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photokaboom

Learn Photography

Photomontage >

4.1 – Using GIMP

GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a free alternative to Photoshop.

Download, install, and open the program.

You'll be using two photographs below.

The choice of photographs isn't important for the first time you do the following.

1 – Mac Students

When you see Ctrl in the tutorial, use the Cmd key instead.

2 – Your Photographs

At first, use photographs taken by the same camera, that are not cropped.

By doing so, you won't have to deal with changing the size of photographs.

3 – Open Your 1st Photograph

1) In the upper-left corner of your screen, go to File > Open.

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2) Navigate to your photograph.

3) Select the photograph and click Open in the lower-right corner of the window.

Your photograph appears in two locations:

• Work area

• As a layer on the right-side of your screen

Note the Ice.jpg layer at the bottom of the screenshot below.

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4 – Save

1) Press Ctrl + s.

2) Enter a new name for the file.

3) Click Save.

The photograph is saved as a GIMP file.

It's located where your first photograph is located.

Periodically press Ctrl + s to save your work.

5 – Open Your 2nd Photograph

1) In the upper-left corner of your screen, go to File > Open as Layers.

Instead of Open, you're clicking Open as Layers.

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2) Navigate to your photograph.

3) Select the photograph and click Open in the lower-right corner of the window.

Your second photograph appears in the work area.

It's covering your first photograph.

The second photograph is also on top of the layer stack on the right side of your screen.

Note the YUMMY.jpg layer on top of the Ice.jpg layer below.

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6 – Active Layer

Note, below, the top layer, YUMMY.jpg, is a darker gray.

That means it's the active layer.

When you use a tool, the active layer is edited.

To make a layer active, click on it.

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7 – Blend the Photographs

1) Check to make sure the top layer, your photograph #2, is the active layer (darker gray).

2) Look for the Opacity panel on the right side of your screen, above the photograph layers.

3) Click and hold the down arrow to reduce the opacity of the layer.

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8 – Save as a JPEG

When you're finished, press Ctrl + s to save the file as GIMP file.

You need to save the file as a JPEG if you're going to e-mail or print it.

Do the following.

1) Go to File > Export As.

2) Change the png file extension to jpg.

Make sure the period before jpg is still there: .jpg.

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3) In the Export Image as JPEG window, click the up arrow to change the Quality to 100.

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4) Click Export.

9 – Lots of Layers?

The above example has just two layers.

You may eventually be working with many layers.

That can get confusing.

Do the following.

Rename the Layers

1) Double click the letters of the name of layer.

The name will be highlighted gray.

2) Enter a descriptive name.

Find a Layer in the Layers Stack

Let's say you're creating a family tree with thirty-some layers.

You're looking at the image of your Uncle Fenster in the work area.

Which layer is his in the layers stack?

1) Go to Edit > Preferences > Tool Options > Set layer or path as active

2) Select the Move tool.

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3) Click on the object in the work area.

4) The layer containing the object will become active.