No Photoshop, No Problem: The Quickstart Guide to GIMP | Rebecca Vadnie | Skillshare

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No Photoshop, No Problem: The Quickstart Guide to GIMP

teacher avatar Rebecca Vadnie, Art and More

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (48m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Saving and Exporting

    • 3. Rotation and Skew

    • 4. Brightness and Contrast

    • 5. Hue, Color, and Saturation

    • 6. Sharpen

    • 7. Lesson 6 Creative Cropping

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About This Class

You don't need Photoshop to create amazing images.

There is a free tool that is just as powerful and versatile—an open-source program called GIMP. I'll walk you through some common photo tasks as we polish up a straight-from-the-camera photo. Plus, I'll share some ways to use those same tools to remix the same photo with an artistic spin. 

This class is perfect for anyone absolutely new to photo editing or just looking to try out this awesome Photoshop alternative!

Meet Your Teacher

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Rebecca Vadnie

Art and More


I am: Florida native, redhead, and a passionate fan of "try everything."

I love: hunting for super cool stickers, practicing film photography with a $10 Asahi Pentax SLR from the 1960s, rescuing cats, leveling up in Overwatch, and being a personal cheerleader when you need it.

I do: Illustration, graphic design, photography, social media, commissions, fiction and non-fiction writing (English/Creative Writing BA, UCF, 2001).

I'm not: Terribly athletic, good at multiplication, or an alien from Mars.

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1. Introduction: Hello. My name is Rebecca and I worked as a communications coordinator in Orlando. And I also enjoy doing art and illustration and photography and lots of other cool stuff like that in this class. I really mean no photo shop, no problem. When I really started getting serious about design one of the things that I ran into over and over with classes and tutorials Waas, Photoshopped, Um, at the time I couldn't afford photo shop, so I started doing search, looking for more affordable version. Um, and that's actually how I found gimp. Gimp is an open source, freely available program for download. It's very powerful program, and you can do a lot of the same things in gimp that you can do in photo shop. So in this class, I want to share just some common photo editing techniques. Ah, that you can use for basic edits, but also for some creative edits. And I just want to get you up and running and get you comfortable with gimp. So I hope that you'll be able to join us for this class and learn more about this really great program. See that 2. Saving and Exporting: Hello. Hello and welcome to Lesson one in the quick start guide to Gimp. In this lesson, we'll be exploring the exciting world of saving your file and exporting your file. So let's go ahead and start by. We're gonna go ahead and choose the image that we'd like to work with for our class project . So the first thing I want to do is come up to the file menu and I'm going to choose an image to work on for my own project. Here. Let's go ahead and click on our file and open, and I'm just going to surf over to my project folder, okay? And I've got a couple of images here, but I think I'm gonna go ahead and go with this image of the birds sitting on a chair. I just kind of snapped this picture while on a walk on my lunch break. And, um, I think this is gonna be a good image to use for my project. The first thing that I want to do just default is go ahead and save my project. We're going to be saving the actual project file in the default file type for gimp, which is a next CF file, which is very similar to photo shops default file, which is a PSD. So let's go ahead and save our file before we do anything. Not that I ever forget to save my file until the end. But so goto file and save, and you can see we've got our ex CF file right there. And I am just going to rename this, and I'm just gonna call this bird chair. So the second thing I want to dio in this process is check the resolution and scale it down . If I need Teoh. Sometimes when you get an image straight from your phone or from your digital camera, it's going to be a lot larger sometimes. Then what is practical, the work on. So let's come up to the image menu and click on scale image. And, um, I'm gonna go ahead and actually changed this from pixels two inches. But right there, it's telling me that it's about 5100 pixels wide, and I can just pick this drop down and change that two inches. So that translates into a ginormous 17 inches wide and 300 pixels per inch, which is telling me what the quality is. So this is actually a huge file. So I'm actually going to resize this, and I'm gonna cut it down to maybe eight by 10. Um, and as you can see here, it will automatically resize your photo. And I'm gonna leave my resolution as 300. Um, so this will give me something that's a little easier to work with. So go ahead and click on scale, and there we go. Got a nice scaled image. So of course, what we want to do is saver file again. So file and save on. And that's all there is to making your base working file for this project. So the next step we want to take is the next step that we want to take is export this file as a J peg and scaled that down to something that will be easy to post on the Web for your project in this class. So to do that. So let's come up to our file menu again and select our export as option and it's defaulting to a PNG file. So I want to change that to a J peg. So I'm gonna come down to the bottom of my screen and click on this little plus sign And the great thing that you have with get The great thing about gimp is you can export in a wide variety of file types. You have gift and ping, and you can even dio Photoshopped image the PSD file. But for this project, I'm going to stick with just, uh, straight up JPEG. So I'm going to go ahead and click on J Pay. And it appears I named my file bird chain. I'm kind of close enough. Um, don't get it fixed that and click on export. And this next green lets me set my, um, j peg options my quality for my J peg exports. I'm actually gonna sort of dial down this quality a little bit because web is pretty forgiving. Eso having it said that high is just adding bulk to my file that I really won't need in the end, and then I'm gonna click export again. Now, if you come to the file menu again and go toe open recent at the top of this little menu here, you'll see your exported file so you can go ahead and click on that and open up this file so we can resize it for the Web. And there's our J peg and you can see at the bottom it'll just confirm that this is are exported file. So let's once again, just like we did before, come up to the image menu and will select scale image. And we're gonna scale this down for the web. So we're going toe want Teoh not only changed the pixel with, we're also going to change the resolution because again, we don't need this much just for posting to the Web. So I'm gonna change the width to 800 just because I found that this is ah with that works best for me when I post to my skill share projects, uh, it uploads pretty fast, and I don't have to do a lot of re sizing in the window. As you can see, it automatically adjusts the height and then I'll come down here to resolution, and I'm gonna change this to 72 pixels per inch. And the lowest you want to go with Web resolution is 72 pixels per inch. Um, anything less than that, and it's gonna be pretty, pretty fuzzy. Lot of I kind of jagged edges and J peg artifacts in there and again, it really depends on the final use for online or even for print. When you're working with prints, a click on scale and again, our bird has zoomed way out. So it looks my knee Well, I can do Zoom back and see how you look. We're gonna come back to file now, this is something that I'm not a huge fan of with gimp. Instead of doing a regular save, we're going to need to overwrite are bird chair original file. It's not the most efficient thing, but I mean it is what it is. So go ahead and click on your overwrite option, okay? And it's going to give us, uh, the option again to adjust quality, and I might knock it down a little bit more. And at the bottom, it will confirm that the image was exported to your file that you've been working on. Now the scary part is when you click X to close the file, it's going to say, basically that you're gonna lose all your changes. You won't lose your changes. So you can discard changes. You'll be fine. You're cover. You're good to go. And that is it for saving your files and exporting your files for the Web and re sizing. So in the next lesson, what we're going to learn is I'm gonna show you how to fix some perspective. Steve skews rotation problems, so I will see you in lesson to 3. Rotation and Skew: Hello, Hello and welcome to lessen to in the quick start guide to get and this lesson all show you some tools to change things like perspective or rotation in your image. I like to start with rotating and perspective fixes or changes because it will affect how eventually crop my image with a basic edit or even a creative at it before we again. I am going to go ahead and I've renamed my base layer background and I'm going to right click and click on Duplicate Layer and rename it Let's see Rotate and Hit Tab. And as I mentioned, um, in the first lesson, this is going to be part of building up my image. Step by step, you time. So, as you can see here, I sort of took this photo on an angle that I really didn't intend. Everything back here is kind of going downhill. So, uh, go me awesome photographer girl. So come over here and you've got rotate. And this year, tool and perspective tool found. I'm gonna go ahead and start by rotating this just a little bit. And before I do that, I want to show you something that's really gonna be helpful for this. If you click and drag up here on these rulers, gonna click and drag. You can create guidelines that will make this process a lot easier. So I want to find, um, a point where I sort of can use it as a reference for adjusting my image like I really want . I know that this part here should be straighter. So put one line there in the same over here on the left side. Click and drag. And I think this place I thought this was a garbage can. Ah, but I know that that should be straight up and down. So I'm going to use that as my other reference. And there we go and come over here and click on rotate tool Cand I locked up and we're gonna click just anywhere on the image. You get this grid, I just really like using my guidelines. They're just easier to see. Um, you have two options. You can Freehand, freehand, your edit By clicking and dragging on the image, you can use this slider here to make a little bit more precise. Edit or you could even just use this up and down if you just want to nudge it a little bit . So let's see, actually, and use that to nudge my image a little bit intact and that sort of like that, that's a good starting point. And I'm going to go ahead and click. Rotate. There we go. That's a little bit straighter. Um, still not quite as straight as I'd like it to be. So I'm gonna go to our next tool, which is one of my favorites, Um, which is the perspective tool. And this is kind of works on the same idea as a rotate except just adjusting around a center point. You can adjust your four corners here sort of independently of one another. So I want to pull this side up a little bit more, and I want to pull this side out. So again, you click on one of thes squares. I'm gonna click on this one in the upper right corner. Just bring it up a little bit. Look at me being all really here with my perspective, and that sort of go fits a little bit better into my guidelines that I put together. Let's go ahead and take a look at that and click transform. I want to do it just a little bit more. So click on the image again, and we're gonna scroll lot a little bit. And as you can see, I'm kind of pulling some of this out of our image frame. So this is why I like to do some of these edits to begin with, because I can crop that out later on. And look at that. Uh, this this'd is why, uh, this is one of the examples of how you can use it for creative at its You can really go crazy and skew your image, Teoh. Some kind of crazy angle. So let me try this again, and I like that a little bit better. Okay, Just a little bit. And see my whole image here Now, Another really great tool. I apparent. I love all of my skew and rotate tools equally, uh, sometimes with the perspective tool you're going to get, kind of. You can see it's going at an angle now, sort of on the diagonal. One way to fix that is called the sheer tool. I'll let you adjust your image kind of linear. Um, across the horizontal and up and down on the vertical. So I'm gonna click on my image, and I want to Just needs a nudge just a little bit X Pretty good. Let's go ahead and click on sheer and see how that Yeah, Okay. With all of my sort of weird rotations and perspective and sheer fit, I am all set for less and three. 4. Brightness and Contrast: Hello. Hello and welcome to lessen three in the quick start guide to Gimp. In this lesson, I'm going to show you, uh, how Teoh adjust the brightness and contrast in your image. And this is going to just make give your image some depth and really sort of make it pop. Um, and we can also use that to really do something dramatic for a creative edits. I'm gonna go ahead and change the name of this layer. We're gonna call it Contrast fix. So there are a couple of different ways that you can changed The contrast and brightness of your image come to colors and then come down to brightness and contrast, which makes sense. So, uh, we could just use thes sliders, Teoh, adjust thes two settings and just slide it book. I tend to be a less is more person when I'm doing my basic edits. So I just want to make a slight adjustment. And the brightness is actually a bit too much up in here. It's a bit harsh. I think if I were gonna actually print this, I might not use this exact photo. Eso you could actually sort of dial down the brightness and the contrast a little bit and again, you can push these really far to the push it really low push it really high to get some really cool effects. Uh, reset. This, um, the second method. If you go to color menu and go to Well, hey, with the levels tool, thistles gonna give us a little bit more finer control over our adjustments were going to set three points, actually. Are Black Point the darkest white point, the lightest and great point, which is just kind of a mid neutral tone. And like I said, this is gonna, as you can see as I adjust these it's affecting. It's affecting certain picks, just certain pixels in your image. If I slide down with white here, or the gray Midtown gray you can see in the background, it's really sort of affecting more of the car in the background and part of the chair. So again, this is going to give you some finer control. There is no magic, uh, sort of no magic formula for doing this. I really just will work with the sliders until I get something that kind of clicks with me . So the other method for working with levels is these eye droppers at the bottom. In this case, you take your eye dropper and click on your darkest point in this case, the wheel back there. Then I'll select my what I want my brightest point to be. And that's gonna be this, uh, this part there. Now, the cool thing for the cool thing about this for creative edits is when you set your mid tone your mid tone grey, your midpoint because then I'm gonna go ahead and click Here it's gone blue and purple. So it's actually a really great kind of a really fun way to just sort of noodle around his noodle unofficial designed term noodle around and kind of see what you get. Just sort of go crazy set different points. No, reset it. Just experiment. In fact, that's the best way to learn. And I'm gonna reset this right quick and go ahead, make my serious at it. Uh, but the best way to learn sometimes with a program is to just noodle explorers, see what you know get into a tool in and push the sliders to their their lowest point of their highest point and see what happens to your image. Uh, so let's see, Yeah, I kind of like the contrast on that. Okay, so I like the way that this looks. So I'm going, going to go ahead and keep this the way that it ISS. That's a way to use two different tools in gimp Teoh. Edit your contrast and brightness and just add some depth and pop to your image. 5. Hue, Color, and Saturation: Hello. Hello and welcome to less and four in the quick start guides. Again, In this lesson, we're going to learn a couple of different ways that we can alter the color of an image. The first thing, just like previous lessons that I want to do, is duplicate my previous layer. So in this case, I'm going to right click on my contrast, fix and click duplicate layer, and I'm gonna rename this color fix, okay? And remember, I'm not doing it here, but we should always save our file. Not that I forget and lose my file later. So the first thing would come back to our color menu, and the first thing I'm going to show you is color balance. And we have three ways that we can adjust the color we can adjust the colors of our shadows . Uh, which is our dark points and our mid tones. Just the sort of Well, it's the Midtown. That was kind of silly. And our our highlights, which is gonna be the brightest points, and we can sort of balance between these contrast ing colors, as you can see here if I slide this, uh, I haven't set to our mid tones. And if I slide that back and forth, you can see back here with the car that gray is getting a little bit redder are, ah, a little bit more green, depending on which way that I move it. And this photo is actually a little bit cooler than I like. So I'm gonna want to add back in some warmth by just sort of pushing it between these warmer colors like red and, uh, yellow. So as you can see, when you change it like in the shadows, my shadows are getting a little bit more red or a little bit more blue. But if I love this, if we push it to the far end, then we can actually a tent those pixels to a pure color. And, um, when you sort of noodle around with that, you'll get some really neat effects. Um, now, going back to my less is more rule that really applies to adjusting the color balance. In this case, if you moved too much and you might have seen it previously moved too much on one picks or another, you're going to get this sort of, uh, strange, isolated color, uh, kind of these color patches, which great for creative, not so much for your basic edits. So just a little bit goes a long way with this tool. So the second method that we can use for editing our color is the hue and saturation in lightness tool. And I really use this more when I'm trying to dio creative sort of edit. When I'm doing just a basic straightforward at it, I stick Teoh color balance, but this is great for altering. As you can see, it's different specific colors of pixels, and you can adjust the actual color so anything that's maybe a yellow pixel now is gonna be great. And as you can see, it's really pushing the giving it a green tent, and so that's sort of skewing around with the color. You can do lightness, which will pale out your colors. It's kind of giving it a cool burnout color effect. You can also darken those colors, and with saturation, this is going to increase the richness of a color. Um, basically, And as you can see, the trick with the saturation is really tempting to over saturate, so you can also sort of isolate which exact color pixel he want to adjust. So in this case, I'm going to adjust my yellow pixels If I push it up really far, the blue end That's really cool, getting an alien sort of. And I can push it all the way to this end to kind of tint it read purple, which is really kind of cool for those leaves down there. That's really, really sort of trippy. And I can push the lightness up of those pixels. We're getting kind of a cool hes in the background, too. I do have bigger vocabulary, by the way than then. Cool. Um, so I can get a really rich, really high saturation color here and again because we're only doing the yellow pixels and I just de saturated here, just yellow pixels. So we're seeing some isolation of the brown color. Um, So, like I said, this is really fun to just again Newell around with push thes sliders to the far end of the , you know, one end to the other. Click on different dig for colors and just see what kind of things that you can do with it . And I really just Gosh, that's for one. So they actually want to come back and use this for my final creative at it. I'm just gonna reset my color here because I'm not gonna commit to that is cools. It looks, um says you can see a sort of stuck with a little bit of a warmer color. And every so often, I like to, um just click on that little eyeball which will hide a layer. And that just kind of lets me go back and kind of judge where I'm at with my edit, and that's it for lesson four. 6. Sharpen: Hello. Hello and welcome to less than five in the quick start guide to Gimp. In this lesson, I'll show you a couple of different ways that you can sharpen up your image once again, just like in the previous lessons. The first thing that we want to dio is duplicate our previous layer. So in this case, it's going to be our color correction layer, right click and then click on duplicate Layer and we'll rename this layer our sharpen. Okay, so there again a couple of different ways that you can sharpen your image. So let's come to filters, and we're going to come down here to enhance, and we're going to click on Sharpen. It's gonna bring up this little box here, and I'm actually gonna make this just a little bit bigger. So I can see, um, to what's going on here. Okay, so there's my bird and the the sharpness tool. It's really just let me see if I could move around here a little bit. I'm just clicking on that four point. I'm gonna leave it right there. For now, the sharpness tool is really sort of just a basic tool. Good general tool for a quick, a quick, sharp in just kind of giving it just a little bit more snapping a little bit more clarity. And I'm gonna push this up just a little bit. If you sharpen too much, you're going to actually start to get some really harsh lines. Um, and you also kind of start to see a halo effect and get some really, what's called noise, which is sort of the spots where you see kind of these dot patterns really cool for creative edits. That's probably my 15th Cool. I really need really awesome for creative Ed. It's not so much if you just doing a nice, uh, straightforward at it, so I'm gonna actually cancel out of this window. The's second method for sharpening images in gimp is something called unsure Mask, and it sounds a little counterintuitive, but it's a really great tool that's gonna give you a lot more precise control over the type of sharpening that you dio. Okay, so, to do an uncharted mask, what we want to do is come over to the filters menu and come down to enhance, and then down here to on Sharp Mask and what we are doing here is the way that it sort of works. Just kind of top level explanation is we're sharpening sort of around pixels individual pixels in this case, five pixels. So with anything, as we said before, with anything less is more particularly with an uncharted mask. Because if you get too aggressive with it, you'll really start to alter your image too much, which is really great for creative at it. You can do some really awesome effects with this. I'm I have mine just set to this sort of base number, but you can adjust them depending on how much sharpening you need. And I'm actually going to turn that down just a little bit because that is more harsh than I want. I definitely like that. But when you go ahead and push up some of these sliders, it's so push up the amount and you can start Teoh, you can really start Teoh do some really interesting effects. Um well, sort of start blending in. Some of those color areas can see their shoulder. No. So again, with just as we've done with all the other tools, play around with this pusher sliders up pulling back. See what you get. That's really sort of the fun part about working with programs is sort of noodling around. See what you find. Turn me way back down. Thank, and I see we'll turn this layer on and off a little bit. It's just a very, very, very slight sharpening, just to kind of give it a little bit more clarity. So that is it for sharpening techniques and game, and we'll see you in the next lesson. 7. Lesson 6 Creative Cropping: Hello. Hello and welcome to the quick start guide to Gim in this lesson, we're going to do something a little bit differently. Um, I'm gonna show you how to set up a file for creative use so we can try a couple of different things out with the crop tool beyond just the regular use for cropping down an image. So the first thing I want to do is come up and save a copy of my file who go to save ounce . You just rename the file. Oh, se, with my saved copy here, the next thing I want to do is flatten this image. So I have a single layer toe work with so right click on your background layer in select flatten image. Now I have a fresh start. I'm gonna make two copies of this background layer and just right click and select duplicate layer. Just repeat that one more time and the first layer here and going to call color and the second layer black. And so I'm just gonna hide the black and white layer using this little eyeball icon here and for my color layer. I'm going to use our human saturation tool that we covered earlier. So let's come back to the color menu. Yeah, and select hue and saturation. And I'm just going Teoh mess around with these colors a little bit. I've sped this up. Obviously, I don't usually work this fast, huh? So I've got some really bright colors that I can work with, And I'm going to come to my black and white layer and used the human saturation tool again . And then I'll just push the saturation slider all the way to the end. You may push up the lightness layer, little bitches to brighten it up. Click. Ok, okay. So now I've got a couple of creative layers that I can work with. So the crop tool is located on the left hand side of your toolbox, and it's the icon that sort of looks like a little Exacto knife. And to make a selection, make a crop selection. You just come over and click and rag to make a selection box, and you can adjust the selection crop for your and double click in the center. And there you go. You have your cross. We're gonna undo that. Um, one great options for the crop tool is you can set it for a specific width or height. I'm just gonna set my measurement two inches over here so you can see with or height and I can put in, for example, five inches and my with will be. When I go to make my crop box, it will be set to just five inches wide. I'll be able to go however high I want, but no wider than five inches didn't see when I click and drag. There we go and I can also make a crop box that is a set size. So, for example, five by seven. So I'll make my crop box and I'll come over here on type in five by seven. And as you can see, it resized the box. And so when I double click in the center, I'll have a five by seven in case when I do that. Okay, so there are all a couple of really cool things that you can dio beyond, just like I said, the basic crops that I show you, uh, the anything about this tool is something called current layer only and does exactly home what's advertised. It restricts your crop to just the current layer that's selected that you're working on. So if I click and drag and make my selection and then double click now, my crop is restricted to my black and white layer and you can see the color layer underneath. So that's a really cool way to kind of knock out some elements at some different interesting effects. Um, so what I'm actually going to do is sort of make a border for my image. The first thing I want to do is duplicate my color layer because I'll be cutting directly on a layer. Whenever you're doing that. Just make sure that you are keeping an original version of that layer in case things go sideways. We'll just rename this border start, and so I'm going to clip out part of the border and use that as my source. So the pump part of the image and make my border somebody pick this kind of abstracted part of the leaves down here, and I've made my selection. You can see it sort of in that black box preview, so I'll use our move tool, bring that to the top and then select the scale tool. Stretch it out a little bit. Looks I'm stretching. So I'm gonna duplicate this. Make another bar off of that, and I'm gonna rotated 180 degrees. Just the sort of, uh, mix up the pattern a little bit. I don't want the pattern toe look. Exactly the same on the top, in the bottom and left and right. He had rotate works. You try this again. There we go. A 180 degrees. It's also okay, go ahead and click. Rotate. There we go. A little bit different, and I'm going to duplicate my layer again to make my right side and my left side. Okay, so I've spent this section up again Just because I don't work this fast, I tend to, um, play around a little bit. Uh, which is what I enjoy the most about making creative edits. Just kind of seeing what I can do. So now that I have my border, I'm actually going to blend in some of those harsh lines where my border edges meat. And to do that, I'm actually going to use the eraser tool. And I know that we didn't officially cover the eraser tool in the main part of the class. But that's OK. It's very straightforward. Um, so to kind of make a really soft eraser, I'm actually I'm gonna make it a little bit larger using this size slider. You see, I can just slide it back and forth the same thing up here with the capacity slider. That's just going to set. How much gets erased it any time. Uh, gim comes with a lot of really awesome, uh, default brushes that come that work for, of course, the paintbrush and to the eraser tool. So there's a lot of different textures and, you know, feel free to kind of experiment with this and, you know, try some different brush settings out and see what you can get with that. Now I'm going to select this really soft edged brush. Make sure that I'm on the right layer and just very lightly erase a little bit on that edge , and that'll kind of blend out that harsh line. I'm gonna do that again at the bottom on the gone. Maybe just a little too much here. So one of the really cool things about the eraser tool is something called anti a race, and when you click that it will un erase anything that you've done any erasing that you've done on that layer, it will bring back. Fix that. And every so often I will click on a different layer just so I can see how I'm doing without having those dashed lines. I'm gonna repeat this process on the other side and will be the same thing and again, just very lightly blending in some of those lines. Okay, that looks pretty good. I like the way that that turned out. So I am actually going to do something called Merging Down that Emerge all of the's elements into a single layer. And that's just gonna help cut down on the file size and the number of layers that I got a juggle at any given time. So right click and go to merge down. And I'm just gonna merge these down in reverse order. So from this point, you can experiment, try align the different tools out that we covered earlier and move the sliders around, see what you can do with these different elements. So that pretty much wraps up the crop tool, and this also wraps up the Quick Start guide to Gimp. I really hope that having these basic tools and this foundation in this program will give you the confidence to go out there, try different projects, do different things with this really fantastic alternative to photo shop. And thank you for joining me. And I can't wait to see all the awesome things that you do with this program.