Using The GIMP with Scribus
One of the limitations of using The GIMP in the pre-press and DTP world has been the lack of CMYK support. Simply put, The GIMP works in RGB or grayscale. The printing world uses CMYK—the four primary ink colors used in four-color printing. A reading of The GIMP mailing list suggests this might be added to GIMP 2.0, as it has been a long-standing request. Moreover, a lot of discussion has surrounded patents relating to CMYK color. To me, this is a lot of nonsense. As Scribus and the littlecms libraries show, CMYK colors themselves are not encumbered by patents. As long as you do not use patented processes, you are in the clear. Fortunately, a couple of workarounds exist for using The GIMP in the CMYK world: 1) Scribus itself automatically converts RGB colors to CMYK, if the printing options are set to printing in PDF export. 2) Alistair Robinson, who has contributed code to Scribus before, has created a simple, but effective way to output CMYK TIFFs with The GIMP, by cleverly separating the RGB layers and using the gray channel for the CMYK colors. Separate is a GIMP plugin available here: www.blackfiveservices.co.uk/separate.shtml.
There are two other options for CMYK support in Linux: Corel PhotoPaint 9 still is downloadable via FTP. It is free, as in free beer, but unsupported and difficult to install on newer distributions. Caldera Graphics offers both a free “light” version and a commercial version of Cameleo, which includes scanning and image conversion tools. Both have ICC color management support. More detailed information is in the Scribus documentation.
Watch Those DPIs!
One frequent stumbling block for beginners is image resolution. Typically, most images on the Web are 72–96 dpi (dots per inch). When creating DTP files, much higher resolutions often are needed, typically a minimum of 200 dpi or often 300 dpi. For example, this magazine has an optimal resolution of 266 dpi. I have output images in The GIMP as high as 1,200 dpi with excellent results.
Linux DTP Links: www.atlantictechsolutions.com/scribusdocs/sclinks.html
Scribus Mailing List: nashi.altmuehlnet.de/mailman/listinfo/scribus
Peter Linnell is an IT consultant and principal of Atlantic Tech Solutions in New England, specializing in networks, pre-press and DTP. A self-described “Windows refugee”, the Scribus Project is the first open-source project he has worked on. He is working studiously on gaining a Red Hat Engineers' certification to complement his Microsoft and CompTIA certifications. He eschews all claims to geek status, hopefully proven by marrying a lovely French lady, preferring Bordeaux to Jolt cola and traveling to Europe as much as possible.
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