Book Review – Gnu Image Editing

Book Review – Gimp Bible; Wiley Publishing, Inc., Indianapolis, IN, 2010

By: Howard Kass

Summary – This book represents one of the most current and comprehensive desktop references to GIMP (the Gnu Image Manipulation Program) a full featured Open Source photo editing program that has been compared to Photoshop. Over the course of 22 chapters, 5 appendices and 722 pages, this book takes you systematically through all the functions of GIMP, thoroughly explaining the various commands and menus. In addition, there is a companion website that offers tutorials and blogs that facilitate the learning of GIMP.

Strengths – As the book traverses its way through the various menus and commands of GIMP, it covers each one very thoroughly. This is, indeed, a comprehensive reference that covers each menu and each command quite exhaustively, exploring all the permutations of each menu option of each command.

Weaknesses – One of the keys to a successful reference book for a program that edits photos is its ability to clearly illustrate what it is teaching you. Unfortunately, this book falls a little short in that task for two reasons.

First, all the illustrations are in black and white, not color. Where the book tries to demonstrate the effects of different command options, the lack of color and poor quality of the illustrations makes it difficult to truly see what the authors are trying to illustrate.

Second, while the book does a great job of comprehensively describing each command, it never really walks you through a step by step tutorial of how to accomplish certain tasks, such as using curves, or sharpening a photo, for example. For one trying to learn the program, it doesn’t do an effective job of teaching. If, you have an understanding of the program and need a reference that explains certain commands, this book is for you.

Recommended for GIMP users who need a desktop reference to the different commands and menus of the program. Less useful for those trying to learn the program.

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Howard Kass is a CPA who is an avid photographer and a GIMP user. Howard is also the president of CDPUG.

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