What Is The Difference Between Adobe Photoshop and GIMP

Last updated July 25th, 2017

People usually consider GIMP as a viable alternative to Adobe Photoshop. However, this may not necessarily be true. GIMP, is an open source image editing application. It is a freeware supported by a vast community. While it does bear many similarities, there are striking differences as well. Photoshop is a premium application for which Adobe charges you a decent amount of money. GIMP, on the other hand, is totally free. This is why it would be rather unfair to put them on the same pedestal.

GIMP stands for “GNU Image Manipulation Program”.  This free software can be used to compose, retouch, and edit images.

GIMP is extendable with the integration of many programming languages like Python, Perl, Scheme and more. It is also highly customizable owing to the number of plug-ins and scripts released by the community.

GIMP provides great color management features which ensure high fidelity in color production across printed and digital media. It is great to use with the workflows which involve other free software like Inscape, SwatchBooker, and Scribus.

GIMP is great and we are not denying it. But, when compared to Adobe Photoshop, it falls behind on many counts. After all, Photoshop has been the pioneer of image editing. It is one of the greatest image editors ever designed.  Let’s look at the various aspects of these two image editing and processing programs so as to draw the comparisons.

Also Read: – Top 10 Best Photoshop Alternatives You Should Try

1. Adobe Photoshop Features

  • Adobe Photoshop is a leading graphics editor which was developed by Adobe Systems.
  • Adobe has the latest version which “bridges” other Adobe products like Premiere, Image Ready to get professional DVDs and videos.
  • Photoshop has a file format of.PDD or.PSD for storing multiple image layers. Photoshop Elements was a program recently introduced as a cheaper version of Photoshop and it includes all the basic features.
  • Photoshop was created originally as a powerful and convenient way to retouch images.  It can easily crop and straighten images which were either taken from a digital camera or scanned.
  • Over or under exposed photos could be rescued easily with Camera RAE retouch power or other plug-ins. Images which are taken in hard light situations are perfected with few mouse clicks.
  • It supports many plug-ins and filters for a variety of effects. For instance, they can be used to change the photo to black and white or make the photo to look old.
  • Many graphics and web designers use Adobe Photoshop for the designing and creation of company logos and adverts. Inbuilt Adobe filters and effects make the designing of professional advertisements and logos a simple and quick process.
  • With the opacity and layers power, photos can be easily blended together. Effects like blurs, shadows are easy to achieve.
  • For the ones who have a desire to go back to their finger painting youth days, Photoshop paintbrush tool has countless brush textures and shapes for anyone who needs to enjoy their creativity.
  • Photoshop has made text editing an easy task.  There are tons of text editing functions and features to use. Dripping, slimy letter or sky cloud writing is made easy by text effects and filters of Photoshop.

2. It Is Unfair To Compare Photoshop To GIMP

  • GIMP is a freeware and is available for most Linux distros. In fact, Adobe Photoshop is yet not available on the Linux platform. This is why GIMP is the best image editing tool for the Linux users. This is why it makes little sense to compare GIMP to Photoshop when keeping Linux users in perspective.
  • But, moving beyond Linux over to platforms that support both these tools, a comparison does make some sense. When we talk about image authoring and editing, Photoshop definitely is more powerful and feature-rich.
  • Adobe makes sure that Photoshop users are presented with a variety of features. The features are either inbuilt or available as plugins. Adobe also updates the features regularly. GIMP also keeps updating itself but not as rigorously as Photoshop. The reason is pretty simple. Photoshop is commercial and has clients and customers. GIMP is a freeware and is used primarily by beginners and image editing enthusiasts.
  • This is one of the biggest reasons why Photoshop emerges as a clear winner.
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3. Major GIMP And Photoshop Differences

  • Of course, the major difference is the one we have already talked about – price. GIMP is free. You can donate, but only if you want to. To use Photoshop, you must pay a subscription.
  • GIMP is a great tool for the beginners who wish to learn the art of image editing without having to shell out any money. Both the tools have the same basic features. If you wish to learn the basics first before graduating to Photoshop, GIMP is a great choice. Also, Photoshop has a rather steep learning curve. Most users find GIMP easier to use.
  • Adobe Photoshop has more features and functions. But, it is also more resource intensive. In order for you to have a smooth experience, you would require good computer specs as well. A faster processor and bigger RAM could make a lot of difference. GIMP is a rather lightweight application that does not demand a big share of your computer resources.
  • Both the applications offer cross-platform compatibility. But, as already established, Photoshop is not available on Linux.
  • Since Photoshop offers more features and functions as compared to GIMP, it is more widely used by the professionals. Web designers, photographers, logo designers, and many other professionals rely on Photoshop. There is also no denying that Photoshop has a much more powerful workflow.
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It is true that the creativity is more important than the tool itself. However, if you give a better tool to a creative person, he or she will be able to produce even better results. While GIMP can do a lot of things for you, if you are looking for advanced image processing tools, Photoshop is indispensable.


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