Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.
~ Henry David Thoreau
I’ve used both Gimp and Photoshop for many applications though primarily I used them for simple graphics. I have used them for headers for some of my sites. Not this one. And I have used them both for creating labels and logos that I have then had printed out to be placed on real products that I have sold.
So how does Gimp compare to Photoshop? Well, if you are a beginning to intermediate user then I think this guide will help you.
However if you are a power user then you already know the answer. Gimp is a free image editing software program and Photoshop is a paid image editing software and an expensive one at that. Last I checked, the retail price was around $699 for Photoshop CS5.
So, in a nutshell, Photoshop is way more powerful and robust and offers tons of other features that you won’t get on Gimp. But for the beginner or intermediate user the question is will Gimp satisfy my needs over Photoshop. Let’s dig in a little deeper.
What are some of the things that Photoshop can do that Gimp can do?
- Automatic lens correction
- Lens correction filter improvements
- Straighten image tool
- Gradient tool
- Black and white conversion
- Color correction
- Noise removal
- Additive grain
- Selection and mask refining tools
- Image sharpening
Those are some of the more common shared tools and applications that both Gimp and Photoshop can both do. For me, there is more than enough ability in Gimp for all the photo editing and image manipulation that I want to do or plan on doing. But for some users there are drawbacks to the abilities that Gimp has and where Photoshop really shines.
What tools Photoshop has that Gimp lacks
- 16 bit per channel support
- Native CMYK support
- Layer groups
These are a just a few of the more common complaints that folks have about what Gimp lacks as compared to Photoshop. But 16 bit as well as native CMYK support and layer groups are in the works for upcoming releases.
I’ve been on some photography forums and folks are generally very happy with Gimp as a photo retouching and editing tool. If you are looking for something much more robust then perhaps you would do well to invest almost a grand into Photoshop CSX version. If you are a 6 figure per year award winning photographer then perhaps you can argue your need for a robust and over the top image editing program like Photoshop.
But here at OPOB we’re about living an authentic life where frugality as well as stewardship and living lightly are important aspects. As such, I can’t really recommend Photoshop to most of you as it will be just way too much.
If you need to get to the convenience store across the street then walking is the appropriate mode of transportation. It would be senseless to take your big pick up truck.
One of the most common complaints however with folks who I’ve met on some of these photo forums is that they don’t like the interface as much. Of course, when you’re used to working with a certain software program and you change over to a different one then it is hard to adjust. Just like if you’ve used PCs all your life and you move over to Macs.
But that’s cosmetic rather than substantial complaints. The more honest photographers when comparing Photoshop to Gimp find very little difference that is important for their needs.
And don’t forget a more complicated program is more difficult or complicated to use. Why complicate your life unnecessarily? For you to master Photoshop CSX – or whichever is the current version – will take you months of your time and you’ll likely end up using maybe 10% of its ability. That is a lot of time you could have spent taking more photographs or buying more equipment.
$700 for Photoshop is not cheap. That’s a lot of cool photography gadgetry you could buy.
Listen, simplify your life. We as humans tend to over complicate our lives unnecessarily. And the more complicated our lives become the more we fritter away our precious time on incidentals when we should be using it to create an abundant life rich in experience and memories.
Gimp will be fine for 99% of your image and photo editing needs. It’s free, it is current and it allows you to do what you need without focusing on the unnecessary extraneous extras that eat away at our time.