Friday, September 05, 2014

Tutorial on Gimp vs. Photoshop

Posted by Suhel Sayyad
When I think about Gimp vs. Photoshop, I always come to realize that there is more than meets the eye. Photoshop is popular image editing software for professionals around the world. It has huge community, comprehensive documentation and the best features; one can get from a photo editing software.
Gimp (The GNU Image Manipulation Program) on the other hand, an open source, pretty powerful image editing software that makes the world a good place. I am a huge fan of open source, but this won’t affect the comparison a little bit. The review will be an unbiased review and in the age of Information technology, false information has more chance to propagate than accurate information.
Gimp and Photoshop dominates the online world of Image Editing Software, both offering unique advantage over each other. We are going to discuss their difference, advantage and disadvantage in a linear way, trying to formulate the information in a very clear layman terms.
The software versions used are Gimp 2.8.0 and Photoshop CS6. Let’s see who emerges in the fight of the titans, Gimp vs. Photoshop.

Is Gimp any better than Photoshop?

Initial Cost

Gimp is a powerful open source tool that enables a good alternative to Photoshop. The biggest advantage of using Gimp is that it’s free. This gives lots of breathing space for new designers and developers, when compared to Adobe products, which starts from minimum $700.

Operating System Supported

Linux (an open source operating system) users have only one option when compared to Photoshop and that is Gimp. Adobe has actively denied the request of developers and designers to port their software to Linux but they refuse to acknowledge them.

Gimp vs. Photoshop
Gimp vs. Photoshop

Space and Stability

Hard drive space is not an issue for most of the users right now, but for the sake of proper comparison, Gimp uses 1/20th size of Photoshop hard drive space. This gives an advantage for those who are using age-old hardware and are not upgrading their rigs for some reason or other. On older system, GIMP provides more stability and performs way faster than Photoshop. Gimp also provides portable editions, so that you can put into a thumbnail and can run it on array of different Operating Systems like Windows, Linux, Mac-OS etc.

Open Source Advantage

Gimp is Open Source (Software that are free to modify both in development and production stages) provides the perfect platform for hackers to modify the core and do plugin development which further improves the functionality of GIMP. This is where, Gimp vs. Photoshop gets interesting and Gimp clearly triumphs over Photoshop.  Photoshop is limited by official scripts and make it hard for customization if needed. Gimp on the other hand, makes importing custom image algorithms for your projects easy.

Open Document Format Support

Let’s look into Open Document Format Support. GIMP development team are working on an Open Document Type that will support delivering documents between open platforms, objects, supporting layers etc. On the other hand, there are no plans from Adobe to support Open Document Format. There is a trend in the Industry giants to discard progressing open-source formats and software’s and this provides a simple insight that “Competition is more serious than the welfare of the community.”
 

Plugins Support

Both the software’s are good in features and plugin support. Gimp provides official plugins through http://registry.gimp.org/ . The platform is very useful for advanced users who can share experiences and contribute at the same time.

Frequent Upgrades

Gimp is less updated but overall the updates are held for major releases. The last update was version 2.8. The latest version brings colossal improvements and ultimately bridged the gap between Photoshop and Gimp. With 2.8 releases, Gimp is no more a hobbyist tool and is taken seriously by professionals. Gimp provides a product map for readers to keep an eye on. You can fetch it from here.

Themes

Great themes are provided by the GIMP team. In comparison, Photoshop fails to provide themes for their UI.

Navigation

GIMP sports an exciting and easy to use User Interface. Photoshop on the other hand provides hard but useful navigation tools like Pan Tool, Fick Panning.

Is Photoshop any better than gimp?

Sharing documents

The ratio according to an infographic is 98 % to 2 % but this infographic is highly questionable as the count of GIMP 2.8 downloads have crossed 6.8 million. Still the ratio is very uneven and this round of GIMP vs. Photoshop goes to Photoshop.
Gimp on the other hand can handle .PSD files but with omitted details like smart objects but basic layers, blender modes are supported.

Gimp vs. Photoshop 

Training

Training is an important aspect for any software and Photoshop wins this by miles. Well-structured Courses and tutorials are floating around the web and can be easily accessed and mastered in few weeks.
In comparison, GIMP also provides wealth of tutorials but most of them are not structured and requires a good amount of fiddling. It brings frustration for the learners and makes the learning curve a tad high.

Product Integration (Image & Vector)

Adobe showcases strong inter product integration of Photoshop, illustrator and InDesign. When compared to GIMP, the integration fails badly and there is minimal connection between GIMP, Scribus, Blender and Inkspace.

Gimp vs. Photoshop

Macros

Macros (a shortened instruction for completing a complex task) are commonly used in Photoshop to complete tasks called Actions. On the other hand, Gimps has scripting only that is hard to learn and implement and can make customization tedious and time-consuming.

Colour Picker

Photoshop Colour Picker has more information in a well-represented manner. GIMP fails in this aspect and can improve this feature in next releases.

Non-Destructive Editing

Non-Destructive Editing is a process of editing the image such that the actual pixels are not touched. This is a very important technique when professionals have to do lots of changes in their work. This technique is used by nearly all operations in Photoshop.
Photoshop is above par compared to GIMP in this category, only be concerned by professionals, if they want constant changes in their work.
There are way too many features that can be compared and pitted against. But, the aim of the comparative guide is not exhaustive and more generative.

Conclusion

Photoshop has dominated the market and the open-source has always been there. Despite of the fact, both of them have their respective position and advantage over each other. Weather it is, Photoshop vs. Gimp or Open-Source vs. propriety software, there is no clear cut winner. We must know the difference well to use them on appropriate situations.