I have been visiting a site called Gimp Chat over the last year, and have discovered some VERY talented Gimp users. There's a family there as well (kind of like our forum family). Someone will post a photo or some artwork, and invite everyone else to try some editing. The results are amazing! Many of them are experts at writing scripts and plugins for Gimp. These scripts take the steps for a certain effect and roll them together so all you have to do is change some settings and get your desired result. I thought I might take this opportunity to share a few of them with you.
NOTE: These are small files that you place into your /home/<UserName>/.gimp-2.8 folder, either in the scripts or plug-ins folder. Since they only run when you activate them, and are only in your /home folder, they shouldn't cause any system problems. One member named GnuTux created the website called GIMPScripts and that is where nearly all these scripts are posted. In addition to Gimp Chat, many of the members have joined another forum called Gimp Learn. The same activity happens there, but with a slightly different set of members. GIMP Chat was closed for a while recently (server issues, I believe), so GIMP Learn was REALLY active for a while.
Some of the most fun I've had is with effects that have changed a photo of mine into some sort of abstract image, or use the text I have typed and make it truly fancy with very little effort.
Mosaic Lyle Style
A member of GIMP Chat known as dinasset created this filter, saying, "This filter has been inspired by Lyle's experiments on Mosaic creation, posted on Gimp Chat". One of the Gimp Chat threads was by a member named Rod, who experimented with the steps needed for the effect, and dinasset wrote the script. It takes your photo or drawing and converts it to a "Roman-style" mosaic. Here is a tulip I photographed on vacation, with the filter done on it.
Bling Text Logo
GnuTux created this one, saying, "Bling Text Script V2.0 allows you to create animated "Bling" (sparkle) text with an added drop shadow & background." The bling won't show up in the pdf or ebook versions, but viewing it in the html version of this article will show that the purple part of the text also has sparkles. This particular one of mine has no shadow.
Reflect on Ponds
Dinasset created this one as well, used to simulate a pond where the original photograph had none. This is a photo from a vacation in Colorado, and I added the pond to a grassy valley area. The filter adds the ripples and the reflection.
Member Rod created this one. Depending on the patterns you choose, your text will look slightly uneven or "chewed" around the edges.
This filter takes a photograph and creates one or three sketches from it. If you choose three, each has different characteristics: one is an almost colorless sketch, one emphasizes the darker areas, and one is colored closer to the original. This one is the nearly colorless copy of a photo of our wonderful editor and his beautiful wife.
Crazy Tone Map
Dinasset created a wonderful add-on that is very useful for enhancing photographs! You load your photograph into GIMP, and then apply this add-on. It has several settings so you might have to experiment to get the effect you want. So far I have found excellent results from this one! You can choose a low impact or high impact from your script, and choose different nuances to bring out the color you want. Here I just wanted to accent the vegetation a bit more.
The original is the top photo, and you should be able to see that the green vegetation is brighter in the second.
The forum is great because everyone helps by testing and using the add-ons and posting their result and comments. This always results in better versions of the add-ons. There is also one called Add Gimp Decor that will add a "Created using GIMP" text detail to your creation. I put one in the bottom right corner. Decor would be a valuable tool to add your own personalization. Oh, I also used an add-on called "Render Snow".
These sites are very valuable Gimp resources for me;
Several of the members have posted sites where their artwork/creations are displayed. Feel free to see the awesome artwork!
Lots of really fun add-ons can be found on Gimp Chat! Take the time to register and visit often!
(Oh, by the way, this post on Gimp Chat contains directions to add new splash screens to your Gimp, if you want to. Some of the members have even shared some.)