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AdaptableGIMP Makes Free GIMP Photo Editor Easy to Use

The GNU Image Manipulation Program can be difficult to use--the free AdaptableGIMP add-on makes it more user friendly

GIMP, which stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program, is a powerful photo editing program, but the sparse interface is somewhat unforgiving--and some typically simple tasks are complicated processes. The open-source add-on AdaptableGIMP transforms the program by making it far easier to do common editing tasks. AdaptableGIMP was developed by the Human Computer Interaction Lab at the University of Waterloo. In essence, this program modifies the GIMP toolbar so that tools and tasks are easier to locate.

The most obvious change is that GIMP's many tools are arranged in a list and labeled. But there's a lot more than that. AdaptableGIMP uses the concept of task sets--essentially, recipes for performing common tasks. You can search for a task set in the search box at the top of the toolbox, and choose the appropriate option from the search results. You are then presented with a limited set of tools that you can use to perform the task.

The task sets are user generated and stored on the Adaptable GIMP Wiki page, which you can visit in your Web browser. You can also add your own task sets to the growing library: Just click the Task Set drop-down menu and choose Add Task Set. There's a handy interface for selecting the right tools and adding instructions.

Right now, there are task sets for basic photo editing, red-eye removal, special effects like black-and-white and sepia toning, torn paper effects, glowing text, and more. Even so, there are still only a few dozen options to choose from, so it's going to take a large and dedicated community to build out the program.

AdaptableGIMP is offered for free under a Creative Commons license. It's an awesome add-on for GIMP and promises a ton of potential.

--Dave Johnson

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