How To Use GIMP For Photo Montages

What is GIMP, and how can it be used to make a photo montage? The guide to making the most of the potential of digital graphics software

Making a photo montage means juxtaposing or superimposing two or more different photos (or individual parts of images) to compose a new picture.

This technique, thanks above all to the advent of social networks, has become very popular on the net, to the point that almost every day, it is possible to see unpublished photomontages created for fun by way of comics and drawings.

There are many ways to create one and fast: some are entirely online, while others need specific programs that allow you to create high-quality outsource image editing, perfect to be shared on the network.

Among the most used software, there is undoubtedly GIMP, a graphics program very similar to Photoshop, which can be installed free of charge on all PCs with Windows, macOS, and Linux.

GIMP is the perfect solution for those who want to take their first steps in graphic design, starting from a powerful and relatively simple-to-use application.

Let’s see how to make a perfect photo montage in a few simple clicks.

How To Install GIMP On The PC

  • First, you need to download GIMP, which is free and compatible with all significant digital graphics software. It allows the opening of all the most common image formats. To get the latest version of this software, go to the official website and, in the “Download” section, take the newest update available. GIMP is accessible on the official website and is compatible with any Windows, Linux, and macOS operating system.
  • At this point, you can proceed with the installation of the software and with the choice of the images to be used for the montage. Before proceeding with the work, I suggest checking the pictures’ properties to find their dimensions. If the sizes are too different, there is the risk that the final result will be grainy or of poor quality; for this reason, it is always advisable to choose high-quality files or files of more or less similar dimensions. 

How To Open A File With GIMP And Edit It

  • First, you need to click on “File” at the top left and then on “Open”; from the selection window, it is necessary to open the images to be used for photomontage one at a time. One will be the background, the other containing the objects to be cut.
  • At this point, on the image from which to take the objects to be cut, click “Level,” Transparency,” and finally, “Add Alpha Channel.” This step will be used later to eliminate portions of the background with the “Eraser tool” function and to cut out the image more precisely.
  • Now by clicking on “Tools,” “Selection,” and “Freehand,” you can select the elements to be cut out and create the first draft of their outline. Each click corresponds to a portion of the object that will be cut; the more points you select, the more precise the crop will be. To close the selection, click on the first point positioned.
  • The image can be cut out more precisely using the eraser. Now you can copy the selected portion by clicking on “Edit” and then “Copy” or combining Ctrl+C.
  • By passing over the image to be used as a background, you can paste the cut-out element, creating a new layer called “Floating Selection”; this can be moved anywhere in the image by dragging it using the mouse.
  • Most of the work is done at this point, but to obtain an optimal result, it is necessary to try to make the photomontage homogeneous.

GIMP: Other Useful Tools

  • GIMP provides handy tools designed precisely to modify the images and make them adhere perfectly to the background.
  • Among the most useful ones, there is undoubtedly the “Scale Image” option which allows you to enlarge or reduce the portion of the pasted image and bring it in line with the dimensions of the background. To modify only the appearance just pasted, you can go to the top right in the column with the various levels, right-click on the floating deck, and then on “Scale.” 
  • Or the “Rotate” option allows you to rotate the cut image and make it adhere perfectly to the background.
  • Other exciting options are those of the filters that allow you to improve the image by removing imperfections or visual glitches.
  • A helpful tip is to go and work on the brightness, sharpness, contrast, or color of the montage. From the “Colors” section, you can use many invaluable tools and adjust all these settings to make the images as similar as possible.
  • Making an image homogeneous is a fundamental operation in constructing a photomontage because it allows the creation of a coherent photo and eliminates that annoying feeling of having only two objects glued on each other.   

Why Choose GIMP For Image Editing

GIMP is a simple, intuitive, and very reliable program. These are undoubtedly the first three reasons to prefer it to other “competing” software.

Then it’s completely free, something much appreciated, especially by those who are taking their first steps in graphic design and don’t want to spend hundreds of Euros on expensive tools.

Another reason is the excellent compatibility of GIMP with all significant graphics or digital drawing software; moreover, this small but powerful software can open all the most common image formats allowing users to work on their projects with complete peace of mind. 

There are also many sites and apps designed to create online photomontages quickly and easily without the need for installation.

However, despite the extreme ease of use, they often only allow a few subtleties, limiting themselves to creating simple photomontages with limited customizations.

By choosing GIMP, on the other hand, even the novice user will have performing software to take care of their projects, work, and leisure, simply and effectively.

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