Join Justin Seeley for an in-depth discussion in this video Exploring the tools, part of GIMP Essential Training.
The Tools panel inside of GIMP is really what makes things work and move inside of the program. This is where you find all of the different items that you are going to be able to use to manipulate, and fix photos, and create artwork inside of GIMP. That's over here on the left-hand side. You've got a wide variety of tools to choose from. Let's start at the top, where we get some basic selection tools, like a rectangular select tool. We also get an elliptical select tool; that's where you make circular selections. You've got a Free Select Tool, which is much like a lasso tool in other applications.
You've got something called the Fuzzy Select Tool, which allows you to select a contiguous region on the basis of color. You've also got a Select by Color Tool, which allows you to just point and click to select regions with similar colors. You've got a Scissors Tool, which allows you to select shapes using something called intelligent edge-fitting. You've got a Foreground Select Tool, which allows you to select a region containing only the foreground objects. That pretty much rounds out the selection tools, though. After that, you get things like a Paths Tool to create and edit vector paths. We'll cover that in its own movie later on.
You've got a Color Picker Tool; this is basically like an eyedropper that allows you to sample colors inside of your image. You've got a Zoom Tool; allows you to adjust how far you're zoomed in or zoomed out on an image. You've got a Measure Tool; you can measure the distance and the angle of things inside of your GIMP documents. The Move Tool, which is one of the most essential tools here, allows you to move layer selections and objects around inside of GIMP. You have an Alignment Tool; this allows you to align or arrange layers and other objects together based on certain criteria. Here is your Crop Tool; it lets you remove different areas of an image that you don't want anymore.
You've got a Rotate Tool; you can rotate a layer selection or path using this tool. You've also got a Scale Tool; it allows you to scale things up or down. A Shear Tool, allowing you to change a layer, or selection, or a path with a sheer adjustment. You can also change something with perspective using the Perspective Tool. You've got a Flip Tool that allows you to easily reverse things inside of your documents. You've also got something called Cage Transform. This allows you to deform a selection with something called a cage. We're going to cover that a little bit later on.
You've got a Text Tool; it allows you to create and edit text layers inside of your GIMP documents. You've got a Bucket Tool; allows you to fill selected areas with a color or a pattern. You've got a Blend Tool; this allows you to actually fill things with a gradient. You've got a Pencil Tool, a Brush Tool, the eraser, you've got an Airbrush Tool; you've also got the Ink Tool. You've got the Clone Tool, which allows you selectively copy from an image or pattern using a Brush. This is something that's really good for photo retouching and restoring old photos. You've also got a Healing Tool; this is great for retouching portraits, and things like that.
You've got a Perspective Clone Tool; this allows you to clone things actually in perspective, so if something is going away from you, you can actually perform a cloning operation that will follow that perspective that you set. You've got a Blur and Sharpen Tool here, which allows you to do selective blurring or unblurring, using a basic brushstroke. You've got a Smudge Tool, where you can just kind of blob things around, and then finally, you've got the Dodge and Burn Tools, which allows you to selectively lighten or darken certain areas of your photo. We're going to cover most of these later on in our chapters as we start to get more into the ins and outs of GIMP, and the techniques to create different types of images in GIMP.
Directly underneath that, we've got our color controls. Any time you want to access the Color Picker, just click on the color, and you can change either the foreground or the background color, and you can select your color inside of here simply by clicking, or you can also mix and match using your HSV or RGB sliders right here. You can also enter in your HTML notation, or your hex code values right there, and you can do it that way. You can hit OK to commit, Cancel to escape, and it goes right back outside.
If you ever need to flip-flop these, just hit this little toggle switch right here, and those will automatically flip back and forth for you. This is going to be great when you're working with masking to allow you to easily switch between taking things away, and adding things to your masks, and we'll cover that a little bit later on as well. So, I hope that this tour of the GIMP tools has given you a better idea of what you're working with over here, and gives you an idea of where to find things as you need them, as you're continuing through this course. We are going to be using the GIMP tools quite a bit, so take some time, familiarize yourself with these, and try to learn the ones that you are going to be using most often; where they are, how to access them, and you'll be well on your way to becoming more proficient here inside of GIMP.
- What is GIMP?
- Performing nondestructive edits with layers
- Exploring blend modes
- Adjusting transparency
- Making selections
- Creating layer masks
- Adjusting color and contrast with Curves, Levels, and other auto adjustments
- Sharpening images
- Using patterns and gradients in your images
- Fixing image flaws
- Enhancing photos with filters
- Automating your workflow
Skill Level Beginner
Q: This course was updated on 09/04/2014. What changed?
A: We added a movie that explains why you can't achieve some of the effects shown in these tutorials in the Windows version of GIMP. This is due to the fact some plugins have been removed since this course was recorded. Watch the "IMPORTANT: Before we get started" to learn more about how these changes will impact you.
Q: I don't have access to some of the tools and can't create some of effects shown in this course. What's wrong?
A: Unfortunately, some plugins have been removed from the Windows version of GIMP since this course was recorded. Watch the "IMPORTANT: Before we get started" to learn more about how these changes will impact you.