My normal workflow is to take the picture using black and white 35mm, develop it and then scan it.  I edit it using Photoshop which normally involves not much more than brightness and contrast adjustment and then some cropping and reducing the file size for use on the blog.  It’s been called ‘semi-digital photography’ and it represents the best of both worlds.

However, my copy of Photoshop is getting old and I’m too tight to fork out for a new one, so I took this photo as usual but decided to test out free photo manipulation software called Gimp.   It’s designed to be a non-pro tool aimed at the open source market and the consensus is that Gimp does most things well but not the high end of image manipulation.

This photo of a closed and boarded up Tobacconist and Confectioners (or to put it another way, a corner shop) needed more work than usual.  There was a lot of ‘street furniture’ which ruined the compostiton.  It was easy to crop a little and remove the a car bumper which had sneaked into the frame, but the street sign was more difficult.  It was blocking the view of the left side of the shop (just under the Confectioners part of the sign) and it just looked too modern compared to the shop.

I used the clone tool to copy parts of the wooden board to go over the top and also redrew some of the bottom part of the window frame.  I had a few goes before it looked right and went right back to the start more than once.

Overall, Gimp was a good piece of software but no better than using Photoshop.  I’m too stuck with the latter’s keyboard shortcuts and icons, but if I didn’t already have Photoshop then Gimp would be an essential download.


8 responses to “Gimping”

  1. cknight Avatar

    Great work on this, I really like it. I think I tried out the gimp a few years ago, but like you I am too accustomed to using my current editor to want to wholeheartedly switch over. Lightroom seems to be permanently wired into my brain at this point. I’m starting to dip my toes into Aperature a bit, but I’m still not convinced on that one either…


  2. John Masters Avatar

    You did a really nice job on this photo. If you only do minor editing like I do and you don’t want to spend the money on photoshop (which I would never 😉 you should look into LightRoom3 I think it would do everything you need and it is an excellent way to catalog your photos.


  3. Tobias Mann Avatar

    Gimp is excellent, I use it as my primary editor.


  4. sibokk Avatar

    I’ve only been using gimp for a short while now that I scan my images on my PC and it’s been perfectly fine so far.

    The short cuts are a wee bit different to photoshop (shift + c instead of just c for the crop tool), I know the image rotation/flipping key strokes so well now: alt + i, t, h to flip horizontal; alt + i + t then add 1 for rotating 180, c for clockwise, w for counter clockwise etc. etc. It saves mouse on clicks.

    I really like your B&W work.


  5. nigel Avatar

    I like these run down building images… it makes me wonder what the rest of that street is like…


    1. mostlymonochrome Avatar

      Similar but no quite as bad as that shop. It used to be the town centre many years ago.


  6. animalartist Avatar

    I really enjoy your views in black and white, and interesting that you use a variety of little cameras and develop your own black and white. Here in the states you can hardly find film, no one develops it or makes true black and white prints anymore, and even chemicals are hard to find.

    I appreciated your notes on Photoshop too. I am also a graphic designer so I use it every day and keep up with updates. I would have found that boarded up shop hard to resist as well!


  7. [Gm] Avatar

    I have never tried Photoshop (don’t have the money, don’t want to try trial version :D), so I can’t really compare it with GIMP. But I know that I love GIMP… 😀



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