Are you brand new to the GIMP photo editor? Want to learn the basics of how to use it, while also getting some real-world examples that show GIMP’s features in action? You’ve come to the right place! Davies Media Design has been creating GIMP tutorials since 2011, and hasn’t slowed down for 2020. We’ve got plenty of beginner-friendly GIMP tutorials to get you going, even if you’re starting from scratch and have no GIMP or photo editing experience.
GIMP is the most sophisticated FREE alternative to Photoshop – offering many of the same features plus many unique features for photo editing and photo manipulation. If you have yet to install GIMP, you can learn how to do so in my How to Download & Install GIMP for MAC article.
Below is a list of 20 tutorials I’ve put together to help beginners get introduced to and become familiarized with the software. I’ve also included photo manipulation and graphic design tutorials to put your knowledge to the test. Enjoy!
1. 10 Things Total GIMP Beginners Need to Know
The first tutorial on this list covers 10 common things beginners want to know, in my experience, when they are first starting out using GIMP. This tutorial includes basic tasks like opening an image in GIMP or creating a new document, while also delving into the GIMP layout and various features that are commonly used by beginners in GIMP (like the toolbox, layers panel, etc.). This tutorial is a great starting point for total beginners!
2. GIMP Layers and Layer Masks 2020 | In-Depth GIMP Basics Tutorial
The layers concept is probably the most important concept you’ll learn when it comes to doing anything in GIMP. This tutorial covers layers in depth, showing you how they can be used in your photo editing and graphic design. Plus, I provide a look at Layer Masks, which are a more advanced topic related to layers and creating photo manipulations in GIMP.
3. Photoshop vs. GIMP: A Complete Comparison
A lot of GIMP users come from Photoshop – usually because they are tired of paying a monthly subscription price to edit their images. So, it helps to know what the main differences are between these two popular photo editors. I do just that in this tutorial, while also covering what makes the two programs unique from one another.
4. Customize the GIMP Toolbox | Single Column, Icon Colors, Grouped Tools
Now that you have a pretty good idea of what GIMP is and how it works, it’s time to set up GIMP based on your personal preferences so you can enjoy the user interface and feel comfortable. I show you how to create the popular single-column toolbox for your tools, as well as how to adjust the color of your theme and the size and color of your tool icons.
5. GIMP vs. Photoshop: 5 Step Photo Editing Compared
In this tutorial I compare a simple photo editing process in Photoshop to the same process in GIMP. Again, this is a tutorial for those of you switching from Photoshop. However, it also outlines an easy process for making your photos look better in GIMP.
6. How to Use the Curves Tool in GIMP
The Curves Tool is a great tool for adding contrast to your images, adjusting the brightness, and color correcting photos for a more professional look. In this tutorial, I take a deep-dive into the popular GIMP Curves Tool for photographers.
7. GIMP Heal Tool Tutorial
The heal tool is a powerful photo manipulation and retouching tool that combines the clone tool characteristics with an algorithm for amazing results. This tool can be used for anything from spot-healing imperfections in your images (like removing specks of dust) to healing blemishes and more. I show this powerful, popular tool in action and talk about why it’s probably my favorite in GIMP 2.10!
8. 5 Tips for Sharper Photos in GIMP
A sharper image help make your photos look more crisp and professional. I help you select the right tools when editing your photos for more clear, sharp images that bring out the right details.
9. 5 Step Next-Level Skin Retouching in GIMP
Want to remove acne from a subject in a photo without having it look totally fake? I show you a 5 step process for removing acne or other blemishes while still maintaining a soft and even skin complexion. These steps are the best way to preserve your original photos will producing glowing skin.
10. 5 Ways to Remove Anything from a Photo in GIMP
It’s common to remove objects or entire subjects from a photo. I show my 5 favorite ways of accomplishing this task – making it easy to remove objects even if they have complex backgrounds behind them.
11. Top 10 GIMP Filters
There are TONS of great filters built directly into GIMP. But how can you possibly figure out which are the best and most-useful for your projects? Luckily for you, I’ve tested out pretty much every filter in GIMP over the years. I have narrowed down all these filters into what I think are the top 10 filters to use in a variety of common scenarios.
12. How to Download and Install Free Fonts in GIMP (Windows)
One of the great things about GIMP is that you can import your own custom or third-party fonts to spruce up your designs. Check out this video for how to download and install custom fonts for GIMP for Windows. I also have a MAC version of this tutorial, which is linked in the YouTube description of this video.
13. How to Install Brushes in GIMP
Just like third-party fonts, GIMP is great for providing flexibility when it comes to installing your favorite brushes. Plus, GIMP is compatible with tons of Photoshop brushes! I show you where to download the best free brushes for GIMP, as well as how to install them to use in your digital painting and photo editing.
14. Top 5 Text Effects in GIMP
GIMP is not just for photo editing and photo manipulation. It can also be used for graphic design and is built with plenty of cool text effects that ship with the free program by default. I cover my 5 favorite text effects in GIMP in this video. From adding a drop shadow (or long shadow), to creating 3D text and gradient text, and more!
15. Map Your Wacom Tablet for GIMP (Button/Settings Explained and Fixed)
GIMP supports the use of external drawing tablets for digital painting or to simply make your photo editing experience more comfortable. However, it isn’t quite as simple as plugging the tablet in and getting to work (don’t worry – nothing is broken. Tablets just don’t work very smoothly by default in GIMP). There are a few settings you need to tweak to get your tablet working properly. I go over everything you need to know for mapping your Wacom tablet for the best experience in GIMP.
16. GIMP Quick Mask Tutorial
You learned about Layer Masks earlier in this list – now it’s time to learn about quick masks! This feature, which is also found in other photo editors like Photoshop, makes it quick and easy to select an area of your image for masking. If you are using a Wacom tablet, this tool can save you a ton of time when it comes to selecting objects or subjects.
17. 3 Ways to Stroke Text in GIMP
A common question I get when it comes to graphic design in GIMP is, “how do I stroke or outline text?” This video covers three easy ways to accomplish this task.
18. Quick and Easy Color Match Technique in GIMP
Attempting photo compositing (adding one photo into another photo and blending them together) in GIMP? This video covers an easy color matching technique to make your photo composites look more realistic.
19. GIMP vs. Inkscape: A Beginner’s Guide
I receive a lot of questions on my channel about which Free and Open Source Software is best for different projects: GIMP or Inkscape? I clear the air with this direct comparison between the rater-based photo editor and the vector-based graphic design program.
20. GIMP Q&A 2020
Still have questions about GIMP? Check out this Q and A from 2020 that answers questions raised by subscribers on my channel.
That’s it for this list! If you want to learn more about GIMP, I recommend checking out my full library of GIMP tutorials. You can also enroll in any of my GIMP premium courses and classes to take your GIMP learning to the next level, or access exclusive content as a DMD Premium Member.