Photoshop vs. Gimp

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There are many free as well as moderate and expensive photo editing programs. Most of the time, it is difficult to choose a right program. Choosing a photo editing program depends on the demands and necessity of a user. Photoshop is the leader in photo editing and designing.

There are many other programs comparable to Photoshop. GIMP is one of the most popular photo editing programs which can be compared to Photoshop. GIMP is free but meets necessity of professional as well as home users’ demands for photo editing and designing. Proponents of GIMP have often reviewed the program as a free replacement for Adobe Photoshop. However, opponents say, even though GIMP has some Photoshop like features, it not self-sufficient program for professional work because it lacks high-end tools.

Adobe Photoshop

Thomos Knoll and John Knoll created Photoshop, one of the widely used photo editing programs. Photoshop is raster and vector graphics editor. Adobe Systems Inc. bought Photoshop in 1995. Adobe incorporated Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign and Acrobat in one program and as released as Adobe Creative Suite in 2003. A year later, Adobe Creative Suite became Photoshop CS. Adobe released Photoshop CS3 in 2007. Since then, Adobe has released Photoshop Lightroom, different versions of Photoshop Creative Suit, Photoshop Elements etc. to meet the demands of different kinds of users. Photoshop is one of the most pirated computer programs.

Photoshop Lightroom is basically designed to meet the necessity of photographers.

Photoshop Creative Suit (CS3 and above) is for professional graphic designers, digital artists and photographers.

Photoshop Elements is a photo editing program designed for home users and hobbyists.

Screenshot of GIMP
Screenshot of GIMP | Source

GIMP: GNU Image Manipulation Program

GNU Image Manipulation Program, or GIMP in short, is a raster graphics editor. It was created by Spencer Kimball and Peter Mattis, and developed by the GIMP Development Team. It was released in 1996. GIMP runs in Linux, Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows Operating Systems, among many others. GIMP is a free and open source software for digital photo editing and designing.

GIMP allows you to do image manipulation in numbers of ways such as adjusting light and color, drawing, cropping and resizing images, creating photo-montage and animated GIF images, converting images in different formats among many others. GIMP is a powerful program for image retouching and web designs.

There are two GIMP formats, single window format and multiple window format. In the multiple window format, workspace, or photo editing window, is in the centre; layers, brush, pattern, and gradient palette are on the right window, and toolbox and tool options are on the left. You can import and export many image formats in GIMP including PSD (Photoshop files) and Corel Paint Shop Pro images. However, the native file format in GIMP is XCF. GIMP allows you to import Adobe PDF and camera RAW, but you cannot save to these formats.

GIMP is also available on Android device from the Google Play Store.


Photo Restoration

Old photo restored in GIMP
Old photo restored in GIMP | Source
Old photo restored in Photoshop
Old photo restored in Photoshop | Source

How to Choose Between Photoshop and GIMP


You will need a powerful photo editing program for image manipulation, digital art or graphic design. Before you begin to work on Photoshop or GIMP, download GIMP and a trial version of Photoshop. Navigate on these programs, and determine which works better for you. Here are few tips to help you choose between Photoshop and GIMP.

A home user or hobbyist may never need Photoshop. Photoshop CS (version 3 and above) is designed for professional photographers and designers. Novice user will probably never need the complicated tools in Photoshop.

If you want to use your work for the web or create simple designs, GIMP is perfect. However, if you are working for print, you will need CMYK color mode. Photoshop has advance CMYK color support, GIMP has only few CMYK support. If you want the full CMYK support, you have to download it separately.

GIMP is free, Photoshop cost money. You will have to pay approximately $700 for Photoshop. If you are not a professional, why to pay a huge amount for a program, when most of your work can be done in a free program? Free means there are some drawbacks, Photoshop works faster, and has incomparable options for editing and designing.

Photoshop comes with different editions and versions. Photoshop Lightroom is basically for photographers, Photoshop Creative Suit is for professional designers, and Photoshop Elements is for home users and hobbyist. You can create amazing effects with few clicks on Photoshop Elements and it cost around $80. You can choose the right program according to your necessity.

Since Photoshop is a paid program, Adobe offers technical support, whereas GIMP, open source software, has no particular support system. You have to depend entirely on random web pages.

Photo Enhancement

 RAW image
RAW image | Source
Photo enhanced in Photoshop
Photo enhanced in Photoshop | Source
Photo enhanced in GIMP
Photo enhanced in GIMP | Source

Difference Between Photoshop and GIMP

You have to pay $700 upward for a single user license for Photoshop. If you work on Photoshop, you have to carry your machine wherever you go. However, GIMP is free.

GIMP takes small hard disk space, which means it is better option for notebooks, netbooks and tablets.

When Photoshop upgrades, you need to pay for the advance edition, however, GIMP is absolutely free to install, use, and upgrade.

GIMP has a portable version. You can save the program in a flash drive and use it in any computer.

Basic photo editing tools in Photoshop and GIMP are same, however, Photoshop comes with advance features. Home users may never use many tools in Photoshop, but designers will day and night reap the benefits of advance features of Photoshop.

GIMP has limited options for image manipulation, however, you can tailor the program according to your necessity. You can use additional plugins and make GIMP work better.

Even though you can find third party free plugins and presets for Photoshop, you have to pay for most of the Photoshop plugins. Importantly, Photoshop could crash, when you install too many plugins and presets.

GIMP can support only 8 bit images, however, Photoshop supports 8, 16 and 32 bit images. Having said that many users will never work with high bit images.

GIMP works as good as Photoshop for printers that use RGB drivers.

Photoshop is a large program, you need more than 1GB hard disk space for installation, however, GIMP requires less space. Photoshop needs at least 1GB RAM, where as GIMP will run smoothly on 128 MB RAM.

Photoshop runs only on Windows and Mac, where as GIMP runs as well as on Linux.

Which is better?

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Verdict: Photoshop vs. Gimp


Photoshop and GIMP both are good in their own way. If you are a beginner, hobbyist or home user why to pay heavy price for Photoshop, get GIMP. It is free and can satisfy most of your curiosity for editing and designing. However, if you are going little farther from amateurish work, get Photoshop.

If you can pay the price, and work for design industry, Photoshop is the winner. However, if Photoshop price is beyond your reach, download and install free Photoshop called GIMP. You can install third party plugins and tailor GIMP according to your necessity.

If you want a photo editing program, and the price is an issue, don’t use pirated Photoshop, go for a free program such as GIMP.

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Comments 18 comments

kschimmel profile image

kschimmel 3 years ago from North Carolina, USA

I just downloaded GIMP and am eager to learn what I can do.


midget38 profile image

midget38 3 years ago from Singapore

Vinaya, I am an interested photographer and want to take it up a notch. For now, while I am still getting to know more about photography, I would use a less expensive program. I use Pixemelator for my Macbook Air, and it does a relatively good job of photo editing. I would like to use photoshop more in future! A great hub!


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 3 years ago from Nepal Author

@Vellur, Gimp is undoubtedly the best free photo editing program. Thanks for your comment.

@tobusiness, I'm glad you found this useful. Thanks for reading and commenting.


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

A very informative hub. You've given us a lot of very useful tips, I'm definitely saving and sharing. Many thanks.


Vellur profile image

Vellur 3 years ago from Dubai

Never knew about Gimp, thanks for sharing. Very useful and informative. Great hub, voted up.


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 3 years ago from Nepal Author

Tom

Tebo

Thank you guys for your comments.


tebo profile image

tebo 3 years ago from New Zealand

I haven't used either of these programs but have often wondered about them. Thanks for pointing out all the pros and cons of both products. For my first attempt at photo editing I will definitely try the free GIMP to see how I go. Great hub.


Tom Schumacher profile image

Tom Schumacher 3 years ago from Huntington Beach, CA

Nice hub. Photoshop, however, is king. : )


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 3 years ago from Nepal Author

@Billy, I have found many people are confused about choosing a right program for editing and designs. I hope this helps. Thanks for reading.

@Suzettenaples, choosing the right program depends on what you want to do. Thanks for your comment.

@Peggy,even though Photoshop is a paid program, there are many options available. Photoshop Elements is relatively cheap, but better than many photo editing programs.

@Rusticliving, GIMP has been around since 1996, and is the best free photo editing and designing program.

@Ctlitgirl, I have seen amazing artworks you have created on GIMP.

@Eiddwen, thanks for always following my works.

@Tillsontitan, true, when we don't have high ambition to become a professional designer, there is no need to spend $700 for a program when a free program is available.

@Curiad, that's true, however, GIMP proponents say that the program can also work better for professionals.

@Ruchira, there are lots of online photo editors, which ease our works. I have used BeFunky, it is amazing.


Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 3 years ago from United States

Great tips and putting those two side by side helped see me the difference...thanks Vinaya.

I had been using BeFunky for my pix/collages.

Might give Gimp a try.


Curiad profile image

Curiad 3 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

Good review and comparison Vinaya. I agree that GIMP can be used by hobbits and amateur artists and photographers, but for any serious work Photoshop wins hands down.

Mark


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York

I like your comparisons and your more or less saying the average person could do well with GIMP and save themselves a lot of money not having to buy Photoshop! You have certainly helped a lot of folks with this one.

Voted up, useful, and interesting. I wanted to share but the button is missing.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

These hubs of yours are priceless Vinaya !!As you know I have a very new interest in photgraphy so these are brilliant.

Voted up and saved.

Eddy.


cclitgirl profile image

cclitgirl 3 years ago from Western NC

Awesome write-up about the two programs. I consider myself a photographer, but I still use GIMP. Maybe one day I'll upgrade to Photoshop for the more advanced functions. Thanks for sharing!


Rusticliving profile image

Rusticliving 3 years ago from California

Hello Vinaya~ This is about the third time I have heard anything about GIMP. I owned and ran a monthly paper and used Photoshop for the CMYK alone. I really love the program but can see why GIMP would be perfect for those who are designing for the web and don't want to invest a lot of money. But I'll tell ya, your article is perfect fort hose who are trying to make that decision. Very well done my friend. Voted up+ UAI and shared! ---Lisa


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

Great comparison in what Gimp can do with regard to photo manipulation verses Photoshop. I have the less expensive Photoshop that I purchased and have yet to take the time to figure out how to use it. Someday I intend to sit down...open two or more windows and use your many tutorials on just how to use Photoshop and see if this old dog can learn new tricks. Ha! Up and useful votes!


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 3 years ago from Taos, NM

Well, Adobe photoshop is the Cadillac of programs. I have Gimp and haven't even been able to navigate that. I need a tutorial, but I'll tell you this hub certainly helps. Great information here and your examples are so helpful. I choose Adobe photoshop as the best and it certainly shows up in your examples.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

I will bookmark this and come back to it when I have the time to really absorb your helpful instructions. Thank you for writing things like this that help those of us who are not very good at technology.

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