Handy Tweaks To Make GIMP Replace Photoshop


GIMP1 is the favorite graphics editing program of many designers and graphic artists. It is free and compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux (the two big reasons for its popularity). It has a wide array of features, as well as plug-ins, filters and brushes. Documentation is primarily available in online communities, as well as through extensive add-ons.

GIMP screenshot

GIMP was never designed to replace Photoshop, yet with every release, it comes a little closer to being able to do so. It can be used to author graphics, create logos and edit photos, as well as make short animations (using GAP). Despite these features, the open-source app is a foreign world for many users switching from Photoshop. Familiar tools are missing, menus are laid out differently and tasks must be accomplished in unknown ways.

In this article, we list eight tweaks to make GIMP a more serious Photoshop replacement option. Version 2.6 was used to test the following tweaks, but past versions of the app should work as well.

Installing Plug-Ins, Brushes and Filters

Before continuing, you need to know how to install add-ons. It’s very simple to do, and takes little time. You’ll find three different folders in the application’s program folder. The location of the application folder depends on the operating system you use:

  • Windows: the folder is located in C:/Programs/GIMP.
  • Mac: right-click and choose the application folder.
  • Linux: press Ctrl+H in the Home folder to reveal the hidden .gimp folder.

GIMP screenshot

To install a brush or plug-in, copy and paste it into the appropriate folder and restart GIMP.

1. Add the PSPI Plug-In

The PSPI plug-in allows GIMP to use Photoshop plug-ins. This increases the number of filters available to GIMP and allows Photoshop users to not have to sacrifice their library. If an equivalent GIMP plug-in can’t be found, assembling a kit of Photoshop filters is an potential option.

GIMP screenshot

To start, download the PSPI plug-in from Gimp.org2

In the program folder, copy and paste the entire contents of the PSPI plug-in download into the Plug-ins folder. If you’re running Linux, make sure you copy both the PSPI plug-in and the PSPI.exe, or it will not work.

Restart GIMP and open the Filters menu. At the bottom, you will see a new entry: “Photopshop Filters Plug-In Settings.” Select that to open the Photoshop dialog box, and point it to the folder where your Photoshop plug-ins are located. Add all future Photoshop plug-ins to that folder.

2. Install Layer Styles

Layer Styles are a beloved feature of many Photoshop users, and living without them can be a difficult adjustment. Layer Styles are called Layer Effects in GIMP and include: Drop Shadow, Inner Glow, Outer Glow, Gradient Overlay, Stroke, Bevel and Emboss, etc. These can be used to quickly apply effects to your layer(s) without having to jump through hoops.

GIMP screenshot

Download the Layer Effects GIMP plug-in from Gimp.org3. There are two versions: Script-Fu and Python. The Python version allows for live previews of the effects; the Script-Fu version does not. No matter which version you choose, save the plug-in in GIMP’s Plug-in folder and restart the program.

If you download the Python version, Layer Effects will be added under Image > Layer > Layer Effects. The Script-Fu version will be listed under Script-Fu > Layer Effects.

3. Add CMYK Color Separation

CMYK stands for cyan, magenta, yellow, key (black). In the context of photo editors and graphics programs, it is a subtractive color model that is different from the commonly used, additive RGB color model. In simplified terms, RGB colors work by becoming lighter with the addition of white, while CMYK colors subtract the white by overlaying colors, eventually resulting in black; that black isn’t as deep as it should be for printing, so black is added to the CMYK mix.

Many users complain about GIMP’s lack of CMYK support. For many designers and photographers, images have to be converted to CMYK colors for high-quality prints. If you require CMYK separation, download the plug-in Separate+ from Yellowmagic4. Save the ZIP file, extract the plug-in to the GIMP plug-in folder, then restart the program.

GIMP screenshot

The new feature will be located in the Image menu.

4. Install Liquid Rescale

Liquid Rescale is a favorite of many users and created quite a buzz when first introduced into Photoshop. Liquid Rescale makes it possible to alter an image’s dimensions from, for example, 16:9 to 4:3 without distortion by eliminating unnecessary pixels in certain areas. This process, known most commonly as seam carving, allows you to resize a narrow photo to widescreen format without stretching the content into a morphed, twisted mess.

To add the Liquid Rescale feature to GIMP, download the plug-in from Wikidot5 and copy it into the GIMP Plug-In folder. Restart the program.

GIMP screenshot

5. Add Essential Brushes

GIMP comes with far too few brushes; and the ones that are there are small, basic and not all useful. If you’re planning to author graphics, you’ll need a new library of brushes to accomplish anything. Installing brushes in GIMP is as simple as copying the brush file into the Brush folder and restarting GIMP.

Brushes can be downloaded from numerous locations, depending on what you’re looking for. That said, an excellent repository of free brushes of all types — including grunge, fire, splatter, stone and more — is at Blendfu6.

GIMP screenshot

If you add the largest brushes available, you can scale the features in GIMP to reduce their size, allowing for high-resolution graphics.

6. Anchor Windows

If you were to ask Photoshop users their biggest dislike about GIMP, they would almost unanimously express a disdain for the loose docks and toolbars. The canvas, toolbar and layers, paths and brushes dock are all free-floating and scattered about the desktop. If you have a decent window manager, this is a benefit; for most users, it’s a hindrance.

If the loose docks in GIMP bother you, affix them to the main window by right-clicking on the dock or toolbar and selecting Always on Top. The toolbars will now stay above the main menu, and the application will work as if the docks were locked within the main window.

GIMP screenshot

If you still aren’t satisfied with the window system, two different versions of GIMP are available that have interfaces similar to Photoshop’s: GIMPshop and GimPhoto. GimPhoto has a slightly more appealing interface, but GIMPshop is based on a newer version of GIMP.

7. Install Animation Package

The GIMP Animation Package, known as GAP, allows users to create animations. The most common use of GAP is for animated GIFs and avatars; but it is sophisticated enough to make full-episode animations, surrealistic landscapes and realistic water motion.

GAP is not automatically included in GIMP. It can be downloaded from an ever-changing number of locations. Mac users can find a download and instructions at GAP-Systems.7 Windows users have dozens of mirrors to choose from, and a fresh Internet search will yield the best results. Finally, Linux users can download GAP by running a gimp-gap install in the terminal or, if you’re on Ubuntu, searching gimp-gap in the Synaptic packages.

GIMP screenshot

8. Enable GEGL

GEGL is a new feature found only in GIMP 2.6+. According to Gimp.org:

“Many highly requested features of the GIMP will be easier to do using GEGL. Layer effects, layer groups, and adjustment layers are quite easily represented (and efficiently calculated) using the DAG organization of GEGL. CMYK and high bit depth support will be easier because GEGL does not make the same assumptions about color spaces and data types that the GIMP does.”

It is not enabled by default. To activate the feature, simply navigate to Colors > Use GEGL and check the box next to it. Once it is activated, you can use the presets available at Tools > GEGL Operations. Approximately a dozen different presets can be applied to layers and images.

GIMP screenshot


These tweaks, plug-ins and add-ons push GIMP closer to its full potential. While it still wouldn’t replace Photoshop as the top graphics program, it will stand a step higher and provide features that would otherwise be missing.

In addition to the add-ons above, a great deal more can be added to customize GIMP to your own personal needs, including HDR plug-ins, photo cleaners, scrapbook borders and animation effects for GAP. New features are added to the GIMP registry8 everyday. In addition, if you can’t find a plug-in to meet your needs, you can write your own plug-in script.9

For further resources, check out these links:



  1. 1 http://www.gimp.org/
  2. 2 http://www.gimp.org/~tml/gimp/win32/pspi.html
  3. 3 http://registry.gimp.org/node/186
  4. 4 http://cue.yellowmagic.info/softwares/separate.html
  5. 5 http://liquidrescale.wikidot.com/
  6. 6 http://www.blendfu.com/
  7. 7 http://www.gap-system.org/Download/index.html
  8. 8 http://registry.gimp.org/
  9. 9 http://developer.gimp.org/writing-a-plug-in/1/index.html
  10. 10 http://www.noupe.com/gimp-brushes/1000-free-high-resolution-gimp-brushes.html
  11. 11 http://www.noupe.com/gimp/30-exceptional-gimp-tutorials-and-resources.html
  12. 12 http://www.gimp-tutorials.net/
  13. 13 http://www.techzilo.com/gimp-plugins/
  14. 14 http://www.techzilo.com/gimp-plugins/2/
  15. 15 http://manual.gimp.org/

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  1. 1

    The pros are already using Photoshop. For the rest of us, GIMP does some great things to improve our photos and create nice looking graphics. There’s a learning curve, to be sure, but it’s will worth the effort.

  2. 52

    The part about the windows folder is wrong. You actually are going to want to put all the plug-ins (etc.) that you download into the C:/Users/%username%/.gimp-2.6/ folders. That way you keep your downloaded ones separate from the ones that come preinstalled. :)

    As far as replacing PS goes, I doubt it. It’s an excellent alternative if you can’t afford PS and want to do some graphic work, or can’t justify buying PS for what you want to do, but it doesn’t have near all the features PS does.

  3. 103

    GIMP’s problem is not functionality, but the sodding user interface. Most of the stuff mentioned in the article is fluff, and even with hacks to get the panels to behave you still don’t end up with a usable program.

    Being a big proponent of free software, GIMP has been a sore spot for ages. It’s always being touted as being able to replace Photoshop, and it certainly looks it – unless you try to do something with it. And by this I mean “work with it”. Not draw a demo gradient.

    It doesn’t matter if PS is an “actual” or a “de facto” standard – no graphics package stands a proper chance of being adopted by those people you need for even the faintest idea of a critical mass if it denies Photoshop’s reign (and, therefore, eternal legacy).

    The sad thing is that these things shouldn’t be hard to fix – it’s all in keyboard shortcuts and the like, all interface. We all know the engine itself is primo, but deviating from sensible ways of doing sth (read: do it like Photoshop because everyone knows it*) is stupid and makes people specialize in irrelevant niche silos.

    The problem is that there is no consistency with Photoshop – like it or not, PS is the gold standard everything is necessarily measured against. Not for the functionality, but for the flow.

    GIMP’s existence makes it so much harder for the open source community to come up with a feasible free imaging solution because folks always point to GIMP and say, “but there is a free photoshop”.

    GIMP needs to die for open source imaging to prosper.
    This shit has been going on for far too long.

    * One might argue that “well, we like to do it our own way blah blah” – that’s fine, but counterproductive to what we call “reality” – don’t make the mistake thinking GIMP is to Photoshop as vi is to TextMate. vi can be the freak choice till the cows come home and it’s just fine, because you’re dealing with text. Not being able to work with the industry standard (Photoshop and PSDs) is a hindrance, not a neat personal preference gimmick.

    • 154

      You’re spot on. I am starting in the web business as freelancer and I have zero money to buy PS (and in my country they sell it WAY more expensive, almost impossible to buy if you’re not a company). I downloaded an illegal PS and worked with it for months… until I realized I just can’t use illegal software to work with serious clients, so I just switched to open source alternatives: Ubuntu, OpenOffice and… GIMP.

      Man, what a horrible unusable piece of software GIMP is. Sorry fanboys, but is the truth. The GUI is just horrible, the gradient system is slow and painful, no layer grouping??? WTF?? you just end with a bunch of messy layers with no order whatsoever, to apply effects (drop shadow) you must duplicate the layer…. it just can’t compete with PS, at least in usability and ease of use.

      For so many years there have been a lot of people complaining about GIMP for a lot of things, it has the potential to become a real PS alternative, but as it is now is just a waste of time. Maybe if some team organize themselves and create the GIMP 3 solving all of these problems, I bet PS will have then a real competitor and, as we all know competition is good.

      I know currently there’s a team for “GIMP UI redesign project” (http://gui.gimp.org/index.php/GIMP_UI_Redesign#team) but IDK what are they doing, I hope they bring us something really useful soon…

      • 205

        I reply to myself: I just read the features of the upcoming GIMP 2.8 and they are finally including layer groups, layer locking, resources tagging and a lot more cool features… hope to see a release soon.

        Keep the hard work GIMP team!!! We need a respectable and usable software! Save the GIMP from the limbo where it resides now!!!

        • 256

          Perhaps you misunderstand the difficulty of reproducing the features of a pricey, complex commercial application totally for free. If you’re so enthusiastic, learn how to program and contribute yourself. “No layer grouping??? WTF???” Perhaps you’re in the wrong career field. I think diplomacy may be your true calling. I know I find myself that crying and screaming and throwing a tantrum when someone’s gift is not EXACTLY what you wanted to be incredibly effective. Granted, I’m two and a half years old and a member of a royal family, but it’s worked for me.

  4. 307

    I wish there was a good alternative to Adobe Fireworks – As a software developer and not a graphic designer, I find Fireworks more in-line with what I need from a graphics tool.

    If anyone knows of a good Fireworks alternative for the Mac, I would love to hear about it…

  5. 358

    GIMP is indeed worthy and good tool for personal use and for amateurs, but if you are professional, then the money for photoshop is worth it.
    People, who complain about the price, have and never will buy it, because they dont make living by using adobe products. If you would, then you would understand, thats the price is just fine.

  6. 409

    This sites is great. You guys rock… I’m an RSS subscriber from Spain and this is one of my favorite sites. I love it.

    Maybe you guys can make a little tutorial about how to use GIMP. I mean, a little tutorial on the most common uses, like how to apply shadows or make some banners.

    Anyway, greetings from the Canary Islands :-)

  7. 460

    Does this version of GIMP has the feature to export using MATTE ? The ones I used didn’t have this so I had to quit this program.

  8. 511

    Uh, what good is the CMYK color space without CIE LAB and color management? The GIMP is a #FAIL for print design unless you just don’t happen to care what colors your design turn out to be on press.

  9. 562

    Make sure to check out interhuss.com/gimp-brushes for Gimp Brushes. And some other Gimp resources.

  10. 613

    Not An Adobe Employee

    April 3, 2009 10:21 am

    GIMP is terrible. You should never use GIMP. Photoshop is much better.

  11. 715

    Definitely not an employee of Adobe

    April 3, 2009 10:22 am

    Don’t use the GIMP, it’s terrible. Use Photoshop instead.

  12. 766

    Leonardo B. Lopes

    April 3, 2009 10:32 am

    I was really happy to know I could have an alternative way to make my graphics.
    So, I gave GIMP a shot.

    Well, I think I’ll keep Photoshop… Why?

    First of all: using photoshop plugins with PSPI made GIMP crash… I followed several support measures, and still no success.

    Second: GEGL Operations made GIMP crash. I found NO measures for this problem.

    Third: I downloaded Script-fu by mistake, because I wanted layer effects preview and It doesn’t have any. THEN, I tried the one with the preview, Python, which, ODDLY, didn’t work. Also, NO sollutions.

    Is that my Windows XP 32 SP3? If it is, I’ll wait till GIMP starts working on this. I am really sad that it didn’t work well, because I really liked the “pen speed” effects, something my PS CS3 doenst have.

    I’ll stay with the group that alledges “too many bugs”. Yes, that’s far too many bugs for my first one hour usage.

  13. 817


    April 3, 2009 10:32 am

    gee, so there are STILL people trying to win over those of us who use photoshop to using the gimp? let me give you a HUGE clue: IT’S NOT GONNA HAPPEN! why? because no matter WHAT is done to the gimp, it’s not gonna replace photoshop, and it’s not gonna be the graphic design standard. it’s just not. let’s move on with our life now, and stop with trying to convince everyone that the gimp rocks, when it’s not even REMOTELY close to rocking.

  14. 868

    Blending options, even hacked together blending options, will be appreciated.
    My biggest issue with the gimp is how limited the typography menu is. Does anyone know of any plugins to add control in that area?

  15. 919

    Do any of you people make a living where using a photo manipulation program on a daily basis are concerned?

    I am a professional photographer and have only used The GIMP the past 9+ years for my photo editing and for all of my collages, posters, and composites. (Inkscape used for the logos). None of my clients have complained about a photo or product they have received from me, never. Not for color, not for quality, and not for design, must not be too bad of a program :)

    BTW, I’ve had several PS users contact me to find out how I did something, esp on the posters, collages, and composites. Turns out a lot of it was with a simple built-in filter in The GIMP, but required either 3-4 steps or you had to pay for a plug-in for PS to do the same thing.

  16. 970

    Man, how handy is the animation hint! I have spend a whole days trying to make an animated banner in GIMP.. hope this plugin helps me.

  17. 1021

    totally agree with Daemon

  18. 1072

    No CMYK adjustment support means this program isn’t for designers or production artists. If I ask you to supply me with an image that has the yellow drop off at 2%, you will have a very hard time doing that with the GIMP. So it’s ok for web stuff, but not for real work.

  19. 1123

    I agree with what people have written earlier, the problem with Gimp is not the engine or the features, it is the bad UX.

    I will def. give it a try after reading this article. If it can do masking like PS, it is worth a star or two.

    @brian Being the only designer (and Adobe user) in a large open source company, I am really interested in seeing your work or even tutorials. You should publish your work link somewhere.

  20. 1174

    You may call me blasphemous but they should rename gimp to something more professional and appealing to the masses and also change that stupid logo.

    Just some disposable constructive criticism.

  21. 1225

    I love open source and run Linux exclusively at home and the office, but I have to agree with ak. GIMP’s interface really blows, and it doesn’t even come close to Photoshop in terms of workflow. We’re not talking features here, we’re talking about workflow. This is the same reason Blender will lag behind Maya/Max/XSI, no matter how many features are added under the hood. And unfortunately, I understand that the Gimp developers are pretty happy with Gimp’s workflow and are not motivated to change it.

    Gimp does stand in the way of progress for imaging tools on Open Source platforms. Hopefully someday there will be another contender whose developers are as concerned with workflow and easy of use as they are with features.

    Great article though… thanks for the info, if only to keep tracking where Gimp’s current stage of development is.

  22. 1276

    I’d like to suggest one (minor) tweak to GIMP:

    Stop making me feel like an idiot whenever I mention it to a layperson. If I was to realistically make a push within my organization to replace our mutltitude of Photoshop licenses with GIMP, that effort will require a certain amount of communication with the bosses and beancounters. I’m busy, I don’t want to bother explaining the name over and over.

  23. 1327
  24. 1378

    Yes, PS is still more powerfull, but Gimp is a 17 Mb program, VS more than 400Mb of PS, GIMP is Free and is not so far to the professionals nedds

  25. 1429

    Great article! I’ve used Photoshop for probably 10 years, the GiMP for about 5 years (in Linux and Windows). GiMP gets better all the time, but the lack of CMYK support has always been a major drawback for doing production work other than on the Web. I’m looking forward to trying that Separate+ plugin.

    Some people have trouble with the name GiMP. I feel your pain. Imagine me, working with people who have disabilities and talking about this program. I’ve had to backpedal quickly a few times to explain.

    If you apply yourself to learning it well, the GiMP can indeed be an acceptable substitute for Photoshop. Those who say it isn’t can afford to say so, because they can afford to pay (or have someone else pay) for a program that had better be good if you’re going to charge several hundred US dollars for it. What they may forget is that many people in the world have great talent and not much money, and for that reason the GiMP is already a serious contender for those who may never be able to afford Photoshop. In between, Paint Shop Pro is a cheaper but excellent option — and there are others (Polyview, Irfanview) that are amazingly good for a lot of simple tasks. In some ways, because they’re small and fast, they’re even better than Photoshop.

    Photoshop is a Very Big Gun. For the times I don’t need things like the Healing Brush (which nobody else does as well as Adobe), I’m perfectly happy to keep working in Linux and open up The GiMP. Yes, the user interface problems are a factor, but they don’t slow me down much now that I’m familiar with the way it works.

    I’m grateful for the tips. Keep ’em coming!

  26. 1480

    My software is all legal. I don’t have Photoshop because it’s too expensive and I’m not a professional. GIMP works for me, I’ve spent some time learning an ancient version of Paint Shop Pro and had no particular difficulties switching to PS (version 6 I believe it was) and my updated modest skills were then transferable to GIMP too.

    Use PS or another commercial program if you have a need and means, don’t slack off GIMP if you’re not using it and don’t pay for a commercial program you’re using. Especially not if you lack the skills to be worthy a serious graphics manipulation program.

    GIMP satisfies me in that it’s still more powerful than I have the ability to unleash, GIMP dissatisfies in its user interface. As far as I’m concerned the developers drop GTK altogether.

  27. 1531

    Everyone now and then I enthusiastically install GIMP … only to uninstall it shortly after. Surely someone can helpthat project become a serious contender to photoshop. At least for me … it’s brain damage.

  28. 1582

    Great review! Though I think people are missing the point. This is simply an alternative for those who can’t afford photoshop. It is a good find for those who just want to do simple editing or digital coloring. I got into art programs at a young age and even stuff like Painter4 was ” too expensive” for my family to want to purchase. I feel bad for the kid (or adult) that wants to learn photoshop but has limited options and funds. This is a wonderful middle ground.

    I probably would not use it for professional use since I do own a copy of photoshop, but I wouldn’t turn a blind eye to it either. Having knowledge of all graphic editing programs is a good way to be.

  29. 1633

    GiMP looks great for freeware, but I find a hang up with the CMYK usage for print. Don’t get me wrong, I think that this is great for people to get a feel for graphic manipulation, and if you can make a living with it great. However, I think I’m going to stick with PS for a while, it’s user friendly off the jump, and most software (that’s not freeware) is expensive. You want quality you pay for quality.

  30. 1684

    #9: get photo effing shop!
    Simply put, gIMP is, well, gimpy! nuff sed!

  31. 1735

    I’m sorry if I don’t get this (I’m a beginner) but can we use photoshop and illustrator brushes using that plug-in? If so, how? I see awesome ps & illustrator brushes that I REALLY want to use but I can’t buy ps :(

  32. 1786

    Gimp is just as good if not better than photoshop. web designers need to stop being such elitist and realize there are plenty of great free open-source alternatives. Especially ppl from the Mac camp, you folks seem to think unless its overpriced and comes in a fancy package its not “professional” what a load of sh*t.

  33. 1837

    It’s just funny that you used Debian to make the screenshots whereas the title is Handy Tweaks To Make GIMP Replace Photoshop. Don’t you know that Photoshop doesn’t run under Linux?

    I have to approve lalalawl’s opinion: GIMP has not a trickle of the usability that Photoshop has got. There’s potential but they don’t make sth. out of it!

  34. 1888

    Gimp is beyond awkward to use, with terrible usability. Can’t believe you took the time to write up these inconsequential (to its overall unusability) tweaks.

  35. 1939

    Great post.

    You addressed many (all?) of the reasons I stopped using GIMP a version or four back — and possibly the only reason I remain tied to Windows/Vista.

  36. 1990

    Beyond the lack of cmyk support the biggest disadvantage of the Gimp is text-editing, its way too difficult. However the Gimp’s antialiasing can be better then photoshop for web designers.

    I personally think, many of the professionals are trained “conditioned” from school to use adobe products. Its a good tactics that adobe sells its products to schools/students for free or much cheaper, and when youre out and would make a living of it, they ask $1000 for a software.

    And its like a drug, hard to change your habbits, and start to use Gimp.

    I think, the Gimp would help itself by building more a photoshop-like user interface, not because thats the best, but because then it would be easier to switch, even for pros.

    On the other hand i understand that as Gimp is not a commercial product, theres not much intention to fight for clients.

  37. 2041

    Some random thoughts of my own.

    Some years ago I made a decision to solely use Gimp instead of Photoshop, partially because Windows became uninteresting and inefficient for my computing. I’m not a professional even though I at times do serious layout works for some of our clients, logos and brochures. My decision also became an interesting experiment, because when I recently tried to use Photoshop, actually the very same version, I became frustrated when I couldn’t remember the routines I’ve been used to. I actually transferred the photos/pictures to my Linux working station and got it done in Gimp. This doesn’t mean Gimp is better, it only illustrates the importance of habits. Standards are many times not very well designed but it’s a question of being used to them and hence they stick with us.

    Some use the phrase “serious work” as distinguishing mark between the two. My comment to that is that you really have to be a professional, not just in photo, but also with deep knowledge of the software, and equipped with hardware, like screens and printers, capable of reproducing exactly what your calibrations are supposed to accomplish. This makes the whole idea about “serious work” irrelevant for most. “Serious work” was in one comment also used to degrade the seriousness of Webb design, but when doing so remember that the result in most cases will be read and looked at by people using screens so off a true colour experience that even half-blind photographers would puke. Thus the 1 or 2 % adjustments become irrelevant besides producing a overall well balanced and other parts of editing more important. Does that make such work less “serious”? I don’t think so. I suspect it’s more a question of superficially pumped up egos than an objective analysis.

    Photoshop is faster and its engine makes far better use of GPU resources than Gimp. Without speculating about whether this might change few are working with such a load of data, and if they do they do well in checking their hardware capabilities before looking into the software part of the question. The total cost that would justify Photoshop is higher than the price for the software by itself. If your printer can’t reproduce exactly what you achieve in Photoshop it becomes nothing more than a imaginable superiority.

    The Photoshop line of products represent software of excellent quality, and for some this might be the only valid choice at the moment. I’ve no argument about that. I do though believe we see too many vague arguments, and unfortunately at times unfounded. My own experience with Gimp’s GUI might of course differ from how a Windows user experience it, even more so when I’m using a tiling window manager with a more predominant keyboard usage.

  38. 2092

    I do all my artwork in gimp and other open-source software, (http://griatch-art.deviantart.com/) and I find that It does what I need it to do. I never understood why people found it hard to use, one obviously has to learn the interface, but ever since version 2.0 or so (before that I agree it was no fun), it is quite intuitive to use, not to mention that you can customize in very powerful ways to match your workflow.

    Anyway, thanks for an interesting article. You should probably mention that GIMP animates just fine (flipbook-style) also without GAP. The Gimp Animation Package is needed for more advanced animation features like fades, movements along paths and so on.

    GEGL is more important than really comes across — it is the next-generation gfx-core for gimp, and will really do much for the program (also compared to PS, if one wants to do that comparison). It is not really a selling point at this moment in time though, there is a reason it is not activated by default yet, its power will come into play in future versions and many of its functions seem still a bit unstable in current gimp.

  39. 2143

    GIMP will never work in conjection with other Adobe products as Photoshop does.
    Photoshop is not expensive, expecially if you’re a student.
    It’a all down to what you want to pay, and if you think it’s worth it.

  40. 2194

    can GIMP be adapted to Fireworks CS3 or CS4?

  41. 2245


    Can you create Groups of Layers (folders where you put several layers in) in Gimp … didnt find the option …. thank you ?

  42. 2296

    Gimp and Inkscape rulez! More about them pls! And thanx for this article!

    “GimPhoto has a slightly more appealing interface, but GIMPshop is based on a newer version of GIMP”
    If i know well the GimpShop wasn’t updated since 2006. The GimPhoto is based on newer version of Gimp (v2.6.4). Or if i’m wrong where i can download the newest GimpShop?

    regards, zoli

  43. 2347

    There’s already a program called GIMP-Shop that does a lot of reconfiguring to make the menus organized in a similar way to photoshop. Although I don’t know if it has been done for the latest version. I’m a huge fan of GIMP, mostly because I don’t have a lot of $$ to spend on software.

  44. 2398

    Why would you need to install a plugin to do separations? CYMK and multitone (duotone) can be easily achieved using the built in decomposition. If you are using colored paper you can allow decomposition to consider that as the base color for a duotone or monotone separation.

    There is a separate filter to create simulations of halftone screen patterns which allows for a thorough check of potential lpi limitations and moire patterns produced by bad scans interacting with the screen pattern.

  45. 2449

    I use GIMP because it’s what exists, but think I might want to mention a deficiency of GIMP that seldom is mentioned, I guess because few people are serious font collectors.

    GIMP uses fontconfig in an entirely inappropriate way for the task at hand, and as a result it can’t find many fonts, instead thinking they are entirely different fonts. It’s disgracefully bad behavior; no program whose user has a specific font in mind (rather than some randomly selected font meeting minimum language/script/style requirements), should use fontconfig’s pattern matcher.

    Fontconfig is good at getting a list of installed fonts and can be used for that, as an alternative to kpathsearch. But no way should programs like GIMP, Inkscape, etc., be using the pattern matcher.

    I don’t know how this could have happened unless no important developers of these programs actually have a serious font collection. Obviously, this is not a problem from which Adobe suffers, because fonts are at the core of Adobe’s existence, and they are suppliers of a number of the font families that GIMP mishandles.

  46. 2500


    April 4, 2009 12:17 pm

    “i use gimp because it’s what exists”? what the hell does that mean? photoshop exists as well, and it stomps the gimp’s ass into the ground. i TOTALLY agree with whoever posted on here that they SERIOUSLY need to change the name and logo of the program if they even want to consider taking on photoshop. how professional would it really be to tell your boss that you’re gonna use an open-source program that doesn’t have cmyk print capabilities, isn’t the industry standard in graphic design, and is an overall weak program to create the designs he wants you to create? mull that one over for awhile. i know the gimp is free, but it’s also EXTREMELY weak when compared to photoshop. photoshop isn’t just an image editing program, but can be used to create just about every form of graphic design out there, from web pages to logos, and it comes with imageready, which is a GREAT program for slicing up the web page layout created in photoshop, as well as creating animated gifs. it can also code web pages automatically. can the gimp do ANY of those things? i think not.

  47. 2551

    you probably forgot to mention one of the most important gimp sites on the net. gimpusers.com has the most professional tutorials and is very good at news…

    thanks for the article – has been informative to me

  48. 2602

    great article, we want more open source articles here!
    don’t blame it for missing features or bugs, it’s free like in free beer and free speech.
    german readers check out a small tutorial for creating great png’s for typo3:
    Link I like the gimp and use it in everyday webdesign purposes. gimp can do better compression (jpg/png) than Adobe PS or FW can do.
    @graphicartist2k5: i do my animated gifs in gimp, and yes:u are right: it cannot do xhtml-code ;-)

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  50. 2704

    Great post. Haven’t imagined GIMP related topic to be posted here. Here’s a great review though to those who want to try out GIMP, Suite freedom: A review of GIMP 2.6.4 – Ars Technica.

    Thanks for this brave post.


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