Image Editing Basics – GIMP for Beginners


Let’s set the scene – You’ve just come back
from a trip or an event. You’ve taken a lot of pictures during that
time and well, they are very significant memories. They are pictures you’d like to keep and share. As it turns out, pictures that come directly
out of a digital camera aren’t always perfect. In fact most of them could benefit from some
post processing on your computer, so you might want to do that for some of the pictures you’ve
taken. What are some techniques you can use to do
that? Well, image editing techniques can range from
very simple to very complex, and today, we’re gonna be focusing our energies on the simpler
side of the spectrum. You’re watching another random Wednesday episode
on 0612 TV! Hello and welcome back to another random Wednesday
episode! As mentioned, what we’re gonna do today is
we’re gonna look at some very simple image editing techniques. I’ve chosen these techniques for a number
of reasons – First and foremost, they are beginner friendly, so even if you’re new to
image editing, this shouldn’t be too hard of a thing to do. On top of that, they are very fast to carry
out, so you don’t have to spend a lot of time just working to try and make your picture
look better. And the third reason is that they are widely
applicable – Whether you’re shooting in the dark, whether you’re shooting, say a sporting
event, these tips can be adapted and applied to these different situations so they’re very
robust. The software we’re gonna be using to do all
our editing is called GIMP and it is a free open source software. What this means is you have a very powerful
tool in your hands that you don’t have to shell out a single cent for, and that is always
great. To download GIMP, you can find a link in the
video description. That will get you to an installer that you
can just run on your system, and you will have GIMP installed in no time. Of course this step is optional, if you already
have software like Photoshop, then go ahead and use that. Turns out a lot of the things that I will
be sharing with you is available in pretty much any image editing software, so you’ll
be fine. The names will even sound quite similar. So with all that out of the way, let us begin
to look at some steps we can follow to make our pictures look better, and the first of
which is brightness. A lot of the time, what contributes to a bad
looking image is the fact that the brightness isn’t quite right. Of course, we cannot salvage every situation. For example, if an image is grossly underexposed
or overexposed, there isn’t a whole lot we can do, because a lot of information has been
lost. For example, in the case of overexposure,
we lose all the color information in the blown out areas, so yeah we can’t really do very
much to salvage that. However, in most situations where the exposure
is more or less okay, we can actually use tools to sorta fix things up. There are three tools you can use to do this,
namely a Brightness and Contrast tool, a Levels tool and a Curves tool. Brightness and Contrast is the simplest though
it gives you very little control. Levels is slightly more complex and is the
tool I would recommend you use, and Curves is significantly more complex. In fact, I would say it is quite easy to mess
up and not really know how to recover from that which is why I don’t use it very often. Since I promised this video will be simple,
let’s look at the Brightness and Contrast tool. As I mentioned, I do recommend using the levels
tool, but that would be too much to talk about in this video. In fact, we’ve just looked at it in the previous
episode of Friday Minis so I’ll put a link onscreen. Instead let us confine ourselves to the Brightness
and Contrast tool. The first thing you’ll want to do is to adjust
the contrast. A lot of the time, pictures don’t have quite
enough contrast, so bring it up. And notice what happens – The darker colors
become darker, and the brighter colors become brighter. This makes the image look much more vibrant,
and that helps in making the picture feel like it is of a higher quality. Of course, don’t overdo it, otherwise you
get strange splotches of color. The best way is forward is to increase the
contrast subtly. Then, use the Brightness slider. If the image feels too dark, bring up the
brightness slightly. If the image feels too bright, bring the brightness
down. What you’ll need to do is to find the perfect
balance. So with that done, we can move on to step
2, and that is to crop the image. Now, this step is optional, but there are
good reasons to do it, and if you feel that you need to, do go ahead and do it, because
it can make your picture look better. Now, there are two reasons why you would want
to crop an image. The first one is practical – A practical reason
for cropping an image is of course to remove something you don’t want, for example someone
walking into your frame, you know maybe your own hand, stuff like that. Things you actually want to cut out should
be done at this stage. But, more interestingly you can also crop
for a stylistic purpose. In this context, what we’re trying to achieve
is better framing, and that refers to where your subject is in the final image, as well
as what the surroundings around your subject are like. Paying attention to framing is one of the
things that contribute to making an image look professional and very nice. So yeah, if you don’t do it during the image
capturing stage, you can still do it later on in cropping. So understanding these two reasons, what we
can do is we can actually do both at the same time. Using the crop tool, go ahead and just draw
a rectangle around your subject. You can adjust your cropping by dragging the
edges around, so don’t worry about being too precise. The first you’ll want to address of course
is the practical concern, and that is to cut out everything unimportant from the picture. As for the stylistic concerns, there are actually
quite a few rules that determine how you should frame your subject, the most famous of which
is the rule of thirds. However, we’re not gonna go into too much
detail about that. You can check out the video I’ve done before
on this subject. Basically the one real rule I want you to
follow here is to not center your subject. Try to just push it off to one side, maybe
up or down a little, and that immediately creates a much more professional feel in your
image. Now, the shape of your crop can also affect
the look and feel of your final image. The shape of an image is measured a unit called
aspect ratio, which is the ratio between its width and height. Some common aspect ratios are shown on screen,
so you can use these as a guideline. You don’t have to strictly follow any of them,
but generally, unless you’re going for some kind of special effect, you’ll probably want
to avoid highly rectangular shapes. After cropping, you can then move on to sharpening. Now, a lot of the time, an image coming directly
out of your camera would be slightly blurry. That is just the nature of digital cameras. But, thankfully in image editing software,
what you can do is you can sharpen the image. There are two different filters you can use
to achieve this effect – A simple Sharpen tool, or a more advanced Unsharp mask. For the purposes of this tutorial, we’re gonna
stick to a simple sharpening tool. What you’ll wanna do is you’ll wanna click
on that little icon on the lower right and sorta move the preview to an important part
of the image. Then, bring the slider up slowly. If you over-sharpen the image, it is very
obvious. You can see a lot of artifacts, a lot of little
squarish blocks all over the place, and that naturally that doesn’t look right. So, keep the effect subtle. If you feel like you’re not making any change
at all, what you can do is you can toggle the preview on and off. Chances are, that would be the point you realize
that hey, a subtle setting actually works, because you can tell you’ve actually sharpened
the image, but it in fact sharper than before. Anyway the point is, play around with the
slider, use the preview as a good gauge of what the sharpening effect is doing, and yeah,
once you’re satisfied with the look, go ahead and click OK, and you’ve just sharpened your
image! Next is an optional step, and that is scaling
down the image. Now, like I said it’s an optional step, avoid
it if you can. But sometimes, in an image, there are just
issues that you cannot fix. For example if there is very slight camera
shake such that there is motion blur, it is very difficult to counter this effect. Similarly if you have very slight focal blur,
as in your image is very slightly out of focus, that might not be easy to fix as well. However, for both these situations, when you
actually zoom out on the image, you realize that you can’t really tell that that issue
is there. And that is what we’ll achieve by scaling
down the image. We basically hide away the flaws by actually
reducing the resolution of the image. Like I said of course, this is a huge tradeoff,
don’t do it if you can, but do it if you have to. How much you wanna scale down the image depends
on how big the problems are. What you can do is you can go ahead and scale
down the image, and check and see if it’s too much or too little, then undo the operation
and scale it again. So once you’re done with the scaling, we can
then move on to our final step, and that is color correction. Now, even though the word “color correction”
actually makes it sound like we’re just trying to fix a problem here, really color correction
has two parts. And indeed the first of which is to fix a
problem. A lot of the time, a practical reason in this
context would be to remove a color cast, and what that means is if an image is discolored
uniformly in a certain way, that is considered a color cast, and that is something we can
quite easily remove. Once we’re done with that, we can move on
to the stylistic side of things, which in the context of filmmaking, would actually
not be known as color correction, but be known as color grading instead. The point is we wanna actually tweak the colors
so that the image appears stylized. There are two different tools we can actually
use for this, namely a Hue and Saturation tool and a Color Balance tool. The Color Balance tool will be the more advanced
of the two. In fact I’ve previously done a pretty in-depth
video on working with color cast, and that uses the color balance tool, so yeah there
will be an annotation link onscreen, click it and check it out! However, in the context of this particular
video, we’re gonna confine ourselves to the hue and saturation tool. While this tool appears very complex, you
can ignore the difficult part and just work with the simple one. In fact, really only one slider is particularly
important, and that is the saturation. Changing the saturation directly affects the
amount of color in the image. When you reduce the saturation of an image,
the colors appear very washed out, whereas if you actually increase it, you’ll notice
that the colors become much more vibrant. You can use this to basically tweak the overall
color of the image. If you have a serious color cast, what you
can do is you can go to the radio buttons on top, and pick the channel that you want
to affect. You might want to bring “overlap” slider up
a little bit, and then reduce or increase the saturation. When you do things this way, you are affecting
just that one color. You can also use the Hue slider to basically
change one set of colors into a completely different set of colors, but this is kinda
trippy looking and of course, you don’t want to overdo this. If you are on the master channel and you want
to slightly tweak up skin tones, you can actually use the hue slider. Moving it one direction makes skin tones look
yellower, while the other direction makes it look redder. So yeah, if skin tones are too yellow or too
red, you can use the Hue slider to correct for this. With just these simple steps, you can actually
move your image from you know, a kinda boring normal-ish looking image, to something that
looks more vibrant, that looks more alive. And these are just some the most simple things
you can do in GIMP. As you progress, as you learn more things
you can do in this software, what you end up with is the ability to do a lot to an image. Anyway that wraps it up for this episode! Today we’ve looked at five different tips
you can actually use to make your image look better! Feel free to apply this to any of the images
you’ve taken, and try to have a hands-on feel of what the effect is going to be like! That’s all there is for this episode, I hope
you gained some insight today. Thank you very much for watching and until
next time, you’re watching 0612 TV!

42 Replies to “Image Editing Basics – GIMP for Beginners

  1. Interesting to say the least, but as a new user of Gimp I found it very lacking, because you did not clearly show how to get to the information you were talking about, this means I must fumble around searching for them. You did say Basic Gimp for Beginners. it may say image editing but it is basic.

  2. Hi LCC, could you please make more videos regarding more complex features of the GIMP that you mentioned in this video? That would be great for people who want to know more about editing photos like me. Thank you.

  3. Really like how you teach. Can you show how to make a photo of flowers and give them that very soft look. Almost sureal look. Thanks for your help.

  4. very good information. However, you started with the pic already in gimp. Nothing has been shown as to how we get the pic from the camera card into gimp then save it. Now I need to copy it into my hard drive. No info on that either. I did enjoy the edit info. Thank you.

  5. How come when I open my Gimp the toolbars dont show..no layer toolbar or tools toolbar. I cant get it to open up without clicking the titles up top?

  6. Great job! This video tutorial was more than what I expected. I'll check out other videos on your channel as well. Oh yeah, I gave it a big Thumbs Up and I Subscribed. Be well and stay encouraged!

  7. Very interesting, however it is lacking on how to Save or save as. Which is better? I am a new user trying to edit pics for eBay and Etsy. I agree with Wicca Robin. I am using Linux Mint

  8. hi the free hand selection tool does not have the marching ants can u tell me why ? thank you working winth gimp 2.10.2

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