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GIMP - Cropping and Rotating Images

written by: KateG•edited by: Daniel P. McGoldrick•updated: 11/30/2009

One of the most basic ways to clean up an image using the GIMP image editing tool is to crop it. You can also fix an off-tilt image by using your rotate tool. This tutorial will teach you how to use cropping and rotating features in GIMP, and improve your photographs.

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    When you get an image it is unlikely that it is going to be 100 percent perfect right off of the bat. Odds are you are going to have to make at least some basic changes, whether your goal is to get the perfect family photo or to create a slick new graphic for your website's header.

    Some of the most basic changes that you can make to your images are to crop it and to rotate it. Cropping allows you to remove excess space from your image. If your shot is too wide or if you just went to get those strangers out from the Disney castle then you can do this with a crop tool.

    The rotate tool will allow you to change the axis of an image. What this means in layman’s terms is that you can change where the horizontal line of the image so if your photo is tilted you can fix it, or if you want you can turn a photo so that it better fits into your next digital photo album.

    Now that you know what the tools do we are going to take a look at how to use the tools and then make a few recommendations on how to use the tools to our best advantage. Of course, each situation will be unique so you are going to have to use your best judgment.

    The Crop Tool: A How To

    1. Open the image that you need to crop.
    2. Select the crop tool, this is the button that looks like a small knife or a seurgeons scalpel.
    3. Using your mouse pointer and while holding down the left button draw a box around the area that you want to keep, not the ones that you want to get rid of.
    4. Click inside the box you just drew.
    5. Enjoy your new cropped image.

    The Rotate Tool: A How To Guide

    1. Open the image that you want to rotate.
    2. Select the rotate tool, this looks like a set of boxes, one on a diagonal and two arrows.
    3. Your image or layer should be active, click on the left button of your mouse.
    4. Drag your mouse left or right to rotate the image in those respective directions.

    See you just used your first two GIMP tools and it was really easy. You’ll be a professional in no time! Now that we have gotten past the how lets get onto the advice about how you may want to use those tools.

    Advice for using the crop tool.

    • When you are in doubt, take away less rather than more. You can always remove more later the other way around is a lot more complex if you decide to make the change 20 steps later down the road.
    • Don’t crop to get rid of a problem that you can fix another way. If correcting color will make it right then do that first. If however the problem is your Ex in a treasured vacation photo then go ahead and crop.

    Advice for using the rotate tool.

    • The only thing to know here is that, unless you are trying to revive the surrealist movement, you are going to have to be sure that your rotations make sense. Don’t go putting people in upside down or having trees in the sky.

    Now go out and begin your image editing odyssey and keep your eyes peeled for more how to’s on using the open source image editor, GIMP.