Should I use Photoshop or Gimp?

wiseGEEK Writing Contest

From the pool of numerous graphic softwares, Photoshop, and Gimp clearly come to mind. Both are popular image editors, the latter being the free counterpart. Choosing between these two programs, which have similar capabilities depends on three factors, which are cost, resources, and workspace environment.

In the cost arena, Gimp is the clear victor. An open source program Gimp is freely downloadable. Started in 1995, Gimp was created by Spencer Kimball and Peter Mattis, and now supported by volunteers under the GNU license. The much more expensive Adobe Photoshop is owned by Adobe Systems and averages from $550 to $700 in 3rd party outlets. Educational versions still come with a hefty $300 price tag. The "professional" tool, Adobe Photoshop is the most popular Adobe systems product. Due to financial limitations, Gimp may be the only solution as a graphics editor for some people.

Comparing resources for Gimp and Photoshop there are differences in their brush resources, differing support in crucial commercial colorspaces, and Gimp's lack of support for RAW format. If one is a template, signature, or graphic design editor. Brushes are an essential convenience. Which is used to complement one's designs. Gimp is stocked with a solid amount of brushes, useful for simple signatures and layouts, though their brush resource is very small compared to Photoshop's extensive amount. One can find almost any kind of Photoshop brush on popular sites such as deviantart, but it is hard to find unique brushes for the Gimp. One would think you could try using Photoshop brushes for Gimp, but the format of both are completely different. Avid signature makers who need a constant supply of unique brushes may be turned off by the lack of variety that Gimp has. Another difference in Gimp and Photoshop is that Gimp does not support Panatone color space, which is crucial in a commercial printing workspace. Since Panatone must be licensed, it is not supported by Gimp, but it is licensed in Photoshop. Another important factor that Gimp does not support which is significant to professional photographers is RAW format. A highly sought after format that provides high quality output for photographers.

Probably the most important difference in Gimp and Photoshop is the interface. Both of the environments differ greatly, which is why another Gimp program called GIMPshop was made which modeled after Photoshop's interface. Gimp has a steeper learning curve compared to the more user friendly Photoshop which has clear menus and submenus. One stark difference is that in Gimp, when one opens an image, it opens it in a separate window. In Photoshop, the image is conveniently placed in the same window. The tools are also named differently, so one would need to accustom themselves to the different layout of the tools, and their differing names.

For the regular home user, Gimp is more than competent enough to accomplish simple tasks such as teeth whitening, red eye removal, and signature making. Though Photoshop emerges as the overall victor in capabilities, and usability albeit it's steep price. So in conclusion, if you are a beginner who likes to edit home photos, and make simple signatures, Gimp is suitable for you. Though if you are a professional in graphics design, the clear choice would be Photoshop.

submitted by Carl Estep