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Thread: How does GIMP compare to Photoshop?

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    neverhood311's Avatar
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    How does GIMP compare to Photoshop?

    So right now I'm using Photoshop CS2 on my Windows 7 laptop, but I'd like to dual-boot and put a Linux operation system on there, too. I don't know if there's a Linux version of Photoshop and if there is, I don't really feel like buying it. Does anyone use GIMP that has also used Photoshop? Is it comparable? Can it be a valid substitute for Photoshop?

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    Re: How does GIMP compare to Photoshop?

    GIMP is free. It has most of the features that PS has, minus the Adobe copyrighted tools. I have used both and don't miss any of the Adobe only tools.

    I'm sure someone else will have more to contribute or a different opinion.

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    Black Pearl's Avatar
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    Re: How does GIMP compare to Photoshop?

    I ran Gimp on my netbook when I bought it a couple of years ago and it did everything I wanted from an image editing program, was nice and light and ran quickly - I couldn't fault it........except........I am so used to Photoshop I just couldn't get my head round another work flow. I think this more than anything will influence what you use.

    Try Gimp, its free and well worth a shot. If you can easily switch between work flows then you will love it, if you have spent time and learned PS then it might just drive you mental.

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: How does GIMP compare to Photoshop?

    It may not worry you Justin, but isn't GIMP 8 bit only?

    Mind you, so is Elements when you start doing clever stuff, but Photoshop CS is 16 bit capable throughout.

    I certainly haven't noticed it as being an issue on the GIMP pictures we have here from the likes of Donald, so perhaps I'm worrying about nothing.

    Given it's free, I'd definitely give it a go and see how you get on

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: How does GIMP compare to Photoshop?

    Justin

    I've never used Photoshop, so can't compare.

    A strong sense I get, however, is that PS can do a lot of things in shorthand; i.e. what takes a number of steps in GIMP can be achieved in PS with one or two actions.

    I am very happy with the quality of my outputs with the GIMP and others on here seem to think my work is of reasonable quality.

    The lovely thing about never having used PS is that, despite reading the news items and looking at a couple of articles about the wonderful whizz-bang things it can do, I don't know what I don't know (if you see what I mean) and it doesn't bother me. If I had used those tools and had to give them up to go back to the more 'long-hand' approach necessary with the GIMP, I might be very frustrated. But I'm not!

  6. #6

    Re: How does GIMP compare to Photoshop?

    Justin
    if cash is not an issue go for photoshop ( not elements) otherwise Gimp is a good program

    Donald
    I don't know if you have looked at UFRaw it is integrated with Gimp

    John

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: How does GIMP compare to Photoshop?

    John

    I did go the UF Raw route for a while, but wasn't satisfied with what I was able to do. So, at some point during 2010, I sold my soul and went commercial, buying DxO Optics Pro.

    So, I'm doing all my Raw processing in that and taking the saved TIFF into the GIMP, which I immediately save as an 'xcf and go from there.

    I have to confess, I'd never give up DxO now. Others, I know, don't agree, but I just find it fits, wonderfully, the way I work.
    Last edited by Donald; 4th February 2011 at 11:20 AM.

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    Re: How does GIMP compare to Photoshop?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    It may not worry you Justin, but isn't GIMP 8 bit only?

    Mind you, so is Elements when you start doing clever stuff, but Photoshop CS is 16 bit capable throughout.

    I certainly haven't noticed it as being an issue on the GIMP pictures we have here from the likes of Donald, so perhaps I'm worrying about nothing.

    Given it's free, I'd definitely give it a go and see how you get on
    Not all elements is 8 bit; resizing, cropping and more importantly running plug-ins are 16 bit, so it is possible like I do to process a file beginning to end in 16 bit PS using 16 bit plug-ins.
    My software costs around 150 because I bought PSE7 and stuck Topaz and Helicon in it. I think CS costs a little more.
    I've got Gimp but never use it and don't know anybody who buys photoshop who does. I also had a dual booting system but it never worked since Linux requires large downloads and I don't have a telephone line; couldn't get the dongle to be recognised and hence the nVidia needed to drive the monitor, although some claimed success in forums by typing longhand details in small print inside the dongle but I'm dyslexic and can never type 30 digit long numbers.

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    Re: How does GIMP compare to Photoshop?

    GIMP differs from Photoshop for the lack of 16 bit images handling and effects layers.
    In my Linux workstation those missing feature in GIMP are not a big problem. When I need to work with more than 8 bit per component - which is more critical than effects layers - I use RawTherapee or Photivo (for RAW developing), or Fotoxx for general purpose editing.

    If you start using Linux for photo editing you have to expect to have a workflow which runs over more than one application. The main issue of this is learning the use of different interfaces (again this is not a big problem for me, but others can complain).

    Bye
    Jenner

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    Re: How does GIMP compare to Photoshop?

    I am currently running GIMP on a Linux machine. There is no such thing as a PS version for Linux, though you could try running it in wine.

    The work flow when using GIMP is not significantly different from using photoshop (zero difference other than the menu layout). When you install GIMP, if it isn't already installed, I suggest also installing the gimp-help package as this contains the full help package for GIMP. If you have any problems feel free to PM me with any GIMP questions.

    I also have to ask which distribution of Linux you are trying? I personally recommend the main edition of Linux Mint, or if you prefer the glassy look of Windows 7 try the KDE version of Mint www.linuxmint.com . I recommend these above Ubuntu because they are more stable, and the panels are laid out similar to Windows.

    If you have any questions about GIMP or Linux I can attempt to answer them, or point you to where to find answers.

    Also for everyone 16 bit support is planned for addition in v2.10 a unified interface is coming soon in v2.8 arbitrary transform stretch tool planned for v2.10 hdr tools also planned for 2.10. After testing 2.7.2 I am looking forward to using the new brush dynamics tools in 2.8 (odd version numbers are used for testing versions and even for stable).

    On another side note wacom tablets work well with Linux and GIMP.

    -Sonic

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    Re: How does GIMP compare to Photoshop?

    G'day Donald,
    There I was thinking that I must be the only Gimp user to find UF Raw unsatisfactory. Last year I too went commercial and bought Bibble, which I use as a converter. I run Linux and Windows boxes and Bibble is, like Gimp, cross platform. It all works for me. I do have PS, but an old 6.1 version which runs on the windows box. It runs well under Wine too.

  12. #12

    Re: How does GIMP compare to Photoshop?

    I run GIMP and have the same views as Donald. I also use UFRaw which I find fine for my purposes. I can also double endorse Wacom compatibility with GIMP (on OS 10.6). I am curious about this 8 bit thing. I have never seen it mentioned in any critique as far as I can remember. Are it's benefits discernable at the viewer end?

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    Re: How does GIMP compare to Photoshop?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wirefox View Post
    I run GIMP and have the same views as Donald. I also use UFRaw which I find fine for my purposes. I can also double endorse Wacom compatibility with GIMP (on OS 10.6). I am curious about this 8 bit thing. I have never seen it mentioned in any critique as far as I can remember. Are it's benefits discernable at the viewer end?
    Agreed Wacom tablets seem to work with anything, real .plug and play. rather than the often seen 'plug and pray'. As for GIMP only being 8 bit I'm sure I read a couple of years back that it was going to go 16bit, surprised from what I've read above that it hasn't yet.
    If I understand your question correctly there is a big difference between 8 and 16 bits. For example push the contrast in an 8 bit image and look at the histogram. If it has vertical blank bars in it then these are tonal values that have been 'lost' by the contrast adjustment. From the view end this results in posterization or seperated tones which aren't pretty. A 16 bit image will not posterize in this way. That was the question you were asking ... a combination of the hour and some local wine have mushed the thinking processes a lottle.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: How does GIMP compare to Photoshop?

    Paul

    I've just sunk a bottle of Louis Jadot Macon, 2009 so know what you mean!!

    Never having been exposed to using something that operated in 16-bit, I'm naive so far as appreciating the advantages that everyone writes about. I am quite sure they exist and that is not my point. My point is, that I have survived thus far with the GIMP as is and seem to be able to produce images of reasonable quality.

    GIMP 2.8, with 16 bit, has now been awaited for some time and we are told it is on the way. But, because I don't know what I don't know, then I'm not sure how it will contribute to making me the photographer that I've always wanted to be. Until then, I'll struggle along!

  15. #15

    Re: How does GIMP compare to Photoshop?

    Paul,

    Thanks for the explanation. I hear what you are saying but like Donald I have yet to see an image that is suffering from 16 bit deficiency. Poorly processed images yes but not an end product that is obviously suffering from 8 bit processing. It may be to do with the fact that I process by eye rather than by digital metrics. I know what the comb bars on the curve can indicate but I can see the effect on the image way before that so I back off. I suppose I really need to see this 'big difference' in 2 images that are processed identically in all other respects except one using 8 bit processing and one using 16 bit processing. I am probably missing the point big time here but what I cannot discern in the end result would certainly not induce me to spend hundreds of pounds on CS5

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    Re: How does GIMP compare to Photoshop?

    Agreed, Steve (not that I have much choice under Linux )

    What helps in preventing problems in the Gimp is the raw development, which is (afaik) done in 16 bits. There you can push contrast quite a bit without visible posterisation.

    And of course, we would never produce raws that require such a big correction in contrast and EV

    So, in practice the 8-bit of the Gimp are enough; especially with the possibility to use GEGL. That uses floating point, avoiding rounding errors, that conceivably could cause artifacts in complex multilayer images.

    Remco.

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    Sonic4Spuds's Avatar
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    Re: How does GIMP compare to Photoshop?

    16 bit does not alleviate the banding problems of 8 or lower bit depth, because the image is processed in the same way. The difference is that 16 bit color can store orders of magnitude more colors than current displays can output (8 bit can't even be fully displayed on any current display). The only difference is that the banding problems aren't visible on a screen or printer. That said, there is also no way to use a 16 bit file except to store hdr images for later mapping into 8 bit space for printing or display.

    Donald, sorry to disappoint you but 16 bit won't come until 2.10, probably a year away. 2.8 will be coming out in the near future (held up in part by GTK+ issues with tablets).

    -Sonic

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: How does GIMP compare to Photoshop?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sonic4Spuds View Post
    Donald, sorry to disappoint you but 16 bit won't come until 2.10, probably a year away. 2.8 will be coming out in the near future (held up in part by GTK+ issues with tablets).
    Oh, b.........!

    Oh well, as I said I don't know what I'm missing, so I'll just keep plugging along with the steam-driven version that I've got!

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: How does GIMP compare to Photoshop?

    Yeah, as I said, I haven't seen 8-bit be a problem in Donald's (or Steve's) work, probably for the reasons Will gives.

    I have seen it occasionally when I have been working on a jpg in Elements, downloaed from here, that had severe exposure/contrast problems I tried to correct - something I suspect that won't be much improved by me working on it in CS5, even if I did bother to convert it to 16-bit, in future

    I think it's like ABS on cars, I don't have it, but think I'm a good enough driver to either avoid needing it and/or could cadence brake in an emergency - but it would be re-assuring if I did have it Even though it does nothing 99.9% of the time.

    Cheers,

  20. #20
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    Re: How does GIMP compare to Photoshop?

    Hard to say how both programs compare to each other.

    I use PS already for years. In the very past I once downloaded one of the first GIMP versions to test.
    But because I'm very used to the way PS works it's difficult to switch your mind and way of working, so I gave up and stick to PS.

    If you are not very used to a other PP program it's for sure worth to test. Lots of people are very happy with GIMP and save quite some money as well.

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