Adjust Colours using The Gimp


From time to time I will be adding items to these pages giving details of how to achieve certain objectives, usually related to genealogy and the use of Legacy software, often in conjunction with other software.

I am not suggesting that the solutions offered are the only, or indeed the best, options to solving problems but simply that they are ways which I have found to work.

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From Original To Final

The first photograph (above) was taken in a photobooth and, as usual, shows the children at the front as over exposed and their mother at the rear too dark. This can easily be rectified using The GIMP with a few simple operations.


Initially it is necessary to select the children and to achieve this I prefer to use the "Create Paths Tool" from the main GIMP menu. It looks like a hangman's noose and is next to the end on the top row. Click along the edge of the children as shown on the right; note that I started at the top of the blue shirt and have enlarged the dots so that they show up. Continue the path along the base and left hand side - although shown, it is not necessary to click between reaching the base and the corner, nor from the corner to the start point. Finish close to the start point. Absolute accuracy is not important.

Now click Select >By Path; followed by Layer>Colors>Curves.


Original Curve (straight line)

The screen-shot above shows the image which can now be seen. (Although the path does not show up clearly on the shot, it is still there.)

By clicking the curve and moving it the colour/saturation of the children can be changed as shown in the diagram below. Note the change to the bottom of the curve to darken the skin tones. When happy, click "OK".


Children's Darker Skin Tones

To change the mother's skin tones, first click Select>Invert, followed by Layer>Colors>Curves. Again adjust the curve until happy with her skin tones. This is shown in the screen-shot below. Note that this time the top of the curve has been adjusted to lighten the mother's tones. OK it again.


Mother's Lighter Skin Tones

To arrive at the finished picture (top) I wish to crop it, so click Select>None and then the shaded rectangle from the main GIMP menu. Outline the size required and go to Edit>Copy>Edit>Paste as New.

Other properties, such as brightness, contrast etc., can also be adjusted using this technique


Use "Save As" to save in whichever format suits.

(Connoiseurs please note that the colours have been exaggerated in order to more clearly illustrate the changes).

Printer friendly version Printer

Corrections, comments and suggestions are welcome, so please use the contact facility below.

The above information is given without warranty either expressed or implied

The content last updated 31 March 2010