It’s about FRIGGEN time!

MS and Washington State University are supposedly making a replacement for the laughably bad and nearly useless MS Paintbrush that’s been in Windows and nearly unchanged since like Windows 3.0.  Hopefully they will actually put it in shipping Windows and put Paintbrush where it belongs, in the recycle bin.

Even above that, it’s open source.  Maybe some linux fans could make a Mono version and actually have an usable app to replace the Gimp.

  • Paul

    In my opinion, the latest GIMP for Windows has become extremely usable. Also, there is GIMPShop which re-arranges the GIMP interface to mimic Photoshop as closely as possible.

  • kongorilla
    Don’t knock the GIMP

    Gregg, have you tried the GIMP recently? I tried it a few years ago and didn’t think much of it. But I gave it another chance starting three months ago, and it’s amazingly powerful. I use it frequently now. The only problem I’ve had so far is its alpha channel interface, which (because I’m used to the way photoshop does it) I have to re-learn everytime I need an alpha.

    Also, it doesn’t support CYMK, which I’m unfortunately required to use every now and then.

    On the other hand, if MS and WSU come up with something better, I’m all for it.

  • The Gimp still doesn’t have the features I use most in Photoshop AFAIK.

    #1) The Gimp doesn’t have layer effects.  Layer effects let you do stuff in a couple of clicks that would take many steps in the Gimp.  They’ve been in Photoshop since at least version 5.  In Photoshop they are applied in realtime and are not part of actual image data until you export so you can adjust them indefinately.  (dropshadows, glows, bevels, textures, gradients)

    #2) The Gimp doesn’t have Solid and Gradient Layers.  Photoshop layers that are based on a gradient or single color.  They are effectively generated on the fly at all times and can have their parameters edited over and over.  AFAIK the gimp only has pixel and text based layers

    #3) The Gimp doesn’t have adjustment based layers.  In Photoshop you can apply an adjustment like Hue or Levels as a layer.  In other words the actual pixels in your image are not changed, only through the layer do they appear changed.  You can add a layer mask if you only want specific areas to be effected.  This allows you apply all kinds of effects non destructively. (note: I’m not talking about the layer’s “mode”)

    #4) The Gimp doesn’t have vector shape based layers.  Together with Layer Effects this is one of Photoshop’s most important features.

    #5) The Gimp doesn’t scale and rotate text, it turns the text into pixels if you try to scale or rotate it.

    Those are just some of the major features I personally use most of the time I make something in Photoshop.

    I could list 50 to 200 more features the Gimp is missing to bring it to the level of Photoshop, and I’m not talking about just some fancy filters, but unless you’ve used Photoshop and actually know how to use it you might not (a) be aware that Photoshop has them and (b) be aware of how much time you are wasting using the Gimp.

    As for the The Gimp vs Paint.NET, yes, Paint.NET doesn’t match up to the Gimp…………..yet.

  • kongorilla
    More GIMP

    Who said the GIMP=Photoshop? We were discussing free, open source programs. I was responding to the dismissive last sentence of your feature which implied the GIMP needed to be replaced, as MS Paint clearly DOES need to be replaced. AFAIK, the GIMP doesn’t have the features you list, most of which I do use in Photoshop, and if they appear in Paint.NET, no one will be more happy than me.

  • Paul

    I was a professional Graphic Designer for a few years and I would consider myself a pretty sophisticated Photoshop user (even more so until they changed all the single key shortcuts on me!). I still use Photoshop occasionally at work. And for PHOTO manipulation (not making graphics), GIMP has everything I think most people need. Sure it’s short on features compared to PS. But as far as a features to price ratio, GIMP can’t be beat. I’m not a fanboy, I just think all the effort that developers have put into GIMP (for free) should be recognized rather than dismissed based on an old version.

  • Features to Price ratio means nothing if it takes more time to get things done.  For the things I do and infact the things most people I know do, Photoshop will get the job done quicker than the Gimp.  Less time doing something = getting more done which = more money OR more time for other things.

    Sorry, Kongorilla, “The Gimp” just pushes a button with me because of the blind devotion of most of it’s fans, most of whom really don’t know what it’s missing and why they’d be out with their girlfriend now instead of still futsing with photos in the Gimp if they’d actually try Photoshop :-p.  Is the Gimp better than MS Paint?  Well, arguably yes but I downloaded the latest version yesterday and as always, within a few minutes I got it to crash, losing my work.

  • globulous

    Check-out ArtRage:

  • kongorilla
    GIMPing Along

    Well, I agree there must be bugs in the GIMP, ‘cuz they keep posting “bug-fix” releases every month or so, but in the nearly 3 months I’ve been using v2.2.3, it hasn’t crashed on me once. I’m using the Windows version in XP Pro. It’s been more stable for me than ANY release of Painter I’ve ever used. I don’t use Painter much, but I bet I’ve lost more work in it over the years than any other “professional” piece of…ahem….software, graphics or not.

    In the final analysis, I’m glad there’s more choices for artists. And competition is good for us Photoshop users, too, otherwise Adobe wouldn’t work so hard to improve their product. If they’d only improve their painting tools…I’d never touch Painter again.

  • I agree competition is good.  By the way, Photoshop CS 2 was recently announced with a host of new nifty features.  For games probably the most important is HDR support but Smart Objects and Vanishing Point will probably be pretty useful

  • hah

    Useless? I don’t know what you’re talking about. Paint is classic. It does simple things right that annoy me in other programs. For example, using the pencil/line tool in paint and using it in Photoshop feel completely different, but I like the paint feel more.

  • Deus

    I’m a gimp user but I don’t have the “blind devotion” that apprently “most users” have. I realise the plusses of Photoshop but at the end of the day I’m not going to pay an incredible amount of money for something that gives me a few extra features. The only Photoshop feature I think the GIMP is missing is layer effects.

    It’s all very well telling everyone we “might not be aware” of all these aledgedly 50 to 200 more features that the GIMP is missing but your site obviously is tribute to none of them and that makes me question the validity of your opinions.

  • There are tons of things I do every day in Photoshop that I can’t do in gimp or if I can do them they will be slow, and inflexible.

    You gave one example, Layer Effects. Want a drop-shadow, in Photoshop it’s NON-DESTRUCTIVE AND EDITABLE. In Gimp it’s destructive and a multistep process, and non editable. That feature alone is worth the price of admission.  Time = money. The fact that the gimp is free does me no good if I’m wasting hours by using it.

    Maybe you aren’t aware but Photoshop now has smart layers as well (layers that consist of other documents – for example a PDF or another nested photoshop file). So you can edit that nested photoshop file or PDF and have the changes appear immediately.

    The reason I question Gimp fanboys is because they never address these fundamental issues. It’s clearly they see similarity, love the free part and never make it past that.

    The features I get from photoshop are not like just a few extra filters or some other stuff I could live without, they are the very features that let me get work done quickly and correctly. That let me experiment and try different things out. Stuff the gimp doesn’t yet cover.

    There’s all kinds of little things. Like: In Photoshop if I want to rotate something to a certain alignment I pull out the measuring tool, drag a line along the thing I need aligned, pick image->rotate and Photoshop automatically rotates the image so the line I just drew is horizontal or vertical (which ever is closer). This makes aligning an image nearly instant. In Gimp as far as I can tell rotation is by eyeballing it which is not even close to as accurate.

    Photoshop has layer folders (groups of layers). You can apply blending modes and effects to groups. Blending modes for layers inside a folder can be set to only effect other layers in the same folder.

    Try to scale or rotate a non front layer in the Gimp. It pops to the front making it impossible to reference the layers that are supposed to be front of the layer you are adjusting that you needed to see in order to accurately scale or rotate it to match. How is this useful? Photoshop doesn’t have this problem.

    The Gimp has Scale, Rotate and Skew as separate tools (tedious UI). Photoshop has them all integrated (easy, friendly, fast UI).

    As far as I can tell, the Gimp has almost no text support. Photoshop can change fonts, colors, styles, per character in the same text box. It can format each line/paragraph differently.

    Photoshop has text boxes as well as text lines. A text box lets you create a box the text will flow into (word-wrap). The Gimp has a “filled” justify button but it doesn’t do anything and couldn’t because there’s no way to set the size of the text box.

    Try to scale, rotate or skew a text layer and the gimp will rasterize it into a bitmap and then scale, rotate or skew. Photoshop has no such problem, scale, rotate and skew text all you want, Photoshop will keep it as text and re-render it in the closest sized font. See a typo or need to change the text just edit the text. In Gimp you’d be starting over from scratch. Here’s one of those places that Layer Effects really stick out because even after you’ve given some text a a drop-shadow, a gradient inside, a thick outline and a whatever other effects you can still edit the text. Reproducing those effects in the Gimp are many convoluted steps and being destructive you’re redoing all your work if you want to change the text.

    Many of the filters in the gimp only have a preview in the dialog. Many many more in Photoshop preview in realtime in the document. So for example applying a large blur to a photo behind some text becomes something easy to adjust and see the effect in real time vs the Gimp which is pick a setting, apply it and if it didn’t turn out how you want undo and guess again.

    The Gimp’s color adjustment sucks. Choosing to and from are hard settings, no falloff making it really hard to effectively adjust one color that’s close to another.

    The Gimp has no adjustment layers. In Photoshop you can make color adjustment layers, brightness and contrast layers, level layers, curve layers and several others. This allows you to apply most major adjustments no-destructively. I’m not taking about blending mode. I’m talking for example about a layer that rotates the colors 70 degrees and raises the saturation of all the layers below it. Or more likely a layer adjust the levels of a photo. Those layers can have a masks if you just want it to effect certain areas or you can group them with the layers you need them to effect. Being non-destructive you can go back and edit the parameters of your adjustments at anytime later.

    That’s just from 10 minutes of looking. I know there are many many more. If you can’t see how they make most things people want to do in an image editing program many many times faster and easier than the gimp then I suggest you spend some more time with photoshop. Either that or keep gimping along oblivious of how much time you are wasting.

  • bob

    Why spend so much time on making electronic art? (good) Artists will use their hands; for texture, immeasureably more resolution, creativity and originality, …, and fun! Who likes sitting down at on a chair to look at a screen with a few million dots.

  • Moredhel
    if its needed…

    I have used both photoshop & gimp, and i can safely say that photoshop is better, however for the average joe like me there is no point in spending the money on features that will never be used, when all i used a 2d editor program for is a few things (forum sigs,website designs). Although I would buy a license for photoshop if i went into it professionally. So don’t waste the money if you have to, and don’t waste time & quality if you are doing whatever pro.

    between gimp & pnet, it depends what the job is, if its quick or simple then i use pnet, since as it has a cleaner ui, but gimp for the more complex jobs.

  • walt
    Gimp help then

    I don’t really like gimp at all but it seems that there are some fans of the app on this forum. I am trying to create web templates and I am having a hell of a time getting started. Do any of you Gimp fans know of any resources online that can actually offer some help.

  • anonymouscoward
    Gimp or Photoshop

    I see them as tools. If I had to peel an orange, I could use my hands; they are free. It takes longer than if I had a knife or a special tool for peeling oranges, but if I only eat oranges once in a while, my hands are fine. If I don’t need to do anything fancy, hands are great.

    On the other hand, if I had to peel oranges everyday, or if I made money peeling oranges, then I would definitely shell out the money to get a better tool that would save me time and allow me to do more things.

    Of course, one could argue that if I were clever, I could do everything (or at least most of the things) that the knife could do but do it with my bare hands. Sure. It would just take more effort.

  • Tools

    That’s a good analogy.

    Unfortunately I see it more like…if I need to nail something I’d use a hammer, not my hand. If need to screwdriver something I’d use a screw driver, not my fingernail. If I needed to write a letter I’d use a pen or pencil, not a dirt clod.

    Other then possibly resizing photos I don’t find the gimp any more useful image manipulation then I would find some pliers for when I need to turn a screw. Sure I could try to grab the head of the screw with a pair of pliers but it would not get the job done correctly or well and it would be tedious. Instead, I’d use a screwdriver.

  • Malygris
    I love analogies

    Let me throw my own analogy out there.

    I gotta get to work. But I live 20 minutes outside of town, so I ain’t walking. I need a car.

    There are two car dealerships in town: one sells Kia, the other sells Ferrari. Naturally, I go to the Ferrari dealer first; my eyes bug out a bit, and I hyperventilate a little, and maybe a bit of sweat breaks out on my brow. Ferrari. Ooooh, Ferrari. My right leg twitches.

    But you know what? All the stickers on all them beautiful Ferraris have at least one more zero on them than all the stickers on all the Kias. And, you know, I gotta get to work.

    So I go over to the Kia dealer. And it ain’t as fast, or as pretty, or as prestigious, but it starts and it runs and, bottom line, maybe I have to leave a few minutes earlier but I still get to work just fine. And it didn’t end up costing more than my house.

    So if you ask, is Photoshop more powerful than GIMP, pretty much every reasonable person would have to say yes; but if you ask, is Photoshop better than GIMP, you’re asking a different question entirely, and for a whole big pile of people, myself include, the answer is a straight-up no.

  • Unfortunately your analogy doesn’t work. A Ferrari is beautiful and fast but it’s hardly useful. You wouldn’t carry a bed from the furniture store in the trunk of your Ferrari or pile in plants and fertilizer from the home improvement store.

    A good analogy would be to compare something cheap that barely gets the job done to something less cheap but that gets the job done fast, efficiently and with quality. Some people can only afford cheap and it’s nice they have an option to go with cheap.

    Others though don’t actually evaluate the trade offs. Something that costs more but gets the job done faster and better will arguably pay for itself in the long run. Examples from photoshop would be getting the job done faster = doing more jobs or getting the jobs you have finished quicker leaving you more time for other things. Photoshop’s more flexible systems including its layer effects, editable font support and many other things mean you can try more designs in far less time than something free like the gIMP. Being able to try more designs means you’re more likely to find a better design which could equal more customers, better customer satisfaction or even just personal satisfaction.

    That’s why the tool analogy fits well. Sure if all I have is a wrench I could attempt to build some furniture from scratch. It would most likely be ugly and not very well constructed because I didn’t have the correct tools. But, I got by because all I had was a wrench and was too cheap to buy the correct tools. Did I save money? That depends on how long the furniture lasts. And, that doesn’t even take into account how ugly it most likely turned out (then again, maybe I was going for a grunge look)

    To be honest I’ve had that kind experience with tools before. I’ve bought cheap screwdrivers from the $1 store. They worked for a while but in the end they busted, bent and, striped many screws they were used in effectively ruining what they were used on and had to be thrown out. I also have much more expensive screwdrivers. They have never bent, or broke or stripped a screw. Unlike the $1 screwdrivers they more expensive ones have nice handles that don’t hurt my hands if I have to turn them hard. Some of them I’ve had 10-15 years now. So which was better? The $1 tools or the $50 tools?

    Here’s another real world analogy. I tried making a pie crust once. I found a site that even had video. It showed using an expensive mixer. I didn’t have any mixers so I just used a fork and a bowl. What the person in the video got done easily and with no effort took me 20 minutes of hard mixing trying to get the butter to chop up in little bits required for the crust. I never got it as small as shown in the video. It was just too hard.

    After 20 minutes I had pie crust dough though. The lady in the video was done in 5. Not only that, she wasn’t tired and it was a joy for her to make pies. For me though, after the experience of how hard it was to do it by hand I’ll never do it again until I get a mixer.

    Better tools = more pleasure, more efficiency, better results


    It’s my belief that the technology I require need only be sufficient to bring into being the idea or inspiration I possess.

    I am not a professional graphics artist, but still enjoy turning photos into art. My results are garnering some accolades. So far, GIMP & Paint.Net have been adequate, although I have one big complaint about GIMP.

    There’s been a couple of instances when the colors seen on the monitor were different than what’s actually printed. This hassle seems connected to a layer’s color channels. I turn off one of the RGB channels & save to *.bmp, let’s say. Well, the channel defaults to its original mode- and switches itself back on! You only see this color change on the monitor after you save, quit the file, and then call it back. Whether its user-error or a GIMP-bug, I can’t tell. But this made me fit for a straight jacket at the time.

    You know, if I actually find a market for my creations and went from hobby to commerce, then I’m laying out the capital for a high-end machine, monitor & Photoshop. And a copy of Photoshop for Dummies.

  • Why do I post this stuff

    I think the gIMP is amazing for what it is. A free, open source image editing program.

    What makes me post here over and over is my belief that most gIMP fans generally don’t have any serious Photoshop experience and therefore don’t know what they are missing.

    I don’t know a good analogy to make. Basically if people are introduced to something better than what they have they think it’s great and amazing yet it could be they are not aware there is something even more great and amazing. Imagine some 1950s accounting person being introduced to a calculator (they came out in the 70s) and going “WOW! This is amazing and only $19. It calculates stuff instantly just like those expensive spreadsheets I heard about.”  And yet, never having tried a spreadsheet they don’t know what the difference is or what they are missing.

    To turn it into a positive, if more gIMP fans actually knew all the stuff they are missing that’s in Photoshop that would make their creative lives easier maybe there would be more pressure to add those things to the gIMP. As long as they continue to argue from ignorance though it will never happen. I’m all for an open source, free program that actually does do all the stuff Photoshop does as well as it does it but so far that doesn’t exist.


    GMAN-I’m not a GIMP fan. It can do some stuff I need And it’s free. I have no quarrel about Photoshop’s superiority. Just like I wouldn’t cavil over the distinction between the performance of a fine, pricey Russian saple paint brush compared to a cheap synthetic.

    But, if it comes down to doing art or no art, you go with the synthetic and upgrade to saple when you can. You just work with what you got ’till you can (legally) get more responsive, efficient, powerful stuff. When the budget permits, I’m purchasing phtoshop. You have a convert.

  • LarryThompson
    One more thing the gimp and dont have

    A Giant price tag lets face it there are lots of people out there who can’t afford hundreds of dollars for the latest and greatest software you obviously can. so enjoy it, but don’t look a gift horse in the mouth!!!

  • trizzle
    GIMP sucks

    Gimp is made for *nix OSs.  Not win32 – it’s *ported* to win32. anyhow – given this fact, it keeps crashing on my machine when I try and attempt simple (non-plugin) alterations on an image.  Fireworks, photoshop and do not do this.  

    Paint.NET kicks arse.

  • anoncowherd

    I have to agree with greggman .. Seriously while GIMP and Paint.Net are cool, and heck they are even fine for some small tasks. But, doing anything complicated just doesn’t work. The layer effects and text handling are what take Photoshop 1 logarithmic step beyond the rest. The step down from PShop were things like Corel Draw, but who knows if they do anything anymore.

    So the summary is that PShop is not just a photo editor, whereas GIMP and Paint.Net are only photo editor.

    It’s just too PShop is so expensive. I usually just go with Picasa for basic touchups and Paint.Net to bit twiddle, and don’t bother getting fancy. I can’t be asked, and I can’t be bothered buying something as expensive as PShop for the odd time I need something fancier.

  • Loreic

    MSPaint does do one thing that is easier on it then other drawing programs, spriting. Its simplicity is what is needed to sprite properly.

  • HonestObserver

    GIMP is horrible and has a terrible name.

  • Graham Goater

    Gman definitely needs to be using Photoshop to provide him with the free time to maintain his blog. Time not maintaining blogs could be time spent on doing things in a slightly more roundabout way.

    Analogies are not necessary. The crux of the matter is efficiency and effectiveness. You always pay a premium for efficient solutions and perhaps for the majority, an effective solution is an optimum solution.

    With regard to analogies, I think the best analogy is that of a jet airliner crossing the Atlantic. Going first class means you are going to have a much more comfortable and easy going journey; going economy is going to be more cramped and a lot less comfortable – but at the end of the day, its the same journey with the same destination.

    And as they say, its the journey more than the destination.

    Anyhow, here’s a link that may offer a bit more of a bridge between GIMP and Photoshop:

  • temzil

    Hello Greggman, apologies if my english is no good here..

    Do you remember Xara…way back in the late eighties? Yes?

    Xara was ahead of Photoshop…but sadly was bought by Coreldraw…who stripped its code and dumped it…

    Xara, even though back on stage and may I say good…is forgotten for now…

    I use Photoshop and everything you comment is correct….its finely tuned…my current version of Photoshop and legal is 7… I have to say I also use Gimp 2.8 because its “maturing” and the developers are gradually fine tuning it….like Photoshop..Gimp is also evolutionary.

    I can’t afford to update to CS5….but I can wait on the sidelines and watch the progression of Gimp…

    The story… the rabbit and tortoise? Here in Africa…. its politics…

    Photoshop will still be sailing….but overtime Gimp will sail side by side….. unless Adobe decides to Launch its very own Linux…. and thats the future I believe it will..

    Photoshop I love… Gimp, I’m starting to too.

    Nice blog you have.

  • Charles

    These analogies are pathetic, reflecting only that photoshop users are “bourgeois” in their view of people who use other imaging programs.

    The difference between Photoshop and many of the less known or free programs is access to “know-how”. There are many great works done on irfanview, Gimp and the like but it takes practice, patience and time….same as Photoshop, except in Photoshop you can spend a whack load of money on accessible tuition classes.

    One only has to know the cost of Photoshop is beyond the average persons reach and I don’t mean affluent America but where there are reservoirs of talent, Asia, Africa and South America…this is where irfanview, Gimp and other excellent imaging programs are spreading like wild fire and the results are spectacular.

    Those that worship only Photoshop are severely weak to change for the days of dominance by Microsoft, Oracle and Adobe are shortening… Google has shown this in Android as has global leaders Intel Corporation and Nokia to merge Moblin and Maemo to create MeeGo*, a Linux-based software platform.

    Photoshop may lead but its running very hard to keep ahead.

    PS is good but the open source offerings can not be scoffed at. A toast to opensource developers and the opportunity given to people rich in talent but poor in pocket.

    I have heard that this blog is intentionally biased, censored towards PS comments, so I doubt this opinion will be mentioned.