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GIMP, like many open source programs, offers several extensions to its program to add additional functionality. In GIMP these extensions are called plug-ins and you can find them on the GIMP website under the Plugin Registry. This is the page that describes all of the registered plug-ins for GIMP. These plug-ins are written by third- party developers who've decided to add some additional functionality to GIMP that they were looking for. One of the things you may wish to add to GIMP is a better Save for Web function with more control over how exactly the image is being saved.
Let's see if such a plug-in is available. If we type in the keyword search save for web and click the Search button, we'll come up with a result that looks great called Save for Web. Save for Web will give you an interface that's more similar to Photoshop Save for Web interface. Note, however, that this particular extension is available for Windows here or it's available as a .tar.bz2 file, which you can install on Linux or for the Mac.
Mac installation may be a little bit more difficult and you'll want to read the instructions for how to install a plug-in very carefully. I am going to show you how to install this for Windows and then I'll show you how to find the instructions so that you'll know how to install plug-ins on your Mac. So I am going to go ahead and click on Save for Web for Windows 32 and I am going to save that. I am going to minimize my browser and on my desktop is the Save for Web plug-in.
I am going to double-click it and inside of it is a file called webexport. I am going to drag that one out to my desktop, so I can access it. Next what I am going to do is open up My Computer to browse to the GIMP folder where I need to install the plug-in. So I am going to go to Computer, I am going to go into my C Drive, into Users, into Jen Kramer, and here is the folder for .gimp-2.6.This is the file structure in Windows Vista.
The file structure for Windows XP and earlier versions of Windows is slightly different. So you may want to read the instructions to make sure you're saving your plug-ins to the right location. Inside the .gimp-2.6 folder is a folder for plug-ins. All I need to do is drag this EXE file into that particular directory. If you have GIMP open while you do this, that's fine. Just go ahead and close GIMP and reopen it so that the plug-in will load.
For those of you who are on Macs, if you go back to GIMP website, www.gimp.org, under the Documentation link, under English, down under Chapter 12, there is an option for Installing New Plugins. If you click that link, it will describe how to install your plug-ins for Linux, for Windows, and for Macintosh.
You may need to refer to these instructions to get your extension installed. Now I am going to go ahead and restart GIMP and I am going to go ahead and open up one of the files that we created before in Chapter 2 of the exercise files. I'll open header.psd.
Now when I go to the File menu, there is a Save for Web option. Under Save for Web, I can see my graphic and for example this is now showing me what this graphic would look like as a JPEG. As I reduce quality, you can see that the graphic gets all grainy but this type of graphic really shouldn't be saved as a JPEG anyway. It'll save smaller as a PNG or as GIF, and in fact the PNG saves the file size even smaller than the GIF in this particular circumstance.
Now I am going to click the Save button and I can go ahead and save this image right to my exercise files in Chapter 2, and I am going to call this one header-saveforweb.png to differentiate it from the one that we saved with the default GIMP settings. Click the Save button. Including plug-ins in GIMP can enhance its functionality and if you're used to a program like Photoshop, it can even mimic Photoshop a little bit more closely and you can work in a way to which you're grown accustomed.
The Save for Web plug-in is a great addition to GIMP, because it gives you a little bit more control over the file size of the images that you're creating.
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