Some things in life are free and some things, well, just aren’t. The same goes for photo editing software. Adobe Photoshop is one of the most highly acclaimed photo editing applications—but it comes at a price. If you’re on a budget, a free alternative is the photo editing program, GIMP. But when it comes to GIMP vs. Photoshop is, which one is best? We’re going to do a quick rundown of the two and discuss which creators would garner the most benefits from each. Let’s get to it!
GIMP vs. Photoshop: The Key Differences
- Mac, Windows and Linux Compatible
- Open-source editing software—no enterprise fees to worry about
- Good for small and medium-sized businesses and freelancers
- Offers monthly and annual subscriptions, as well as quote-based prices for businesses
- As of 2018, Adobe has photography plans that range from $9.99/month to $19.99/month and a subscription to the entire Creative Cloud suite for $49.99/month.
- Mac, Windows, Linux, Android, iPhone/iPad and web-based compatible.
- Adobe Photoshop can be purchased as a single app or as part of the Adobe Creative Cloud suite of programs.
- Adobe Photoshop facilitates the integration of digital asset management systems and project collaboration platforms.
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When you’re trying to decide between GIMP and Photoshop, the million dollar question for you may be: is GIMP better than Photoshop? It really boils down to what you, as a creator, need from your program. For beginner photo editors or meme makers, GIMP may have all the features you need. But if you’ve got some design experience under your belt and need more complex tools, then Photoshop will get you that top-notch end product. We’ll talk about some of the unique features of each, but check out the video below for a side-by-side comparison of the program interfaces.
Photoshop and GIMP both house features that edit photo basics such as levels, curves, and masks, but where they draw a divide is the true pixel manipulation that they are capable of. Below are highlights of those unique features we mentioned earlier. Many of the features in Photoshop are also in GIMP but are not nearly as developed.
Photoshop’s Tools and Features
- Four healing tools
- Color & Luminance Range Masking
- Stroke smoothing
- Brush organization
- Various collaboration tools
- Cross-platform compatibility (Lightroom, Adobe Stock, etc.)
- Custom path & width
- Copy-paste layers
- Curvature Pen tool
- CMYK mode
- Non-destructive editing (original layer remains unaltered)
GIMP’s Tools and Features
- Customizable interface
- Can write or change the source code to fit your needs or create new plugins
- Able to read and edit PSD files
- Full suite of painting tools
- Graphic design elements
- Digital retouching
- Hardware support
- Scribus – an open-source page layout program to help publish your digital and printed materials.
- Inkscape – a free and open-source vector graphics editor.
- Swatchbooker – free application for Linux and Windows that allows editing color palettes with support for gradients and patterns
Novice editors and advanced professionals alike, need a dependable program for editing and creating. Both GIMP and Adobe Photoshop can offer that. When it’s time for you to make a decision on which program to choose, don’t harp on, “Is GIMP as good as Photoshop?” Instead, consider what kind of creator you are and choose the program that will function as an asset for yourself or your team. You may even want to explore the differences between Photoshop and Lightroom to make your final decision. Once you’ve picked your program, try out some of our tutorials with stock photos from our library.