit confusing - you can isolate an unblurred area - or more than one - with layer overlay and an Alpha channel - somewhere for it to put the 'change' information until you flatten the image.

This quicky-method is done entirely with 1 JPEG from a camera.

Create your "blurred" version of the image "Filename.jpg" as say, "Filename1.jpg".

Open Filename in Gimp, and as that's "Background", Copy it to a new Layer, Layer-1. Create a new Layer, Layer-2. Import Filename1, the blurred version, to Layer-2. Right-Click the selected Layer-2 in the Layers Dialog, and "Add Alpha Channel".

Enlarge the image in the canvas window to make it easier to work on the areas you need to. You can move the image around in the window with the sliders as you work. Use the Eraser, etc, and reduce the size with the tool's slider in the dialog box on the left. You can greatly enlarge the image - and reduce the brush-size - to do the finer fiddly-bits.

You can reduce the opacity of the blurred layer if it's severely blurred, to better see the outline of the sharp image below it, with the Opacity Slider in the Layers dialog.

When the selecting is complete and checked - flatten the image and save to a new Filename2.jpg. You can save the worked-on image with the layers by first saving it to XCF - so you can open it to modify later if needed.

Not sure if I should put images here - so will just link an example - you'd take the time to be neater - but that gives an idea of what the above quicky-method does.

Image

If that's not actually what's intended - you might explain a bit further.

Regards, Dave.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 1:55 pm 
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And if you really want to go advanced, perhaps use gradients on the alpha channel to simulate the blurryness of something that is further away, or closer. :)

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