January 28, 2004

How to Use GIMP #2: Introduction to Layers

In the time before digital computers could do graphics, photography was a film thing. Because light hitting undeveloped film or photo-print paper will expose it, undeveloped film and print papers have to be handled in a room without light a dark room. (A red light at the very reddest end of the visible light spectrum is used to provide some illumination in a photo darkroom.)

Exposed film and print papers are developed in chemical baths in the darkroom. Machines in the darkroom called enlargers are used to blow up or reduce the size
(scaling) of photos for printing and to crop them for printing.

Optical filters can be used with the Enlargers to modify the appearance of photographs. Darkroom tricks can be used to superimpose part or all of one photo upon another for printing. Text or artwork can be superimposed upon a photograph too.

As sufficient computer resources were developed and deployed to enable digital image manipulation and editing, software was developed to do just that. Thus, today everything from snapping photos digitally, to editing photos, to printing photos can be done digitally -- digital cameras for snapping the photographs, digital computers and software for editing the photos, and digital (computer) printers for making photo prints.

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