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Free Photo Editing Software: GIMP

Updated on November 14, 2015

A free alternative to Photopshop

There are countless of free programs for photo editing. Of course, it is said that the best program out there is Photoshop, but you have to pay for that, and it doesn't come to cheaply either. So unless you plan on investing in a really good or require it in your work, and can afford it, you should. What happens if you feel that it is not worth to spend that amount or money or cannot afford to purchase such a photo editing program?

The best alternative program that works just as well as Photoshop has to be GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program), which is free. GIMP is often a replacement for Photoshop, and is not meant to be a replica product of Photoshop. It was in fact originally develop for Linux systems, and not for systems running on Windows. It has since been made compatible for systems running Windows.

There is a number of file formats that can opened by GIMP; its native format is XCF (named after the computer facility where GIMP started. It has read and write support for popular and common image formats, the same as Photoshop, like BMP. JPEG, PNG, GIF and TIFF, including other file formats of other applications such as Corel Paint Shop Pro images, Autodesk flic animations, and Adobe Photoshop Documents.

GIMP can also import PDF documents and the raw image formats of the many digital cameras; however it is unable to save these formats. Layered image files and HTML or C programming codes can also be exported using GIMP, but it cannot read these formats. If you look past what GIMP cannot do, it is already a pretty comprehensive photo editing software.

Since its debut in 1996, GIMP has since grown into a more full-fledged photo editing software comparable to Photoshop that is free. Of course, some users may argue that you pay for what you get, with Photoshop having the support for Pantone color matching system for color models other than RGB(A) and grayscale, like CMYK and CIE XYZ, and features extensive gamma correction. While GIMP, as with other open source applications available, does not support Pantone numbers for spot colors due of legal issues. However, even though GIMP and Photoshop differ in the way their color management features, GIMP is still a wonderful free program to edit photos and images.

GIMP has a very useful help section to help get new users started on photo editing, and can even use it to create art. If you have used editing photo programs before, picking up GIMP should be relatively easy, once you get past the difference.

Overall, GIMP is an excellent free photo editing program, which is more powerful than other similar free programs like Picassa or VuePrint.


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    • Karen N profile image

      Karen N 

      10 years ago from United States

      Sounds interesting, I'll have to check it out.

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