Congratulations, you're beginning to get to know your way around Gimp. You've 
come a long way already!

Working on a layer - You said you selected the layer by turning the layer box 
to a highlighted color. Take another, closer look at the layers dialog. When 
you click on the little image of the layer, yes, the whole line will be 
highlighted, but a narrow WHITE border will appear around the thumbnail. Click 
on another layer in the same image to see what I mean. Black border... Not 
selected. White border... selected. When you start working with layer masks 
this will be vitally important to remember. 

Even more subtle is the actual layer name. If the name is written with a bold 
font, it has NO alpha-channel, and therefore no transparency information. If it 
is in normal font, the alpha channel is present. Right-click on the layer and 
add and remove the alpha channel to see how that works.

While we're on the layers, there's an 'eye' button there too. Click it on and 
off to see the layer. If you apply a tool to a layer below all the visible 
ones, you won't be able to see your changes (depending on your blending modes, 
but that's for another discussion).

>Hey, that's pretty cool!!  Thanks for sharing!  Now, I understand it better.  
>One last little thing before I step away for the day.  Sorry to keep bugging 
>y'all.  I spent a pretty frustrating hour not really able to make anything 
>work at all.  When one wishes to use tools to change something about an image, 
>I'd think that if they select the desired layer in the layer box to the right 
>(turning it dark blue over there), I'd think one is good to go as far as 
>modifying it.  Is there some special secret handshake to tell the program that 
>the particular image is what you want to work on, thus, allowing all of the 
>interesting tools to work on it.  I've been able to add an alpha channel to 
>make it transparent, but want to go through and clean it up a bit.  Thanks 

>From: Alexandre Prokoudine <>
>To: "" <> 
>Sent: Monday, August 13, 2012 9:03 AM
>Subject: Re: [Gimp-user] Extreme newby needs some help please!

>On Mon, Aug 13, 2012 at 5:50 PM, Jessica Tomlinson wrote:

>> am still quite foggy on this whole selecting with a layer mask thing.  Why
>> would one want some pixels to be partially selected, or partially
>> transparent?


>There are many uses for that. In general, this way you can make
>gradual transitions between two layers.

>For example, a typical sunset photo has a sky that looks OK, but the
>ground/water is a bit too dark.

>You can duplicate the original layer, then raise brightness of one of
>the layers, then combine them via a layer mask, where selection
>gradually changes. As the result, both sky and ground/water will look
>just like when you were taking the picture.

>Here is another example of, ahem, artistic use of this feature:

>Alexandre Prokoudine

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