The Gimp image editor. Application 17 of 24

We talk about the image editor El Gimp

Continuing with our list of essential applications of the year 2024 It's the turn of the image editor El Gimp. It is one of the oldest but useful open source projects.

This program, can handle almost all image formats and its functionality is expanded by plugins and the possibility of creating a script in the Python language.

What is an image manipulation program

Before Artificial Intelligence inundated us with tools capable of creating images from scratch, Image manipulation programs allowed us to make changes to a photo or drawing by combining various effects, filters and brushes.

Image manipulation applications help us create, modify, edit and modify the quality of images such as digital or digitized photographs and graphics. Among other things we can make size alterations, change between color modes (All colors, black and white or grayscale), manipulate brightness and contrast or rotate.

The first image manipulation program in recorded history was developed, if not, by the Palo Alto Research Center of the Xerox company.  The program established standards that are still used today by the most modern applications. Among other things it included tools for painting and color manipulation, in addition to working with layers and videos. His name was SuperPaint.

Users painted on a digital canvas using different types of input devices such as graphics tablets or mice.

Already in the 70s, SuperPaint had the following features

  • Frame Buffer Methodology: Part of the RAM memory was used to store information about the image so that it could be viewed and manipulated in real time.
  • Drawing Tools: The program included various types of drawing and painting tools to emulate in digital format the process of drawing or painting in real life.
  • Color Manipulation: SuperPaint allowed you to modify the colors of an image from a color palette or by modifying the hue and saturation.
  •  Video: The program not only worked with static images but also with moving images, allowing special effects to be added.

The Gimp image editor

Gimp stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program. Among other things you can:

  • Create new images from scratch determining the size of the canvas and background.
  • Edit existing images modifying the color mode, size, image type, rotating it, cropping it and correcting imperfections.
  • Select parts of the image to work on them to delete them, fill them or apply filters and effects.
  • Color adjustments working on brightness, contrast, levels, white balance, exposure and saturation.
  • Application of filters and special effects such as pixelation, blurring, distortions and blurring.
  • Combination of different elements to create complex compositions using layers and masks.
  • Export to image formats most common by adjusting compression and quality levels.
  • Ability to convert videos to frames and create frames from the video.
  • Automate tasks by creating scripts in Python and the program's scipts language.
  • May expand functionalities via plugins

Although Gimp is in the repositories of the main Linux distributions, the way to have the most current version is to install it from the Flathub store. We do it with the command:

flatpak install flathub org.gimp.GIMP
To install the plugins in Gimp installed from Flathub we just have to download them and drag them to the following folder (We must activate the option to view hidden files in the explorer
of files)
~/.var/app/org.gimp.GIMP/config/GIMP/2.xx/plug-ins
The symbol ~/ indicates that the folder we are looking for is in the Home folder.

Cloud services based on Artificial Intelligence make things much easier but they are a privacy nightmare, the best features are paid and in the end the results end up being similar. The use of open source tools like Gimp, provided we take the time to learn how to use it, will exponentially increase our creativity and freedom.


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