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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. [Updated May/02/2017]


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.

Further Reading on SmashingMag: Link

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 Link

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. Go to Edit > Preferences > Folders to see all folders.


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

1. Add the PSPI Plug-In Link

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 a potential option.


To start, download the PSPI plug-in from

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: “Photoshop 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 Link

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.


Download the Layer Effects GIMP plug-in from Gimp.org5. 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 Layer > Layer Effects. The Script-Fu version will be listed under Script-Fu > Layer Effects.

3. Add CMYK Color Separation Link

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 Yellowmagic6. Save the ZIP file, extract the plug-in to the GIMP plug-in folder, then restart the program.


The new feature will be located in the Image menu.

4. Install Liquid Rescale Link

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 Wikidot7 and copy it into the GIMP Plug-In folder. Restart the program.

5. Add Essential Brushes Link

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 DeviantArt8.


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 Link

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, go to Windows > Single-Window Mode.


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 Link

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.9 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.

8. Enable GEGL Link

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

“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.”

You can use the presets available at Tools > GEGL Operations. Approximately a dozen different presets can be applied to layers and images.


Conclusion Link

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 registry10 everyday. In addition, if you can’t find a plug-in to meet your needs, you can write your own plug-in script.11

For further resources, check out these links:


Footnotes Link

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  1. 1

    Julian Exner(jex)

    April 3, 2009 1:50 am

    Gimp rocks!
    Photoshop is unreasonable expensive, i mean over 1000€ for software….?!

  2. 2

    I shuddered when I read the title. Literally shuddered. Gimp’s back-end is amazing. Gimp’s front-end makes that fact entirely irrelevant, as it’s just so bad, IMHO. I’ll of course be trying all these tips, but I fear you’ve picked an impossible task in trying to make Gimp anything less than torture…

  3. 3

    Ill just stick to photoshop.

  4. 6


    April 3, 2009 2:26 am

    Perhaps not the first choice for print and press, but probably the best alternative for anything else.

  5. 7

    Photoshop is indeed very expensive, but also the most powerful.
    Most of the graphic/web designers and photographers use it.

  6. 8

    More GIMP, Inkscape and Blender articles, please. Thank you.

  7. 9

    Right… GIMP will never replace Photoshop… I prefer sticking to PS, thanks :)

    • 10

      you prolly also prefer to stick with windoze.
      bahh bahh little sheep.

      • 11

        Shawn Kearney

        August 27, 2010 8:27 pm

        you’re either 12, or the worst troll ever.

        • 12

          He’s not trolling. He’s pointing out that anyone who comes here just to say that Photoshop is the greatest is already trolling.

          And if you are going to respond to trolls, the best way is to treat them like the 12 year olds they are.

  8. 13

    If its free for all then you can’t say about any problems or blame it, until u contribute something in it.
    i have tried gimp for 2 months before i purchased ps. its good but not for professional purposes.
    you cant go back and forth easily. you have limits on file size, effects, vectors . layer styles are not actually layer connected .. but i think since its free for all, its worth always than having a pirated version .. for home use.. & for commercial usage . i will stick to photoshop !

  9. 14


    This is right and the reason why Adobe can dictate their price. There is no real competitor.

    You decide: Is this a good or a bad thing?

  10. 15

    If you need tutorials, visit (Link)
    You will find more than 600 tutorials. All tutorials are described with pictures : before and after
    GIMP’filters are also described with pictures and all the parameters.

  11. 16

    Yeah, adobe should sell their software cheaper.
    They know how to make money. They bought macromedia
    and are having more and more a monopoly in graphic software.
    Everybody knows it and everybody will buy it.
    When will they buy Quark?…

    Great to have an freeware alternative becoming better and better…

  12. 17

    I would not hire a designer if they were not proficient in CS3/4, but instead Gimp. Photoshop might be expensive, but depending how seriously one takes their career, I would say it’s worth every penny. There are ways to learn CS3/4 without buying it as well… just saying. But recreational use? Sure… if it works, it works.

    Can it save .PSD files? Most printers I work with request those. There’s something to be said for “industry standard”. I’m not being a PS snob (maybe a little)… I’m just saying be careful, especially to newer designers. Even if your talent and work kicks the butt of others, you may not be taken seriously if you claim GIMP as your main program.

  13. 19

    Yes. Please more about Gimp and Inkscape! Please!

  14. 20

    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.

  15. 21

    Not an employee of Adobe

    April 3, 2009 10:22 am

    GIMP sucks. Use Photoshop. It’s way better.

  16. 22

    this article is great. I would like to try it.

  17. 23

    Can’t find enough things about the gimp.

  18. 24

    You guys are too fast…. I just about to write a article on smiler motion… Anyway.. Nice article Blair… Nice writing.

    DKumar M.

  19. 25

    Makes wanna try GIMP. I haven’t used it but I think I’m curious and encouraged to try it… after reading this post :)

  20. 26

    Brave and great post!!

  21. 27

    Ionut Staicu

    April 3, 2009 2:31 am

    Ill just stick to photoshop.

    Same here :P

    Btw, GIMP have a huge problem: slices! You simply can’t do slices as easy you do it in PS/FW. And this is bad…

    • 28

      Slices have nothing to do with photoediting. If you want web design features, use a web program.

  22. 29

    I wonder whether there is any design related product / company that uses only GIMP as their tool. it will be fantastic to show up the world what GIMP can do. I’ve ever try GIMP but it is too slow for me even compared with Photoshop 7.0 in my PC. Any suggestion?

    • 30

      Yeah, Hollywood :)
      Hollywood use GIMP a lot in both the production of films (with a specially modified version of GIMP called CinePaint) and also in the creation of the film posters, etc.

      • 31

        Shawn Kearney

        August 27, 2010 8:24 pm

        “a lot” is kind of an exaggeration. furthermore the cinepaint you and I download is likely not the same cinepaint that they customized.

      • 32

        dude, Hollywood does NOT use Gimp at all! they use Cinepaint.
        I use CinePaint as well. It supports all the higher formats; 16bit, color profiles, and higher format Tiff files, that make Gimp crash if you were to try and open them. the only problem with CinePaint is that it can be buggy, and even harder to integrate/compile. – that’s why so many CinePaint developers have ended up working for Big Film studios.

        CinePaint, although initially based on Gimp (back in like 1998 or something), is a much different beast – it’s ideal only for photo-retouching and editing film – frame by frame using it’s Flipbook feature.
        Other than that, it is very lite on features.

  23. 33

    Thanks for this. You have convinced me to try GIMP. While I’d love to get PS again after I lost my last disk I simply can’t afford it so this might do the trick in the meantime.

  24. 34

    I’ve found GIMP to be ok, but if you’re on a mac give Pixelmator a try. It’s beautiful to look at and very intuitive to use!

  25. 35


    April 3, 2009 3:02 am

    I love GIMP and I don’t want to spend so much money for Paintshop as I use it for personal purposes only. That simple! Thanks for the article.

  26. 36

    Marin Todorov

    April 3, 2009 3:22 am

    I’m an open source fan, and I used for years GIMP under Windows, Linux and Mac OSX. Unfortunately GIMP is nowhere near Photoshop’s ease of use and abilities. I’d rather use a software for 60 – 80 bucks which you can find for the mac, which at least is usable, even though still far from Photoshop’s great workflow.

  27. 37

    Nuno Amaral

    April 3, 2009 3:27 am

    Good Gimp

  28. 38

    Ahh, there some things in this post I’ve been dying to get in GIMP.
    What a great sum of stuff!

  29. 39

    Open source is good, but PS is worth the few extra $$. It also has very good integration with all other necessary Adobe products. I always recommend GIMP to my clients who want to mess around with graphics for fun, but for the professionals the Adobe suite is the way to go!

  30. 40

    If someone needs help with Gimp – then visit GimpTalk ( It’s a really good and friendly community. :)

    It also has very good tutorials, for example Beginning with GIMP — Starting Tutorial for new users.

  31. 41

    A topic I did not dare dream of being published here! Great. many thx.

    I am thinking on starting a small webdesign businuess aside from my regular job. As Adobe (which I use dailiy on my job) is too expensive for me this article comes more than handy.

    Now I can do my graphic work on my beloved Ubuntu Linux…


  32. 42

    Nice tips and tricks but Gimp still can’t replace Photoshop, it’s too weak. Of course, Gimp is a wonderful tool for beginners and hobby designers but it’s not a professional tool an Gimp annoys me very often with bugs, missing features and inconsistent UI.
    Some time ago I tried out the layer effects but they’re not equal to Photoshop’s layer effects because they create lots of new layers to simulate these effects which are not assigned to the layer itself like in Photoshop and since Gimp does not support layer groups this really sucks.
    Another quite annoying issue are the bad transformation tools that are absolutely unusable. It’s horrible to ever select a new tool for each unique type of transformation which pops up an useless window exactly over the object to transform.
    Don’t misunderstand me: I wished Gimp could be an alternative to Photoshop and from time to time I also use it but there have been so many bugs and not implemented features for years and they are not fixed yet. Far too many in my humble opinion.

  33. 43

    Excellent article, thanks!!!!

    @Ionut Staic: to make slices: draw some guides and export as slices (no difficult, ah?)

  34. 44

    I have been aware of GIMP for years but found it difficult to work with. I did just boot-up GIMP on my NetBook and it hasn’t changed much.

    Saying that though, my love for Linux Mint and Fedora are making me enjoy learning new and open source software. I am downloading now for Mac and will give it another try.

    I am very open to a Photoshop replacement!

    The world is evolving, the music industry was the first notable business model to fall and now the mainstream media is crumbling. I can see OpenSource gaining more and more ground in the near future.

  35. 45

    Thanks! :D

  36. 46

    Very interesting article. You have to try Gimp and to overcome the first impression of difficulty. I have seens demos of liquid rescale and I can’t wait to try it !

  37. 47

    Damn and I just switsched to PS. Loved Gimp though.

  38. 48

    Great stuff. I find that most people’s use of PS can be replaced just fine by Gimp or Picasa too.

    Here are easier links to install the 2 packages mentioned (first contains a whole bunch including liquid rescale) on Ubuntu:

  39. 49

    jens fleron

    April 3, 2009 4:51 am

    PSCS3 is the shit for a retoucher. But hey, I’ll have a looksie. no harm in that :)
    But the Adobe suite is just sweet. theres no comparison… sadly..

  40. 50

    Not even close to Photoshop. Personal opinion.

  41. 51


    April 3, 2009 5:00 am

    As a web programmer who often needs to whip up buttons, icons, play with photos etc., Photoshop is overkill and of course far to expensive to justify the outlay (no you cant just steal it if you are working for a respectable company). I personally find Gimp to be friendly and easy to use. Sometimes I can even open a PSD in Gimp and get better results out of it than I can in Photoshop.

    The split layout makes perfect sense with a desktop manager, a tool every professional computer user should become familiar with.

    I imagine that a significant amount of the hatred against the userability is simply people not familiar with it – people will pretty much spit acid at anything if it does not match what they are used to within 5 minutes – see the bitter hate piled on Linux, Mac or PC from those in opposing camps.

  42. 52

    I always end up using photoshop instead of gimp.
    As a free PS alternative it is very good. Newest version also supports layers – finally.

  43. 53

    Thanks very much for all those useful infos.

  44. 54

    What about the “save as for web” is there any replacement?

  45. 55

    GIMP has no Usability whatsoever. A waste of code.

  46. 56

    GIMP still doesn’t have the blending options does it?

  47. 57

    @centribumble totally agree.

  48. 58

    I’ll stick to photoshop. The OSX version looks like crap anyway.

  49. 59

    Gimp has no chance vs. Photoshop.

    I do not know why you all avoid the topic of illegal downloads of Photoshop. Adobe and Microsoft could easily code software that MUST be legal. But they don’t. The fact is, illegal software is positive for companies producing them when you use it for home use. That just means that you will get used to that software, and then once you are employed you will ask your boss to buy that software. When big software companies display usage percentage, they do not say % of legal. Microsoft says that 95% of computers are running Windows. That’s world domination, who cares how many are illegal.

    On a company/business level, legal software is a must. Company that uses Photoshop can make money to pay for it as well. As for the price of 1000€, yes it is expensive, but that is your MAIN WORKING TOOL. Can you imagine how much money does it take to equip a surgeon with quality tools and equipment? Policeman? Hell, even the cashier lady working in the local store has equipment worth more than 1000€ at her disposal.

    So for home use: Gimp is as free as is PS. That’s a duel Gimp cannot win. And on professional use: 1000€ is a small price to pay.

  50. 60

    Mathew Liles

    April 3, 2009 7:37 am

    Think I’ll stick with Photoshop.

    While I like the open source/free stuff I find that they are just not advanced enough or have the support to develop at the same rate.

  51. 61

    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.

  52. 62

    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.

  53. 63

    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.

    • 64

      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” ( but IDK what are they doing, I hope they bring us something really useful soon…

      • 65

        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!!!

        • 66

          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.

  54. 67

    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…

  55. 68


    April 3, 2009 9:51 am

    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 :-)

  56. 69

    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.

  57. 70

    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.

  58. 71

    Not An Adobe Employee

    April 3, 2009 10:21 am

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

  59. 73

    Definitely not an employee of Adobe

    April 3, 2009 10:22 am

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

  60. 74

    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.

  61. 75


    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.

  62. 76

    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?

  63. 77

    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.

  64. 78

    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.

  65. 79

    totally agree with Daemon

  66. 80

    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.

  67. 81

    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.

  68. 82

    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.

  69. 83

    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.

  70. 84

    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.

  71. 85
  72. 86

    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

  73. 87

    Jeff Seager

    April 3, 2009 1:05 pm

    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!

  74. 88

    Caesar Tjalbo

    April 3, 2009 1:22 pm

    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.

  75. 89

    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.

  76. 90

    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.

  77. 91

    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.

  78. 92

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

  79. 93

    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 :(

  80. 94

    Michael Grech

    April 3, 2009 3:47 pm

    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.

  81. 95

    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!

  82. 96

    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.

  83. 97

    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.

  84. 98

    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.

  85. 99

    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.

  86. 100

    I do all my artwork in gimp and other open-source software, ( 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.

  87. 101

    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.

  88. 102

    can GIMP be adapted to Fireworks CS3 or CS4?

  89. 103

    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 ;-)

  90. 104


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

  91. 105

    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

  92. 106

    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.

  93. 107

    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.

  94. 108

    Barry Schwartz

    April 4, 2009 11:53 am

    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.

  95. 109


    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.

  96. 110

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

    thanks for the article – has been informative to me

  97. 111


  98. 112

    Andrew Abogado

    April 5, 2009 7:37 am

    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.

  99. 113
  100. 114

    Ihr habt GiMPShop vergessen

  101. 115

    Klaye Morrison

    April 5, 2009 2:57 pm

    I’ll stick to Fireworks thanks :)

  102. 116

    Why are all you PS users crapping on the GIMP? It’s like a rich kid beating up a poor kid because he’s poor. Why do you PS people care? GIMP’s not ever going to compete, won’t ever steal market share. Why act threatened?

    Hell, I hate the GIMP, and I still don’t understand this compulsion of PS fans to beat it up at every turn.

  103. 117

    Photoshop spanks all over the gimp. If you consider the gimp to be a photoshop substitute it means you really aren’t utilising all PS’s features. As Lonut posted, yes photoshop has slices but which high level web developers us them? I thought they were for beginners who cut up basic designs into a grid because it was too challenging to have fluid layouts?

    • 118

      Photoshop is for people that don’t know what they’re doing and rely on automation. I do photo editing / compositing for a living and can tell you that the only real feature Photoshop has outside of the presets for professional use is its color handling and conversion. People are utterly lost without the layer styles and auto masking.

  104. 119

    Seems that lots of PS users who have a “definitely no” opinion about gimp have never opened it since much older versions :P. Gimp has layers for a loooong time, and is able to open most PSD files, and in the latest versions, can directly use PS brushes.

    Of course, it still lacks some features of PS, like grouping layers, or folders for brushes, but Gimp is younger than PS, and it’s UI has been much enhanced in version 2, and new enhancements will be made in next versions. There is a very interesting blog to follow the ideas submitted for next Gimp UI :

    And as an everyday user of Gimp, I’m unable to make the most simples things in Photoshop :P (for example, in Gimp, it’s very easy to save a transparency mask as a new picture, while in PS, we’ve spend hours to find how to do it (with a teammate who use PS everyday… ;-) )

  105. 120

    NEVER i say NEVER compare GIMP with Photoshop,

    and coming from smashing it’s a bit of disappointment.

  106. 121

    I have been using Photoshop for years, but about 2 years ago I switched to Gimp. At first it was hard to use for me but now I use only open source software to design websites and other graphic things. Now I am very familiar with it. You can’t compare them if you have been using one for years and another one for less than an hour.

  107. 122

    Thanks for this article! I am now downloading the layers effects plugin (the only psd tool I miss)

    Gimp!! m/

  108. 123

    Add these to “GimpShop” and we can call it a winner!

  109. 124

    Thanks for this article! Very interesting.

    One note, though. When I turn on “always on top” in X11 with Leopard, weird things happen. E.g., the menus appear behind the windows, which is extremely annoying and renders GIMP useless.

    Another annoying thing is that I always need to click in a window before I can actually work with it. E.g., click in tools palette, click again to choose brush tool, click in picture window, click again to draw with the brush tool etc. Would be cool if someone fixed that.

    On a slightly off-topic note… GIMP misses an easy tool to convert colour values from different colour spaces. That’s why I made a little utility called Color Converter. You can color-converter (shareware).

    Best regards,


  110. 125

    Sony Antony

    April 7, 2009 5:58 am

    How do you create Image Slices in Gimp?

  111. 126

    David Bradley

    April 7, 2009 8:56 am

    I’d held off reinstalling PS after a Windows rebuild and gave the Gimp a shot, aside from shortcuts being screwy it couldn’t handle the masks I had in the PSD file I wanted to play with. Needless to say, I’m now reinstalling PS…

  112. 127

    TX CHL Instructor

    April 7, 2009 10:38 am

    I have found GIMP to be very useful for the limited photo production that I use. One of the things that I do for my CHL students is provide passport photos to the specifications of the Texas DPS (they are a bit pickier than the passport office). I can take the photos of everyone in class (typically 32 in a class), and lay them out, knock out the background, and adjust the brightness and contrast for optimal appearance on my dye-sub printer, and have them all done in about 30 minutes, at a materials cost of roughly 25 cents per student (2 photos each).

    Some of the upgrades to GIMP have been a bit confusing, but lately, it’s gotten pretty good.

    The PS folks who so vehemently diss GIMP are basically snobs. Ok, PS is a good tool, and probably worth the money. GIMP is also a good tool, does everything I need in a photo processor, and the only cost is the time to download it. If you want to run around with your nose in the air, fine, but I will continue to use GIMP. Kinda reminds me of the folks that used to belittle me for playing my violin with a fiberglass bow, when I was playing better with my ‘cheap’ bow than they could with their expensive genuine pernambuco sticks. La-de-da.

    I was very glad to see Smashing do a GIMP article, and I hope to see more.

    BTW, the best tutorial for GIMP that I have found so far is “Grokking the GIMP” (google it). It’s based on a fairly old version, but the techniques still work.

  113. 128

    Impossible; Just a waste of time.

  114. 129

    Did you test any of this on a Mac? I have tried to implement some of the things you suggest, but I’ve run into plugins and scripts that are Windows/Linux only and menu options that don’t seem to exist in the X11 version. I guess the GIMP community is dominated by non-Mac OSX users.

  115. 130

    I use Photoshop & I disagree. Like someone above said, GIMP is nowhere near it. It doesn’t even have close to all the features PS has. On top of that, plugins are being made for Photoshop all the time.

  116. 131

    By “GIMP is the favorite graphics editing program of many designers and graphic artists.” you mean 50 or so right? Keep in mind you are saying “DESIGNERS” and “GRAPHICS ARTISTS”

  117. 132

    Linux needs competition in the graphics area. GIMP is very lacking.

  118. 133

    Corey Johnson

    April 8, 2009 5:38 pm

    So far from all the comments it seems this has become the common The GIMP vs. PS debate. Yes The GIMP can be difficult to navigate at first but you need to actually use it to know how to use it effectively (just like PS in my opinion). The GIMP is lacking in some features but they don’t exactly have the same amount of money at their disposal. We need to remember that The GIMP runs solely off of donations, it can’t be expected to replace PS unless you donate $700 every time you download The GIMP.

  119. 134

    It’s amazing to see the hatred for this program here. I feel the same as many of the users here, but I must say – theGIMP is an amazing undertaking for a development team that doesn’t get paid for it.

    I understand that theGIMP isn’t up to snuff when it comes to professional editing, but I also believe that most of this stems from one factor – it’s lack of true CMYK color spaces. theGIMP with CMYK support would be like Photoshop 7 was – relatively unpolished and rough by today’s standards, but it WORKS.

    Granted – it needs polish, but as a GIMP user, it does put out decent work. I’ve used it to generate the major bulk of my works on a few occasions and simply done the color seps and CMYK conversion in PS later and it performs admirably, provided you decide to learn to use the program.

  120. 135

    My rule is simple. I use Gimp because it is FREE and I do not want to use PIRATED version of Adobe software.

  121. 136

    10x for this article, it was helpful, but what about the text layers from .psd in GIMP, I can’t edit them, because they are rasterized and they are not text layers any more. Some suggestions to solving this problem?
    nice day

    • 137

      Sesa, in order to be able to re-edit your text, you need to save your files as a .xcf file. .xcf is GIMP’s native file. Saving things as psd’s does rasterize the text. Wish I could have seen this three years ago :D Hope this helps!

  122. 138

    What a stupid argument Photoshop vs. GIMP is.
    GIMP was never intended to be a Photoshop replacement. Publishing pros should use Photoshop and if I were in the biz, I would too. I think some paid a ton for Photoshop and then kind of regret it when GIMP does alot of what they paid a ton for, so they knock GIMP down.
    For cryin out loud, you won’t be arrested for using both. I use a film and digital camera equally. I use Digikam and GIMP as I refuse to get a illegal copy of Photoshop….both handle all my needs.

  123. 139

    I don’t get an option for “Always on Top” when I right-click a dock in GIMP (WinXP). All I get is Restore/Move/Size/Minimize/Maximize/Close. Is that a Linux only feature?

    Also, I installed in my plug-ins folder but when GIMP starts up it complains that it is unable to run plug-in “”. Why is that?

    You should also mention that the Use GEGL option has to be chosen every time you start-up GIMP. It doesn’t remember the setting, it seems.

  124. 140


    April 10, 2009 4:25 am

    For number 8, you don’t need to enable gegl to use the gegl tool. That checkbox makes gimp use gegl for curves, levels, and other operations. The only difference it makes is that it’s slower since gegl isn’t as optimized as the other implementations yet.

  125. 141

    Give it time and GIMP will probably have it’s own following. It’s the beauty of open source, as more people catch on more plug ins will be contributed and guess what…many of those contributors will be Adobe users who are being inspired by working concepts of those products. I myself am a complete Adobe CS user (except for my affection for SwishMax) but I love seeing communities produce quality products and would rather use those products than pay 700+ for my software.

  126. 142

    Nice roundup. Was actually looking for the “layer effects” plugin but didn’t find it…
    Looks like I didn’t search properly…

  127. 143

    rather than doing all the steps above, it is easier to just download and install GimPhoto

    actually GimPhoto is based on GIMP 2.4 (not latest but most stable) modification using new PS menu layout and new PS shortcuts, packed with many great plugins, such as: CMYK separation, Save for Web, Batch Process, Noise Removal and Photography Filters, and also improved with new brushset, new gradientset, every aspect is tweaked to improve user usability.

    available for Windows, Linux (all) and Debian Package (deb).

  128. 144

    There are amaaaazing artists doing amaaaazing things on gimp. this is an example

  129. 145

    Great article, and thanks for the commented link, GimPhoto.
    Gimp is a very powerful app, and not at all hard to work with assuming you don’t have Photoshop burned into the brain. GIMP’s got a lot of legit, pro-quality potential.
    That said, if in the professional field or if you’re a hardcore image editor/creator,
    Photoshop IS worth the money, not just for what features GIMP may be lacking, but because you cannot beat a product that’s the de facto standard with tons of money paying dedicated developers.
    They’re both great frickin’ apps.

  130. 146

    [ Why are all you PS users crapping on the GIMP? It’s like a rich kid beating up a poor kid because he’s poor. Why do you PS people care? GIMP’s not ever going to compete, won’t ever steal market share. Why act threatened? ]

    The reason I compare Gimp to PS and complain about Gimp is because I need some good tools to do professional level work under Linux. I don’t have Windows installed, and don’t plan to for any number of reasons. PS doesn’t work 100% under emulation. I would really love it if the Gimp developers would concentrate more on usability and less on new features for a while. Simple things like working with alpha channels, increasing/decreasing brush sizes, the brush engine, real layer effects, and better grouping of layers really need to be addressed.

    Unfortunately I can’t try to add these features myself because my current employment contract forbids it, and from what I’ve heard of the way the code is organized (or not), I wouldn’t want to try and wrap my head around the current implementation. So the best I can hope for is that the developers pay attention and take to heart the cries of those who try to use Gimp and find it lacking.

    Gimp doesn’t have to be a second rate program. It’s not the lack of funding that leads to its problems. It’s the mindset of the developers and what they are focusing on. Gimp has the technology; now it needs the polish to actually be usable and useful to professionals.

  131. 147

    Have you found a way to do a crop/resize like you can in Photoshop?

    e.g.- I can set my crop tool to a 6″x4″ setting, select any sized area within that proportion (large or small) and the result is a cropped image that is 6″x4″ in size.

  132. 148

    Speaking as designer, Gimp and Photoshop can complement each other. The real issue I have with some Photoshop users is they are so familiar to use that program they have lost the fundamental basic: you can change shortcuts of your preferred command and adapt to the tools to your needs.

  133. 149

    David Gowers

    April 22, 2009 8:56 pm

    Gimphoto: It is an occasional misunderstanding, the idea that 2.4 is more stable. Currently the most stable version is 2.6.5 (some people have issues with 2.6.6 crashing)
    It’s also important to mention that GIMPhoto is not supported by GIMP developers nor GIMP users

    “increasing/decreasing brush sizes, the brush engine”
    The first has been addressed since .. 2.2?, the second has already been majorly upgraded with 2.6 and further work on the GUI is planned via Google Summer of Code.

    Layer effects will come after GEGL is fully integrated and no sooner.
    Layer grouping / hierarchy is being worked on for 2.8; It seems to be a fairly involved problem, but it looks likely to get into GIMP 2.8
    16bits per channel support is less likely to get into 2.8, but still possible (one of the developers posted a preliminary patch adding simple support for loading 16bit integer and 32bit float images and applying any of the color tools (eg Curves) to them. For support to actually end up in the release, support would need to be much more complete and doublechecked.

    “It’s not the lack of funding that leads to its problems.”
    This is true. It’s the lack of DEVELOPERS!

  134. 150

    A lot of you have trouble with reading comprehension and you put your demands ahead of reality. GIMP is not, nor has it ever been a replacement for Photoshop. (badly titled article notwithstanding) Do you understand? I’m talking right to you – Do you understand?

    Most of this stems from your annoyance that the GIMP is not a replacement. You so desperately want it to be – but it’s not. How do you fit through doors?

    Once you get over that you will find the GIMP to be fabulous for what it is. Then, maybe you can come up with some better arguments instead of the same tired bullshit. Honestly.

    You that use and like Photoshop, continue. By all means. You have found a program that you love and it does what you like. Why on Earth would you continue to assail a program that’s clearly not for you? I’ll tell you why. Becasue somewhere in your life you developed this completely arrogant sense of entitlement and you figure that your opinion is the only one that matters and that if something doesn’t fit perfectly to your overwhelming ego than it must be shit.

    Good luck raising children, if you ever become mature enough for that!

  135. 151

    In your step five, installing brushes. No need to restart Gimp, just click the refresh brushes icon in the brushes dialog. As for insufficient brushes, well, there is Gimp’s built in brush editor (which admittedly is limited as to available shapes). It is also fairly easy to make your own brushes. Personally, I have never had much need to have a lot of brushes (but then I don’t “paint” in Gimp). Most of the time, I just make my own when I need a brush that isn’t in the default set.

  136. 152

    Actually, the folder with brushes, curves etc. on Windows is now located in your user-specific folder. Type %userprofile%.gimp-2.6 in your folder address bar to get to it, the full address will be something like C:Documents and SettingsUSERNAME.gimp-2.6.

    (make sure you have set “show-> toolbars ->address bar” to be able to type it in)

  137. 153

    Actually, the folder with brushes, curves etc. on Windows is now located in your user-specific folder. Type %userprofile%.gimp-2.6 in your folder address bar to get to it, the full address will be something like C:Documents and SettingsUSERNAME.gimp-2.6.

    (make sure you have set “show-> toolbars ->address bar” to be able to type it in)

    BTW, what does GEGL really provide you? Can you give an example?

  138. 154

    I work in a school, and would love to hand out more opensource stuff to the kids. I give out CD Roms with OpenOffice on all the time, and some of the kids barely care that it is a bit different, as its operation is nearly the same for their use. We cannot (ethically or legally) advocate downloading an illegal version of PS.

    The school has a Visual Arts Specialism, and Uses CS3 (Master suite) throughout, so its kindof a standard. We constantly get asked for a free version of PS but cannot do this for student home machines or obvious license issues.
    – So an opensource PS eqiv would be great for us, and the various Exam groups that need a quality Image editing program but cannot afford the full version.

    BUT: I cannot bear to hand out GIMP, on a few grounds.
    Is too different to PS. And the name, why should I explain its “real” origins. Yeah I have named files an immature name in the past and put variable names as bad language but calling something GIMP is just sad.

    • 155

      Richard, you may not be aware of this, but GIMP stands stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program, regardless of what its acronym is.

  139. 156

    Thank you for publishing this… you’re preaching to the choir on my end. I do love me some GIMP, but there were still a couple of these plug-ins I didn’t know about.

  140. 157

    i cant get the menu to open that allows me to fix the tool menus also how do i set the ruler size to pixels ?

  141. 158

    The Photoshop users who say that the GiMP will never be a replacement don’t bother me in the least. The GiMP does what I need it to do and THAT’S what matters. Use the tool that works best for you. This whole argument reminds me of the quote “When you’re a hammer, the whole world looks like a nail.”

  142. 159


    May 18, 2009 11:55 pm

    Very interesting article, full of useful tips. It would be great if the author published a book, a useful manual always at hand when needed! Or may be she already did it? If so, pls let me know, I’ll jump to Amazon and buy it immediately!

  143. 160

    GIMP stands for “GNU Image Manipulation Program”

    Why do you feel the need to explain the “real” origin of the word if it’s an acronym? Maybe the “powers that be” DID have that intention. Who knows? Who cares?

    Frankly, I don’t care because it IS an acronym and it’s a wonderful program

  144. 161

    the CMYK plugin is only Windows supported? I use Mac. No CMYK support for Gimp there?

  145. 162

    Hmm I always wanted to get my hands on Photoshop, but never had a chance its pricey I stick with gimp I Only draw and animate cats, wolves, and background, but I always wondered what Photoshop was like is there anyway to get away from breaking the law and get it free?Or getting it at a VERY low price?

  146. 163

    Only for debian (and maybe $buntu)-users:

    no need to compile the source-code; the plugins (and a lot more) are packaged in the reppos, just make an:

    apt-get install gimp-plugin-registry

    and you get:
    * Add Film Grain (2.4):
    Helps adding realistic film grain to BW images.
    * Black and White Film Simulation (1.1):
    Converts the selected layer into Black and White using
    the channel mixer. Tries to produce results resembling
    tonal qualities of film.
    * Contact Sheet:
    Generates a contact sheet(s) for a directory of images.
    * David’s Batch Processor (1.1.7):
    A simple batch processing plugin for The Gimp – it allows
    the user to automatically perform operations (such as resize)
    on a collection of image files.
    * Diana-Holga2 (3 juin 2008):
    Diana/Holga Toys Cameras effect simulator.
    * Exposure Blend (1.3b):
    Prompt for 3 images in a bracketed exposure series (e.g. 0,-2,+2 EV)
    and blend these into a contrast enhanced image.
    * Fix-CA (3.0.2):
    Corrects chromatic aberration in photos
    * Focus-Blur (3.1.5):
    This plugin tries to simulate an out-of-focus blur
    * GREYCstoration (2.8):
    A tool to denoise, inpaint and resize images
    * Layer-Effects (2.4):
    This script implements the following effects:
    add border, bevel and emboss, color overlay, drop shadow,
    gradient overlay, inner glow, inner shadow, outer glow,
    pattern overlay, satin.
    * Liquid Rescale (0.4.0-4):
    Content-aware rescaling. Keeps the features of the image while
    rescaling along a single direction.
    * Normalmap (1.2.1):
    Allows you to convert images into RGB normal maps for use in
    per-pixel lighting applications.
    * Planet Render (1-2):
    Creates a planet. Color, size and sun orientation
    can be set.
    * Refocus (0.9.1):
    The GIMP plugin to refocus images using FIR Wiener filtering.
    During image processing operations such as scanning and scaling, images
    tend to get blurry. The blurred impression of these images is due to the
    fact that image pixels are averaged with their neighbors. Blurred images
    don’t have sharp boundaries and look as though they have been taken with
    an unfocussed camera.
    * Save for Web (0.28.5):
    Allows to experiment with various popular web format options. It shows
    an automatically updated preview and file size statistics.
    * Separate+ (0.5.1):
    Separate+ is a plug-in that generates color separations from an RGB
    image, proofs CMYK colors on the monitor and exports the CMYK TIFF file.
    * Smart Sharpen (redux) (2.4):
    This script implements the redux version of smart sharpening. It utilizes
    the Unsharp Mask or Refocus plugin to sharpen the image.
    * Streak-Camera simulation (0.6):
    A streak camera images an object through a slit –
    thus getting a “one dimensional image”. This image is
    propagated along the second dimension of the image plane
    at a constant speed. The result is a picture of the time
    dependency of the object.
    * Wavelet Denoise (0.2-beta):
    The wavelet denoise plugin is a tool to selectively reduce noise in
    individual channels of an image with optional RGBYCbCr conversion.
    It has a user inteface to adjust the amount of denoising applied. The
    wavelet nature of the algorithm makes the processing quite fast.

  147. 164

    Benjamin Schran

    June 13, 2009 5:50 am

    To be honest gimp has made greater strides in the last few years as comparative growth to adobe photoshop. one of the major things contributing to its drive is Us the users… because its opensource if you the user says “hmm i would like it to do a little more then it does now”. With a little know-how you can add anything you want to it because the source code is out there on the net… the best adobe can give is plug ins… this is a great feature but doesn’t give you the same freedom (as in speech) to make changes. and the best part is its free(as in beer)! Now by no means am i saying that you adobe is not a better software in many ways I am saying that Gimp has great potential and should not be shot down as garbage. One few great examples of opensource software making it into the business world is 1 Open office 2 Linux based servers 3 Blender (yes more of the major motion picture companys are using because of its complete open source nature… making it easier for them to progam plugins for it). So just because its not 100% photoshop doesnt mean you should put it down

  148. 165

    Benjamin Schran

    June 13, 2009 6:01 am

    Animator to answer your question yes there is a way to get photoshop to TRY for free however it is only for 30days so if you want to give it a look you can pick it up at

  149. 166

    does the pspi plugin enable use of pixel creator pro as this program
    specifically looks for photoshop. It is a great program but I cant afford photoshop. If it works with Gimp I’ll buy it.

  150. 167

    just want to thank u …. helped me alot

  151. 168

    People always target GIMP usablity but never list the problem.

    Its not like photoshop is perfect. I have found both programs have there weaknesses. Having a live historgram of what is selected really handy in gimp.

    Most of the issue is not that Gimp interface is bad. Gimp is designed differently to photoshop. Gimp is designed to work well duel screen quad screen… ie how many screens you have. It was not designed to work single screen it has to be convinced to do that well. This comes from GImp being designed on X11 where you have virtual desktops so you always can have more than 1.

    That is the major work flow issue. Most photoshop users miss the right click menu option to turn menus into windows. Also they are running on windows so Miss the x11 wm option to lock those windows on top of everything else.

    Both are different designs. Both have there advantages.

    For what gimp is good at photoshop has bad workflow as well.

    I have rewitten tutorials from photoshop to gimp. If you know how to setup gimp right lot of the operations take less actions to happen at equal quality.

    If you don’t dock the dockable windows into a usable configuration gimp will drive you up wall. Its not that Gimp GUI is bad. Its just too flexable for photoshop users to use. They are not use to making there tool custom fit there workflow.

    If you don’t use the windowable menus and have a os that you can lock them on top gimps workflow also suffers.

    Now a GUI design cannot be fixed if you are not saying what is wrong. Saying just make it like photoshop is a wrong answer. Since photoshop it self is not perfect.

    Blenders interface recently jumped forwards. Gimp has a open project as well to redesign the GUI. Flaming about the interface is point less.

  152. 169

    I draw a comic and have used both Photoshop and Gimp. I must say that Gimp does not meet my needs as it’s palette is limited (it only allows you to do so many custom colours), the text handling is laughably bad and only till recently it did not allow you to turn off anti-aliasing on the lasso tool. Don’t even get me stared with the speed of Gimp, it’s like a dead mule and it keeps crashing when I try to use my Wacom tablet with it. The brushes do not have enough dynamic options, it sorely lacks a navigation window and although you can make keyboard shortcuts, you cannot assign parameters for it to remember like “Actions” in Photoshop.
    Apart from that, it’s doing pretty well.

  153. 170

    Constraining the crop tool is as simple with GIMP as it is in PS. Click the crop tool, and, in the tool box that pops up, check the fixed aspect ratio button, then, select the icon for portrait or landscape, and crop away.

    Do it a couple of times, and I think you’ll find it even more intuitive than in PS. The landscape/portrait icons are more conveniently located for me (just a personal preference perhaps because I tend to use GIMP more than PS these days).


  154. 171

    I edit photos for our photography business and I’ve been using GIMP for years. I started using GIMP before it was even available for Windows so I had a Linux machine set up just for photo editing work. Yes, I’ve tried Photoshop and I didn’t like it because it was different from what I’m used to. How’s that for backwards? I also do photo restorations using the GIMP and I have never had anything but happy customers. I also use a Wacom tablet and I have never had any problems with it so maybe, Bob, you might have a driver issue? (Just a thought there) Though I do agree that the limited custom color palete can be a constraint but I’ve never not been able to do a job because of it.

    I think Photoshop is expensive but not out of line for professional software. I just simply can’t justify spending our company’s money when I can use what’s available for free and deliver results that our customers are always happy with.

    Though that’s all irrelevant to this page. Thanks to Blair Mathis for the great page and tips for expanding the usefulness of GIMP. I also agree that this free program has made some great improvements since it’s early days and no doubt will continue to improve.

  155. 172

    Carusoswi: I think Vidar’s question (and mine) is: ” Can I crop to a print size and resample at the same time?”

    For example, I have a 8″x10″ source image at 300dpi.
    I want to crop a selected area to 200×100 px (or any selected size) at 72 dpi.
    With GIMP, I have to set my aspect ratio 2:1, and crop
    THEN, I have to resize to 72dpi.
    2 actions, but about 4 steps.
    PSD allows one to just enter the size and dpi and it will crop and resample at the same time.
    This is a huge time saver if you have many images to visually crop and resample.

    I’ve been unable to find/figure out how to do this in GIMP.

  156. 173

    Wojciech Migda

    August 12, 2009 4:27 am

    I’d include some handy plugins as well: Fix-CA for Chormatic Aberration correction ( and wavelet-denoise for noise removal ( You gotta try to believe what they can do

  157. 174

    I have been using Photoshop now for 3 years in a video game design company, and I must say GIMP whacks it upside the head in user-functionality. Not only is it faster, but buttons and sliders are laid out in a MUCH cleaner fashion, as compared to photoshop where the tools and their functions are seperated. (annoying as hell). Also, GIMP can be isolated into 2 windows + images open, where as I usually have 5 windows + images in Photoshop.

    Get GIMP. Learn it. Refund your PS license.

  158. 175

    Benjamin Schran

    August 27, 2009 12:48 pm

    Im glad to see this is no longer a bash fest. I have been using gimp myself since the linux only days and have always felt it looked like it had potential… keep up the good fight my friends.. and happy gimping

  159. 176

    I used to find the GIMP interface a problem but that was because I was used to Photoshop, lets face it nobody likes change, but if the community who makes the GIMP copied Photoshop then there would be legal issues. they have some very good ideas for making the GIMP better, just look at , I can’t wait for future releases of the GIMP :-), probably give Photoshop a run for it’s money.

  160. 177

    Hey not bad il give it all that a go. Does anyone think theres not enough of Gimp information on the web? There a decent on here id recommmend

  161. 178

    I wonder how many of these people use Photoshop legally and professionally…

    Anyways I love GIMP, it’s a great applicationg. But what do you expect, I still use CS….wait for it……2! *gasp!*

  162. 179

    My problem with the “Always on top” trick is that it makes the Toolbox always stay on top of EVERYTHING… maybe I’m missing something, but (at least for me on Ubuntu 9.10) when I switch to another app, the ‘always on top’ Toolbox covers all other apps as well.

  163. 180

    I’m loving GIMP, it gives me everything I need for web design without the cost of Photoshop. I followed several tutorials online and picked it up quite quickly. I will consider buying Photoshop when I come across something I can’t do in GIMP, so far so good.

    Great article, though I can’t seem to anchor the windows. Not sure what I’m doing wrong :-S

  164. 181

    I’ve only just started editing pictures myself and I downloaded a trial of PS and I hated it! It’s practically impossible to use and manuever if you don’t know what your doing. It’s really complicated and way too fussy and drawn out. I also refuse to pay £700 for some software to smooth my skin out and make all my pictures look unrealistic and obviously edited. I’d much rather just take a bloody interesting pic and use real talent to create a stunning picture than pay extortionate amounts (in a reccession!!!) to make a fake pic with some software.

    I really could rant on forever about this but I wont.

    I like GIMP it’s easy to use and gets the simple tasks done and from the looks of things is constantly being updated and giving people new bits to add to it as they choose. I will most probably never shell out the cash for photoshop. If I got hold of it for free or for like £20 I might consider it however it’s very unlikely that will ever happen so it’s GIMP all the way for me. It’s free and gets the main task (I need it for) done. What more could I ask for?

  165. 182

    To Gill
    well said ! I’ve just switch from Photoshop to Gimp. It took me some time to learn the software, But Gimp gets the job done as well as Photoshop.

  166. 183

    Your link to PSPI is broken… try this:

  167. 184

    Great resource. Thanks!

  168. 185

    Gimp Rocks! Especially since I discovered the IWarp tool ;-)!

    For those who say that Gimp GUI sucks, do as I do. Learn the shortcuts, use right button menu and use Tab button to while working fullscreen (F11) to turn on/off dock windows. This way you have more space for your image and you won’t go back to photoshop :-)


  169. 186

    For a web designer with little to no capitol, like myself, can easily use GIMP for projects that, under the control of someone with just a little knowledge, will look just as good as one constructed with Photoshop and Dreamweaver.

    Great article! Really really great.

  170. 187

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and say I don’t think GIMP will ever replace Photoshop simply because of the branding. When you see that Photoshop Icon it is bold, professional, sleek, and throws out a great sense of security. It is also part of an amazing suite.

    Yes, I agree it gets prices even with Study discounts, but you get what you pay for. I am a cheap s.o.b. but when it comes to my programs and basketball ball shoes..the price is worth it.

    I wont give GIMP a chance based on their goofy cartoon mascot. Maybe if I wanted a bowl of cereal I’d choose GIMP.

  171. 188

    To Prakash,
    I am keen to use “Gimp” as an alternate to Photoshop & have written a comment seperately too. Its heartening to know that “Gimp” is as good & available as a freeware.

  172. 189

    for the brush,
    actually GIMP can use Photoshop brush..
    no plugins required!..
    just drop the .abr file into the brush directory..

  173. 190

    Thanks for your article. I used gimp many years ago and then I bought PS. not too long ago, I got a wacom tablet which allowed me to upgrade my PS to cs4 at a great cost.

    Honestly, I will never switch away from PS, but i still want to thank you for taking the time to write this article. Im sure it will help others, which is the point of it. I dont unserstand why the PS users are complaining.. They are not being forced to use anything, so they need to move on and realize your trying to help gimp users. I use PS a lot, i have a business, that helps justify it… Had i been using gimp, i would certainly give this a shot, and I know someone I am going to show this article to.

  174. 191

    i am a designer, illustrator and photgrapher and have used photoshop since 1995 with windows 95 – i love photoshop but recently its gotten too big with crap i never use and way too much Internet communication and attempts to sell me stuff through the software – i hate software that constantly keeps doors open to the net – i switched to photoshop elements recently because i hate the new cs versions but the internet crap turned me off – thankfully i found GIMP and will never go back – it does everything i want – as a professional artist i dont need all the amateurish filters and instant fixes of photoshop, just the essential tools – and switching to GIMP has got me to switch to linux so now my computer runs faster than ever with much better screen graphics, brighter and sharper than windows mushy graphics – i love GIMP and i love LINUX

  175. 192

    Gimp is open source, so I have no idea why no clever designer with programing ability hasn’t taken gimp and made it into a photoshop clone.
    The program could do it (that’s why the “not an adobe employee”{haha yeahright} guys are so thretened by this software) and as far as I’m concerned, this forum proves that a version of gimp made as a photoshop clone would be well appreciated (I know I would love it too)

  176. 193

    I personally hate GIMP AND photoshop. My favourite art program has to be paint tool sai because it’s simple to use unlike photoshop which pisses me off.

    But seriously, stop stomping on GIMP guys! It is an AMAZING art program for something that’s FREE!

    And to be honest, people might think photoshop is and may well be the best art program out there but I find it too confusing to work with and completely unaffordable!!!!

    And you peoples, if you don’t like GIMP don’t comment, cause if you haven’t got anything good to say then don’t say anything at all….

  177. 194

    When talking about “workflow” as a programmer:

    I mainly work in Linux. Mainly because of actual Window Managers (DWM, XMonad, GNOME, etc). Well, that and bash just works. Anyway, while I learned in Photoshop and am an avid fan, until Adobe makes a version that runs in Linux, Photoshop actually DESTROYS my workflow and then spits on it. Having to reboot my entire system (or hibernate, resume, hibernate, resume) as well as store any pictures I needed to edit on a USB drive or somewhere in the cloud completely wastes my time. I find it way easier to just load up the GIMP (as terrible as the UI may be) and make my edits and resume my work.

    Now, I realize Photoshop is designed towards graphics professionals (as much of a power user as I like to consider myself, I’m still not a graphic designer, by any means), but, I mean, shouldn’t any graphics designer worth his salt be able to contend with features that aren’t just fancy algorithms designed to do all the work for you? As much as I like some of the new press-button-for-magic features Adobe likes to put in every release, at the heart of it all, doesn’t that go against designing in the sense that the computer is doing the design for you, in the grand scheme of things? I mean, if I were a designer, I would want very minute control down to the very pixel. Sometimes, when using Photoshop, I feel like its tools and “features” are making it harder and harder to do that. I mean, if I wanted to program something for a microcontroller, I would use something more nitty-gritty and more bare-bones, than say, Java. I would want to use C, or, hell, even assembly.

    Put simply, when Adobe puts Photoshop on Linux, I’ll never use GIMP again. Until then, I’ll settle for GIMP over screwing up my own workflow. UI I can get over (or customize — a great thing about GNU apps). I can’t very well get over Photoshop not working in Linux on my own (screw WINE).

  178. 195

    I understand that this article is over a year old but something caught my attention. Photoshop users are threatened by GIMP. I’ve been using Adobe products since 1994 and don’t understand this. Maybe I’ve been around them too long but I don’t see the problem with GIMP. Why would anyone want to say that GIMP is not comparable to Photoshop? It doesn’t matter if it is or not. The fact is that GIMP is a quality product. It works well for many things if you’re not the lazy and/or fearful type.

    If you’re really that dependent on the piece of software you are using, you might want to reconsider your worth in the idea of graphic design. If I had my way I’d force you all to use camera’s, exacto knives, and waxer machines in a darkroom full of emulsion stink for a month just to give you a clue to what industry you claim to be a part of.

  179. 196

    Thank-you for informing the world of what The Gimp is able to do! You are indeed a talented and very well informed individual!! Congrats!!!

    Sadly, we live in a society full of zombie citizens, who are told what to buy, what to eat, how to dress, where to live, when to fart, etc. The culprits behind the brainwashing are happy sitting down and receiving huge amounts of ‘mula’ knowing fully well that on a daily basis they will be able to find new victims to feed on, and agree to their ridiculous license agreements. This is thanks mainly due to their very deep pockets and very expensive marketing schemes.

    Even more sad, is how these zombie citizens, only have the ability to regurgitate what they being programmed to say. They have lost the ability and power of thinking for themselves. They gave away a long time ago their basic rights to analyze on their own. They no longer know how to arrive to a sound and logical conclusion when making a fair unbiased opinion.

    I teach computer classes for a living, I am also a network administrator. I meet society nurtured zombies on a daily basis, who claim to know, but in reality they walk around with blinders like a horse. Tunnel vision syndrome is very common these days! LOLl

    As an educator, I teach the commercial products that most of these zombie citizens are aware of when they walk into my class. However, when they leave my class they are made aware of alternative software products they had never heard of before, such as Inkscape, Blender, OpenOffice Writer, Abiword, Google Docs, Scribus, and many others, including of course, The Gimp.

    I’m also very aware that a lot of these students have pirated copies of commercial products. That’s the main reason I teach open source, to slowly weened them off illegal activities. You will hear me saying the following on a regular basis,

    “Here, for those of you who cannot afford product x, you can do this without breaking the law by downloading and installing product y, which does the same darn thing but it is free and you can give out copies to friends, and relatives!”

    It all boils down to knowing that you have choices. Most of them go the open source method, and are grateful on how much money they have saved. Which in turn they can use to further their educational goals more efficiently.

    With the blinders removed, these new de-programmed citizens go out into the world informing others about open source software solutions and more importantly they have been reminded that they have a vast amount of choices! Choices that even extend to film making, operating systems such as, Ubuntu plus other Linux distributions, animation, web design, and many other fields.

    I noticed that your article has attracted the attention of these zombie citizens, and that is why I felt compelled to leave a comment. To the wealthy zombies, if you have $1000.00 to burn, good for you! Now go away to your expensive stores…or do whatever, or go wherever wealthy dumb zombies go today!

    This article was written for the benefit of The Gimp users, so if you don’t like it, and don’t know how to use it, you should use your wealth to pay for a course and learn how to use it properly. Zombie citizens, I hear, NASA is auctioning some stuff, you should head there soon, since other dumb zombies are bidding on old technology! Don’t let the door hit your buttocks on the way out! LOL

    • 197

      Shawn Kearney

      August 27, 2010 8:31 pm

      us zombies like 16-bit image processing and non-destructive editing…


  180. 198

    After reading this page time and time again, and continually retrying to get Gimp to see and use, personally, I don’t believe photoshop plugins can be used with Gimp.

    My advise it NEVER try to use something that wasn’t designed to be used by anything other that what it supposed to be used with, ie, Photoshop plugins are designed for and to be used by Photoshop,,,,,,Gimp plugins are designed to be used by Gimp.

    NEVER try to turn something into what it isn’t.

    If a photoshop plugin is wanted for Gimp, look for a Gimp specific equivalent instead.

    Trying to put a windows plugin into Linux, is like trying to put a 5′ diameter circle in a 1′ square,,,,it just CAN’T be done.

    If you absolutely need to use a photoshop plugin, then install windows using a virtual machine (either vmware, or vbox), then you can use photoshop with all it’s plugins,,, I do, and it works great.

    • 199

      Obviously as stated just above you think you know what your saying but you dont :P

      an .exe isn’t a PS plugin is an executable file – photoshop couldn’t open it either no matter what you tried!

      However, you could use the exe on windows to “install” the plugin.

      GIMP can use PS brushes and plugins if you know what your doing :)

  181. 200

    Gimp already can replace photoshop dumbass

  182. 201

    Javier designer

    August 7, 2010 11:50 pm

    I am waiting for gimp layers folders like photoshop.. I think there isn’t any plugin with that funcionality.

  183. 202

    Gimp is brilliant, however it is too non user friendly to be used by the masses, which is a shame really.

  184. 203

    I don’t understand all the whining about the Gimp interface as compared to Photoshop. It’s not that different. You can customize the interface to be very close to Photoshop. Some people act like they are completely different. Perhaps they don’t really have a copy of Photoshop. Photoshop, although good, is not perfect either.

    As for the cmyk thing for printing, supposedly that may be fixed in Gimp 2.8. The text tool is also inferior (as was Photoshop’s text tool before CS aka PS 8.0.) This will also be fixed in Gimp 2.8. Poor Adobe now seems to be scrambling to find new features to add. Given enough time, open source software like Gimp eventually catch up. If we are lucky, sometimes they become better than the commercial products.

  185. 204

    Brett Widmann

    October 22, 2010 3:09 pm

    This is a nice post, but i think I’ll stick to my Adobe products for most things

  186. 205

    Can you open a PSD file in gimp, and then view the attributes of a layer (font, font size, color, background color, etc.)? You can do this easily in Photoshop, but I can’t seem to get this info in Gimp – even though I do see a list of layers. Would love to avoid paying the big $$ to do something so simple.


  187. 206

    I used Adobe products for a long time, and wrote plugins for many of them. When I started using Linux more, I began using Gimp for simple things, out of convenience. After a while, I found that I would try using Photoshop, but switch over to Gimp, because some things seemed easier.

    So, I began learning more, a little at a time. It seemed like it could do pretty much everything I needed, although I thought Photoshop was quicker and easier. But, after a while, Gimp began to make more sense than Photoshop. In fact, when I use Photoshop, I now find it lacking in what I consider basic functionality.

    This doesn’t mean I think Gimp is better – it just drove home, once more, that you get used to one or another pieces of software, or operating systems, and you begin to think that its features are the only way to go.

    Yes, there are things you can do in photoshop that you can’t do in gimp, at least not in the same way. But the same holds true for the other direction; there are things you can do easily in Gimp that you can’t do in photoshop the same way.

    For example, Gimp doesn’t have so many layer properties, like backgrounds, outlines, etc. This doesn’t mean you can’t do the same thing, it’s just not a layer property. If this way of doing things is worth the money you pay, and worth being tied to Windows, then stick with it. I use Gimp on Windows, Linux, and Mac. All for free. All without learning new ways to do things. So, I have to create my own background or outline; big deal.

  188. 207

    “I am waiting for gimp layers folders like photoshop.. I think there isn’t any plugin with that funcionality.”

    Yes this missing feature is really annoying in more advanced projects.

  189. 209

    Sorry, people must really be ignorant if they think GIMP can replace PS. Since I need to do things commercially and PS is too expensive I had to learn Gimp too.

    Gimp obviously never heard the term “realtime preview”, it suffers the ability to tweak settings and instead provides automatic scripts which are basically useless, has a retarded way of creating effects e.g. gradients, and it often forces you to reinvent the wheel each time you did something wrong.
    If people only try it out using simple shapes or brushes just for fun, they will never find out how limited GIMP really is. But if you want to do a little bit more in a serious manner, then GIMP is the wrong way to go.

    Not everything is bad, e.g. in GIMP you learn how things like shadows, glow etc. can be made from scratch. And if you are used to the conveniences of Photoshop you might never find out how these things could be done, because PS automatically creates it for you and you only need to tweak it. Therefore using GIMP might be quite helpful at the very first time. If you change to PS then, I can guarantee, that you will never ever want to look back.

    I agree though with people that 1.000€ is a ridiculous prize for PS as almost nothing changed between CS2, CS3, CS4, CS5. If I had the money I would still buy PS, but I haven’t.

  190. 210

    I used Gimp for a good two years before I got Photoshop Elements as a gift. I’m a fairly serious photographer (though no paying jobs yet as I’m still in school) and I also like to dabble in digital painting. I was using Gimp to edit my photos and create manipulations. PS Elements is great for those who just need to edit photos, crop, maybe recolor, etc. But when I get into my manipulations, it just doesn’t work so well. It is nicer in some aspects (like more layer choices) and masking and all. I stopped using Gimp when I got PS. But I just recently reinstalled it since Elements is awful for digital paining. I switch back and forth with one project to get what I want out of each.

    People who haven’t worked with Gimp and just write it off, don’t realize that you can use a lot of PS tools, brushes, textures, and more in Gimp. I was using PS brushes in Gimp for two years! Most things that you can use in PS you can use in Gimp. I’ve also heard that some people can open PSD files in Gimp, but I haven’t tried it myself (so don’t yell at me if it doesn’t work).

    I haven’t tried CS5 or any other version so I’m not sure how it compares to Gimp, though I can say, that both have their good parts. I do prefer Elements for basic editing, but Gimp for painting. Both are very low rated, in my opinion, for manipulating. I’ve been doing some really large projects that are very complex, and I’ve had to kill Elements to make it do what I want. I like using it for a lot of its features, but Gimp works the same, or better, than PS Elements for digital painting.

    People who complain about Gimp not working, or having some problem with it, are probably not using it right or just don’t know what to do with it since they were working with PS for so long. Now don’t think that I’m picking on anyone, because I’m not. I’m just saying that you need to read tutorials, keep in forums, etc. to get the most of out Gimp. I loved it and I like it now, since I experienced PS. I can’t say it’s a full replacement of PS but it’s a darn good one.

    If you aren’t very serious, I highly recommend Gimp. I didn’t care if I got PS or not and quite frankly, I wouldn’t die if anyone took away Elements. If your career, schooling, or another serious thing, requires it, than sure, spend the money. But if you’re like me, where it’s pretty serious but it’s still in the advanced hobby stage, use Gimp.

    There’s my two cents. Hope I helped someone. :)

  191. 211

    The link to the PSPI manager in this article (under tip #1) is dead.
    Here is the new link:

  192. 212

    People do not realise that most free software is often many many years behind mainstream competitors. The millions of dollars and years of development from hundreds of programmers and designers it took to create PhotoShop, simply wont happen in GIMP for years to come. GIMP (the name really should be changed, gimp is usually a slang term for a handicapped person!) is a great program for beginners or people who just like to do hobby stuff. As far as using in as a tool for a professional graphics designer, sadly no.

    Adobe offers a leasing program for people who can’t afford it, the Master Collection is around $150USD/month. That is cheap for someone who is using the software to make money. Simply lease it until you make enough money to buy it flat out. If you run your business correctly, this won’t be a problem.

    I have used both GIMP and PhotoShop extensively. PhotoShop graphics tend to be more “crisp and clear” whereas creating the same image in GIMP tended to lack in quality.

    I’m not trying to come across as a GIMP basher or PhotoShop promoter, I’m just giving my opinion. The dev’s at GIMP have done an excellent job in creating a free open-source design program.

    As far as the people saying they’re not going to download PhotoShop illegally, you don’t have to, download a fully functional 30-day trial from Adobe. In that 30-days, use the software to create images to sell at places like: or, sites like that. After your trial is up you should’ve been able to make enough to either pay for the software in full or be able to pay for your first month’s lease. That’s what I did, it’s not that difficult. Stop having that “I CAN’T” attitude, you’re life will be much better if you stop thinking like that. This can be applied to many aspects of life, not just determining what image software to get.

    To squash any backlash comments about only having Linux. If your a professional designer, Windows 7 is around $100USD. I have dual boot Windows 7/Ubuntu Linux. I use Windows 7 for my Graphics Designing and Gaming, and Linux for programming and everything else. If you’re computer isn’t good enough for Windows 7 then your missing out. Computers and Laptops are extremely cheap now a days. If $400-600 is too much for you all at once, simply have patience and save $10+/week and you’ll have it eventually. It’s mathematically impossible for you not to own a new computer saving a certain amount each week or whenever you get paid.

  193. 213

    Hey I use GIMP and it is really amazing when you take your time and patience because if you do that it looks exactly like what Photoshop can do but maybe even better and I have created loads of good GIMP Photoshop-ish pictures so get some time to know about GIMP and then we can kick Photoshop out Yeah!



  194. 214

    Turning on GEGL is a bad idea. It doesn’t really add anything yet. All it does is slow you down tremendously, as it isn’t optimized at all yet.

    The beauty of GEGL is its potential. As long as it’s just being used to do things that can be done faster without it, it’s totally pointless, except for testing.

  195. 215

    “Windows: the folder is located in C:/Programs/GIMP.” No, on most machines, GIMP will be installed to the default folder of “C:Program FilesGIMP-2.0” (note the backslashes, which Windows uses) or “C:Program Files (x86)GIMP-2.0” (on a 64-bit version of Windows XP, Vista, or 7/8).

  196. 216

    The link is dead and there IS no Plug-in folder for Windows GIMP. Do I have to make one or is it deeper in the GIMP directory?

  197. 218

    Hey GIMP-users, is it possible to open a PS file in GIMP? What PS features will get lost? For example: what about text effects, alpha channels, layer masks etc. Is there a list with importable features somewhere?
    Thanks in advance. I would consider the change to GIMP, if I could open my psd files without losing anything…

  198. 219

    Catarina Clemente

    September 9, 2013 4:31 pm

    Great article. Now i can definitely switch from Windows to Ubuntu and… bye bye Microsoft. I’m free…at last!!!!

  199. 220

    Gimp is better than PS for a simple reason that it allow you to undo several times

    • 221

      You can undo in photoshop several times too, you just need to set in options how much undos you can have

  200. 222

    Other than the awful floating windows and the gigantic toolbox, the thing that causes me to uninstall Gimp almost immediately is performance. As soon as you start zooming and panning you get all this garbled mess on the screen and it’s really slow and clunky. It just needs oodles of refinement to even begin taking it seriously.


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