Gimp -Vs- Photoshop

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  • GIMP-Gnu Image Manipulation Program is a free photo editor which its developers claim is as good as Adobe Photoshop. I examine that notion here in an ongoing series of reviews. Ongoing becuase this file will expand over the next few months as the review progresses. Mimicing object-oriented programming, the Photoshop main menu will serve as the organizing subject themes - they will have a brief intro and then most will have to await testing over the weeks ahead.

    However it is worthwhile to note that GIMP and Photoshop Extended share a lot of common capabilities. They both are directed at bitmap or raster image editing as opposed to vector graphics (the domain of Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw). But both are capable of using vector drawn paths and shapes; however these are used primarily in layers to enhance the underlying bitmap image.

    Both programs provide a strong set of basic photo editing commands and tools:

    1)Ability to open/import most of the basic bitmap graphic filetypes including PNG, JPG, GIF;

    2)Ability to adjust those images with crop, rotate, resize and many other transformations;

    3)Ability to make local retouches, sharpening and other image corrections;

    4)Do color and exposure/lightness corrections with a broad range of dialogs and tools;

    5)Mask selective areas on an image(or layer)- only there will edits/brushstrokes apply;

    6)Allow creating a stack of two or dozens of layers from other images, text, vector graphics, etc;

    7)Allow filters or special effects to be applied to one or more layers including the base image;

    8)Produce output to several graphic filetypes, printers, and/or web pages/galleries.

    These photo editing features allow users to produce everything from simple

    fixes to portraits through wonderful original paintings to the most sophisticated of layered photo-compositions with either GIMP or Photoshop Extended. However, Photoshop Extended has recently added some capabilities like 3D image editing, video animation painting and editing, plus automated technical/medical image measurements that are well beyond the scope of GIMP.

    In addition, Photoshop Extended comes with a very capable image browser called Bridge that acts as an organizing center for all the images and other resourcews used in Photoshop edits. GIMP does not have such a closely integrated organizer/browser. Finally there is a major difference in the GUI layout of the two programs. The two screenshots below show that.

    <img src="" border="0" />

    GIMP's GUI is MDI- Multiple Document Interface. This means that the dialogs or components of the interface each stand alone and can be moved, resized and used independently. Four are shown in the screenshot above. There are trade-offs with this arrangement. Users get to size up the Image Canvas to full screen if they like and control the sizing of other important dialogs as well. The downside is that users have to manage 3 or more program windows. Since GIMP does not have a set of Workspace commands that allow a user to save a specific layout and sizing of dialogs as a named workspace, they have to spend time setting up their workspace each time they start up GIMP or change into a new work mode (say brush work to layering and composition). But within the dialogs, GIMP has features like drag and drop adding dialogs to a panel with icon tab creation, drag and drop resizing, and auto expansion or collapsing of dialog elements that I suspect may have influenced Adobe. In sum, the GIMP GUI is like the program itself - remarkably complete and robust.

    <img src="" border="0" />

    Photoshop Extended's GUI interface is also MDI but with two crucial differences. First, when a dialog like Layers or Histogram is opened it is anchored to the lefthand side of the

    Groups Panel. So when you move the whole program, the dialog (and toolbox as well) move with program. However, by pulling a dialog free of the right hand anchor line, then it becomes a completely independent dialog box, just like in GIMP - resizable, movable and collapsible to just a tab-bar. Second, Photoshop does support workspaces so you can name and save a specific layout of dialogs that you use all the time for certain types of photo editing - say retouching. So Photoshop is two steps ahead of GIMP in terms of GUI convenience. However, Photoshop gives some of that advantage back in its dialogs by not having a Reset button(start with all settings at default again) nor a consistent use of Load/Save Options associated with each filter and adjustment dialog.

    In sum, this comparison of GIMP and Photoshop is much like the GUI interfaces. There are a common set of basic functions, but then programs differ broadly in how they add specific functionality. As we shall see - some of those differences are pretty broad.

    File Menu and Commands

    The file commands are all about importing and exporting images and managing how the overall program is configured and set to work for you. 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.

    In addition, GIMP has specialty commands such as Keyboard Shortcuts, Dialogs, and Units. The latter two support instant opening of all GIMP's dialogs and setting the GIMP units of measure. But clearly GIMP does not support the range of devices that Photoshop can import from including 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 we have not yet considered the Photoshop Printing options and the Automate and Scripts commands. Now some of the Automate options such as Batch or PDF Presentations have GIMP counterparts; but these GIMP dialogs are not nearly as powerful as Photoshop's. 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.

    But the bottom line is that the infrastructure the Photoshop supports through its file commands gives users many more options and choices than GIMP. The really important difference being the new animation, video, and camera raw support in Photoshop Extended (the first 2 are not standard Photoshop features). GIMP compares reasonably well to Adobe Photoshop Elements and Corel Paintshop Pro but is no match here for Photoshop.

    <font color=blue>My Option Will Be Gimp And Always Stay Gimp!</font>

  • Python-fu, Perl-fu, there's probably a couple more fu's.

    Actually the only thing Photoshop is better at is brushes, and perhaps layer effects.

    Anyway GEGL is coming, ok already implemented, and should make for some interesting changes.

  • Who Know's

  • I hate Gimp.

    Feels like i'm back using paintbrush on windows 3.1.

    Photoshop is the only software worth using.

  • I like my gimp 2 its very cool!

  • I don't mind photoshop, but dislike how bloated it (and most adobe software) is. As for Gimp, I didn't like interface, so I just use Paint.Net instead.

    With some of the freely available plugins, Paint.Net is almost par with Photoshop =]

  • Photoshop is good if you can pay for it, or if you dont mind pirating. So yeah we gotta use Gimp/P.Net no matter how good Photoshop is. Personally, i use Paint.NET, it has a clean interface and once you get used to the hotkeys, its a breeze. I might get hated on by saying this, but GIMP interface really scared me at first, i don't like floating windows everywhere, so i uninstalled it right away. I even downloaded some plugin that promised to keep all the windows together somehow, but it was still scary.

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  • Gimp is pretty scary indeed.

    And as any software, once you dived into it and got used to working with it, it is a blast. It takes time (but I remark a certain pattern that games I play and software I use have generaly large learning curve (there's much to learn, and every day brings it's pack of novelties or new way of arriving to "make things")

    As long as you are at ease with your soft, whatever it is, and get to make art that you are satisfied with, then you have the correct tool for you.

    I've tried for a few hours, and finaly got back to gimp (matter of habits and workflow), but I'd recommand it for beginners and non-geeky people.

    It is more user-friendly (and loaded of "useless"/precise features like gimp or PS) and yet can allow to render nice art. So I guess it is a nice tool to start with.

    And nothing provides you from "upgrading" to one of the other two mastodons once you feel the need for it.

  • pain.Net is just a bowl of ****

  • pain.Net is just a bowl of ****

  • i tryed both and i loved gimp because of advanced feature,free plugins,ease,interface...

  • Gimp takes getting used to, but is a great tool. I use it mostly to make pixel art though, so I don't use most of the features.

  • i tryed both and i loved gimp because of advanced feature,free plugins,ease,interface...

    Like he said. Gimp Is free software unlike Photoshop.

    Paint.NET is also free, IL never use paint.NET software

  • Eh, I prefer Paint.Net. Photoshop is bloated as hell, and GIMP's interface is atrocious.

  • I too prefer Paint.Net, it's easy to use and sufficient for my needs. I tried GIMP too, but couldn't figure out a thing and the floating windows just confused me more. Removed it after sometime, a bit too complicated in my opinion.

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