Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Chey and Sweetie in Barcelona, Original Photo.
Oh, My! I Seem to Have Accidentally Obcured Sweetie's Face!

Chey and Sweetie in Barcelona with Alpha
Chey, Original Photo
Chey, With Alpha
Written 21 August, 2007


For many years, I’ve used Quark XPress to do page layout and make signs, but I’ve always managed to avoid learning photo manipulation programs.

I don’t own either Paint Shop Pro or PhotoShop (Well, I in fact have an ancient Mac version of PhotoShop, but my ancient Mac Plus and even my newer Mac IIci didn’t have horsepower enough to use it).

Photoshop Elements was packaged with one or more of my past computers, and I use it for things I can’t seem to go in my workaday photo viewer (the wonderful Ifranview), but I’ve never really learned it. To tell the truth, I’ve been unwilling to invest much time in a product that is deliberately crippled.

Wait a minute! I have a PC! What am I TALKING about?

I was thinking about sucking it in and buying PhotoShop, but then I heard about the GIMP.

No, not _that_ GIMP; that’s just a role playing Quasimodo role-playing avatar. This GIMP is an open-source, free graphics and photo manipulation mode.

And it rocks.

There’s a pretty good GIMP manual, but it assumes knowledge I, imagetweaking virgin that I am, don’t have, and the available tutorials all seem to be keyed to a previous version.

But the interface is intuitive, and I’ve been plugging along, trying to successfully make an alpha texture.

For weeks I’ve been plugging along.

And guess what? Finally, I successfully made one. It showed as alpha in Photoshop Elements, and when I imported it into Second Life, it worked (the image was a cutout picture of Sweetie and I at a concert at the Barcelona sim).

Woo hoo!

The only problem was I wasn’t certain what I had done!

It took me a couple of hours to figure out, and now I can make alphas, woo hoo! I may not be making them correctly, as what I’m doing doesn’t seem much like the process described in the tutorials, but they’re working, and I’m happy.

So if you need a Photo manipulation program, search for and download the GIMP (and the instruction manual) from www.gimp.org. In a few days, I’ll make another post describing how to make (well, fudge) alphas.


Melissa Yeuxdoux said...

Every time a discussion of the GIMP comes up in places like slashdot, there are two sorts of postings one sees. One is kvetching about the name, which I can understand; over and above PC-ness issues, it doesn't suggest to anyone what the program does.

The far more common sort of post is "GIMP's UI is teh 5uxx0r," really meaning "GIMP isn't just like Photoshop, which I'm used to--waah!"

May I point people at your blog post next time I see that?

Cheyenne Palisades said...

Certainly, Melissa, shoot them right over here!

I expect to have a little GIMP alpha tutorial up here by the weekend.

It's hard to open with free and open source!