GIMP

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What is GIMP?

GIMP is an acronym for the GNU Image Manipulation Program. The GNU portion of the name refers to the license GIMP uses, being the GNU GPL v3+ license. To the point, GIMP is a free and open-source raster image editing program, similar to Adobe Photoshop®. Gimp offers many of the same professional features of Photoshop© such as layers, plugins, filters, etc.

Why Use GIMP?

Gimp can be used to touch up photos and make both simple or complex edits to them. For example, it's a great product to enhance photos that are either over or under exposed, to help correct colors, to remove unwanted portions of an image, and to fix photo defects (dust/scratches), etc. GIMP can also be used to create free-form graphics (such as this website's logo).

GIMP Screenshot in Single-Window Mode on Windows 10
GIMP Screenshot in Single-Window Mode running on Microsoft Windows 10©

What Limits Does GIMP Have?

The biggest limitation I can see with GIMP, is that it has a fairly steep learning curve. It's not the most intuitive program in the world to use. That's true of many professional level productivity tools, however, and shouldn't deter anyone from giving it a spin, especially since it costs nothing. There are certainly less complex image tools with much shallower learning curves, like Paint.net or Microsoft Windows' own Paint. But, they are much less powerful and far less full-featured.

Secondly, GIMP may present some challenges to users already used to using Adobe Photoshop©, simply due to interface differences. But, the similarities are such that most people acclimate rather quickly.

Lastly, the update process for GIMP often seems rather slow. A version a GIMP can stick around for a very long. That being said, if it works, don't fix it. Pointless updates that don't provide significant enhancements, quash important bugs, or improve interface aren't necessarily always a good thing.

What are the Benefits to Using GIMP?

The biggest benefit for using GIMP is that it is absolutely free, vs. Adobe Photoshop's $30.00/month standard subscription. That cost difference can be significant over time. If you chose to try GIMP, make sure you don't pay for it, as it costs nothing. There are versions for Linux/Unix, Windows, and Mac OS X, meaning, nearly everyone has access to it. Download it today at the official GIMP website at gimp.org.


Full Disclosure: I am not affiliated with the GIMP project in any way besides having reported some bugs in the past. I do use GIMP as my main photo editor, however.