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Greg Andonian
The GIMP
on May 8, 2013 at 2:24:15 am

A while back I remember hearing about a free open-source image editing app for the PC called GIMP, which is supposedly comparable to Photoshop in functionality. I never gave it much thought since I had Photoshop already, but due to recent events I thought I'd take a look at it to see if it could be useful in the event that access to my primary image editor is lost.

When I installed it I got a browser plug-in that turns text into ad links and some sort of cloud back-up program along with it. Normally that would have been a serious red flag to me, but in this case I was willing to let it go- because like I said I've heard a lot of good things about this app. And if they aren't charging for it they have to make money somehow, right?

After getting that stuff removed, I went into GIMP to see what it was capable of, and I must say I was pretty amazed. There are a lot of features in it that are on par with Photoshop- It has vector paths, layer masks, transfer modes, sophisticated filters, a clone tool, there is even a healing brush! I even saw one feature that I wish Photoshop had. In one click, you can create a new top layer that is a composite of all the visible layers.

But most importantly, it can open PSD files, and also save to them. I was able to save a PSD from GIMP and open it in Photoshop, then made a change and saved it there and brought it back to GIMP without issue.

I then tested it on other, more complex images I had done and saw there are a few caveats. Layer styles don't show up, and text layers are rasterized when they're brought into GIMP. The biggest gotcha that I found, though, is it can't open files that are done in CMYK color. I do a lot of print-related graphic design for my church, and I've heard that for print it's best to use CMYK. But I've also heard recently that a lot of the reasons for that aren't really an issue anymore, and it's actually fine to use RGB. So I might start doing that.

Overall, I think this looks quite promising. I'd rather use Photoshop, but this thing is pretty amazing- especially considering the price. I know it's not going to fulfill all my needs as well as Photoshop does- but at the very least, it's nice knowing that in the event of a total catastrophe I'll still be able to open PSDs with the layers intact and do SOMETHING with them.

______________________________________________
"Up until here, we still have enough track to stop the locomotive before it plunges into the ravine... But after this windmill it's the future or bust."


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James Mortner
Re: The GIMP
on May 8, 2013 at 10:36:28 am

I use GIMP and another program called inkscape. For the price they work really well! Nice to have an option when I dont need any power user bits.

That said, some of GIMP's ideas and tools I find a bit strange. Inkscape uses PC shortcuts on a mac which is frustrating at first. Still, free software and all that


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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: The GIMP
on May 8, 2013 at 2:05:57 pm

I'm all for using alternative software where I can (I often use ArtRage (http://www.artrage.com/ - Mac and PC) for traditional media looks - but I also receive client materials fairly often in the form of Adobe assets, and, unless I'm working in Adobe software, I can never really be sure that what I'm looking at is what the client intends. I would have to get a flat version from the client as well, for an electronic "color proof", so to speak.

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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Andrew Kimery
Re: The GIMP
on May 8, 2013 at 3:23:20 pm

There is also Pixelmator if you are looking for a possible low-cost Photoshop alternative. It is Mac only though.




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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: The GIMP
on May 8, 2013 at 4:34:18 pm

Thanks Andrew - I'm on the PC, and I've tried GIMP in the past (several years ago - I hope it's improved) and the GUI was incredibly clunky, but it did a whole lot of what Photoshop does.

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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Gary Huff
Re: The GIMP
on May 8, 2013 at 7:22:02 pm

[Joseph W. Bourke] "Thanks Andrew - I'm on the PC, and I've tried GIMP in the past (several years ago - I hope it's improved) and the GUI was incredibly clunky, but it did a whole lot of what Photoshop does."

I actually played with it a few months ago, and its UI is jaw dropping...in a bad way.


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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: The GIMP
on May 8, 2013 at 9:22:35 pm

Then I guess GIMP is still the correct name for it...

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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Shawn Miller
Re: The GIMP
on May 8, 2013 at 4:51:46 pm

[Andrew Kimery] "There is also Pixelmator if you are looking for a possible low-cost Photoshop alternative. It is Mac only though."

And only works with 8 bit files right now. :-(

Shawn



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John-Michael Seng-Wheeler
Re: The GIMP
on May 8, 2013 at 5:52:16 pm

[Greg Andonian] " I even saw one feature that I wish Photoshop had. In one click, you can create a new top layer that is a composite of all the visible layers."

Just so you know, Photoshop does in fact have this, but it's a keyboard shortcut:
Command + Alt + Shift + E

Only weird thing is it places the new layer above whatever layer was selected before, even though it merges all visible layers not just the ones below the currently selected layer. You just have to click the top layer before hitting the shortcut.


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John Davidson
Re: The GIMP
on May 8, 2013 at 8:10:09 pm

This is funny.

If you go to the mac app store, the top featured "Editors' choice" application is Acorn, right across the main banner.
Under the banner is says "With an all-new look and improved performance, this image editor holds its own against the top-of-the-line tools."

Nice.

John Davidson | President / Creative Director | Magic Feather Inc.


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Gary Huff
Re: The GIMP
on May 8, 2013 at 10:02:41 pm

[John Davidson] "If you go to the mac app store, the top featured "Editors' choice" application is Acorn, right across the main banner."

I noticed that too! But I've never heard of Acorn. Anyone have any experience with it?


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John Davidson
Re: The GIMP
on May 8, 2013 at 10:07:46 pm

Not yet, but for a one-time $29, it's kind of a no-brainer. We also have pixelmator which I like but don't love. I think for generic image stuff both are pretty solid. It's a good alternative when you're on a laptop and just need a quick photo/gfx change without having to authorize, de-authorize Photoshop, etc.

John Davidson | President / Creative Director | Magic Feather Inc.


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John Davidson
Re: The GIMP
on May 9, 2013 at 9:16:07 pm

Seriously, tell me this isn't cool.







John Davidson | President / Creative Director | Magic Feather Inc.


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