Join Justin Seeley for an in-depth discussion in this video Touring the GIMP interface, part of GIMP Essential Training (2012).
When you first launch the GIMP application, you should see something similar to what I'm showing you here on my screen. GIMP automatically opens up in what I call an exploded view, where everything is just sort of unattached, and spread all over the place. You'll have your tools, most likely, on the left, you'll have a document window somewhere in the middle, and then all of your panels will be scattered somewhere on the right. If you're using two monitors, your panels may actually be over on your separate monitor, so if you don't see your panels automatically over here on the right-hand side, check your extra monitor, and drag them back over.
If you would like for all of this to be consolidated into one single window, you can do that fairly easily by enabling something called Single Window mode, which I'll get to just a moment. But for now, let's take a tour of the default GIMP interface, just to get you familiar with what everything is, and how to find it as we go throughout this course. I am going to start at the top, and work my way down. You'll notice at the top here, I have several menu items to select from. So if at any point in the course you hear me say let's go to the Select menu, I am talking about going to the word Select, clicking on it, and finding the command that I'm talking about.
You have a File menu, an Edit menu, a Select menu, a View menu, an Image menu, Layer, Colors, Tools, Filters, Windows, and of course, Help. Any time in this menu structure if you see a black triangle out to the right-hand side, that means there is a submenu associated with it, and you can go find extra tools or commands associated with that topic. If I click away from that, it will close those menus. Over here on the left-hand side, we have all of the tools in GIMP. Now, I am going to cover the tools in their own specific movie a little bit later on, so don't worry about that right now. Just know that this is where you find all of the tools that you'll be using inside of GIMP.
At the bottom of that, you have some color controls. You've also got some access to your airbrush settings down here. Any time you see a panel that has scrollbars like this, just click and drag them to navigate your way around inside of that panel. You can also click and drag this way to go side to side. And if you can't see all of the panel, you can try maximizing it like this, and then just resizing from the side, like that, so you can see everything. So at the bottom here, we have buttons that correspond to saving tool presets, restoring tool presets, deleting them, and also resetting all the default values.
So if you wanted to manipulate the GIMP toolbar to be smaller, or taller, or whatever you wanted it to be, you could simply click and drag that around, just like so. On the right-hand side, you've got access to all of your panels, and the panel system in GIMP is actually pretty well done. You've got access to things like Layers, Channels, Paths, and Undo History. And you'll notice that as I switch between these, just by clicking on the tabs, that the options associated with those switch at the bottom as well. So the Layers is completely different from, say, Undo History. There's only three options for History, and there are several available for Layers.
You've got the same thing going on down here at the bottom; you've got your brushes dialog, your patterns dialog, and also your gradients dialog, and of course, the options for each one of those change as you go through each one. You'll also notice to the right-hand side of each one of the panels this little arrow pointing to the left. You can click on that, and that opens up a whole set of options for this panel. So you can checkout the Layers menu, for instance, you can add a tab to this panel set, you can also close the tab that you're currently working on, you can detach the tab into its own special panel, you can lock this tab to the dock, you can change the preview size, change the tab style, you can view it as a list, show the button bar, or uncheck that to not show the button bar, you can show the image selection, auto follow the active image; all of these things are corresponding to the Layers panel.
If I were to switch to, say, the Channels, you would see some other options that are available to Channels, as well as Paths, and History as well. So it depends on which tab you are currently on what options you get in that menu, but the same holds true for this panel down here. You can see there are a lot of different options associated with that one. If I choose Patterns, there's different options there, and then Gradients, different options there as well. So again, you've got your tools on the left; your panels on the right. You've also got your image window right out here in the middle. You can take this, and sort of move it up, and then resize it by clicking and dragging, like so.
And this sort of gives you a consolidated window by doing that, but you're still in danger of moving these off to the side, or something like that. So how do we enable this Single Window mode, which is new to GIMP 2.8? You go up to the Windows menu, and you choose Single-Window Mode. And this is actually the mode that I am going to be working in for the duration of the course. It just makes it easier to find everything, and it makes it easier for me to show what's going on on my screen. So again, just to Windows, and enable Single-Window Mode to follow along with the same type of workspace that I'm going to be using.
And this is great, because it consolidates everything. You've got your tools still on the left, big document window out in the middle, and then all of your panels over here on the right, and again, any time you need to go to a menu, those are located right across the top. So hopefully by now you have a better understanding of where everything is inside of GIMP, and also how to consolidate everything into one single window to make it a little bit easier on you as we continue on our journey through this course.
- 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.