GIMP is Not a Photoshop Alternative

For those of you who are unaware of GIMP, here is how the software describes itself:

GIMP is the GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed piece of software for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. It works on many operating systems, in many languages.

In this article, we’ll take a look at GIMP.

Screenshot of GIMP home page

However, instead of reviewing the set of features and other information that you can easily find in the GIMP docs, my focus will be on the viability of GIMP and its potential usefulness for designers.

Why It’s Unfair to Compare GIMP to Photoshop

Considering the fact that GIMP is the default image editor for many popular Linux distros, and Photoshop is not yet available for Linux users, GIMP is heralded by Linux users as their own version of Photoshop. This can be correct to a certain extent. I can relate with this sentiment.

For example, when I’m talking about my Linux OS to a non-Linux user, and if he or she asks about Photoshop, my response is along the lines of “Nope, no Photoshop; I just use GIMP.”

But, at the end of the day, GIMP doesn’t make itself a good Photoshop alternative just because I can’t have Photoshop on my system.

We cannot overlook the fact that Photoshop is, indeed, the industry-standard when it comes to image authoring and editing.

Photoshop has established itself as the most popular software in its league, and any image editor, no matter how good or bad, has to face a comparison with Photoshop at some stage in its life.

Yet, Photoshop is a commercial venture: it is supposed to provide a plethora of features to its customers. And it does just that quite well!

GIMP, on the other hand, is free software with a community-centric model: it has users and aficionados, not clients and customers.

Naturally, if we were to compare Photoshop and GIMP head to head, Photoshop will emerge as the bigger entity.

Furthermore, comparing the features of one image authoring program to another is unfair in itself: a feature absent in Program A today might be added to it later on, whereas Program B’s future updates may not live up to the expectations.

Screenshot of GIMP User Interface

Major Differences Between GIMP and Photoshop

So, how do you introduce GIMP to a user who has, in all likelihood, relied entirely on Photoshop for his or her image editing needs? This is one question that surfaces often in Linux discussion forums.

Being a Linux user and GIMP lover myself, I will try to compare Photoshop and GIMP to the best of my abilities.

What exactly does GIMP have to offer when pitched against Photoshop?

The primary difference between GIMP and Photoshop is the price.

GIMP is absolutely free and open source software. You are welcome to donate any amount to the GIMP project if you so desire, but you have the option to use it for free without paying a penny.

GIMP being free can be really helpful for an aspiring designer who wishes to hone his or her design skills, but currently does not capabilities of paying for Photoshop.

Photoshop costs $642.58 on Amazon.com or $19.99/month through Adobe Creative Cloud at this time — prices not many new designers can easily shoulder.

In terms of hardware requirements, such as RAM requirements and disk space consumed, GIMP needs less hardware resources than Photoshop.

Also, GIMP is cross-platform. You can use GIMP on Mac, Windows, as well as Linux. Photoshop, as of now, is not available for Linux users.

photoshop_alternative_gimp_03_gimp_linux_windows_mac

In terms of features, Photoshop clearly has way more features than GIMP.

That said, GIMP also has a more than just decent set of features, and the community keeps producing one awesome plugin for GIMP after another.

photoshop_alternative_gimp_04_gimp_mixer_feature

If all you need is a small subset of Photoshop features, you should consider moving to GIMP, simply because you might end up paying for Photoshop features that you will rarely, if at all, use.

On the downside, GIMP is notorious for having a steep learning curve. I have not used Photoshop much, so I will not indulge into extravagant claims here, but yes, though I love GIMP, I must admit that I find its user interface to be confusing for a new user.

Make the Switch from GIMP to Photoshop Easier

If you are moving from Photoshop to GIMP, you can try GIMPshop. It has the same functionality and features as GIMP, but uses a Photoshop-like user interface instead of the default GIMP interface (GIMPshop is not available for Linux, though).

GIMP vs. Photoshop: What’s the Verdict?

Have you ever used GIMP? If so, what was your experience with it? Do you think it has the ability to compete with Photoshop?Have your say in the comments below!

  • http://www.designmarkgraphics.co.uk/blog MarkT

    Thanks for this write-up, Sufyan, interesting overview. I myself would say that GIMP certainly is an alternative to Photoshop, but it’s definitely not a substitute for it.

    I’ve been using GIMP since 2005 so I feel like I know the software pretty well; well enough for me to start my GIMP (and Inkscape) tutorial blog earlier this year, at any rate. Having used Photoshop initially, I felt like I was creating images the way Adobe wanted me to do it, not the way I wanted to. For that reason, I switched to GIMP.

    I write articles demonstrating techniques and methods for creating images that can, if taken through to their ultimate conclusion, be just as good as those produced in Photoshop. And that, for me, is where the nub lies: GIMP teaches you how an image comes together, and not to just click a button to apply a filter and have it done for you. From my readership numbers, it seems quite a few people agree.

    That said, its community-centred philosophy (usually seen as a strength), and the reluctance to be seen to match PS blow for blow in terms of core functionality, can sometimes be its downfall; the lack of support for CMYK images, perhaps being the highest profile among these. Often, plug-ins and scripts exist to circumvent the problem, but it’s not as simple as, say, selecting the colour mode when you create a new document. And in terms of having an established workflow it can present all sorts of off-putting inconveniences.

    But I use GIMP in my work and I know others do too, and that kind of endorsement tells you that the software must be liked, capable and usable. With advanced features like 32-bit colour support and non-destructive editing promised in the future, I am confident that, with continued strong and competent leadership on the project, it will hit the heights of being a must-have piece of software on everyone’s computers.

  • Thane Ch.

    The biggest drawback for me using GIMP, rather than Photoshop, has always been the lack of support for CMYK images, too – as things progress with digital printing becoming more of a standard over sheetfed/web presses that will become less of a problem.
    I use GIMP Paint Studio for my own work, but have been wanting to try GIMPshop for some time — so I feel the need to point out that it IS available for linux, but perhaps less straightforward to install. The link for linux GIMPshop is directly on their website, and can be found here:
    linux.suramya.com/tutorials/Install_GIMPShop/

  • John Calloway

    The typical arguments against Gimp never fail to amuse me. The ever repeated claim that it has a non-intuitive, user-unfriendly interface is simply not true. If anything, the menu structure is more straight-forward and more logical than PS. It is different, to be sure, but that doesn’t make it better or, certainly, not less intuitive than PS.

    I am not a professional photographer, and have no ambition to become one. I am, however, an avid photographer with more than a casual acquaintance with computers and software.

    The argument that Gimp doesn’t support 16-bit depth is both temporary and, for most non-professional users, insignificant.

    The vast majority of users (non-professional photographers who want to capture and share photos) will never need 16-bit.

    The same can be said for CMYK. Unless you are sending your images to print houses who require it, then the feature is superficial. Again, this argument is a temporary one, as there are presently workarounds, and implementation of this capability will come to Gimp in time.

    I can understand that someone who hasn’t used Gimp ever (or in years) may assume it to be clunky in its (minor) departure from the way things are done in PS.

    But, as one who is reasonably advanced in both photography and editing (video and still photography), and who is well acquainted with both applications, there is absolutely no reason for 90% of the photographers out there not to give Gimp serious consideration as an editing tool.

    I am a long-term user of Vegas (for video/audio editing) and Wavelab (superb audio editor), both proprietary applications (Vegas is still Windows only, Wavelab, contrary to insistent claims of its developer, recently ported to MAC).

    I absolutely adore those two applications for what I consider their slick GUI’s and superb capability. I don’t doubt for a moment that, if I really gave open source an honest try, I could become as prolific with Blender and Audacity.

    For me, Blender is a the most radical departure from that to which I am accustomed, Audacity much less so. Still, just because my brain is ingrained into the work flow of the proprietary applications, is no reason for me to knock the open source offerings as inferior. I’ve really not spent enough time with the open source aps to offer an objective opinion.

    I feel that many of the anti-Gimp comments are equally non-objective.

    Respectfully,

    JC

  • Tony D

    I think it would be safe to say that the majority of individuals who call themselves photographers would be very satisfied with the functionality of GIMP, I can’t say that I agree that the figure is at 90%. You make an excellent point though: GIMP will continue to catch up to Photoshop in many aspects. But at the present time I simply can’t tell young people that if they want a job in professional photo editing familiarizing themselves with GIMP will be more worthwhile than procuring a student license of Adobe software. Photoshop’s features are much more robust in the ways that a professional absolutely needs them to be. I don’t see any reason why GIMP can’t someday adapt in those areas as well, but we can’t pretend that it will be any time soon. For now I do recommend GIMP to amateurs as a free alternative to buying Elements each year, but I presume it will be years before we see professionals with a preference for it. Though, as with anything technology related, someday.

  • Pat J.

    people still use photoshop? But it is expensive! That is why I use Gimp; it is free as in price. I don’t care about industry standards. What are they anyways? Define please. I just save images in *.xcf and go about my day.

  • John H.

    I’ve been a professional photographer for over 30 years, in IT field for over 20 and used image editing software for over 15 and I would rather use charcoal on a sidewalk than have to use GIMP. Going from Photoshop to GIMP is like trading in a Rolls Royce for a tricycle with two broken wheels and one that’s missing. NOTHING about GIMP is intuitive and most of the tools are clumsy and crude. GIMP is free and sometimes you get what you pay for. There are too many better free alternatives out there for anyone to have to use that crap.

  • Aeomer

    It always amuses me how many fanbois there are for GIMP.
    GIMP follows the same paradigm as the old Wordstar – think of the best an most intuitive way to do something, then do the opposite.

    Creating a proper, functioning, and useful replacement for Photoshop is a massive endeavour; this explains why it’s never been done and why people keep turning to GIMP in the vague hope of finding something free can beat a professional, albeit expensive, properly defined product.

    In 2013, there was the first measurable drop in Linux/Unix desktop usage in the home and business. The simple reason is the lack of properly defined products. GIMP < PHOTOSHOP, LIBRE < MS OFFICE, GNOME < [WINDOWS 7|MacOS] (Okay, pretty much anything is better than Win8, but not 7)
    In a rush to catch up with Windows OS features, Linux (not BSD) has become bloated and slow. The lack of decent desktop tools will Linux and BSD will fall back to being server OS's where they excel – GIMP is a thorn in the side of productivity and a nail in the coffin of Linux and BSD as general purpose desktop environments.

  • John S.

    This is what frustrates me about Gimp, and you put it in your opening statement. “GIMP has never projected itself as a Photoshop alternative” That is why GIMP fails for me. Functionally, you can get GIMP to do the majority of the things that Photoshop can do. But as another commenter said, going from Gimp to Photoshop is an exercise in frustration. Some things take me several steps more than they would in Photoshop? Is that because I don’t know the program well enough or does it really take these many steps? I don’t know. And I’m not interested in learning. I’ve already invested my time in Photoshop to learn these techniques over a period of years. I don’t want to relearn a new environment.

    For people who have used GIMP first and foremost, it isn’t an issue for them, but I would say a large group of people use GIMP because they can’t afford, or refuse to pay the price for Photoshop. If this is your target audience you should appease them. And this is clearly not the audience that the GIMP software providers/engineers/coders are targeting. And that’s the number one complaint I’ve read on the internet.

    There’s a reason articles like this exist. Because people WANT an alternative to Photoshop. But what they really want is a free photoshop clone. Gimp refuses to provide that. And that’s what I have a problem with and what I don’t understand. Unless there’s a legal reason why GIMP can’t be designed more with the photoshop client in mind, I don’t see a reason not to. Providing a free version of photoshop would bring far more users over to the platform and in turn, force Adobe to drop it’s prices or even better, start developing newer features, which would benefit the art community as a whole. I have used photoshop 6 or 7, and I have used photoshop cs5. There was at least a decade between releases if not more and the only thing I have found that you can do with CS5 that you can’t do with the older version is 3d art (and there are WAY better programs for it than what photoshop can do), and the content-aware filtering stuff. Why are people still paying $700 for it?

    In the end, if you’re going to provide a program that DOES almost everything that Photoshop does, why not at least make a GUI option that lets it ACT more like Photoshop and bring over the rest of that user base.

  • Alpha Ghetti

    Having used both Photoshop (a lot in the distant past and a bit recently), GIMP and GIMPshop I can agree that it’s more limited than Photoshop but I vehemently disagree with the assertion that its learning curve is steeper.

    If you were comparing Photoshop v 5 or 6 vs. GIMP, sure. Yes. Photoshop 5 was a better program. But, I’ve found the newer versions of Photoshop to be progressively less intuitive and less attractive to the point where I’m always using GIMP.

    For my purposes I find GIMP to be my preferred option (I get some form of Photoshop free from work–typically I use GIMP unless I’m really pressed for time and do not have the user privileges needed to install GIMP.

    PS I really wish Adobe would come out with an “anniversary” edition of Photoshop 5 and update it to work with current format standards. It was an excellent program with a clean, simple interface. Ever since they’ve gone downhill and GIMP simply hasn’t caught up with code quality (I could edit a 100 MB uncompressed file on a G4/450 with 256 MB of RAM without batting an eye while GIMP still struggles with files a quarter that size on a computer that has 32x the RAM and probably 50x the CPU speed)

  • Alpha Ghetti

    GIMP IS NOT Photoshop. Photoshop costs $100s, if not $1000s of dollars. To use a modern version of Photoshop well requires professional training. To use a “consumer” version of Photoshop is an exercise in frustration (at least, to me).

    The beauty of GIMP is that once you learn how to do something you can continue to do it. My image editing needs are simple. Crop. Define a transparent colour. Remove noise from scans of documents.

    Modern Photoshop is overkill. My preferred version (5) is obsolete. GIMP fills a great niche. It’s not useful for the professional–they make a living with images and it makes sense to invest the time to learn a professional grade program. But, for the amateur who has modest needs it makes perfect sense to learn GIMP(shop) as opposed to Photoshop. Once you figure it out, you can continue to use it and you can use it on ANY (somewhat modern) computer.

    Now, GIMP is not great for heavy duty data crunching. The algorithms simply haven’t been optimized. Once upon a blue moon in my career I had need to manipulate 100 MB+ images. On hardware that is more than 13 years old I found Photoshop 5/6 much more capable than GIMP on mid-speed 2013 hardware. Mind you, I don’t know how the consumer grade Photoshop fares on that count–can it handle a 100 MB image without bringing the computer to a grinding halt?

  • Alpha Ghetti

    Warning: I (& others) mentioned GIMPSHOP. It seems like it is NO LONGER a functioning fork of GIMP. It was created in 2005 and by the actions of a profiteer has effectively been run into the ground as a viable project (the last time I used GIMPshop was probably 2007 or 2008).

    Stick with GIMP! It’s current.

    Read up on the Wikipedia entry for the author’s description of the behaviour of the owner of gimpshop.com.

  • Alpha Ghetti

    John S writes intelligently and respectfully “… people WANT an alternative to Photoshop. But what they really want is a free photoshop clone. Gimp refuses to provide that. And that’s what I have a problem with and what I don’t understand. Unless there’s a legal reason why GIMP can’t be designed more with the photoshop client in mind, I don’t see a reason not to. Providing a free version of photoshop would bring far more users over to the platform and in turn, force Adobe to drop it’s prices or even better, start developing newer features, which would benefit the art community as a whole. I have used photoshop 6 or 7, and I have used photoshop cs5. There was at least a decade ”

    The goal for GIMP is not to provide a free Photoshop alternative. Or to win people over to Linux or to force Adobe to drop its prices. I imagine the goal of GIMP developers is to contribute to a piece of software that they themselves need and can use.

    Photoshop users have learned how to use Photoshop over a decade or sometimes two (I myself started more than two decades ago on Photoshop).

    GIMP users have now been using GIMP for many years, some for over a decade. The reality is that GIMP is NOT targeted at Photoshop users so GIMP itself is going to evolve as GIMP, not as a Photoshop clone with Photoshop quality (which it is not and which it cannot be because it lacks the resources Adobe has).

    Without Photoshop to pave the way there wouldn’t be a GIMP, so, killing the golden goose (i.e. lowering the price of Photoshop) to get free is ultimately going to kill software development of GIMP.

    In the end GIMP will become GIMP. It is evolving into a mature image editing software with its own ecosystem. Time invested in learning the ins and outs of GIMP now will be time well spent since you can be guaranteed that the software will exist in five years.

    And, if you ever become truly attached to a single version of GIMP you will be able to live with that very version for decades to come by simply re-compiling the source code to work with your newer operating system.

    PS Some (many?) may scoff at the sentiment raised in the last paragraph but all I have to do is look at my father–a man beginning to suffer the ravages of Alzheimer’s.

    It’s painful for me to see the slow but inevitable degeneration of a once brilliant man. But, one of the few intellectual pursuits in life that he still can engage in and derive intellectual satisfaction from is to work away on his Mac running Aldus (Adobe) SuperPaint from 1992 and Microsoft Word 5 from the same era.

    If SuperPaint and Word and the Mac OS they ran on had been opensource I could’ve invested effort into re-compiling them for newer operating systems and he could’ve been using modern hardware (which is readily available for purchase and reliable) with his old software.

    Instead, I have to scour the depths of the internet to find decade old computers that are usually quite beat up or neglected by this point to keep his software running.

    Tangent: Anyway, I think I need to flesh out my thoughts in an essay. What to do once you’ve learned a particular software and it works well for your needs? Nowadays, I suppose it’s becoming much easier to seamlessly virtualize operating systems. Windows XP apps run seamlessly on the desktop under Windows 8, Linux or Mac OS X using virtualization software. But, that’s only because Windows XP has been designed to run under a virtual environment.

    Apple has done a pretty good job of making it challenging (to say the least) of running their operating system (legally) under a virtualization environment. Hmm. Anyway. Time to get to work. I’m procrastinating and it’s only minutes from bed time. How to cram in 30 minutes of work into five minutes?

  • Law.H

    Don’t download from GIMPSHOP.COM!!!
    I got a trojan installed onto my computer trying to install GIMPSHOP. It also installed a program called optimizer pro 3.2 onto my machine without my consent.

  • Pete Puck

    I’m probably just as lousy a photographer as you are, and hence the quality of charcoal on the sidewalk is good enough for me too. I suppose the brains of people like you and me ar just too tiny to comprehend something as complex as Gimp…

  • Jim Hobbs

    The argument that GIMP has a difficult to master user interface probably comes from users who are already familiar with Photoshop. This is similar to complaints that Linux is not user friendly and is difficult to master, coming from long time Windows users. I went from DRDOS to Linux around 1998, and started using GIMP shortly after that. I had nearly no Windows experience and no Photoshop experience, and didn’t find Linux or the GIMP to be unfriendly or difficult to master. What I’ve seen over and over is a Windows user trying out Linux, and wanting everything to look and act exactly like Windows, and a Photoshop user trying out GIMP and wanting everything to look and act exactly like Photoshop. In my experience, it takes about one month of substantial daily use to know my way around a complex program fairly well. This has applied to operating systems and programs like CAD systems, word processors, circuit board design programs, and image editing software, and is unrelated to Windows/Linux/MAC biases. Most of the Photoshop folks have probably forgotten how many hours they really invested in learning that program.

  • Meta Baron

    @Alpha Ghetti

    SuperPaint LIVES! Never tried it myself but according to the author “this program runs correctly and safely on any Windows PC from Win98SE onward.”

    http://www.rgshoup.com/prof/SuperPaint/SPlives.html

  • Princess

    I have used Photoshop and just recently starting using Gimp 2.8.10. I have several plugins for Gimp to make it more like Photoshop such as layer styles(not as good as Photoshop’s layer styles btw) but it gets the job done. I follow Photoshop tutorials for interface designing in Gimp. Photoshop is better but I can design nice interfaces. Btw I have to play around a lot more in Gimp to get things looking professional. I have to be more creative using Gimp. There is a Gimp plugin site that once you install the plugins you want Gimp becomes more like Photoshop. Gimp is growing on me. Starting to love it.

  • Shannon O’Rourke

    I would argue that there is a direct correlation between Photoshop being the industry standard and the way it’s marketed versus the capabilities of GIMP and the fact that it’s “just a free (hence, lesser program) image retouching program”. I am a professional photographer who has both programs and guess what? I rarely use Photoshop. Not because it’s not good, but because I can do just as much with GIMP and that’s not a lie. Yes, I have add-on builds developed by the GIMP community, but that’s the joy of open-source. You can be as creative as you want to be with the original software, to custom tailor it to your needs. I love both of them equally, though. Well, maybe not equally. I have a serious protest to dumping $600 plus into something that shouldn’t cost that much.

  • Tommy Johnsom

    I didn’t like Photoshop myself, but that’s me, most of the features that I need for my photography I can do with Gimp, it might be a bit slower but I can achieve most of the same results than I can with Photoshop, no use of renting or paying all that money for it.

  • Hans Thielsen

    I agree. Gimp is not Pshop. In my opinion, it’s better than Pshop. And it isn’t a Pshop clone either. It’s very different. But that’s a pro, not a con.

    I used to use Pshop as my image editor. But friends were producing images with Gimp as good as anything I ever saw Pshop do. But I couldn’t believe a totally free open-source program could equal the one I paid big $$ for.

    However, when I heard Adobe was going to ‘subscription-only’ software, I decided it was time to look into Gimp. Being used to Pshop, Gimp seemed difficult at first, but after a couple of days I had the basics down, & the more I understood Gimp’s logic, the better I liked it. Pshop had always felt awkward to me, especially the color system.

    The more efficient Gimp color system alone is worth the effort to learn Gimp. True, it doesn’t do CYMK separations, but most people don’t need CYMK at all. Unless you’re doing commercial 4-color offset publishing, it’s useless. I’ve read there’s a Gimp plugin that does CYMK separations, but I’ve never used it myself.

    There are tons of free Gimp plugins, filters, brushes & scripts available online, & more are constantly created by Gimp developers around the world. It even uses Pshop plugins. The Gimp forum support network is refreshingly helpful. All my questions get answered quickly & accurately. Which is more than I can say for Adobe.

    As for functionality & stability, after 7 months, I’ve had less trouble with Gimp than I had with Pshop.

  • Dan Putler

    I’m have been a surface level user of GIMP for about 15 years, and I am now learning Photoshop. What is hitting me at the moment (and the impetus behind the web search that brought me to this page) is I’m having a “Really!, this is so easy to do in GIMP, why can’t I just do it that way in Photoshop?” moment. This is counter to the usual comment, but as Jim Hobbs indicates, this is entirely due to the fact that I know certain things about the GIMP well, but I don’t know the equivalent things in Photoshop, and both of them are very rich (thus complex) pieces of software.

  • Giorgos Paschalidis

    Ps5 didn’t even have a healing brush get serious. I missed the 6 edition, I could say the 7version is the absolute minimum for a photographer, most probably CS2 which don’t cost more than 20-30$ on eBay.

    GIMP is a very good program. But …

    Things shouldn’t get out of main Gimp window-extra task bars, etc. At least give choice about it.

    Toolbox-Tools and Layers-Brushes windows should be smaller. Same reason as above plus we want that extra area for working on the images as much we can get without constantly zooming in-out-left-right, which is weird to try to do. Also… I understand the fact that for this reason is why photos can come out of Gimp workflow to keep editing them but that’s not the best approach for it.

    Copying parts of layers/General layer-handling… Can’t figure out how to do it. I mean simple things, not complicated grouping, etc. I’m also having a hard time with the selection tools.

    Import Batch processing should be added if it e.g. Open all files in x folder, apply these settings/filters to each save and close (either a curve or whatever). For example I took some id photos for the army, then the next day they asked me to replace the background color if possible, it only cost me a few clicks to do it for 500+ photos, without batch if I did it manually I’dd need ~well lots of time.

    The filters provided are very good quality. I LOVE some of them! Really do.

    Basically, if selection tools and layers come easier and batch processing is added, that’s all it’d need, I say as a photographer. (Provided I use another application for RAQ conversion to jpg, such as darktable or rawtherapee… both of them needs to get easier for batch processing but that’s another topic.)

  • http://gravatar.com/manuieee Manu Mitra

    I agree that GIMP is not an alternative to Photoshop.

    But do you also think for people who are not corporate maniacs and cannot effort that much like those money mongers?

  • jason dean

    I’m not sure how a comparison between the two is even fair. PS goes well beyond photo manipulation. It really is much more than a image editor. GIMP can not do what PS can, can it? Kind of a bad competition if you have to ignore features to compare them.

  • DK

    I am an independent game developer who depends on open source software to keep costs down. blender + gimp + PaintToolSai(Japanese illustration program, not free, but cheap ~$99 US) + inkscape is the winning combination for me. I have used photoshop and maya in the past, and they are great programs. but i believe that often times people confuse a different interface they have to learn with the program being clunky and unintuitive. Take Blender for example. everyone cries and struggles to learn and bad mouths the UI. but once you get used to it. you wonder how anyone can do it any other way? It is a pure production application without all the fluff you get from autodesk, and the workflow is insanely fast and natural once you know all the hotkeys. but thats off topic.

    as for GIMP, its true that its not a match for photoshop, but if you know what you are doing you can get the same results (at least for digital painting, i don’t do much photo manipulation other than using photo textures as elements in my work.) and if you learn inkscape and use the 2 programs in your workflow you have a killer combination that will enable you to do most anything a CS user could do.

    so, no, its not a photoshop replacement, but it is a photoshop alternative depending on what you are using photoshop for.

  • Jeremy

    Gimp doesn’t use the CYMK colourspace outside of its printer driver. I suspect that particular feature is overrated because no-one has invented a computer monitor that can display CYMK without converting it to RGB first.

  • Jeremy

    GIMP can do just about everything that PS can in terms of the resulting image but sometimes you have to go a different way about making it.

  • Spanky

    People are so stupid. The Adobe camp is made up of shills, trolls, people who paid to much for their crap and are never “wrong”, and so called “pros”. Because THEY run photo-shop. Meanwhile, the same tired old lies go on, year after year. Saying Gimp is different, oh my, limited, harder, poorly programed, not “16-bit” LOL, not what “pros use”, can’t be good cause its free, had multi windows (oh my!), does do everything, and get this one… “has so much stuff in it; that it confuses me and need to be lesser”, “I don’t know where things are in the drop down menus”. Then you hear mixed crap, like we ONLY use it because it’s free, or can’t afford Lightroom. Then there’s the guy who downloads the version NUMBER, that can possible be found; but it’s the newest, future alpha/testing version for developer/programmer/testers and says Gimp’s is buggy. I NOT even saying anybody OWES anybody anything (you don’t); but you guys are a bunch a cry baby “A” holes.

    Meanwhile over in Gimp land (for photographers), we understand nothing beats the following and shooting Raw, and this requires a decent (lens, sensor, JPEG processor) camera (it matters); because Raw only files contain finished JPEG’s; that can be pulled out of the Raw only files. “dcraw -e” does this without waiting (NOT developing Raw) and can be set, so you just to highlight your whole days shots and select dcraw as a [right-click] option, in your regular file manager. This method is you getting settings right in the camera, so they are normally finished in the embedded JEPG’s and good cameras retain those settings, and what they were, in the JPEG’s and at resolution you approve (per camera). This way, your DON’T develop Raw MOST of the time; but THINK. Now you ALWAYS have BOTH. The original RAW (and embedded JPEG) NEVER changes. By the pulled JPEG KEEPER’s, you decide which you want to develop from Raw. The point is TIME. More time to shoot. The impeccable logic is… Not all shots can be pre-made perfect. But it can be a low percentage, as you improve(real photography). The shots where 16-bit, full Raw latitude needs to be utilized, then those are the few for a quick pass through “ufraw”. How?

    ufraw needs to be set up ONCE(Per camera, and has menu). Read the spartan ufraw site and find your camera’s ufraw color profile (there’s a way to make them). Two other simple and suggested setting are included with the easily selected (under the sat tab in the middle) profile for YOUR cam. Gamma and linearity. Put the Gamma value as suggested and the linearity also. We’re setting up ufraw like a base “preset”; improving over matching it to your cameras hopefully good, JPEG output, so compare them side by side, and that’s all happening nearly instantly, at ufraw load-up). Unlike “tester” folks; that pop-up ufraw and try to use it like an editor; without ever setting it up…Wrong. What you’re missing is, if you wish, you can clone OTHER camera brands, subjective color pallets/looks. have your old Panasonic crap cam look like a Nikon DSLR (under 400 ISO) at ufraw load, so almost INSTANTLY!!!! That is (of course) limited to crappy sensors limits; but you’d be shocked. Poorer sensors seem to improve more, over their own JPEG’s (cam depending); but not over better sensitive sensors; that may have fine JPEG production. BTW: The file managers regular is set to load ufraw for Raw file extensions. At fast load, it’s instant as “preset”. There a million settings in ufraw, you don’t have to change. You a couple; but options are very nice to have. Mainly, DO NOT do noise reduction in ufraw; but wait and use “Wavelet Denoise” (by components) or other in Gimp, if needed. Set them all, at YOUR default, if different. DO NOT FORGET to go to the last tab (now) and select save default once, and remember to save a test file (like *.png, not normally a lossy JPG) or better yet, be sure to also install the program; that automatically gives you a button inside ufraw, to transition straight into The Gimp! It handles the no loss (JPEG is a lossy, final output) file format and invisibly. That puts you into the Gimp, ready to “EXPORT”, when you’re done with, “The kitchen sink”; that Gimp can do (with Gimp plug-ins, scripts, sites, and videos, 24/7). Resize and export to WHATEVER output format is best for your goals. You can, of course, save an interim file (no loss) format in any number of formats! But guess what?! I NEVER do!!!! I’m a Lr refugee and HATED catalog hell and will never go back to THAT! How it this even possible (I here you say)? After all, it’s Adobe’s (fear!) selling point. It’s very simple. I just have not had the situation; where I’ve been it middle of a huge edit and had to get up and leave, requiring saving a work file. But I could EASILY instantly save in Gimp’s own, or HIGHLY compress (9 times) yet zero loss *.PNG format, and any number of popular format anyone might require. But really, never happens. Why? When a photo isn’t already finished *and* I want something only Gimp can do, it’s just to fast. Even if playing with extensive, multiple fixes (pimples, crops) *and* multiple treatments/looks (Portra 400 film looks! See GMIC no extra change. Heard that didn’t ya?!), *and* also exporting multiple copies of all these VARIOUS treatment, SOMETIMES (B&W Color, Instagramish, Lomo, whatever, etc..) then why do you think I need a base copy? See you’re missing the point. Even if I wanted to rarely start all over from Raw, so what? I simply click the original (more easily backed-up and easier to sort keepers) Raw File, that never changes (OR pull its JPEG faster) and ufraw has already applied my preset. So what, if I have to do the MAXIMUM (never happens), of clicking on something white, to repair (16-bit) WB (rare mix lightning; that could not be gelled?), click the auto exposure button (needed a bit more speed than the light could allow), or bump the sat curve (you should learn how to use curves; but there’s sliders ALSO) to fix wide DR and the highlights (or just make and save my own re-callable D-Lighting, I-Exposure, local contrast curve pre-sets levels). Auto distortion control is going on, per auto recognized lens; so that’s not an issue. The chances of all that are VERY remote. ALL that was if if if if, I didn’t instantly pull the JPEG and load it in Gimp. But I then push the ufraw Gimp button and all that is back in Gimp. Likewise, if I have to fix pimples again, so what? It’s taking longer to type this than to do it. Sure there COULD be a situation where there 10 fixes and I’ll save it as a *.png, no big deal. But guess what? I do not have to keep nor worry about the *.png file. I can blow it away, like when I sure later, that project is done and I I change my mine, I just start over. NO CATALOG nor a bunch of huge cumbersome stored WORK files. My stored files are finished works, usually somewhat downsized JPEG’s (depending). Still HUGE, and suitable for printing very large. What is this a problem. I ALWAY have the Raw files, with the JPEG in it. Everything the camera rerecorded. That’s the point. …Can’t lose. Can do it ANY other method, anytime. Less crap. Listen. I put in the time, trying all manner of photography programs, including the name brand camera companies to see if thy had the special sauce (for their own). Gimp does it all. There NOTHING I can’t match. So Gimp pimp it. It’s one thing(s) to learn and it’s all there, with the plug-ins, ufraw, applets, vids and all. The fact it free to us is only incidental. This is NOT “freeware”. This is proved, open source coded software. There’s no REASONABLE question about it’s validity today. It’s paid for by blood sweat and tears, and no one minds you having it. Didn’t your momma teach you to share? It works BETTER.

  • N H

    Gimp does it all no problem, it’s a question of plugins.

    All PS releases merely include more plugins in each subsequent release and it’s seen as a “wow look what it does now” type thing but it’s a dupe. Look at the G’MIC plugins that you can preview online etc for Gimp (also look at Gimpshop).

    For animation etc just install an animation plugin like GAP although I appreciate many people reading this have already found their solution so far no worries, being productive and keeping the client happy is much more important 🙂

    It would be interesting for folk to try their normal tasks on a Gimp setup with the plugins they need and shortcuts enabled upfront. I think they would be just as productive.

    The biggest turn-off for most people is that Gimp and open source is free so it “can’t” be as good.

    Yet they’re sat there using Firefox, VLC and Skype etc.?

  • Frank

    Jeremy… really… read something about the argument before talking 🙁

    Most part of my job is creating print design and trust me, working in CMYK is extremely important. A RBG generated black, for instance, looks like a beautiful vivid black on screen, but if you take a look at the CMYK mixture, you will notice that this is actually a mixture of all the 4 colors (for instance: 80%C, 90%M, 99% yellow, 70%K). What does it mean? That the printer will drop 4 layers of different colors on this text. What does that mean again? That if the printer is not PERFECT (and the printer is rarely perfect) you will have a poop-brownish text with rainbow borders. It may sound artistic and funny… but maybe it is not for your client. I am a big fan of open source softwares. I donate often to blender foundation and I use GIMP in a part of my workflow, but let’s not make the classic mistakes, let’s not be ignorants. CMYK support is a MUST until we keep printing things. Saying that this is an overrated features, because the monitor just coverts the CMYK colors in RGB, is such an ignorant assertion, that will keep many experts and valuable people away from this conversation and from gimp.

  • don nealious

    A former co-worker in my old day job that I had helped with his photography, mentioned GIMP to me. I have a friend that needed an image editor, but no $$ for PS. So we downloaded GIMP last night. None of my PS shortcuts and keystrokes worked. Since she has NEVER used PS, GIMP might be a good since she does not have to unlearn PS shortcuts.

    I’m downloading GIMP and GIMPSHOP myself to one of my older slower XP laptops, just for fun and to be able to assist her.

    Thanks for the article.

  • Aaron Shumaker

    “The ever repeated claim that it has a non-intuitive, user-unfriendly interface is simply not true.”

    It is difficult to measure quantitatively how user friendly and intuitive something is. In the absence of that, repeated claims, which you acknowledge exist, that it is not intuitive is the next best thing to a quantitative analysis of its usability.

    “I feel that many of the anti-Gimp comments are equally non-objective.”

    I myself downloaded GIMP with the full intention of trying to make it work for some simple tasks, and found it to be very frustrating. I certainly had every hope and put effort into getting used to it, but ultimately I gave up.

    A truly flexible and intuitive application doesn’t force you into any particular workflow.

    If it were something I were going to use many hours every day, I could have certainly adapted have forced myself to live with it. But if I were to invest that much of my time into it, I might as will invest money in a commercial product that I’m going to be more productive with. Now I’m not saying commercial equates to more productive, but in this particular instance GIMP falls short in the usability area.

  • Jason

    I’ve used various versions of Photoshop on PC for over 10 years. When I got a Macbook Pro I had GIMP on it for free. It…sufficed, but the learning curve was very long, and even after 6 months of using it I still don’t find it as intuitive or fast as Photoshop. Maybe it is my familiarly with Photoshop, but i would pay to have the Mac version over the free GIMP.

  • Dave Goodwin

    I’ve used Photoshop professionally since version 1.0. Photoshop didn’t take off until version 3. That was when PS created Layers. Since then, it has become the industry standard among serious designers and those who are willing to cough up the bucks for top-of-the-line.

    I’ve used GIMP for over 10 years and am very familiar with how it works. Compared to PS, to me, GIMP is like reaching around your back, just to scratch your elbow. There’s a reason that it’s free.

    If you use GIMP just because it’s free, or you’re a Linux fanboy, you are shorting yourself, because there are other great free image editors for Windows – such as, Paint.NET (http://www.getpaint.net). But remember, you get what you pay for.

  • Pat Bateman

    The article couldn’t be shallower. Just says things you could know by reading probably the first phrase of GIMP’s and PS’s articles on wikipedia, but expands it with foam.

    PS surely has more features than GIMP, but “not an alternative” is too broad of a statement. Is Photoshop 1 on pair with the current version? Probably not, but there was a time when things were done with PS1, without all the newer features. And it’s possible that current GIMP has most of earlier PS’s versions features (I’m not sure though, it probably would still lack some, specially related to pre-print).

    If one’s work is strictly dependent on the bells and whistles of a tool set, then, of course, that’s it, the more the better, features will compensate lack of ability to some degree. But before computers were used, people did stuff by hand.

  • Martyna

    I use both Photoshop and GIMP passionately (along with few other programs), but not for photo manipulating – I paint and draw digitally, and in most cases you can obtain the same end effects on both even though you have to take different steps to get there (every time I make a tutorial, I do my best to provide it in both GIMP and Photoshop version and I always managed to get it done for both programs).

    It is true that GIMP lacks certain functions that Photoshop has, but on the other hand, Photoshop doesn’t have few functions that GIMP does. There are effects easier to get on Photoshop and there are effects that you can get best on GIMP.
    For example: if you want to make nice fireworks, you should use GIMP. If you’re making a starfield – GIMP provides you with nova filter, while all Photoshop can give you is lens flare (which GIMP has as well).
    But if you want to make water droplets, then Photoshop is your to go guy thanks to its layer effects (or at least I haven’t figured easy way to make it with GIMP yet).

    The conclusion is that while you can replace one with the other and get magnificent results with each, why replace? Why not combine? Why not use both? Don’t adore one and diss the other, don’t make it competition – make it cooperation (if you only can, that is)

  • Oscar

    It’s not “just a matter of learning new software” as the GIMP fanboys are fond of saying. This isn’t a learning curve issue. This isn’t about a tool looking slightly different, or a left-click instead of a right-click, or not being able to find something that you think should be in plain sight. This is what it is: Think of the easiest, most expedient way to do something and then code it the opposite way! It’s insanity.

    If you were a carpenter, making your living (i.e., paying bills, feeding family) by building houses, would you go to Dollar General to purchase the cheapest, most unbalanced, uncomfortable Chinese-made hammer you could find? Would you go dumpster diving for one?

    Didn’t think so. That’s why professionals (and people who recognize the value their own time) use Photoshop.

  • nickson jerome

    gimp is wow even for begineers who are not good in graphics

  • Gimp Sucks

    gimp is the biggest piece of junk ive ever used in my life. They should seriously just give up. What a waste.

  • Mark D.

    That’s exactly right. Too many steps slows your workflow down. If you are doing thing professionally, you might as well stick with Photoshop. When they perfect the interface, I might reassess the software. It does look promising but not up to my needs as of yet.

    I run Photoshop and CorelDRAW on my machine and it is way faster at everything. The tool boxes always get behind my work on Gimp. I play hell trying to get them up front. The docks are okay. I know the Gimpies are going to hate my post. If you’re happy with Gimp, by all means keep using it.

  • Jerome Wallen

    I haven’t even downloaded the free trial of Photoshop. After my experience with Adobe Acrobat and Flashplayer, I don’t think any Adobe products are worth anything. Also it has been my experience that free software trials are detrimental to my computer, especially when they reach the 20-25 day mark. After buying 4 computers in the space of 2 years I’m sick of bad software. Certainly Gimp is a substandard piece of software, but at least it is free.

  • sambo

    Apart from Spanby, who has included a tutorial, and a few comments about CMYK, there is little of substance in any of the opinions given here. Can someone quote some examples of what is not intuitive about gimp or what is easier in photoshop (or vice versa)? I tried elements a few years ago and got confused about adjustment layers. But no one gave direct comparisons about these aspects of difference between work flows. Need some concrete examples, please.

  • Joe

    I agree with you, the carpenter would never buy the cheapest hammer, but he would never, ever pay a rent to use an hammer, even if it’s the most cool and best forged hammer in the world.

    The new Photoshop does not come in a CD anymore, but you have to pay a sort of rent to Adobe. That’s just absolutely ridicoulous to me, and I suppose this is the reason why so many people are looking for alternatives to Photoshop.

  • Kumar

    “….and comparing free software to a mammoth and costly one is, obviously, unfair”.

    I am not sure about Gimp but such a vague and overly generalist comment coming from a Linux user is not only strange but ignorant as well. I am a professional animator and my studio does not uses a paid OS on any of its workstations , We use Linux , we have tweaked Linux a bit to our requirements but still we use a free open source OS . WHY???? Because IT REALLY IS A LOT BETTER & FAR MORE POWERFUL THAN THE PAID ONES. Placing all Open Source software in the same basket and claiming that the commercial software are a ” mammoth” and better when compared to their open source counterparts is not only extremely incorrect but is also extremely cruel at the same time.

  • John Heininger

    As someone who is involved in non profit voluntary teaching I purchased a student-teacher version of Adobe suite 4 along with serial number. However when I sought to activate the program I was told that I needed to provide evidence that I was enrolled in a “university” course of at least two years. Even though I offered to provide Adobe with proof that I was involved in teaching activities, for which I had purchased the suite. Needless to say they refused authorization. And even when I offered to give the software to a family member who was enrolled in a 4 year university course I was told that this was not an option. In short, even though I was under the impression that the version I brought was a student/teacher version and could thus be used by people engaged in teaching, there was no mention of the necessity of a two year “university” program enrollment. I only discovered this later. I have purchased other Adobe programs over the years but after this experience (Which I felt was a result of poor and uncleanly undefined authorization) I was angry. And following this experience I than decided to no longer purchase any Adobe programs, and looked to alternatives. I switched from upgrading Adobe Premier to Cyberlink PowerDirector Suite 3 for video production (A truly amazing video editing program suite for the price), and also looked for alternative programs to buy for image editing and processing for multimedia presentation purposes. In this quest came across the free program GIMP, but had the impression that any “free program” would be no comparison or match to Adobe Photoshop. How wrong I was! This powerful feature filled program does everything I ever need to do,including Gif animations. And even thought it at first appeared less intuitive to use than Photoshop I discovered (after viewing all the tutorials on YouTube)it much more powerful, intuitive and innovative than I imagined. And after becoming familiar with the interface I found it just as intuitive as Photoshop. Another reason I have left the Adobe fold is Adobes’s decision to put its software up in the ‘clouds’ for leasing. I believe that this is a bad decision, and may well prove to be Adobe’s Achilles heel: Because while corporations may willingly pay a monthly rental, the vast majority of general and casual users will not, particularly when there are alternative programs now available, free or otherwise. So, in summary, Gimp is a feature filled program that does almost everything I ever did in Photoshop. In summary, I now regard Abode products as being up the “clouds”, along with their “fuzzy” licencing requirements and procedure. However, all this is irrelevant to the powerful prosperous Adobe brand.

  • Victor Mares

    Hi,

    Great explanation. I do want to add that Gimp in fact is used in a professional level by many designers. I used it before I could afford Photoshop for many projects that were printed and published. I know that in Japan is used a lot for anime and commercial purposes. So, out of necessity many do use Gimp to design for clients, even if it takes longer and it’s at times harder to use. The program is really the best Free software for pictures editing and design.

  • blanke

    “We cannot overlook the fact that Photoshop is, indeed, the industry-standard when it comes to image authoring and editing.”

    Ehm, so? Only ignorants care about some stupid industry-standards. Jeez.

    Microsoft Office is a industry-standard for documents. So? Does it make it better? Schools use it, they have it as a standard, and they don’t even know why, just because it’s your said “industry-standard”.

    No, thanks, I’ll stick to LibreOffice, which is, as the name says, completely libre/free (as in freedom). If you want something proprietary for some reason, there’s a KingSoft Office Suit. If everyone used the libre/free variants, everything would be easier. I’m tired of that “industry-standard” fools crying when they cannot open my document in their MS Office. THEN STOP USING MS OFFICE, YOU FOOL! At least LibreOffice is good at reading MS Office documents, but some office software isn’t. MS Office being proprietary doesn’t help a thing. The proprietary DOC format, said “industry-standard”. Reverse engineering isn’t easy, but LibreOffice did a good job with MS Office documents compatibility. But it ain’t 100% perfect.

    Seriously, if everyone used LibreOffice or something libre/free, it would be easier for everyone.
    I also love school’s arguments why they need Windows. They’ll always tell you: Oh we need a Windows for MS Office! Are you for real?

    So tell me, why should I care about your industry-standards?
    I spit on so called industry-standards, and proprietary software. They brought nothing but problems to the community. Maybe PhotoShop has a more features and stuff, but GIMP is free (as in price, and as in freedom). With GIMP, I’ll get more price/performance ratio. Photoshop is overpriced. GIMP and its whole community. It even got approval to use “GNU” in its name by Richard Stallman. PhotoShop maybe more feature complete, but I’ll get more ride for the money (free) with GIMP. If you have to use PhotoShop, well bad for you. I’m not gonna buy MS Office just because my school is driven by that industry-standard (what a joke). No… I’ll rather donate to LibreOffice team. Did ever any non-commercial and non-proprietary software became industry-standard? I don’t think so. Why? Because people are stupid. They are driven by money, controlled by money. The same with computers and stuff. The more they pay, the better they feel about it. Look at those Apple fanbois, buying their overpriced crap, thinking they have got something super powerful and high quality. But all they got is a proprietary stuff full of malicious code and locked device infected with DRMs. Overpriced hardware. You can buy the same with much less money, and get the same (just without OSX). The same hardware, hell, you can buy super powerful PC for much less. Industry standard… heh…

  • raviteja

    well may be gimp was little lag from photo shop ………..
    but gimp have bright future……
    it is one of best image editing tool…
    i think u never work on gimp ………..
    dont give false statements…….
    because its a free software…….
    any one can develope the gimp..coming to photo shop no one can get the source code….
    ur right it is not an alternative tool to ps…..
    in next up coming years ps may become alternative to gimp…….

  • Brian Gregory

    This is rubbish.
    Over the years I’ve had to try and use many different photo editing programs on many different computers because “that’s the one we chose”.
    I can assure you that when starting for no knowledge at all Photoshop is just as weird and unintuitive as the others.

  • Ben

    Linux stinks and so does all this crappy free software as well.

    Photoshop is industry standard because it’s awesome software. Linux fanboys just try to trash it because they’re too broke to afford real software.

    Same with Pro Tools, MS-Office, After Affects, InDesign, and every other GOOD piece of software. Linux can only run cheap knock-off wannabe software.

    Professionals sell time, Time is precious. We don’t have time to play with toys when real software gets the job done 10x faster, cleaner, and nicer otherwise you’re no longer competitive in the marketplace.

    Linux Desktop OS’s are only 1% of total online users for a reason, because it SUCKS!

  • Bruce Raab

    Oh dear me… What heated debates… And some people even showing their real intelligence openly and without embarrassment by the remarks they make. Personally, I don’t see the issue. Like GIMP? Well, use it then. Got used to PS? That’s fine too. Thing however is that PS is a commercial program. Hence, even if you think different, it is not made for you. It’s only purpose is that it’s made to sell it to you. So the Adobe people can take their families to Disney Land. Guess what, that’s why all these new versions come along all the time (I’ll leave the definition of bloat to yourself). That is why there are lobby groups, who create Industry Standards. And if you don’t even know what that is all about, or think that it is all about your tiny life and needs, well, ignorance is bliss as they say. And as for these highly intelligent “fanboy” remarks: Looked at Windows10 lately? Hummm, well what about all those amazing, “new” Windows features that Linux had 5-10 years ago? Sure, be excited, buy them, so the MicroSoft people too can take their kids to Disney Land. Having said that, I guess we don’t have to talk about where Apple got its inspiration for its OS/ kernel, right? Maybe we should just recognise great creative developers, who or where ever they are. Or do you think we should talk about governments who now request Open Document Standards and switch to free (as in beer) software and OS’s? No? Maybe you an IRS fanboy and love paying taxes for governments buying and maintaining software? And if you are, can you also pay mine, because I’m probably a cheap bastard since I use free software, and hence I don’t like paying taxes on my top bracket annual. Let’s just stop having these discussions and do the things we’ve to do, and then take our families to Disney Land. And for the people still reading this: yes, my old, trusted, and comfy PS8 I’ve got used to during the last 10-15 years still runs absolutely fine on my Linux with Wine.

  • Mark anthony

    That’s a good write friend .

    If for a minute we consider this two apps the result are simple .

    If your are professional , the real professional you can do a good job with gimp just like photoshop .

    It’s all about the validity of art inside you and you must do lots of art home work to became a professional .

    It’s about user interface and futures amd ofcurse papularity , if gimp had so commersial i’ll be sure it became one of the photoshop enemy , as we speak , darktable and rawtherapee and blender is one of the good apps for editing and i say one more time if your good in what your doing you can handle even with mobile photo editor .

    I say in feature mabye gimp can be the best default editor app in linux , if they work nicely , gimp still can be more serious app .

    This talk is about video editors to linux is so weak in video editing software is not nice at all that some amazing os like this don’t get attention from developers .

    I hope feature is diffrent .

    Many greats.
    Mark .

  • Alex

    It is like everything in life: If you want the best you got to pay for it… But do you really need the best? Most people which are using photoshop for work or for some photo-editing do maybe use 10% of the features it offers. This excludes professional photographers. We used to have photoshop at work and we recently changed over to GIMP to save a massive amount of money. For standard mocks and small changes in banners GIMP is more than enough and so it is a good alternative for photoshop for the high percentage of users which do not use photoshop professionally. I just had to change all keyboard shortcuts and make a 2 hours GIMP tutorial and I saved the company thousands of dollars a month. Same I did for MS Office.
    GIMP is not as good as Photoshop and may lack on several things, but it IS an alternative for everyone who does not need all this professional features. Save yourself or your company some money and use open source.
    Sometimes is just stupid to buy a Rolls royce if you can use a Fiat to drive your kids the 1 mile to school.

  • matt

    The biggest draw back for me to using any other program but Photoshop is the selection tools. Gimp has awesome feature as do some other free programs i use, but Photoshops selection tools are the best, and in many cases this is key to producing professional work.

  • Anne

    Your characterization of GIMP is correct, but I think you omit the most important question: “Why isn’t there a professional alternative to Photoshop?”. Why have we allowed Adobe to wield this monopoly on essential creative tools for so long and so absolutely? Especially now, as Adobe’s anti-consumer policies become more and more noxious,as the market for Photoshop is becoming much much bigger and much much less professional, and as each itiration of Photoshop becomes less and less innovative?

    Who is going to stand up and challenge them? Why is there no Pixologic to counter Adobe’s Autodesk?

  • Siggio

    Spoken by an idiot who knows little to nothing about gimp. Responded to by a professional designer with 12 years of photoshop experience, followed by 7 years of Gimp experience. This is 2015 and as of me writing this there is *NOTHING* that I have ever needed to use Photoshop for … which I can’t accomplish today with Gimp. Regardless if it’s for web design, automotive vinyl graphics, Tshirt graphics, professional commercial business logos, or just basic image/photo manipulation … I’ve done it all for a total of 22 years (starting out with PSP back in 1991). Gimp has *THOUSANDS* of features to do just about everything imaginable, but what makes Gimp so “difficult” is the switch from one application that someone has gotten used to for many years, to another application which, although capable of doing the same things, is doing those things in a very different manner … with different commands, different dialogues, different settings, and a different look & feel. In other words, the learning curve of making the switch from Photoshop to Gimp is what most people can’t handle. From my own personal experience I can say that that almost prevented me from making the switch to Linux from Windoze. Eventually I forced myself to dedicate an entire 2 week period of working with professional commercial images, grueling my way through something that I’d never used professionally before (Gimp), and coming out of that experience with the knowledge that I will never have to shell out $600+ Dollars for professional software ever again. Gimp does everything for me except animation and 3D rendering … and for those there are other free applications available as well. Those who do not succeed with Gimp, like the author of this post, are simply to lazy & impatient to give Gimp an honest try. Professionals require *YEARS* to master Photoshop (if indeed it can be mastered), so what makes you think that you can give Gimp a try for a few weeks and know anything about its full capabilities? You’re just too comfortable wit Photoshop which prevents you from working your butt off in order to make that switch (and save bundles of money while you’re at it). Anyone who starts out with Gimp and tries to switch to Photoshop 15 years later would have the very same problem … cursing Photoshop … while chosing to remain content with Gimp.

  • Siggio

    Spoken by an idiot who knows little to nothing about gimp. Responded to by a professional designer with 12 years of photoshop experience, followed by 7 years of Gimp experience. This is 2015 and as of me writing this there is *NOTHING* that I have ever needed to use Photoshop for … which I can’t accomplish today with Gimp. Regardless if it’s for web design, automotive vinyl graphics, Tshirt graphics, professional commercial business logos, or just basic image/photo manipulation … I’ve done it all for a total of 22 years (starting out with PSP back in 1991). Gimp has *THOUSANDS* of features to do just about everything imaginable, but what makes Gimp so “difficult” is the switch from one application that someone has gotten used to for many years, to another application which, although capable of doing the same things, is doing those things in a very different manner … with different commands, different dialogues, different settings, and a different look & feel. In other words, the learning curve of making the switch from Photoshop to Gimp is what most people can’t handle. From my own personal experience I can say that that almost prevented me from making the switch to Linux from Windoze. Eventually I forced myself to dedicate an entire 2 week period of working with professional commercial images, grueling my way through something that I’d never used professionally before (Gimp), and coming out of that experience with the knowledge that I will never have to shell out $600+ Dollars for professional software ever again. Gimp does everything for me except animation and 3D rendering … and for those there are other free applications available as well. Those who do not succeed with Gimp, like the author of this post, are simply to lazy & impatient to give Gimp an honest try. Professionals require *YEARS* to master Photoshop (if indeed it can be mastered), so what makes you think that you can give Gimp a try for a few weeks and know anything about its full capabilities? You’re just too comfortable wit Photoshop which prevents you from working your butt off in order to make that switch (and save bundles of money while you’re at it). Anyone who starts out with Gimp and tries to switch to Photoshop 15 years later would have the very same problem … cursing Photoshop … while chosing to remain content with Gimp.

  • Siggio

    After 18 years of professionally working with Windoze, Works, and later MS Office, I eventually switched over to Linux Ubuntu with OpenOffice. Mind you, at that point I’d been using OpenOffice already for the previous 2 years. Today, 6 years later, I can say with complete honesty that I am shocked at how much I can get done so much faster on my Linux setup (without having to resort to terminal mode) that it makes me feel like an idiot for not having had the balls to try making that switch much sooner. This has nothing to do with “Linux” or “Gimp” or “Microsoft” fan boys … but rather with the fact that if hundreds of millions of dollars were poured into TV advertising for Linux and other Opensource Software, then the marketshare would be substantially higher than 1% … because *THAT* is the only reason why Windoze & MAC have gotten as popular as they did. MAC is based on the Linux Kernel, Bill Gates got sued over and over (and lost) for “stealing” MAC proprietary code in order to build and design Windoze, and Android my friends … is 100% Linux. The person who wrote this post that I’m responding to, is quite obviously someone who knows absolutely nothing about the quality of code, speed, security, opensource, and the way that OpenSource has been undermined for many many years … by the sheer volume of dollars that were spent on advertising, to make inferior products popular.

  • Siggio

    Comments like that are written strictly by people who lack the intelligence to use Gimp or any (other massive) software application on a truly *PROFESSIONAL* level. If you’re going to diss an application, at least provide a measure of substance why that application made you arrive at that conclusion. C’mon, show everyone how inexperienced & unskilled you are with more than just this ridiculous remark.

  • Siggio

    Amen, that comment says it all. What makes commercial bloatware so gosh darn good and an industry standard is the advertising funds that have been poured into the public through billboards, TV ads, Radio, free school computers, severely lowered prices on software for educational purposes, and so on. Free or OpenSource software has *ZERO* advertising because there’s no money to be made by advertising something that costs nothing. Yet some of the world’s *LEADING* software does indeed happen to be OpenSource and/or a Linux base. There’s Firefox, Opera, and Maxthon, all three browsers which are far superior & safer than I.E. Exploder. There’s Evolution & Thunderbird which are just as popular for professional email as any other commercial counterpart out there. For all my my code & web design I use OpenSource Komodo Edit which is hands down better than anything else that I ever had to pay money for. As a matter of fact, it’s the best code editor that I’ve ever using in my life, having tried/used at least 50 such applications in the past. But also keep in mind that Android is indeed Linux, and we’re talking 100% Linux, altered by Google to suit, just as anyone is welcome to alter Linux to suit their needs. On top of that, keep in mind that over 60% of global production servers, including the Stock Exchange here in the USA, are run by Linux servers. So anyone who thinks that expensive commercial software is always better, is clearly someone who has no conception about the power that’s wielded when an inferior product is promoted with enough advertising dollars throughout the world. Windoze isn’t worth a $20 bill as far as I’m concerned, but when you spend 100 Million dollars worldwide to advertise a product, you’re doing it in order to reap the rewards of your advertising, and not because you’re a people friendly company with a better product.

  • Siggio

    That is one of the most accurate comments on this page. Having literally built & sold hundreds of Windoze computers (Online) as well as managing my own servers, creating dozens of websites (since 1991), and just about every imaginable type of commercially usable graphic … as well as being a serious hobby photographer … I can say that the learning curve to switch from what I was comfortably used to for many years already, to Linux and then later Gimp, was beyond exasperating. To me, Gimp & Linux are clearly as good if not superior to Windoze & Photoshop, but I think it would have been so much easier on me if I’d always used Linux & Gimp, without that psychologial barrier that is automatically created when you switch from something as massive & complex as this type of software is intended to be.

  • Siggio

    Umh, ah, I hate to tell you this, but the days of Unix/Linux similarity have been over for the past 20 years. They’re nothing alike at all anymore and the only remaining similariy between them is the source code origin of the OS which is something that 99.9% of all users never get to see or work with anyway.

  • http://designinstruct.com Isaac Gube

    Siggio,

    Please refrain from name-calling and aggressive behavior.

  • Kristy Rockney

    I do have to say Gimp was a bit hard for me to learn. I had no photoshop experience but wanted so badly to move forward in my love for photography and Digital scrapbooking. It took one month to get the basics down. After about a year I felt that I knew the program Farley well and was happy with its capabilities . I have made some beautiful memories with Gimp. With that being said I always heard, and was always told photoshop is the best so once I was confident enough with my knowledge of Gimp I was excited to move forward on to bigger and better things. (Which at that time I believed was photoshop) I used Photoshop for 5 months. I faithfully used it No matter how difficult, different, or frustrating it was. I pushed through. I learned basic photo edits, had a difficult time with enhancements, and building my scrapbook pages become fairly easy. My husband is a graphic designer. He was the one who originally introduced me to gimp. He never used it but had some basic knowledge of what tools did what, and I figured out the rest on my own. When working with photoshop I had him by my side constantly helping me, teaching me, or showing me how to work something or other in Photoshop. After 5 months I decided that I was done with photoshop. That I truly liked gimp better than photoshop. I am no longer using Gimp just because it’s a free open source program. I use gimp because, seriously I think it rocks. I feel like I have so much more control over my pictures and graphics I design. Sure some things are easier in Photoshop than gimp, but ultimately I like GIMP 100% more. I have not only learned how to edit picture’s, make my own holiday cards, invitations,special occasion cards, colleagues, Unique graphic art for my kids bedroom walls,facebook/google+ templates. Beautiful Scrapbook pages. Gimp has also made me more knowledgeable when it comes to computers. I love how I can go Cruise on the gimp registry and download new features. I had to learn the different extentions, find the right folders to place the scripts, plugins, brushes,curves, pallettes, etc. And of course some files need to be imported to use the settings. My husband is in awe of my work. He thinks it’s great that I can use gimp so well. I have actually made My husband who has been using photoshop for the last 10 years a believer in gimp. Gimp does the job, and does it well!!!

  • Kristy Rockney

    This is a very true statement

  • Jason Dean

    Hmm. I’m all for open source software. Blender is my 3D app of choice, VLC user for years, Inkscape is awesome and the list goes on. With that being said we’re talking about Photoshop, essentially a one of a kind software (as in there is no direct comparison, apps come close) and it is $10 per month US. For me there’s no way that can be beat and for an app that powerful its a no brain’er. Photoshop is $10 per month. GIMP was a serious consideration for me back when PS was $1k-$1,200 upfront to own.

  • Blenda

    ‘Photo editing’ is when you sit at a desk and decide which pictures to use, and which to reject. Can the Internet Pro Photographers start using the term retouching for retouching please; thank you.

  • Niyyi

    It is not how big your gun is, it is what you do with it that truly matters.
    Whether free or paid, Linux or Windows, i think the end result is suppose to be your main priority. I’ve tried my hands on both PS and GIMP, and I’ve used both side by side consistently. For me, i obtain the same result from both. I don’t do much photo manipulations though. What i do is mostly digital paintings, logo creation and graphics of some sort.
    Initially GIMP seems easier to navigate than Photoshop, but eventually i become used to both. Some people might find Photoshop much easier to navigate. Same way some people find basketball easier to play than football, and vice versa.

  • Dan Barron

    With Lightroom and Photoshop now available for $10/month, the cost argument becomes much less important; it’s even less so if you want LR for managing your image catalog.

    I don’t doubt GIMP is good, but I would prefer to be on the industry standard as I ramp up my photography hobby. If I still had to shell out >$600 to get PS right now, I’d probably choose to try GIMP first, but I don’t so I won’t.

    Your mileage may vary.

  • Vlad

    >Who is going to stand up and challenge them? Why is there no Pixologic to counter Adobe’s Autodesk?

    No one…Probably because it’s similar to asking a venture capital company or bank or someone to finance your software company to develop a new office suite. They’d simply reply, “But MS office is the de facto standard. How will you change that?” How are you going to make a program that is so wildly different, so easy to use, and so amazing that people will flock in droves to your new product and replace the current standard? I’m not saying it’s impossible. But it’s unlikely. I certainly wouldn’t invest in a gamble like that (if I had any money whatsoever to invest).

  • Chris N

    I have read many comments talking about how Gimp is difficult to use. For both GIMP and Photoshop I would still consider myself a novice so I can’t talk about when you get into the real professional side of the software. I can talk about them from the first time user view point. While I can not say that either are easy to use, I do find GIMP to be easier than Photoshop. There are two reasons I think many feel Photoshop, though. One is, as others have said, many who have used Photoshop already for years, have become so familiar with “the Photoshop way of doing things,”that they have trouble learning a new platform. I compare it to those “Apple” fans who swear up and down how user friendly their phones or ipods etc are, but as a life long Microsoft/Android user I have yet to find an Apple product that did not frustrate the hell out of me. We are always most comfortable with what we grow up on. Having said that, and considering I began using both software at almost the same time, GIMP(so far) is much easier to figure out. This is still not to say it is easier to use than Photoshop, just to figure out. Photoshop has so many different tools that if you can use them I think will cut down the time and steps needed to be taken compared to using GIMP. But so far I have yet to get “stuck” on GIMP as badly as Photoshop. Nor have I reached the point I wanted to put my foot through the screen like I have with Photoshop. I find that Gimp seems to give more information how to find what you need to do than Photoshop. The pop ups in GIMP, when you hover over the various tools to be extremely helpful. Although Photoshop may also have pop ups I found most of the information confusing because it used so many technical words. GIMP’s pop ups are wordedmuch more simply. I so far have been able to figure out and understand how things work far easier in GIMP than Photoshop. Even to the point that I have not needed to search online for a tutorial just to do some of the most basic functions like I did with Photoshop. So what I have been doing to this point is using GIMP for the majority of what I need to do, and only Photoshop as a touch up tool if needed. Photoshop is a more powerful tool for sure, but I believe for most, unless you need to do some seriously intricate things, GIMP can do what you need and is far less frustrating. So if trying to compare the two GIMP is easier to figure out but So Photoshop is more “efficient” for doing more complicated editing etc., and I guess can go father than GIMP, but for the majority GIMP is the way to go.

  • Bruce

    Sufyan bin Uzayr your opinion that GIMP is not like photoshop is wrong. I was using photoshop since around version 5.5 and when I learned about GIMP somewhere around version 5 to 8, the user interface was identical, I could not tell the difference between the two programs. I had a very advanced understanding of photoshop back then and there was ZERO difference, as was told back then one program was a carbon copy of the other. Get your facts straight

  • Rurik

    Used Photoshop 1.0 to CS, and Gimp for 15 years. Sure when you switch from one to another, you have to adapt (now I’m kinda lost in latest Photoshops). To design posters or flyers, yes Photoshop has more advanced text related tools and functionalities, but I could achieve the same results using other methods and earned my life with it for many years. Beside this, for my amateur photograph needs (mostly levels, curves and clone tool.. also using layers and masks), and 16 bit raw image support coming with Gimp 2.9 and the ufraw plugin, it’s for most of the photographers a really good (and virus-free) alternative to Photoshop that I will never buy or “rent”.

  • Ryan

    The source code is not 99.9% the same – they are 0.0% the same. Go read your history. Linux is GNU – linux refers to the kernel at the core of the O/S. You’re preaching nonsense.

  • Jay

    I see what you mean, GIMP can be confusing for a new user but considering the price difference, if you only want to do a little bit of editing then it is perfect. There are a number of useful tutorials out there and you can pick up the ins and outs of the various tools fairly quickly just by messing around with all the features. Although it doesn’t offer all the features of photoshop, it offers enough for what most of us will actually need

  • Romulo

    Sorry, it is not intuitive… Even the more complex and flexible Krita (another free digital graphic tool) brush engine is better… I can use it without going irritated to google to find I need an extra panel to edit what was in another panel that can’t be edited because in fact you need to create a new etc… Sorry… Unfortunately if GIMP is not the first tool you show to someone, it will be a lot confuse with extra steps compared to a lot of digital image programs… Someone need to take some time to think how to turn GIMP interface and workflow simpler and productive…
    After all… It is usable, has very good abilities as a tool and supply Krita lacks when I need… Today I would not go to photoshop as It cant substitute Krita for me.

  • sheilla

    i really like gimp, it is very much user friendly, and mind you the creativity lies upon the person behind the computer, i have done magic with gimp for sometime now, i wanted an adventure away from photoshop and i found my journey with gimp also it does not goble up space yet it is equally as good as photoshop

  • Gwa

    Best respose so far. Thank you

  • Bob

    Photoshop is a Gimp alternative 😉

  • Denis

    This is short video about Photoshop vs GIMP https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyCMwY78Syo

  • JOHNNY

    THE ONLY WAY TO COMPARE GIMP TO PHOTOSHOP IS TO COMPARE THE FEATURES AVAILABLE, FROM AN OUT OF THE BOX INSTALL. THIS ARTICLE DOES NOT DO THAT AND REALLY IS A COMPLETELY USELESS ARTICLE, THANKS FOR WASTING MY 2 AND A HALF MINUTES.

  • John Doe

    I’m a casual user who has used both, but mostly I just came here to watch the flame war in the comments.

  • MYName is Real

    Most of these comments are a joke. Are any of you seriously interested in a constructive debate or just veiled insults and out of context comments about your so called professional lives? Care to prove it or provide actual examples so that people like me looking for constructive comments get some real content rather than half truths or out right lies?

    Agreed this article is useless and so are all these comments including my own. Suck it for wasting your time wasting mine.

  • Ron

    That video told me absolutely NOTHING!

  • Pino Cannella

    A MOUNTAIN OF LIES. THANKS FOR THE LIARS LIKE YOU MAY BE APPRECIATE THE QUALITY OF GIMP

  • Salvatore

    As every software, anyone needs to use it and then compare with another one.
    If one software meets the expectations of the user (look and feel, resistance to weathering, lifelong usability and so on) then the opinion of that user will be positive. Otherwise, it will be not.
    When it’s said that Gimp is not the Linux PS-equivalent, it means clearly that a user has to switch to PS on an alternative platform to Linux.

  • Mark Weiman

    Uhm, as a person who uses GNOME, I will have to say your “GNOME < Win7/Mac" is 100% crap. Saying that one desktop is better than another is pure opinion and depends on the person. I cannot function under any Windows environment after more than an hour and definitely not at all with Mac, but GNOME is an awesome desktop for me personally.

    LibreOffice is also a fine program, it's very well "defined" if you have had the chance to use it. To be honest, I think it's menu system is better than MSOffice's silly "ribbon" scheme, but again, this is my opinion. Also, the only real drawback to LO is that it doesn't have access to MO's proprietary themes and fonts, which for most people, isn't important (most people just need the MS fonts like Times New Roman, which is available under many operating systems). Again, this seems to be more of an opinion in your statement.

    As for the GIMP/Photoshop argument, yes, Photoshop has more features and if those features are needed, that's why you shell out the money to use it. As for whether one is hard to use, I find them both arcane to use. I've actually spoken to people that tell me that GIMP does certain things better than Photoshop and use it just for that part of their workflow.

    Also, as a Linux user, I will tell you that the performance is as good or better than the alternatives. Heck, I got 3 hours maximum battery life on my laptop when Windows was installed and I can get 8+ hours under Linux (5 hours under decent use).

  • Andrew Turner

    Linux people are always saying that it is good to know what you are doing. IN reality in real life very few people have a clue what they are doing and as long as they do it well it really does not matter to anyone. You have to use Photoshop or Gimp. It is not exactly as if you have much choice. Like the entire IT world it is built on monopolies that have not been permitted in any other industries.

  • Andrew Turner

    “I could have certainly adapted have forced myself to live with it.” Basically you have put the Linux conundrum in a nut shell with this sage observation. Having become utterly “pissed off” with windows 10 and all Microsoft’s lies about the number of people that have taken it up, and being told daily what I can and can not do: as a normal non tech user I have forced myself to get to grips with Lubuntu. I have been unable to get to grips with Gimp yet but it is there and I expirement each day and have so far not had to resort to windows again although it is still there on the hard drive.

  • Padi Phillips

    Keep at it Andrew. I changed from Microsoft’s operating systems back in 2008 and whilst it initially had me tearing my hair out, (Linux was a lot less ‘plug ‘n’ play back then) I eventually came to love using various flavours of Linux, though always thus far coming back to one of the Ubuntu family due to ease of use and stability.

    I’m really just an intermediate user of Gimp, and haven’t yet started to use it in any serious manner, but it is powerful, and it often amuses me when people slam it simply because it isn’t PhotoShop. I would guess that comparing standard installs, then Gimp is going to look somewhat lacking, but that would be to ignore the simply mind boggling number of plugins that are available for Gimp that extend it’s usability tremendously, and whilst I obviously can’t say that it is then a match for PS I do know from friends that it is (slowly) approaching PS in terms of what it can do. That in itself is a tremendous achievement if it is considered that on the one hand PS has the financial muscle of Adobe behind it, whilst Gimp has a small group of dedicated developers and the donations of users behind it.

    Development might be slow, but there is a reason for that; the core developer group is small. This is a pretty common picture within the Open Source world, but it’s a picture that is encouraging.

    Rather than perhaps slating Gimp for lacking the features of PS, maybe a better approach would be a bit of education about how the Open Source community works, and then a more enlightened approach of using, and then financially supporting these projects with monthly donations a fraction of what it would cost to buy or rent the closed source equivalents. Read any blog in the Open Source community and one complaint that is common is the need of developers to go out into the wide world and do work in order to keep body and soul together, and a roof over their heads, which of course takes them away from developing the projects they have a passion for. If more of us donated small amounts to the projects whose software we use it would be a game changer in that developers could work on their projects full-time and we benefit by getting more fully featured software quicker and at less cost. If more of us adopted this kind of approach then the difference between commercially backed and community backed software products would blur and the forced death of the commercial thus hastening the end of capitalism.

    Think how Wikipedia has changed the game.

  • Rich

    “In terms of features, Photoshop clearly has way more features than GIMP.”

    Detailed statement is full of detail.

    This story sounded like it was mad or annoyed that people think of GIMP as a PS alternative.

  • Daniel Smith

    Thank you for your comment – I completely agree.
    I started using Gimp prior to version 2.0 and have attempted to use Photoshop on multiple occasions. I have yet to find something that I find modern Gimp unsatisfactory for while I, for the life of me, can’t get basic things done in Photoshop to my satisfaction in a remotely reasonable amount of time. To say that one is intuitive while the other is not is an unfair assessment.
    Determining if one is more intuitive than the other can only be objectively determined by having two groups that have never used image manipulation software before and seeing which group learns the software faster (with equal quality of instruction).

  • D Ferrell

    Thanks for your post. I scrolled through and read everything above it to get to this one post that had the info I needed. I used Photoshop and Paintshop years ago, when I had free access to them through work, so I knew I could start over with them, if necessary. Now I am retired and do not want to spend the money to purchase new programs that I know contain a lot of stuff I do not need. I want to be able to do all the things you mentioned as well as develop some of my own digital art, not vector. I have downloaded Inkscape for the vector I do need but was undecided about the vaster side. Thanks for your input, the other comments were somewhat helpful, mostly not surprising, but they were becoming obnoxious.

  • Billy S.

    My two bits:

    On-and-off professional graphic designer here. I’ve been using Photoshop on both Mac and Windows regularly since the early ’90s, and remember before that when the whole program fit on a single floppy disk–would consider myself an advanced/expert user. Just recently started experimenting with GIMP when I added a Linux Mint drive to a spare Windows Vista computer.

    Besides the usual photo retouching and manipulation uses, I have also used Photoshop for creating detailed quasi-photorealistic artwork, which typically involves lot of layers, alpha channels, paths, etc. For me at least, this the real test of how GIMP stacks up against Photoshop. It could just be that I’m just learning, but right off the bat it seems a bit deficient. If the features are there I haven’t figured them out yet. GIMP’s user interface is admittedly clunky compared to Photoshop’s sleek and unobtrusive one. Lack of native CMYK support is a big concern if print media is part of your universe (as it potentially is for me).

    As a currently between-jobs designer looking to move into freelance/self-employment I really want to get behind FOSS alternatives to Adobe software, for both economic (I’m poor) and political (down with Big Tech) reasons. As used to Photoshop as I am–and I do love it to pieces–I REALLY don’t want to be a slave to their dumb Creative Cloud crap. But as yet it seems to be true that GIMP is in fact not a true alternative to the full professional version of Photoshop. Maybe the “light” version, or something. I’m sure it’s fine for most people. Regardless of features, though, I’m of the mindset that software should not be an obstacle to getting the work done. The wizards at Adobe have put a lot of time and resources into their user interface design over the decades, and this I think is where GIMP falls short. For me it’s not nearly as intuitive. I’m sure I’ll get used to it over time, but time spent learning how to get required tasks done is time not getting those tasks done, or finding out halfway through a project that you *can’t* do something. GIMP isn’t there yet; I shall keep my fingers crossed, though.

  • ce sturdy

    The bottom line: What do you need to do? If you have tons of money and wish to be in the status-quo or at least follow along with the many wonderful books on photoshop, then by all means go for photoshop. I have purchased a number of great photography books. Some of these have chapters on using photoshop.
    However if you have little money, am struggling with just the basic things of life, but find photography as a needed outlet for creative processes, then go for Gimp. I have two extremes mentioned here. Of course the foregoing comments by other people indicate that there are even some professional photographers that prefer Gimp over photoshop, while the many pros seem to prefer photoshop. As for a learning curve, it appears that each one has that. If interested in Photoshop pick up one of the wonderful books by one of the popular photographers that use Photodhop. If Gimp, I recommend The Book of Gimp by a computer scientist. The writer makes Gimp easier to learn. Hope this helps.

  • Pete

    Umm, wow… WOW! I hope you’re kidding!

    What colors do you usually see in your print cartridges? Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black… CMYK!

    If you’re working in that color space, you’re going to be limited to colors from that color space and much more likely to have a closer match in print.

    Another thing, Adobe has LAB mode as well, shifting from RGB to LAB to CMYK is ideal, because it minimizes color rounding.