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GIMP vs. Photoshop! January 5, 2010

Posted by oktyabr in consumer, GIMP, graphics, open source, opinions, personal, software.
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The GIMP vs. Photoshop

personal-1.jpg

On any other forum those words would be considered trolling to start a flame war and the about.com post titled “GIMP: Like it or Lump it?” had some pretty strong opinions in the comments section and mine, which follows below, was one of them 😉  Some of the following might seem a bit out of context as I was referring to what others had said before me but I think you will get the gist of it:

The professionals that use Photoshop at work make up a tiny minority of the total user base and if you need 16 bits, etc. you probably wouldn’t be considering using anything else in the first place.

For the rest of us you can spend big $$$ on Photoshop (or take yer chances on a pirated version, matey!) or get GIMP for free.

I stopped using PS in a semi-professional capacity when I discovered that it would crash if I had too many fonts installed on my system. WHAT?!? I think that’s fixed in the newer versions but I haven’t looked back since… I’ve tried the newer versions but wasn’t impressed.

Photoshop: Very capable, very expensive, commercial software with very strict licensing. Only available for Windows and Mac. Somewhat of a memory hog and I really don’t care for the way the UI demands most or all of my desktop when I’m working with it.

The GIMP: Very capable, can do most of what Photoshop can do (even most PS tutorials are useful for GIMP users!) and what it can’t do won’t matter to most of the people who will try it anyway.

Absolutely FREE in every sense of the word and portable: I can pop it on a memory stick or a CD and most “live” linux CDs come with it as well, if I’m using someone else’s computer for a bit. There are installers for more operating systems than most about.com readers have even heard of. I can even run it on Microsoft Xbox 360 if I want. As I need to be flexible to deal with different operating systems from time to time learning an application that will look and function exactly the same on any of them is a huge plus for me.

Last but not least I actually prefer the minimal UI of The GIMP. I can give it my entire desktop or just a small corner of it and still perform the exact same tasks. If I’m working on a project with many repetitive tasks I can “undock” (used to be “tear away”) menus and make them semi-permanent so frequently used items are only a single click away.

16 bit is trickling into the latest development version (it’s been in a branch known as “Film Gimp” for years and even used by major movie production companies), CMYK is available right now as a plugin, and 3D painting? That’s like saying the tire iron in the trunk of my car is an EXCELLENT walnut cracker! Need to pound a nail? Buy a hammer.

In summary it’s my personal opinion that for the professional, someone who is paid to use Photoshop, there is probably no real competition…  But most of these users don’t have a choice in the matter anyway… it’s the software their company bought for them to use and it’s what they are paid to use.   Whether or not Photoshop is the only tool that can do that job isn’t the point…  For most of these users it’s the only software they can use.  So it’s worth considering that the professional Photoshop user probably makes up a very small minority of those looking for alternatives and of course reading (and writing!) GIMP vs Photoshop type comparisons!

For the vast majority, that is, for those that don’t have to use Photoshop and for those not paid to use Photoshop, those that probably don’t need special functionality X or Y bit enabled whatever on a day to day basis, GIMP is a perfectly sound solution.  It offers pretty much all of the real core functionality that Photoshop has, the stuff that truly matter to the majority of users of any 2D image editor.   But most of all it’s free, it’s open source, it’s portable, and it’s very cross platform…  features that Photoshop will never have.

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Comments»

1. oktyabr - January 5, 2010

Just found an *excellent* article on how to make GIMP more “PS like” including installing CMYK capabilities as well as a handful of PS plugins. A MUST READ!

“Handy Tweaks to Make GIMP Replace Photoshop”

http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/04/03/8-handy-tweaks-to-make-gimp-replace-photoshop/

2. webmistress27 - January 5, 2010

I love photoshop it does get pricey though, been looking for an alternative for awhile now, but with so many products out on th market its kinda hard to decide. Dont wont to screw up your system with unsafe or trickery downloads and whatever we might regret later.

Terry Truly Not Smart - April 22, 2010

i apologize that this reply is so late, but i would like to state that gimp is quite old and established, i used to use the gimp back in the mid to late 90s, and there was even a gimp based logo generator around back then (i was like 13, dont judge me for using it). i can assure you that if you go to THEIR web site and download it there will be no trickery or foolishness, just the program. expecting real dirty from the gimp would be like expecting real dirty from open office.

and as with all programs, read what your doing before you click next on the install, my installer that i just used didnt have any additives, but those are allways possible, and allways give you a chance to opt out.

as for photoshop; i love it, it is an excelent tool and what i actualy learned image editing and image creation on. i must say that when i want to do something specific i prefer to use photoshop purely because of familiarity, but for general work the gimp is perfect, and as the author said, free. and it is also an EXCLENT program to introduce those of you who still dont understand to; Layers and Channels, although i’m not sure if recent copies come with cmyk, so the channels will be rgb

3. oktyabr - January 5, 2010

And yet another very nice list of 2.6+ compatible GIMP plugins to bring yet more Photoshop like features into the software:

“26 GIMP Plugins to get Photoshop’s best features”

http://www.techzilo.com/download-free-gimp-plugins/

4. webmistress27 - January 5, 2010

Thanks for the info, your blog keeps us informed wih tech issues and everything else mad cool

5. oktyabr - January 5, 2010

Thanks! Knowing others read what I write makes me want to keep doing it.

Here is a great GIMP tip: “Float” any menu by right clicking on an image (in GIMP) and then left click on the dashed line at the top of the menu you want. It will become a free-floating window putting your most needed tools only one mouse click away. Very handy if you are working on a project and need quick access to a specific menu (or sub menu) frequently.

6. phoxis - January 15, 2010

Good post. Many could not understand the power of GIMP. I am not an image editing expert, but i can create some good wallpapers and effects with GIMP (you can find some in my blog). Although i have not used Photoshop, but i have seen people using it in front of me. What i think about it , is that, Photoshop has some good functions, but almost all of them are available in GIMP, and for the functions which GIMP does not have, i think it would be in near future. With the lot of plugins available, and the ability of creating your own plugin GIMP is more flexible. Photoshop is a bloatware, where GIMP does not bloat, and thats very important. And as you notified, GIMP is a FOSS. So i am with GIMP.

7. Dominic - January 19, 2010

Great post. I love Gimp. I used Photoshop way back in college. I won’t use pirated software on my pc or mac and I find Photoshop expensive for my use. I found Gimp a year ago, and I think it’s just fantastic. It does everything I want and everything I did in Photoshop. I’ve never printed in CMYK, but it’s interesting to hear about the plugin. If you’re ever in doubt about what Gimp can do, then have a look at Gimp user groups on Flickr:

http://www.flickr.com/search/groups/?q=gimp

Thanks again.

Dominic

8. henry schilitzar - February 5, 2010

I love photoshop 3d tutorials and I am still learning how to work with photoshop.

9. Emily - April 6, 2010

I’ve recently downloaded GIMP and I love the fact that it has the same functionality that photoshop does for free. I’m still kind of new in Gimp but I’ve done pretty good wallpapers despite the fact that I’m not a Gimp wizard. I’d still like to learn more things but I’ll just go through the tutorials.^_^

10. iTz SLoSh - April 12, 2010

I googled “Photoshop vs GIMP” and this was the second URL that came up and I feel much more comfortable about GIMP now. I haven’t used it since I 1999 when I was 11 and was still much a photoshop fan (PS5 maybe??) but as I’ve gotten older I threw Windoze out the window (haha get it?) in favor of Ubuntu but the change was scary at first and I have done any heavy “shooping” in years but this article has made me not so scared of the switch to GIMP. Just wanted to say thanks and spread the word more… I know I will.

But for now.. time to go shoop my kids into a ridiculous situation. Bye!

11. Felipe Souza - April 18, 2010

Perhaps with the coming of Photoshop CS5, PS going to has a good upper hand on it’s side. But GIMP is open source, and open source has a wide community, which will provide fast solutions for GIMP catch up Photoshop again. Yet as a professional, I miss (not many) features that PS have, so I will stick with it for a while.

P.S. I have both on my personal computer, use mainly windows and ubuntu (use PS with wine), and I work for Wunderman as web designer.

12. Joe - April 23, 2010

PS CS5 has this content-aware fill feature. GIMP has a plugin that’s equivalent to that called ‘resynthesize’. For content-aware transform, there’s ‘liquid rescale’.

I’m new to GIMP because I recently switched to Ubuntu. I got sick and tired of Windows and worrying about viruses. I’m still in a process of transition from PS to Gimp.

13. Logicbug - May 4, 2010

Excellent post oktyabr. I really appreciate your relatively unbiased and logical viewpoint.

Photoshop: Very capable, very expensive, commercial software with very strict licensing. Only available for Windows and Mac. Somewhat of a memory hog and I really don’t care for the way the UI demands most or all of my desktop when I’m working with it.

The GIMP: Very capable, can do most of what Photoshop can do (even most PS tutorials are useful for GIMP users!) and what it can’t do won’t matter to most of the people who will try it anyway.

I couldn’t agree more! I’m not an advocate of any one platform and I don’t believe one software if perfect for all people, nor ever will be.

14. the_fog - June 15, 2010

Very informative and helpful appreciate the clear language and easy to follow thread. I will recomend eveyone I know that is looking at p/s read this first.

15. oktyabr - July 2, 2010

Thanks for all the replies and I apologize for not responding individually or more promptly! I hope anyone considering a graphics application at this level of capability give the GIMP a solid try before plunking down the plastic for a commercial app they may not ultimately need.

16. Laυghing Ninja™ - July 14, 2010

I hate the Adobe team… Look, it’s like 700 bucks for a program (Photoshop) that can be replaced with a similar one (GIMP) for only $0… I mean, free! The GNU is a non-profit organization that only wants people to experience pro photo editing, Adobe is a total profit org that only wants money… I think even for professional work, GIMP is a better option. I said it, Money-Hungry Adobe… GIMP even has a free animator (GAP)!

-LN

17. Laυghing Ninja™ - July 14, 2010

By the way, I HAVE used Photoshop, and it’s not so great as some people think. -_-

-LN

18. dioxholster - July 15, 2010

GIMP is better because its free, im not a pro so i just need something basic. thing is GIMP is similar to photoshop that im not sure labeling it basic is accurate. i dont know what difference is but from experience i find photoshop easier to use and more innovative – as it should be– while GIMP needs a bit of a earning curve in some areas and its options are limited. most of the time though, it wont matter.

phoxis - July 15, 2010

Its just the opposite in case of me.

19. caruso - July 17, 2010

I got into image manipulation with the predecessor to Micrographix Picture Publisher (original company’s name started with an ‘a’, but wasn’t Adobe or Aldus . . . I just can’t remember – software was bundled with my Epson 300 c scanner (talk about expensive)) in the days when big hard drives were 40 MB, and, upon adding my second HD to my Swan 10 MHz PC, I declared that I would never have to worry about storage space again). Microsoft obsoleted my very capable scanner by eliminating parallel port scanner support in one of their windows “upgrades”, so I had to purchase a new one that bundled in a copy of PSE. The rest, as they say, is history. If PS could be so good (and it was), then, PS must be better, so I got PS, then the next PS, and so on, until I made it all the way to CS4 Extended.

. . . but that same MS company that obsoleted my old Epson scanner also obsoleted itself with me through an almost predictable need to tear down and rebuild my system when Windows would just bog itself down making my system unusable. During one of those ‘what the heck’ moments, I figured, “what the heck! I’ll try a new OS!” Ubuntu popped up first on my search, and the rest, as I’ve previously said they say, “the rest is history!”

This little piece could be as much a testament to Ubuntu as to Gimp, because Ubuntu really opened my eyes to all things open source. As has been mentioned by others contributors to this thread, Gimp is so much less demanding on system resources than PS. The same is very true of Ubuntu when compared to Windows (I run XP). When you boot Ubuntu, it just starts. When I boot XP, I fix myself a cup of coffee while I wait for all the add-ons, anti-this and guard-against-that and background aps to load before my system is returned to my control.

In terms of UI, I think everything Linux is more basic than Windows, and I find that especially true with Gimp. I was more than a little negatively impressed when first using it, so primitive seemed the icons and so much less smooth the operation of the tools than PS, that I almost gave up on it as a toy.

Then, one weekend, I was stuck in NYC with only my daughter’s meager Windows PC to keep me company, and with not much else to do. I went to a bookstore, purchased a how-to manual on Gimp, downloaded and installed the Windows version on her laptop, and, as someone I know has said they say, “the rest is history!”

Blame it on the book or my stranded circumstance, but I have not looked back since that day, when it finally dawned on me that this Gimp thing could capably do most all of what PS could and for free . . . free for this version, and every update/new version from now until the corruption of my personal bytes.

These days, it is the PS UI that I disdain, preferring, instead, Gimp’s more streamlined approach.

. . . and, while I concede that there are (perhaps always will be) features in PS that have yet to make their way into Gimp, most of my digital photo work requires the same set of editing features, that set readily available in either of the two editing applications. So, while I would like to consider myself among the more advanced of users, the nature of my work (what is required by my photos) requires a feature set that at best could be considered basic.

. . . and for that, I have decided to forgo the unending need to upgrade PS and stick with Gimp and its free upgrades for life.

Caruso

20. Chuck - July 28, 2010

I don’t have anything to add that someone else hasn’t already said but I’m very happy to see how many people support gimp and the overall attitude with it now. I am a professional photo editor and I’ve been using gimp for a few years now. I have used photoshop in the past but I didn’t want to keep spending money for upgrades so I thought I’d give gimp a try. It took some getting used to but I haven’t looked back since. Gimp has gone through a lot of changes over the years and has grown to a professional level tool for the best price of all. I’ve even donated some money to the gimp team since I’ve made money from their work but that was my choice.

21. Cynthia - August 13, 2010

even though I’m new to GIMP, I really love it. It’s kinda almost the same as Photoshop but the difference is that GIMP is free. I wanted to get Photoshop but didn’t because it’s too pricey. Why get PS when you can download GIMP for free? And it won’t slow your computer (:

22. GavinSpaceFace - August 31, 2010

As a professional web developer (not a graphic designer) who only designs enough to get by, I have stopped using Photoshop in favour of GIMP. For me, GIMP does everything I need, and it’s free. That’s the bottom line.

But can I just raise one issue that I feel is VERY commonly overlooked in this debate? Photoshop is NOT INTUITIVE software. It’s not particularly user friendly or obvious. To be completely honest it’s clunky. The only reason people compare software to photoshop is because they’ve gotten used to it, and it’s become the ‘benchmark’, but IMO that benchmark is NOT GOOD in terms of software standards/UI convention/intuitive workflow etc. I clearly remember my first days with photoshop, and cursing at it for being so stupidly unintuitive.

GIMP isn’t perfect, but I decided to switch when I realised that GIMP actually has a more ‘intuitive’ workflow than Photoshop. If someone had never touched either, I think they’d get the hang of GIMP quicker than photoshop.

23. Adcreations - November 26, 2010

I’m completely new to photo editing all together and I have to agree with Gavinspaceface…for not knowing what in world I’m doing…I’m catchin on quickly. I’ve done youtube tutorials to see what these people are doing, cause I’m a see and do kinda girl…there is this one kid (12 yrs old) who does alot of video tutorials on GIMP and that kid can create some pretty amazing things! I’ve learned quite a bit just by following along with his lessons:)

24. drarixio - December 15, 2010

Do you guys know that you can dowload Photoshop plugins and brushes for GIMP? I’m a GIMP user and I download brushes here: http://www.brusheezy.com is a site for photoshop brushes, but you can still use it with GIMP! Also, I bet you didn’t know that GIMP can open PS saved files, but PS can’t open GIMP saved files.

25. Bob - March 10, 2011

Hi everyone, interesting stuff going on here. I’m a fan of GIMP but have been tempted to buy PS (not sure which version) so that I can claim to be a ‘professional’ editer – that’s about the only real thing in its favour. But… actually I am having a few problems with GIMP. Does anyone know a better way to use GIMP when it comes to resizing – I mean at the moment if you shrink/reshape images (or enlarge) it can get very messy with a lot of blurring and losses, as it doesn’t use the same clever algorithyms as PS. I have to make use of MS Office Picture Manager to shrink images as this seems to be better at it (OK so I got two programs that when combined they do match PS in nearly every way), but is this something that others have problems with? And you get a lot of white lines around some of the edges where you change the shape or size of something. Also when are they going to stop GIMP from dithering around when it comes to opening up a new image when you have other windows open – sometimes I have to shut down everything else just to save hassle… Does anyone agree?

oktyabr - March 10, 2011

Hi Bob and thanks for stopping by!

I’m not sure what you mean exactly by messy and lossy. Most artifacts are a direct attribute of the source image size, quality and container extension. JPEG and GIF, for example, are both quite “lossy” by nature and won’t do well in resizing regardless of the software that is used. If you are using GIF (or any indexed image format) you might achieve better results by first converting it to RGB (Image/image mode/ RGB) and then resize. You might also try a different “Interpolation” method (selected at the bottom of the resize dialog) as the default “Linear” setting is considered the best compromise of quality and speed but is not the best at either.

See here for more on Interpolation:
http://docs.gimp.org/en/gimp-tools-transform.html#gimp-tool-interpolation-methods

And here for more on the two Floyd-Steinberg dithering algorithms available in GIMP: http://docs.gimp.org/en/glossary.html#glossary-floyd-steinberg-dithering

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dither

In regards to “dithering around” I personally work with 10240×10240 png and tga (and larger) in multiple layers that can add up to a couple of gigs of memory being consumed… it can take several minutes just to process any large changes even on my 64bit triple core machine (with 64bit GIMP)… BUT this is a limitation of the hardware, NOT the software. This sort of delay is usually caused by GIMP paging data back and forth to the hard drive due to a lack of available memory, which is why in some cases better performance can be had simply by closing unneeded apps (and freeing up more memory).

PS or any other software would behave the same in my case, maybe worse if a 32bit version was all I had to work with. Could this be your key problem as well?

26. Douchebag 101 - March 29, 2011

You, Sir, are a ******* ****** 🙂 Photshop beats Gimp in any living sense, and it costs money because it’s ACTUALLY GOOD to use. Gimp is some sloppy Paint V2 with limitations that could bore a ******* two year old. In Photoshop there’s little to no limitations editing wise, and you can generally just do what the **** your imagination wants you to do. Gimp, however, is a whoreshop for presets and bad art.

TL;DR

If you’re a ******, ****** and fail at life get Gimp.

If not.. Get Photoshop, or learn how to draw. Either is better than above mentioned Gimp.

oktyabr - March 29, 2011

I let this one slip through to show the rest of my readers that not everyone agrees with me about the fine software that is GIMP.

I do consider this a “family friendly” blog and try to keep it that way. Comments with meaningless spam will be deleted. I don’t like taking the time to edit profanity so as a lesson to others please don’t do it. I WILL catch it.

This particular comment is based in unrealistic economics. If the poster had to actually spend their own money on Photoshop rather than use a pirated copy (or perhaps starving student) they might consider the wisdom of alternatives like GIMP in a different light.

A little bit of wisdom I found on the web, just for the original poster:

Now, I know that I haven’t experienced the hardship of life, and that I know everything, BUT I know that our hater-friend, here, is acting as the usual interwebz-troll. Please, oh pretty please, dear friends: do not hate when you are online. There are just 2 important rules then:

PEACE
AND
LOVE

On a more serious note: Please don’t be a ****nut.
Over and out.

Scrax "Weird" Ullens - March 29, 2011

Will catch me? And do.. What?.. I lol’d.

(OKTY reply: I specifically meant I do pay attention to the comments posted here and will edit or delete profanity. It’s my blog.)

Define “Meaningless spam”, as my post was filled with my opinion and point of view. Censuring me would mean you defy free speech. Bad okty, bad!

(OKTY reply: Again, not targeted at you. But you should see the hundreds of comments trying to link to warez sites, cheap viagra and asian goat pr0n that hit the delete machine every month.)

How is it unrealistic? Any grown up (you ARE a grown up?) could easily purchase Photoshop and use it.

(OKTY reply: I suspect I have kids older than you.)

Any kid (definition; most blog users (emphasis on ‘most)) could easily pirate it. HOW you acquire it doesn’t really matter, however it’s principal. So the fact remains; Photoshop > GIMP any day. Gimp MIGHT have the core features for editing, however Photoshop outshines it with everything EXTRA it has.

Scrax "Weird" Ullens - March 29, 2011

Hate; No. Angry at falsified facts; Yes.

GIMP is to be used if; You’re new, not a heavy weight editor, just for ***** and giggles.

Photoshop is to be used if; You’re experienced, want to earn some money on it, and overall expand.

“This particular comment is based in unrealistic economics. If the poster had to actually spend their own money on Photoshop rather than use a pirated copy (or perhaps starving student) they might consider the wisdom of alternatives like GIMP in a different light.”

Unrealistic? See my previous comment 🙂

27. Scrax "Weird" Ullens - March 29, 2011

Ohh, you quoted me! ❤ (Well, my friend) Thank you :3

On a more serious note; I'm not trolling, but expressing my feelings to stupidity and falsified information. Now turn your attention to my previous comment 🙂

oktyabr - March 29, 2011

You bring a good challenge to the thread, and on topic!

What “extras” does Photoshop have, that GIMP does not, that makes it worth $700 or risking criminal prosecution for stealing it? (Yeah, I know, not many get caught… but some DO!)

Please tell us, old wise one?

28. Douchebag 101 - March 29, 2011

Photoshop can do, which GIMP cannot (as far as the version I tried):

3D Image editing, video animation painting and editing, plus automated technical/medical image measurements that are well beyond GIMP.

Photoshop also got an image browser known as Bridge, which is quite handy.

“GIMP can import screenshots with builtin screen grabber, scanner images, plus camera shots (but not in raw format). GIMP supports 39 image filetypes including the core .bmp, .gif, .jpeg (but not .jpeg2000), .png, .pdf, .psd, .tga, and .tiff. GIMP also supports the standard New, Open, Close, Save, Save As, Recent, Revert, and Prferences commands.” – Quote from a review. Photoshop can do/open;

^All above mentioned as well as; video now, and one of the widest range of camera raw files. Couple this with the Camera Raw dialog (shades of LightRooms Develop command) and Photoshop clearly bests GIMP and I have not yet considered the Photoshop Printing options and the Automate and Scripts commands.

In scripting, Photoshop again has more options with VB, JavaScript, and Actions while GIMP has Script-FU which gets at the basic GIMP programming structure.

Do I have to continue?

oktyabr - March 29, 2011

Read my original post. 3D Image editing?!?!? In a 2D paint program? From my article:

That’s like saying the tire iron in the trunk of my car is an EXCELLENT walnut cracker! Need to pound a nail? Buy a hammer.

No professional would use Photoshop for 3D editing… They would use a program designed for that. It’s like the vanity mirror on the passenger side sunscreen of most “high end” automobiles… it’s there, it helps justify a much higher price tag, but does anyone really need it? Same with “video editing”. I bet even those who downloaded a pirated version of PS tend to have a pirated version of Sony Vegas and Aftereffects they prefer to use than PS for video.

Technical/medical image measurements might be true… I haven’t experimented with that yet… but then the very few PS users that *need* this wouldn’t be considering GIMP anyway so that argument is moot. Again, re-read my original article. GIMP isn’t designed to replace PS in every use and market (and in fact the developers maintain that directly competing with PS is NOT one of their goals!), it’s simply a free, portable, cross platform alternative that *most* users will find fits their needs quite well (without the $700 pricetag). For the majority it’s fine.

It might be worthwhile however to touch again at this point on GIMP’s ancestry… particularly it’s birth as a *nix software first and what that means… In the unix and linux world the operating system is designed to be open as are apps written to work on it. It’s relatively easy to “connect” one application and pipe data back and forth to another, in effect making the creation of very sophisticated chains of processes possible in an interconnected network of small, dedicated utilities. The “Unix way of doing things” boils down to the philosophy of “Write programs that do one thing and do it well”. It’s object oriented programming extrapolated to a higher level. Don’t reinvent the wheel if someone has something you can “#include”.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GIMP

In truth it’s the way that most well written softwares work, even those for windows. Lots of little programs all working together under the hood to achieve an end goal. The big difference is that because most Windows based software is “closed source” applications tend to be less extensible and thus *need* to include everything “out of the box”. GIMP and likewise other applications with a *nix pedigree, being “open source”, focus on collecting the means to “do one thing and do it well”… with the provision that if “extras” are needed badly enough it’s relatively easy to write an extension for it that will add it. In a nutshell, GIMP may seem less powerful than other programs but it does what it was designed to do and if that isn’t enough there is probably a plugin (or someone working on one) that will make it do what you want it to.

RAW? plugin for GIMP: http://ufraw.sourceforge.net/

Likewise, since GIMP is open source and extensible, there are plugins out there for just about any format under the sun, if you need them. Ooops! I forgot to mention that GIMP has automatic compression too… Working with huge files? Simply save your work with “.zip”, “.gz” or “.bz2” and GIMP will automatically archive your work in the chosen compressed format to save disk space. GIMP’s virtual file system, inherited from it’s unix/linux pedigree, means working with files on your local hard drive, a NAS, SMB (windows) shares, or a remote machine using FTP/HTTP are all no-brainers… What? You mean not all software can do that?

Scripting? LOL! GIMP development has pretty much phased out “script fu” although the name still sticks. You can script for GIMP in *many* more languages than PS including Python, Ruby and Perl, which also means easy access remotely, whether that’s P2P from your laptop to home or as an embedded web application. There is even a full version of GIMP online: http://www.appsverse.com/GIMP-Free-Image-Editor-Download/Apps?id=gimp

So yes, I’d say GIMP has the tools and means to be as “automated” as you like as well as scriptable. Photoshop “actions”? GIMP just calls them “scripts” and there are plenty to choose from (google is your friend).

Even if I hadn’t bothered to write any of the above reply, what in your reply makes you think PS is worth $700? Is there some “must have” feature that can justify such a price tag? Tell my readers, if you would, supposing you had $700 (more or less) to spend on graphics software… What would you spend it on and why?

29. Ye old “GIMP vs. Photoshop” revisited « Oktyabr’s Notepad - March 29, 2011

[…] original post GIMP vs. Photoshop is still one of the posts that I get the most comments on, even though I wrote it over a year ago! […]

30. Ye old “GIMP vs. Photoshop” revisited « Oktyabr’s Notepad - March 29, 2011

[…] 101 said on March 29, 2011 […]

31. oktyabr - March 29, 2011
32. Mike - April 12, 2011

It’s clearly up to individuals whether they use GIMP or PS. However I’m sure at least 75% of users of PS could easily use GIMP for what they need.

GIMP will seriously start taking market share from PS.

I love GIMP. I run it on Ubuntu. No more wasting money on commercial equivalents. Ubuntu is better than Windows by a long way.

33. Asmi Nikhat - June 12, 2011

Let’s agree on what is GIMP and what is Photoshop. No professional designer is going to move away from PS, it is that simple. Do you know any designer who has actually started using Gimp instead of PS? On the other hand, Gimp is a nice and easy tool for amateurs and semi professionals and worth a look for such people. All depends on your requirements.

oktyabr - August 6, 2011

The key thing you and others like you should remember is the point I thought I made clear in my original post. Most professional designers use PS. Not because it’s the best. Not because GIMP is only for amateurs and “semi professionals”. But because PS is what they are given and paid to use. I know professionals that use PS at work and GIMP at home, and yes, even a couple that do that backwards.

34. javalarry - June 29, 2011

so my wife’s 7 year old mac died. and we cant afford a new one. I’m trying to convince her to use one of our desktops. for her vector drawing and photo editing uses. but she wants Photoshop or even better (she says)- her old one was cs2. then she started using corel painter x. can someone please explain to me the missing functions from tho9se two to gimp and maybe inkspace or recommend are replacement for illustrator? and talk to me like a complete noob. as i am not an artist. and i only played with the soft ware when she wasn’t looking.:) and as she catches on to this stuff quick what would be the learning curve for them and than you in advance for your help.

oktyabr - August 6, 2011

Heh, over a month late, and I apologize!

“Missing functions” are beyond my experience with any of them. For the most part any “function” (from Illustrator or PS) deemed important enough to include probably has a similar function in GIMP and/or InkScape. They might be dealt with in slightly different ways and/or have different names but I’m reasonably confident that the 99% most used “functions” will be found in them too. 100%? I’m sure each software has it’s strong and weak points, and there might be some obscure handling of a specific problem that one does better than another, but for most (myself included) the free alternatives let me get my work done.

If you (errr… your wife) haven’t already I recommend you (she) try both The GIMP and Inkspace. Both are free and relatively painless to install. Depending on her specific needs she may (or may not) find them perfectly suitable replacements, only she can be the judge though. Certainly there will be new things to learn but I don’t think either has a “steeper learning curve” than their commercial comparatives, just a new one. GIMP has vector handling capabilities but is probably not the best tool for that specific purpose. Inkscape is much better at it, as that is what it is designed to do, but is entirely useless at photo editing. And I can’t say anything about those two without throwing a tip towards Scribus as well, for desktop publishing.

35. James - September 13, 2011

Great review here, you seem like an excellent debater, dear chap, and I have used both Photoshop CS5 and GIMP, and I have to say that GIMP is much much easier to use than Photoshop.

You really brought up some good points, but since I’m only a high school student, I’ll stick with learning Photoshop CS5 mainly (but I’ll still stick with GIMP :3)

Thanks for that awesome rview.

36. James reuben gruta - October 5, 2011

Im using PS and gimp and i find some similarities. Of course Ps is more pwerful without a doubt. But gimp is inches behind. The thing that the gimp lacks is the customization of shapes, fonts and huge library of brushes.

oktyabr - October 5, 2011

They both have their strong and weak points for sure. I’m not sure what you mean by customization? My GIMP install typically has access to over 1000 different font sets (something earlier versions of PS choked to death on), brushes are easy to create and/or add (PSP image tubes can even been loaded and resaved as GIMP “image pipes”) and shapes? I don’t typically use GIMP for vector work but it will do the job including paths, bezier curves, etc. Or do you mean something else?

sammy - December 10, 2011

brushes? you can use PS brushes in gimp. Fonts ? – r u serious – u can use the same fonts in gimp – no difference here. Go online and download fonts and simply drop them in your fonts directory or point gimp to their location. For vector – inkscape s much better

James Reuben gruta - June 17, 2012

I mean the font effects support for anti aliasing, bevel, shadow, etc. Ps can do that without rasterizing it, Gimp lack shapes support just compare it to fireworks and photoshop. Example: Do a doughnut shape in gimp

oktyabr - June 17, 2012

I’m not sure what you mean by “doughnut shape”? Gimp does have limited vector tools but honestly for that sort of thing I go to Inkscape, a free, open source, cross platform application focused on vector handling. Remember both Gimp and Inkscape were developed under linux first and both fit form to function under the old modular unix software model of create many tools that each focus on doing one thing great rather than monolithic pieces of software that try to do everything in one application.

37. Hogan - November 5, 2011

I want to add as a guest user and used lots of image tools:
Photoshop is by far the best product. Then there is a huge gap where is nothing. Afterwards come the other tools:

GIMP, Paint.net, PaintShop Pro X4, Krita etc. And from all these lower-budget applications GIMP is the best I must admit. Even better than PSP (which costs). If Adobe Elements had a path tool it would be on top of these. But it hasn’t.

I’d say, you’ll do nothing wrong if you learn both Photoshop and Gimp. Everything else though is a waste of time.

38. Evonne Henningsen - November 13, 2011

I think gimp is not bad for a free software actually it can do a lot of things photoshop can and itsn’t as slow, photoshop is nice but it is very expensive and not many people can afford it, you have to have lots of money to keep updating and not everyone uses all those tools so I think it’s really good to have something like this for free and I enjoy using gimp, I been using gimp for a year now and I’m looking forward to keep using it like I always have been, I hope gimp gets even better in the near future.

39. RAB SMITH - December 13, 2011

I have sold loads of colored cartoon artwork using GIMP—-no client ever complained about the results.

40. Some Guy - December 21, 2011

Well, I have the best of both worlds here.

I started with paint, moved on to GIMP for a few years and now I’m settled on PS5.

Now, for a newcomer, PS5 is much more difficult to get into unlike GIMP. It’s only a matter of time though before your really into it.

Don’t get me wrong, GIMP is an excellent piece of software (and it’s FREE!) for more basic applications.

Thankfully, you can get the former really easily from the internet, which I’m not going to disclose here.

41. Bash Quandry - February 1, 2012

First I have to say I fully support open software and not just for free stuff but for the values it’s based upon. I’ve been using both PS for many years and Gimp for about 3 years. And I am not a causal user. I do high end photo retouching, texture development for video games as well as digital painting.

I can attest that almost anything you can do in PS you can indeed do in GIMP. For some tasks GIMP actually is better than photoshop and GIMP has made huge leaps in just the last year or so and I look forward to version 2.8

However you cannot compare the two applications fairly. PS has years of well funded development behind it and while its true that they both can perform most of the same tasks, PS is faster, better organized and more efficient. PS is the standard against which all other image manipulation programs are measured for very good reason.

If you are a semi-professional/professional looking to switch to GIMP these are the main things you should be aware of:

+ GIMP Layer management is in its infancy and layer grouping is only in 2.7 Dev releases, even then its worthless if you use layer filters or masks as putting a layer in a group cancels out the filter effect.
+ Brush management is terrible (although it’s not much better in PS)
+ Graphics Tablet support in GIMP is both better and worse than PS. GIMP gives you have more control letting you build your own presets for pressure, tilt, etc (awesome). But unfortunately movement is twitchy and requires a lot of patches and hacks to even get it working.
+ If you are coming from PS be aware GIMP layers are handled very differently and layer bounding areas can be annoying and frustrating to get used to.
+ Also you can install PS like layer effects but they are basically macros to simulate the PS effects not actual functions of the layer
+ Text and font handling in GIMP is much improved in 2.7+ but still a huge hassle compared to PS or any other graphics package for that matter.

I would also add that if you are running GIMP in windows you are missing out. Linux will set GIMP, and indeed your entire computer free.

This is not to say GIMP cannot get there and even surpass PS. Many other open source programs kick the crap out of their Window counterparts because they have very active communities supporting them.

GIMP needs feedback and support from all of us users, especially professionals. This means that you need to use it and work past the issues in order to understand how to make it better. Not more like PS, better.

That is the beauty of Open Source, its driven by the users. If you use OpenSource software you should make an effort to participate in the movement not just get free software.

oktyabr - February 1, 2012

Thanks for the reply, it was well said.

I first switched to GIMP after having an earlier version of PS (don’t remember which) choke to death on a 1000+ collection of fonts I was using for web design. I’m told they have fixed that limitation but have never felt the compulsion to find out for myself 😉

42. christina - February 16, 2012

I’m looking to do something very specific for an art project, and i just downloaded gimp but I’m not sure if i should go for photoshop! they have photoshop at my school, but i will be needing to work on it at home a lot during the break, so i would need it myself. i think I’m gonna experiment with both photoshop and gimp and see which one i like better! i have a feeling ill be going with photoshop 🙂

43. rflood89 - April 1, 2012

I absolutely love GIMP admittedly I use it because I cant use photoshop since im on Linux but the differences are so small that I couldn’t care less.

44. James Reuben gruta - June 17, 2012

I use GIMP for speed editing like taking out pimples, face swaping, or just fixing a picture’s color. GIMP is very fast for editing, but i think it lacks support for art creation because it doesn’t have shapes (vector shapes like in fireworks or ps), font effects support bevel, shadow, etc, and default brushes. I use PS for digital painting because it packs a lot of stuff but its a bit slow for editing images transform,skew,layering which is quickly achievable n GIMP.

45. Dwisha Nagar - July 23, 2012

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47. ulon - September 4, 2012

None of the reasons to choose Gimp over Photoshop are based on features or effectiveness. Your reasons are money, religious (you know how this works) or capitalism-fobia. Which are very powerful reasons, but arguing what program implements a given feature the best is ridiculous, photoshop wins over all others hands down.

You say that for us amateurs Gimp is good enough? right. but that doesn’t change the fact that photoshop is better and by using it you not only learn one of the most important piece of software of all times, but also your skills could earn you some money in the future.

oktyabr - September 4, 2012

Without citing specific examples of how feature implementation in PS is “better” and “wins over all others hands down” you realize that you too just sound like a “religious” fan-boi, don’t you? I approved your reply with the hopes that you might come back and attempt to justify it with evidence.

Read the other comments here! I approve 99% of them, even those I don’t necessarily agree with. Many, many people are happy with GIMP for a reason… it’s excellent software! Money isn’t the only reason to adopt GIMP. I’m in a position where a legal copy of PS was once a worthwhile investment, or at least I thought so… I no longer use it. Others pirate PS and still prefer GIMP!

48. http://tinyurl.com/whitpoole28156 - January 16, 2013

I actually seem to go along with almost everything that was composed inside “GIMP vs.
Photoshop! Oktyabrs Notepad”. Many thanks for all the details.
Regards,Christi


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