Gimp – the Best Open Source Image Editing Tool (for Free)

Gimp, short for GNU Image Manipulation Program is an open-source image editing tool that has been around since 1990s. The application has evolved in time alongside the computer and is now one of the most powerful image editing applications available for free. GIMP is available for Windows, Mac as well as Linux users. Its latest version, Gimp 2.8, is an effective alternative for Photoshop. While Photoshop has its own charm, GIMP is available for free and accepts all plugins and tools. The application has taken time to prove its mettle and regular updates have made it one of the best image editors available.

Pros

To begin with, when you load GIMP you will find the UI very similar to Photoshop. The panels for layers, brushes, tools and paths bear almost the resemblance to its paid competitor. You have the ability to tweak the user interface of GIMP just as much as Photoshop. Some of the icons look different so if you are moving to GIMP from Photoshop then it may take some time for you to recognize the different tools.

The user interface has a contemporary look. You have the option to switch to single window mode which was being eagerly awaited for by people who use the tool. The latest update also added a Text Tool which allows you to manipulate text directly on the canvas.

The tools deliver exceptional results and you will find the paintbrush and pencil tool to be very accurate. The smudge tool blends the colors to perfection. You will notice sliders for size, opacity, speed as well as numeric settings. This gives you the ability to make quick adjustments to the tool settings.

It has a lot of help files and online resources for beginners who are learning photo editing or those who seem to be stuck with certain tools. If you are a Photoshop user then you will find quite a few similarities in the UI although Photoshop may offer more in terms of tools.

The application loads quickly and it does not slow down when it comes to loading the images either. The tools are laid out perfectly well making it easy for users to find the tools they need. The availability of various plugins can help you add some more features to the tool making it even better and more fun to use.

Cons

The 3D commands available in Photoshop’s extended version are yet to be seen in GIMP. An addition like this will add to the value of the tool. Someone who wants to use 3D scripts may find help in some plugins that are available for the tool. The adjustment layers featured in Photoshop are still lacking in GIMP. The History feature is also comparatively weaker than that of Photoshop. While you can go through a list of undoes you don’t really have the creative History brush like the one available in Photoshop. The software may have bugs because tools may sometimes stop working without reason.

The fact is that GIMP is not Photoshop so you will not be able to fire it up and think that it will work exactly like Adobe’s popular image editing software. While there are a lot of help files available on GIMP, Adobe still surpasses when it comes to help for its software.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a platform to experiment with image processing, GIMP can be pretty amazing. Many people have enjoyed using GIMP because of its modern and easy to use UI. While it still needs to make a lot of improvements to compete with Photoshop, the one thing that puts it ahead is the fact that it is completely free.

Unlike Photoshop you do not have to shell out a huge amount of money for this image editing tool. This makes it perfect for beginners who are understanding the concepts of image editing. It is easy to try the tool and decide for yourself whether you like it or not. The fact that it is free means that you can install it without worrying about future charges. While it may not be close enough to Photoshop it is a viable alternative to Photoshop for those who are on a budget.

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