Episode 003: A Ship in the Fog – Part 1

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You are in for a mix of topics in this screencast.

I start with answering the first comment I got 🙂 and show some ways how to get the GIMP 2.3 for different operating systems.

The site I mention in the podcast is www.gimpusers.de. EDIT: There is an english version of that site under www.gimpusers.com. The Mac stuff is at gimp.org.

Then I begin to work at an image of a ship coming down the river Weser on a foggy morning. The image is mostly gray and very low in contrast. As this was shot in RAW, it is possible to get something usuable out of it. You get a lecture about the difference of 256 steps between black and white in JPEG and why the 4096 steps in RAW are better.


(I assume there would be more detail in an JPEG out of the camera because it does some postprocessing…)

I show how to access the menues of the GIMP in three different ways, how to analyze an image with the histogram tool and the colour picker, how to rotate an image just a little bit and how to crop it using the Rule of Thirds (not a LAW – but a nice rule of thumb) to get an aesthetic result. And I nearly forgot to save the image in GIMP’s native image format – XCF.

Please let me know what you think about the show. Too slow? Too fast? Too much ramblings? Or too much information? Even if you like everything – write a comment or drop me a mail at info@meetthegimp.org
You can leave your comments on this blog or go to the Tips from the Top Floor Forum.


00:24 Welcome
01:10 GimpUsers.de
02:55 Original image
03:24 The case for using RAW
05:59 The histogram
10:22 Switching the toolbox off with TAB
12:02 Checking the rotation
14:50 Cropping
19:00 Saving the image
20:40 The End
TOC made by paynekj

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50 thoughts on “Episode 003: A Ship in the Fog – Part 1

  1. What a surprise to see my name and comment right at the beginning of this episode. I’m happy to report that I’ve installed 2.3 thanks to your link, and I am loving it. But you have probably just delayed my switch to Linux a little longer… 😉

  2. Thank you for these very well done tutorials.

    It is obvious that you are a professional teacher. The
    material is very well organized, and the explanations are
    clear, intelligent and informative.

    I have read some of the help documentation from the
    GIMP and learned to do simple things. Reading about
    more advanced techniques has often left me wondering
    exactly how to do them, and even why would one
    want to do them. “Looking over the shoulder” of an
    advanced user makes all of that much more clear.

    Thank you again.

  3. Another great episode. I personally would be very interested in a show dealing with RAW conversion in Linux.

    As mentioned by Alan, looking at the video really makes learning the Gimp (at least for me) so much easier – this is especially true as your shows are geared towards photo manipulation.

    A real inspiration to just get into it.


  4. hi rolf! super videos! mach weiter so! es freut mich dass du gimpusers.de erwähnt hast 😉 ich denke du hast relativ viele englische user, falls du nochmal unsere seite erwähnst kannst du auch gimpusers.com nehmen, da ist alles englisch! ciao & lg,

  5. Hello!

    Thank you for doing all this! I’ve found the feed via Miro guide and watch using Miro on Mac. Content is great but it would be better to have greater quality because when you do small corrections with images video compression errors render them nearly invisible. Maybe you could try H.264 codec? Anyway keep going!

  6. I am learning so much from your demonstration on GIMP. I was going to get photoshop but now it looks GIMP is just as good for a novice. Thank you.

  7. Wow – I’ve seen my post in the latest Q&A )))

    So back to the issue: 640×480 is good; when you resize from 800×600 single-pixel line will become a bit blurry but won’t disappear (it could happen if you’ll resize to 400×300 or less). The problem is not with size but with compression artifacts. MP4 encoder that you use now takes an area of pixels (say 10×10) with similar colours and writes in the output file that there are 100 pixels of the same average colour. As a result video becomes ‘pixelated’; there are noticeable tiles instead of smooth gradients.

    In some cases it’s not a big deal but in our case it’s a problem. When you edit the picture with a ship in fog there are lots of halftones that make up the fog and compression scheme literally kills them so it’s not possible to see fine adjustments.

    I also watch ‘PixelPerfect’ (https://miroguide.com/channels/1558) and ‘Lightroom for Digital Photographers’ (https://miroguide.com/channels/3340) podcasts; I’ve noticed that they use H.264 codec. The video is very clear so I’ve decided to recommend this to you. I didn’t know that it costs money but I’ve found that there is a free x264 implementation and it’s available on linux as Advanced Video Codec (AVC). Here is the article http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/9005

    [Link editied by Rolf]

  8. I tried that codec during my tests and got only misses. But I had not found this article. I’ll give it a try and then use 2 pass encoding – no problem to encode while I sleep…..

  9. Thanks for a great set of shows Rolf! As Alan has already said, looking over your shoulder is a great way to learn. I find that if I prop my iPod up near my computer’s monitor I can follow along with you.

    Now, if only I had more spare time…!

  10. I’ve tried so many different methods now I lost track and I’ve yet to get satisfying results. That trailer of yours looks absolutely fantastic though.

  11. Hi Rolf, I really enjoy your show so far (I’m slowly working my way through them at the moment). As Ed said above, I’d also be interested in learning about RAW processing.
    Also, why do you prefer to use Gimp 2.3 when the release available through Ubuntu package management is 2.2? Is 2.2 that bad, or are there significant differences which make it more useful for photographers?
    Thanks again for your very professional videos.

  12. RAW is covered in show 11 and 12. You’ll reach there in a while… 😉

    I prefer the 2.3 (or now the 2.4RC – release candidates) because they are stable as a lot of commercial programs – perhaps not as rock solid as 2.2 – and have a lot of new and improved features. If you compare the video with Gimp 2.2, you’ll see some differences.

  13. Have you ever tried to compile ffmpeg with h264 support? I’ll give it a try with my Kino and let you know soon.

    Do you use Kino for video editing?

  14. I am using cinelerra at the moment. I am not very happy with it (too much crashes and no autosave…), but I learned how to use it a bit. I “need” multitrack editing or an other convinient way of overlaying graphics. The rest of cinelerra is nice but overkill. Like the zooming around in the first intros.
    I’ll look at Kino again, thanks for the reminder.

    Please check that h264 stuff out. I have no real clue about video encoding and put this together with trail and error. I “documented” the stuff at http://make.meetthegimp.org

    Thanks for getting this stuff on the torrents too!

  15. I looked into Kino – it does only DV format. So I can’t use it. Cinelerra crashed twice while editing the last show….. I need something else.

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  17. Sorry about messing up the wording, I was going to post more links, but the other ones turned out to be specialized for 2d. Should of read my post over before submiting.

  18. I have some help from Ivan with the video stuff. Expect some improved quality in the new year.
    Avidemux is good for converting and splicing some clips. I need a full editor to cut out some stuff, do some titles and so on.

  19. Now I looked your podcast also. 🙂
    I’d like to point out that gimpusers.de is also available in English from gimpusers.com. Awesome site! 🙂

  20. I have recently entered the world of DSLR photography and obviously need to be able to work on my images. Having used Linux (Ubuntu) for just over 2 years I knew about the Gimp and have toyed with it for many hours. Unfortunately, most of that time, although not totally wasted, was not that productive. Your tutorials have cleared up many points, and I can’t wait to work through them all. Your presentation is very clear and well paced.
    One question, what did you use to record your desktop? I have an interest in producing some tutorials in the future, so that some of my friends can learn a bit about Linux.

  21. Rolf,

    Thanks for the great tutorials. I’ve only seen the first three vids and I’ve learned alot.


  22. Excelent!!! Thank for the vids

    Is it possible to obtain the original picture? not the XFC (the layer is croped)

    I want to practice with the same picture.

    Many thanks.

  23. Hallo Rolf,

    I agree with migue, it would be very helpfull to have the original picture of the ship in the fog.

    Vielen Dank südlich vom Weisswurstäquator


  24. Now you have found out for yourself. 😉

    I’ll change the list with download links.

    Sorry for being so late, just too much to do.

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  27. Hi Rolf…I have played around with The Gimp for a while, but until now I haven’t found anything as helpful as your video podcasts in learning what The Gimp is capable of. Thank you for sharing something valuable here. Best wishes, Christos.

  28. Hi and thanks a lot for this very useful information.
    Makes it a pleasure to work with gimp (and webdesign too 🙂

    Will go through all these videos from beginning to end.

  29. Have now seen the first and third show a couple of times and edited a lot of photos.
    A question which keeps coming up for me is which aspect ratio to use…or rather if there are any advantages to some over others.
    I read this article on wikipedia
    but would still like to hear if you have some prefered ratios, and in that case, why.

    Thanks again. Looking forward to the fourth 🙂

  30. It depends on the image. 😉

    If you take the aspect ratio of the intended printing paper, there is no need for cutting it later.

    If you want to play safe, you choose the Golden Ratio.

    I like 1:1 and 2:3/3:2 most, but that is perhaps because I shot in these formats on film.

    Sorry, I can’t say any more helpful. 😉

  31. Hi,
    Thanks for lot of information…i just started learning GIMP and your videos are very helpful…3 episodes and getting very interesting…

  32. Outstanding videos! I will be saving my nickels to make a donation in Dec. You have opened up a new and interesting topic of study for many people. Keep up the great work!

  33. Rolf, thanks for these video tutorials! I found them while looking for smart sharpenning tips and tricks, unhappy with the standard tools.

    As for rotating your image, you are correct there were no manmade structures that could be used as a reference for rotation, but they are not always reliable anyways! There was an even more reliable reference right in your image. Right behind your ship is a tall tree. Unless your water is doing something crazy (such as falling over something quickly), your water surface works as a wonderful horizontal mirror, reflecting things vertically. The reflection of your tall tree could be used with either a grid line or a vertical ruler to line up your rotation. Having said that, I didn’t even notice any rotational issues with your original. I’ve used reflections a number of times to help with alignment.

    I’ve been frustrated by the heavy Photoshop bias in the industry while trying to learn general digital photography post-processing techniques. The biggest showstoppers so far are 16-bit editting path and adjustment layers, both of which are in the works, but not here yet… I understand Krita has both. I’m still using GIMP (2.6.x at present).

    Thanks for a fine set of tutorials, well supported by TOCs and fora for discussion.

  34. I think that I found your videos right on time to learn everything about Gimp, as every one that has watched your videos I am very thankful for the videos, they really make me want to learn it instead of going to sleep while reading documentation pages.

    Francisco Santiago

  35. Where can I get the picture that you are working on in this lesson?
    Thank you for sharing your gimp knowledge with us!

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  38. couldn’t see what the demonstrated picture in the video was until posting a comment here. Very nice shooting, early bird!

  39. I’ve started to watch your videos yeasterday and I must say, they are really nicely done! This vid I liked a lot! Thank you!

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