This book is a tutorial. As it states right at the beginning of the introduction, it is not a reference guide, but is
designed to facilitate your entry into the world of digital image editing with the help of the GIMP…You will learn the fundamentals of digital editing, familiarize yourself with common image editing tools and their functions, and acquire a working knowledge of the GIMP 2 program.
And that is exactly what it does. The tutorial style is almost like being in a classroom. The steps are explained, then set out in detail, starting with pixels, color, resolution, and file formats. Towards the end of the book there is less explanation, as the exercises build on what has already been learned and focus on new ways to use the tools.
This really is not a beginner book. It assumes a certain amount of knowledge about computers, cameras and scanners. But you don’t have to be an expert in any of those areas. In fact, although the book discusses importing RAW formats and scanning images, the actual editing exercises are done with images included on the CD which comes with the book. Also included on the CD is the entire book in PDF format, copies of what the exercise images should look like after the editing exercises, the GIMP program for Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux (with source files), plugins for the program, and a copy of Irfanview, a free image viewer and conversion tool (for Windows).
Although intended for all formats, the book presents material from a Windows-centric perspective. I worked through the exercises on a Mac, however, and had no problems, thanks to the GIMP having virtually the same interface across platforms.
As seems to be the case with all books, this one is not without a few flaws. There were many typos, although few of them really serious. It would be better if there was an errata page (having marked them all in the book, I could probably put up one myself at this point). Some of the tools could use more explanation. I wish the beautiful, color screenshots were bigger. But my biggest surprise was the book itself: I don’t think I’ve ever had a cover on a brand new book start separating from the book after only one week.
I have been using the GIMP for a couple years already, but there was a lot in the book that was new for me. In fact, I wish I’d read the book a few weeks earlier: it would have saved me a lot of time on a Christmas project! Despite the flaws, and even with the defective cover, I’d recommend it. It will give you more than a working knowledge of the GIMP.