I have been a long time user of GIMP. GIMP being a free open source graphics program. Generally I use it for cropping and scaling images down to a reasonable size for website. Occasionally I do more complex with building images from multiple sources, moving things on layers, adding text and other things. It is a very functional for just about anything graphics. The other day I learned a new trick from Diana Norman Designs on adjusting light levels in GIMP. Diana wrote a nice tutorial on playing with the light levels and demonstrates the technique on some of the cool jewelery she makes.
On these image of the pork souvlaki from earlier I played with the eyedroppers on the levels. First I clicked on the black eye dropper and then on the black of the back of the BBQ. Then I clicked on the white eye dropper and then on a white spot on the front piece of zucchini. The image on the left is the original with out the light level adjustment. The image on the right has been altered and is much more vibrant.
I alway crop my images to focus on the best part and in the case of the Chicken Pot Pie, remove the pile of papers to the right of the plate. This is quite easy to do. First use the rectangle selection tool to select the area you want to copy. Right Click the area, Edit->Copy. The Right Click -> Edit -> Paste as -> New image. This is usually my first step and I save the new image to a good name and close the original without saving
For the scaling I like to create a scaled version of a image suitable for web. On this blog I aim for 350 with and let the scale handle the height. In the Image tab on the menu bar there is scale image. Change the width to 350 checking that the little chain to the right is closed and that the height number changes accordingly. I use the cubic on the quality pull-down and then press scale. I sometimes save the image as the file name with a ‘-scaled’ on the end. That give me the ability to use the scaled on the website and have it as a link to the full sized image. I don’t do that very often as the full sized images can be quite large.
I did the same thing with the Chicken Pot Pie image but I only used the white eye dropper as there wasn’t any true black in the image. Using the black eye dropper made the picture worse in this case but that is what undo is for. Below are the tow images on the right has the light levels adjusted. The one on the left is unaltered.
With all editing I like to make sure that I have a copy of the original to fall back on if thing go horribly wrong. The undo button will get you out of just about anything but I have messed up an image bad enough to just start over from the original.