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Thread: Adjustment layers in GIMP - anything equivalent?

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Adjustment layers in GIMP - anything equivalent?

    Having torn out what’s left of my hair in order to discover that the GIMP doesn’t have ‘Adjustment Layers’ (nobody told me the learning curve was this steep!), the question (I think), is along the lines of – How do the GIMP users go about making adjustments?

    Until making the above discovery I was thinking that the sort of process described by Ron Bigelow (http://ronbigelow.com/articles/layers-1/layers-1.htm), in which he describes separate layers for each action, was terribly sensible.

    But ….!

    So, in the GIMP do you just keep making a duplicate layer, or a duplicate image and carry out the next action in the workflow on that? Or do you just do everything on the base image? Or do layer masks have a role to play here?

    By now you can see confusion is well embedded. I have searched the site and I don’t think this question has been asked before. Apologies if the answer is lurking somewhere within the pages.
    Last edited by Donald; 31st March 2009 at 07:10 AM.

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    Re: Adjustment layers in GIMP - anything equivalent?

    Hi Donald - You are correct that there are no adjustment layers per se in the current versions of the GIMP. There are plans, I hear, to introduce such things in a future version, as there are plans for 16-bit handling. If you are new to the GIMP then the learning curve may get yet steeper, but the compensation is that there are some smart filters and controls hidden away. They are just not explained very well or at all - typical of non-commercial software.

    Regarding adjustments, the procedure that I normally adopt is to work from a TIFF file (but it will only be 8-bit). Load your image and immediately duplicate the layer. Switch to that duplicated layer and do not touch the original. Thus, you still have what you started with for comparison. (You should of course have a backup of your file anyway.) With adjustment layers you have the advantage of setting up several and adjusting each to see what happens to the image without committing to that change. Thus, instead, you have to carry out adjustments in a useful order. You can try creating more and more levels, but it's a waste of time. I suggest you adjust for exposure first (Levels and/or Curves), saturation tweaks next, followed by perspective corrections and cropping, and finally sharpening.

    The Levels dialog and the perspective correction tool are very useful on the the GIMP. Download and try the latest range of "wavelet" tools from the Plug-In Registry - these are very useful and smart, especially the wavelet sharpen.

    You mention layer masks. The GIMP has features associated with layer masks not available in other software, including as far as I know Photoshop. Ron Bigelow's tutorials on sharpening exploit layer masks and this turns out to be a dawdle on the GIMP once you've twigged what to do. However, if you've not yet fathomed layer masks in general the following comments may not make much sense (Even if you have the following may not make sense.) Look to your Layers palette, duplicate your base layer, open the Channels palette; now drag the copy layer from the Layers palette into the lower box in the Channels palette. Hey presto, you have just created a new channel based on your image. You can manipulate that B/w channel in any allowable way, then go back to your layers palette, choose a layer, open the options dialog with a right click, then add layer mask from the new channel. You can also drag the manipulated new channel back to the layers palette and it becomes a new layer. As I say I'm pretty sure that Photoshop does not have that facility. Nor is this facility explained anywhere. I just found it. Maybe in GIMP world you just know these things.

    Let me know how you get on.

    Cheers

    David

    PS I never liked Adjustment Layers anyway when I used them on Paint Shop Pro 9.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Adjustment layers in GIMP - anything equivalent?

    David
    Many thanks for this. So helpful. What you say makes sense (which suggests I must be learning something!). Since posting the original, I've also discovered Rolf Steinort's video tutorials at www.meetthegimp.org. They seem wonderful.
    Thank you for the tip re workflow. I was struggling to work out the right order for the best outcome. That will now become embedded in practice.
    And thank you for sharing that knowledge re dragging the duplicate to Channels. I would never have discovered that one.
    Donald
    Last edited by Donald; 8th April 2009 at 05:26 PM.
    Brigitte found this helpful.

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    Re: Adjustment layers in GIMP - anything equivalent?

    Donald - Thanks - no probs. The GIMP is a powerful beast but takes a lot of training. I wonder if there would be any call for some more GIMP tutorials or instructions on this site?

    David

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Adjustment layers in GIMP - anything equivalent?

    I notice nobody's biting so far on your suggestion about some GIMP tutorials.
    I'm not sure how many GIMP users lurk around in these pages. I have noticed a few references. But it seems as if the frequent and regular posters are PS people. Maybe we could have a wee side alley into which we disappear to talk GIMP.
    I think something is needed to get people over the initial hump of understanding the basics of the GIMP. The friendly and constructive help, advice and knowledge shared by people on this site is such that it is one place where you don't feel ashamed to ask the 'daft laddie' (as we hereabouts in Scotland are known to say), or 'daft person' question.
    My point is that even though there is other stuff out there, even the most helpful forget to cover some of the basics.
    What I've found is that its the basics that are the key. I've had to work very hard (for me!) to get some of the basics steps. But once they're understood and embedded in the brain, the more complex stuff is easier to understand and things start to flow more logically. Even Rolf Steinort in his video tutorials at www.meetthegimp.org (which I find wonderful) sometimes goes through an intermediate step quickly in order to get to the main point, as if he assumes that everyone knows the bit in-between. And you don't learn because you've not understood the earlier step.
    So, in answer to your question - if there are users of the GIMP out there, maybe they'd like to declare themselves so we get an idea of how many there are, and whether a case for a corner of the site could be made to our esteemed and honoured administrators.
    Brigitte, delboy and brandonmack found this helpful.

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    Re: Adjustment layers in GIMP - anything equivalent?

    I definitely see what you mean about a learning curve. when I first started using GIMP, I really didn't like it. then I discovered how powerful it really is. I would say it's better than photoshop in a lot of ways... as far as the original question, I really like to use lots of layers for just about everything, much like you said. unfortunately, there is no such thing as adjustment layers, as has been mentioned - however I've found a rather nice way to get around this. Once I get the image how I want it, up to the point when I want to add adjustments, I like to use GIMP's 'new from visible' option. this creates a new layer from any and all visible layers all merged together. This way, all of your layers are preserved, in case you want to make changes later - but you can do any adjustments you want on this new layer also, if I don't want particular layers to be affected by the adjustments, such as a background, etc, I can hide those layers by clicking on the little eye next to them before I use the new from visible command. so then, how to use it?? easy. right click in the layers palette where you want the new layer to appear ( generally I click on the top layer), then, in the drop-down menu, click on new from visible. there it is! it's that easy.

    hope this helps! in fact, I hope this makes sense...

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Adjustment layers in GIMP - anything equivalent?

    It's interesting to see this thread resurrected and realise how far my learning has developed in the 2+ years since I first started it.

    You're right brandaonmack, 'new from visible' is a good tool.

    By the way, welcome to CiC. I hope you will stick around and become one of the regulars posting comments and questions ... and images.

    You've maybe seen that most of us tend to use our real names on here. It makes communication more friendly and CiC is that sort of site. Did you know you can go to Edit Profile and enter your proper name under 'Real Name'. Then it will appear underneath your Username in all your posts.

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    Re: Adjustment layers in GIMP - anything equivalent?

    As a retoucher and a huge fan of linux I really look forward to the day when GIMP has 16bit capabilities and and adjustment layers. I am a compositor retoucher and couldn't use software without adjustment layers as well as adjustment layers that can be tied to a specific layer as in photoshop. They help reduce image size as well as changing at a later date for flexability. Editing snapshot style layers and stacking just creates a very inefficient work flow and a huge file in the end. As much as I am a fan of Photoshop I would love for GIMP to give it run for its money and help bring some oppertunity for a linux workstation in photography. It seems as though Adobe will never create software for Linux sadly.

    Also Wacom could do something about drivers aswell for linux.

    -Brian
    brnyrk.com

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    Re: Adjustment layers in GIMP - anything equivalent?

    Hello!

    I am also a linux user, but that's not the only reason I want to use Gimp instead of photoshop. It's the whole "give your money to a huge corporation or fight with cracks and patches that break things" vs. "go open source, work a bit harder but get more power (in some areas), and support the community".

    So far I've been using Bibble (instead of lightroom) for about a year, and love it. It does almost everything for me. But as I want to take my photos to the next level, I guess I will need some of the power of Gimp or Photoshop.

    There is a manual called 'Grokking the gimp' which looks awfully hard to get through, but I will give it a go. I will also be checking out http://blog.meetthegimp.org as it looks better and more user-friendly.

    I went to check the Gimp website and the thing I really want (adjustment layers) is set for version 3.0, long awaited, and still waiting. Currently we're languishing in version 2.6.something. (Perhaps they will skip to 3.0 unexpectedly, like the linux kernel just did.)

    That said, I have resolved to try working with the gimp anyway. This thread has given me some useful work-arounds for this sorely-missing feature.

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    speedneeder's Avatar
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    Re: Adjustment layers in GIMP - anything equivalent?

    I have never used photoshop, only GIMP. I am amazed at the things you can do with it. I wish it had a simple create border command though! I have to start learning about scripts at some point...

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Adjustment layers in GIMP - anything equivalent?

    Quote Originally Posted by oldmankit View Post
    There is a manual called 'Grokking the gimp' which looks awfully hard to get through, but I will give it a go. I will also be checking out http://blog.meetthegimp.org as it looks better and more user-friendly.
    Kit

    I would strongly recommend meetthegimp.org. It taught me everything. Rolf's own suggestion for the sequence with which to start the video tutorials is:
    001
    066
    037
    025
    003
    004
    005
    009
    010

    Brian - I agree that it would be nice to have a simpler border create or a script. I use the tool available via Filters/Decor/Borders/Line Border
    speedneeder found this helpful.

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    Re: Adjustment layers in GIMP - anything equivalent?

    Hi Folks,

    I started another thread a few weeks ago about pp.

    As a complete novice to both DSLR & pp my learning curve is almost vertical. Unfortunately I titled the thread Photoshop shows how little knowledge that I have. I thought that's what most of you used.

    Anyway I had lots of great replys including this one from Geoff

    Does it have to be Photoshop, Peter?

    There are a number of cheaper alternatives like the free Gimp. Or, until recently, I used Serif Photo Plus which has older software like versions X2 or X3 which should be suitable for you and only costs around 20 to 30. And there are other good sensibly priced alternatives.

    But if you shoot Raw you may need to also get a separate Raw converter, although there are a number of free converters like Raw Therapee for example.

    However, if you like using Elements 10 then it should be sufficient.

    CS5 is certainly an excellent programme although expensive. But it has everything you are likely to need plus quite a bit more, which you might need one day. And it comes complete with it's own very capable Raw Converter.

    I also tend to regard myself as something of a basic image manipulator but I want to do my general editing to a good standard. And for me, this entails using Adjustment Layers, plus other Layers and Masks, on a regular basis.

    Photo Plus is certainly capable of doing all this. But, in all honesty, I found that CS5 did it slightly better; although whether it is over 400 better is somewhat debatable.
    By the end of the thread I was probably more confused than when I started. This is my fault, for being a generation behind on the computer, rather than yours.

    I did download Gimp had already got a trial version of Elements 10 and downloaded a trial version of Lightroom in order to attempt a comparison of the three packages. Now I am really confused.

    Recently I found an offer for Elements 10 @ 34.99. I think the offer ends either today or tomorrow.

    After all I have said above what I am really getting round to saying is would it be possible to have a place where we could have links to all of the training/ tutorial videos/blogs/articles about pp and also include reviews and short cuts to help all the "daft lassies and laddies" like me who think that this is a great site but sometimes don't even know what question to ask

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Adjustment layers in GIMP - anything equivalent?

    Quote Originally Posted by beechdale basher View Post
    After all I have said above what I am really getting round to saying is would it be possible to have a place where we could have links to all of the training/ tutorial videos/blogs/articles about pp and also include reviews and short cuts to help all the "daft lassies and laddies" like me who think that this is a great site but sometimes don't even know what question to ask
    Peter

    If you click on Discussion Categories on the menu bar above and choose post-processing, then you'll get a lot of what you're after. Unfortunately, a lot of people also start threads but do not add tags to them, so a lot of good stuff will not be tagged and therefore part of this 'file' of information.

    I'm assuming that you're okay with locating the PP tutorials here on CiC via the 'Photography Tutorials' tab on the toolbar.

    And as for going beyond the boundaries of CiC, well ........... there are thousands of resources out there.

    But at the end of the day - even if you don't know the question to ask, put your thoughts into a message on here and say -'This is a question'. Someone will come along and pick it up and try to help.

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    Re: Adjustment layers in GIMP - anything equivalent?

    Thank you, Donald. I was wondering where I should start!

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Kit

    I would strongly recommend meetthegimp.org. It taught me everything. Rolf's own suggestion for the sequence with which to start the video tutorials is:
    001
    066
    037
    025
    003
    004
    005
    009
    010

    Brian - I agree that it would be nice to have a simpler border create or a script. I use the tool available via Filters/Decor/Borders/Line Border

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    Re: Adjustment layers in GIMP - anything equivalent?

    Brian,

    There are Wacom drivers for linux and, though not official ones, they seem to work fine for me.

    -Sonic

    PS. I am looking forward to a January release of GIMP 2.8 and the planned March release of 2.10? with openCL computing.

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    Re: Adjustment layers in GIMP - anything equivalent?

    Quote Originally Posted by oldmankit View Post
    Hello!

    There is a manual called 'Grokking the gimp' which looks awfully hard to get through, but I will give it a go. I will also be checking out http://blog.meetthegimp.org as it looks better and more user-friendly.

    I went to check the Gimp website and the thing I really want (adjustment layers) is set for version 3.0, long awaited, and still waiting. Currently we're languishing in version 2.6.something. (Perhaps they will skip to 3.0 unexpectedly, like the linux kernel just did.)

    That said, I have resolved to try working with the gimp anyway. This thread has given me some useful work-arounds for this sorely-missing feature.
    http://wiki.gimp.org/index.php/Roadmap gives the development roadmap, as it stands right now for GIMP. As a subscriber to the devs mailing list I see other additions that are planned. You may also like to check out the news over the last few months about the openCL compute and the announcement from the last few days that AMD is sponsoring further development of the openCL compute framework.

    Also the gimp manual (available on gimp.org as a web document or an installable file set) has a really good beginners tutorial.

    -Sonic

  17. #17
    The Blue Boy's Avatar
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    Re: Adjustment layers in GIMP - anything equivalent?

    Just stumbled this handy article for Gimp users. Thought I'd share.

  18. #18
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Adjustment layers in GIMP - anything equivalent?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Blue Boy View Post
    Just stumbled this handy article for Gimp users. Thought I'd share.
    Mark

    That's great. Thanks. The new one on me is that there is such a thing as the PSPI plug-in. Have you downloaded it? Does it work okay? Off to try it.

    EDIT - Has any GIMP user actually got the PSPI? I can't find it and what I have found is a lot of other people saying that they can't find it
    Last edited by Donald; 30th November 2011 at 08:26 PM.

  19. #19
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    Re: Adjustment layers in GIMP - anything equivalent?

    Donald,

    Bottom of this page. Good luck.

    Edit; Instructions.

  20. #20
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Adjustment layers in GIMP - anything equivalent?

    You're a gentleman!

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