Episode 001: Preparing an image for the web

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In this first episode I show how to get an image ready for the web.


In a quick tour I cover rotating, cropping, pushing the colours, downscaling and sharpening to show a bit what the GIMP can do.

You can leave your comments on this blog or go to the Tips from the Top Floor Forum.

Creative Commons License


00:22 Welcome
01:42 Open the image
02:56 Rotation
05:05 Cropping
08:06 Giving it “pop” with an overlay layer
09:35 Resizing
11:10 Sharpening using sharpen
13:10 Saving as a jpg
14:07 What’s coming up in future episodes
15:07 The End
TOC made by paynekj

This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Germany License.

71 thoughts on “Episode 001: Preparing an image for the web

  1. I don’t check the TFTTF forums often enough any more, but every time I do, I make sure to check the “Other Software” section for Gimp stuff. I’m just glad I chose the right day to check it. Awesome episode, and I look forward to many more!

  2. I just discovered this video podcast while browsing tips from the top floor. I am so glad you are doing this. I believe that gimp is a fantastic software and it is often overlooked. I really enjoyed your first episode and plan on watching all of them as they come out. Once again thanks!

  3. I discovered this videocast today in Democracyplayer and just watched the first episode.
    Though it was the first (introducing) episode, it was already very interesting.

    Keep on the good work!

  4. Fantastic series of tutorials: They explain “how to do things”, and they also explain what is happening to the underlying raster image. Very helpful indeed to people who are trying to understand image editing better.
    The overlay layer technique that you showed in episode 1 has a dramatic effect on most images that I have used it on, but I don’t understand what it is doing to the underlying pixels. Please can you explain what operations it is performing on the underlying pixels (in the jpeg after the layers are merged) and why this operation has the effect of bringing more vitality to the image ?

  5. I’ll cover the layer modes in detail. Basically this operation darkens the dark tones, leaves the mid tone alone and lightens the bright tones. That results in a realistic contrast enhancment.

  6. Excellent tutorials – As a long time Autocad instructor, I say you are a teacher of teachers. This is well thought out and very complete. I like instructions in which you are doing real work.

  7. Hi!
    I saw your first lesson and I think it is very good.
    I just have one question. Shouldn’t the rotation and resizing be the last steps, so we have more information for the other steps?
    If not, why did you use that order in the steps: rotate -> crop-> improve colors -> resize -> enhance (sharpen) ?
    Thank you

    PS: I’ll watch all the other episodes and, for sure, I’ll have more questions 🙂

  8. I start with rotating and cropping because I loose only information that I don’t want anyway. Rotating softens the image – but what can you do except holding the camera right? 😉

    Then I work with the image in the large size.

    Resizing the final image leaves the resizong algorithm the best chance to do a good job. Sharpening is definitly the last step because all further actions degrade the sharpening effect. I also store the image unsharpened und “unresized”, if I plan to keep it for further work. Resized and sharpened images are for display/print only.

  9. Ok!
    The other steps I understand, but I still think that the rotation would be best to do in the end, because the image is being altered (interpolation). But that’s only my opinion.
    Thank you for the reply.

    PS: I’m already watching episode 7. Until now, all very good 🙂

  10. Technically you are most likely right – but i find it impossible to look at a picture that needs rotation and do other stuff with it. And I need the right crop (impossible without rotation) to decide what to do with an image.

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  12. Hello! I have started writing Estonian subtitles for this videocast, but I did not understand what did you say at 01:04 between “and have provided me with the means to post-process my photographs on a Linux computer” and “if I try to contribute…”. So, could you write that part here, so I can translate it?
    Thank you,
    Kristjan Siimson

  13. Great idea to do subtitles. How do you do it?

    I read out of the “What is this about” posting. Nothing important, just the mission statement. 😉

    “The Gimp is made by a lot of people who give their time and skills into this project and have provided me with the means to post process my photographs on a Linux computer.

    Now I want to give something back.

    I am only a bad coder and would do more harm than good if I tried to contribute on that way. But I am a teacher by profession and I can teach about using the Gimp. First I thought about writing tutorials, but John Arnolds Photowalkthrough inspired me to try to do this by a screencast video.”

  14. Thank you for responding. Looks like I had trouble distinguishing some of the words there. 😛

    Since the desktop I am working with is KDE, my tool of choice for writing subtitles is an application called KSubtile [sic]. It lets you time the subtitles, and then preview these in MPlayer.

  15. Every time i try to start the video it just hangs.. with the ‘Q’ screen.. is it something I am doing? I would love to watch all the videos in the series…

    please advise..


  16. No idea how to help you w/o knowing your OS and the player. Try to get the vlc player, works on all platforms. These videos are running everywhere I checked, except my washing machine. 😉

  17. I am new to The Gimp. Today I downloaded the episode 1 video. I can play it use AVS DVD Player. The tutorial its self is very nice. Thanks for sharing, now I wil start learn Gimp.

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  19. Rolf,
    Thank you for the time you’ve spent on this. While there will be discussions about the order of operations, settings, and more, the important thing is that you have taken a powerful program, and made it understandable.

    And you did it in Bremen! Perhaps my favorite town in the world. I haven’t been there in 8 years, but will always have good memories of staying there while working at the CeBit shows. So thank you, twice – first for the tutorial, and second for reminding me of a wonderful town in a land far away.

  20. John,

    for CeBit we still are practically a suburb of Hanover. 😉 And our city is much nicer than that one. (You can sense quite a rivalry here… 🙂 )

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  22. Hi. I just discovered your site while trying to figure out how to prepare images for websites with the gimp. I have just migrated to Mac from PC. The process is so simple with Photoshop (save for web…) that I was hoping there is something similar in Gimp. But no such luck.
    My comment is to ask if there is anything available here for us poor folks in the country who only have dial up? Downloading a 2000+ M file is something really next to impossible.
    Thanks. I would like to share in what seem to be fantastic tutorials according to all the other comments. Lucky you who have ADSL!

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  24. Hi
    Im not able to download the episode , have you disabled it . please enable it so that we can download it and view it , we have bandwidth problem for live streaming .
    thank you

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  27. I have just downloaded the GIMP to start editing my photographs.

    Thankfully I found your “Meet the GIMP” tutorials before I did anything.

    After watching episode one, I’m sure your tutorials will make my work-flow life easier.

    I’m looking forward to watching all future episodes.

    Thank you


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  29. Hi. I think you forgot something in the video: for the web, the image should be scaled to 72 dpi, instead of leaving it at 300 dpi.

    Other than that, very nice video. I didn’t know about using the grid to correct rotation – very useful. Also nice to see you that take your time to explain things too.


  30. Correct me if I’m wrong, but DPI doesn’t mean anything at all when saving for web, it’s only important when printing. 800 pixels is 800 pixels, no matter the DPI, and when looking at images on a screen, it’s the pixel count that matters.

  31. I am there with Torbjorn – HTML and CSS talk only about pixels, not DPI. I use just now something about 90 DPI on my screen and use 10 DPI on the big video screen at school. DPI is important only for printing purposes.

  32. Torbjorn and Rolf: THANK YOU ! I’ve been making websites for years, thinking that 72 dpi was the way to go (that’s what people told me in my training, and isn’t that what Photoshop “Save for web” function does ?) – and I just realized, with a bit of Googling, that I was wrong. It’s a myth. Wow !

    300 dpi ? For the web, it doesn’t matter.

    Thanks, people.

  33. Thank you for such a great tutorial for beginners. I am right in the start of my GIMP experience and I intend to follow all the episodes here at meetthegimp.org.

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  35. Any mediocre programmer can add something to the GIMP, but it takes a talented teacher to make a video like this. This is great stuff. The world needs more good teachers like you Rolf.

  36. Finally have found what I have been looking for! Along with many others too it seems!
    Have been tinkering with the GIMP on and off for awhile now, but pehaps now it finally time to get cracken. Thanks for taking the time to set this up.

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  41. Hi, there seems to be a display bug on these pages. The video is not loading but we see a tag “[display_podcast]”.

    I am on firefox 3.6.8 windows XP

    cheers for taking a look

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  43. I have looked for a long time for something like this and very glad I have found your site.
    This is very helpful and I can see that I’ll be making use of all your guides.
    This is much appreciated.
    Thanks for taking the time to do this.

  44. Hi Rolf,

    I just accidentally came across your tutorials yesterday. After seeing a few of them, i just want to take a moment and express my gratitude for your all of your work. There is no better thing in this world than giving back. I personally thank you and your team for your generosity and patient efforts.

    Once again, thank you very much for all of this.

  45. Rolf, thanks so much for this tutorial. I have been using GIMP for a few years but only just scratching the surface. I can’t wait to watch the other tutorials!
    Ottawa, Canada

  46. Wow, such a nice site for gimp starters . Thanks google for bringing me here. By the way, is there any way to download the images used in the lesson individually?

    • A little warning – this video is from 2007 – GIMP has changed a lot in between. The basic techniques are still the same, but there will be some differences in the menus and dialogues.

      For later episodes there are files for download from time to time, but I think it’s better to use your own images and apply the techniques on them. Then you are actively make the decision and don’t just copy the stuff I do.

  47. Hello there everyone I’m new to using gimp and I need help, I’m trying to remove a text off a business card and put a new text on the same card don’t want to change nothing but a phone number and I don’t know what I’m doing can some one please help me with this program, I need step by step cause I really don’t know what I’m doing if I can get some one to reply to my post they may feel free to call me @ 501-818-7904! I need it bad!

      • @Rolf I have you know that I am designer of business cards and I’m not cheating anyone out of there salary, I didn’t originally do the cards and the person came to me to fix they phone number on the card, I use another program but since I was trying out gimp I had some trouble using the software, I thought this was a site to help each other with the software, and thank you for ur useless input!

  48. I discovered your episodes about GiMP on YouTube a few weeks ago. I am 80 years old and am enamored of GIMP. I find your episodes very enlightening even though I am a total novice in the use of GIMP. I have decided your series is the best hope for me to learn and try to become proficent in its use. I am trying to find the first 1-50 issues of your posting on YouTube hoping to learn the fundamentals of GIMP. (Not very successfully I must add.) A lot of the time you are over my head. I discovered your blog in the course of my poking around on YouTube.

    I live in Paradise, California. I want to view and learn each of your episodes in their numerical order. I am truly fascinated with your ability in using GIMP. Very advanced and far above my current understanding of it but finding that what can be done with GIMP. I’m writing this just after viewing Episode 196 — ENIAC and me.

    I am a devoted fan and intend to follow your work for as long as I can. Thank you.

    • That’s very nice to read – thank you!

      Don’t go through the videos in numerical order, look for stuff that is interesting for you. A lot of the episodes are a bit aged by now – GIMP has evolved a lot – and others are about the theory behind the stuff that is happening on screen. Only worth your time if you are into such geekery (as I am…. 😉 )

      This has never been a structured course about GIMP, I just produced the stuff that went into my head or that I got asked about. I tried to vary the level of difficulty, so there is a mix of basic and very special stuff.

      I would go though the blog posts and decide if to watch that episode or not.

      The first batch is on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BSpw5gBjJ0&list=PLCFB3A69639539214 and of course you can download the videos from this site in a bit better quality.

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