GIMP and Photoshop are two of the oldest and best-known raster graphics and photo editing software available. Both programs have a huge following, excellent support, and have been at the forefront of graphics editing for many years. But as for GIMP vs Photoshop, which is the better option? Is there a clear choice between these two behemoths of photo editing?
In this article we look at exactly that and see how these two image editors compare with each other. Before making a choice, you should consider what you want to use the photo editing software for. Do you simply enjoy creating graphics and want a piece of software to have fun with? Or do you require graphics editing for a business venture such as web design, photo editing, or graphic design? Having this in mind and considering the below will help you choose easier.
GIMP vs Photoshop: Price and availability
When looking at software, price is obviously a main consideration for most people. Generally, software is not cheap. Also, in recent years, many software providers have moved from traditional one-off purchases, to monthly subscription fees – many people do not want to commit to a monthly plan for something like software.
In this category, GIMP photo editor is the clear winner as it is often referred to as free Photoshop. GIMP is an open source program and is completely free photo editor. Anyone can download this software and use it for free permanently. It can be used on Windows, MAC, and Linux devices, is relatively easy to acquire and access and is a great free Photoshop alternative.
In contrast, Photoshop picture editor requires a monthly subscription. The basic subscription available is approximately $9.99 p/month – this includes Photoshop, Lightroom, and limited cloud storage. If you don’t mind the monthly cost, we feel this is a pretty good deal as you get access to two fantastic programs, and cloud storage so you can access your images and files from anywhere.
GIMP vs Photoshop: User Interface
The user interface is an important aspect of photo editing software. Ideally, these programs should have an un-cluttered interface in which the tools are readily accessible. Also, there should be a degree of customization so you can tailor the interface to your needs.
GIMP software has a relatively streamlined interface with tools that are in a logical position. This free photo editor does look a little outdated and basic compared to Photoshop, however. Also, some of the features and tools may be a little difficult to find.
In contrast, Photoshop has always looked fantastic. It follows a relatively industry standard layout with a main toolbar on the left-hand side, and a host of easily accessible features. You can also customize the user interface and add and remove modules and tools depending on if you use them or not. We also feel that Adobe Photoshop looks that little bit cleaner, more modern, and well-designed.
GIMP vs Photoshop: Features
The actual features of the photo editing software is also important. Ideally, you want a comprehensive set of basic features, but also access to advanced graphics creating tools if you need them. The support of the most popular formats like PNG and JPG is a must as well.
GIMP has a brilliant set of basic graphics tools and it also has a basic set of photo editing tools too. You can easily create beautiful graphics or improve RAW images to a decent standard. In terms of advanced features, the free photo editor does not have as much to offer as Photoshop, however.
Photoshop is the industry standard for graphics editing and has an amazing set of tools and features. You can use it to do virtually anything. This includes an excellent brush management system in which you can create your own brushes and use textures as brushes too. Photoshop also comes with the Camera RAW plugin which can be used to edit RAW images in a similar manner to Lightroom.
GIMP vs Photoshop: Plugins
Plugins are additional programs and widgets that you can install and use inside the graphics programs. Third-party software developers create plugins to extend the usability of this software.
Photoshop is the better choice regarding plugins. This picture editor has much wider support from a greater range of developers and has a huge library of plugins. This lets you greatly increase the usability of an already impressive program. You can find plugins for things like brushes, color palettes, file management and more.
In contrast, GIMP software does not have the same level of plugin support. This is because it is open source and there is not as much profit involved so developers are not as interested.
GIMP vs Photoshop: Usability
Finally, basic usability is also important. How easy is the image editor to use? Can you easily understand the different tools and features? Are the features and tools easy to find? Can you customize things and tailor them to your needs?
GIMP is a usable program. It has a relatively simple layout that beginners should not find overwhelming. Also, most of the basic tools are relatively easy to access and in logical locations.
Photoshop is also relatively easy to use. Its tools are industry standard. However, as Photoshop has more to offer, beginners could find it a little overwhelming to use. In addition to this, some of the features may not be immediately clear in their function. However, Photoshop does have excellent support and there is a huge range of tutorials available.
GIMP vs Photoshop: Which is the Better Software?
As you can see, both Photoshop and GIMP photo editor have their advantages and disadvantages. At face value GIMP is free and open source and therefore accessible to anyone. There are no one-off or monthly costs, and you can download it on Windows, Linux, and Mac OSs. This makes it the better option if you cannot afford a monthly subscription to Adobe Photoshop.
Additionally, GIMP is a well-rounded free photo editor that is easy to use and has a great set of features. However, we feel that Adobe Photoshop is the better option for those who need a graphics editing program for business usage.
If you need photo editing tools, or professional software for things like website graphics, Photoshop just has that little bit more. It has a greater set of features and is the better-polished product overall. Plus, if you subscribe to the basic Photoshop package, you also gain access to Adobe’s cloud storage, and the fantastic post-processing program Adobe Lightroom.