Adobe Photoshop vs GIMP: Which Tool is Right for You?

The field of graphic design is constantly evolving and so are the technologies that support the creation of gorgeous and modern digital graphics. While Photoshop seems to be the most preferred graphic design software among professionals today, there’s another option named GIMP that’s equally popular and comprehensive. Both of these are powerful programs that support the editing of all types of images. Both these programs come equipped with sophisticated tools, features, plug-ins, options, and certain resources that make them suitable for all types of applications. One program has better features than the other in some respect whereas they have their own set of shortcomings too. Some people prefer Photoshop while some prefer GIMP.

In this article, we have highlighted the resemblances and the variations existing between the two programs and have compared their features so that users are able to decide which software is suitable for them so that they can make sensible investments.

  • Is GIMP as good as Photoshop?
  • Is GIMP better than Photoshop?
  • How much does it cost for Photoshop?
  • GIMP vs Photoshop: Which is a better option?

Read through the article to get your questions answered.

GIMP Summary

GIMP or GNU Image Manipulation Program is an open source program supporting photo editing and it works well with major operating systems like such as OS X, Linux, Windows, etc. You can change the source code easily. It comes equipped with advanced tools and plugins that support the needs of professionals.

You can perform advanced image retouching, cropping, resizing, image manipulation, color modification, photo restoration, etc. Professionals can use this program to create icons, elements of user interface and GIMP graphic design, etc.

An Overview of Photoshop

Photoshop is an Adobe product. Its older version was distributed as basic and advanced packages. When Photoshop CC was introduced, Photoshop decided to go with only version that comes equipped with a large number of tools and options. This software can be used to perform photo editing operations including photo retouching, creation of ghost mannequin effect, clipping path, background removal, old & damaged photo restoration, etc.

The outcomes get generated and saved in Photoshop document (PSD) format, which can be modified easily. You may often find layers, spot colors, transparency, duotone, masks, channels, text, color areas, selections, ICC profiles, clipping path arrangements, etc.

A few Common Differences

Modern businesses need diverse categories of photo editing services in order to address their specific needs. Diverse tools have unique features and they often do not come together as part of a single program. However, we have considered a few important parameters such as ease of use, resources, tools, and designers’ reviews and have drawn a comparison between the two programs.

Adobe Photoshop GIMP
You will find Photoshop to be a complex program and you need to see several tutorials in order to be able to master it. This is an easy-to-use software that can be used by beginners as well.
The program consumes 1GB for performance. It is a much lighter program that consumes maximum 25 MB.
The program demands large volume of RAM and hardware tools. It does not call for use of extra hardware resources and it demands lesser amounts of RAM.
Photoshop is proprietary and so you need to spend money to buy it. GIMP is open source and free to use .
Photoshop’s software update is limited only to Adobe users. GIMP’s updates are available for people who can create and add to open source software.
Professional designers and photographers favor Photoshop over GIMP. GIMP is an ideal choice for hobbyists who want to use a free program to learn photo editing or to serve an immediate need.
Photoshop is based on industry standards. GIMP is a community-dependent graphic design program.
Photoshop’s users are paid customers. GIMP’s users are contributors.
Photoshop comes with several paid tutorials. GIMP helps users with open-source tutorials.
Photoshop is not compatible with XCF file, which is GIMP’s original file format. Photoshop files can be opened in Gimp as the Photoshop files can be edited in it.

When should you use which software?

Linux users would typically prefer GIMP photoshop and they may use the lightweight software even from USB devices if there’s less space in their hard disks. Open source GIMP is an ideal substitute for those who cannot pay for expensive Photoshop or those who do not want to use the pirated version. GIMP is easy to use and it offers free upgrades to users while Photoshop upgrades will cost users money. GIMP is an option for those who system has a capacity lesser than 16 bits.

Use GIMP if you have a tight budget

Photoshop comes at a premium price and it is pricier than rest of the photo editing software available in the market. It is available in different packages with monthly charges falling in the $9 - $79 range. If you are not a professional and if you are still learning photo editing techniques and have a tight budget, then you may consider using GIMP program.

Use Photoshop for Professional Uses

Photoshop features high-end and multi-use tools that can be used well by professionals. If you are a professional photo editor, your clients would send you files in PSD formats and so you will definitely need Photoshop to process these image files.

Opt for GIMP if you use it less frequently

GIMP has sophisticated features compared to different free photo editing software. If you need to use photo editing software occasionally, then you may consider using GIMP, which will definitely allow you to perform a higher level of editing compared to other free apps that would allow you to perform just basic editing that would generate less-than-perfect outcomes.

GIMP: System Compatibility

GIMP works well with Linux OS and most other commonly used operating systems. No wonder why it has a greater accessibility. It is compatible with an operating system with 8 bits capacity.

Photoshop: System Compatibility

Photoshop is compatible with only Windows and Mac OS, but it does not work with Linux. The system should have higher than 16 bits capacity to be able to support heavyweight Photoshop. With Photoshop CS5, you would need 1GB of hard disk space, which can slow down your computer.

Things to do with GIMP

  • GIMP has a modifiable interface. You can alter widget theme and spacing, colors, sizes of icons, etc.
  • With GIMP, you can edit PSD image files.
  • GIMP’s source code can be changed by anybody. It supports diverse programming languages such as Python, Scheme, Perl, etc.
  • You will get full-screen sample of your work.

Things that You can do with Photoshop

  • Photoshop features two strong color modes namely, RGB and CMYK. The former captures images in camera while CMYK is used to create print outcomes.
  • Photoshop supports non-destructive techniques and facilitates high-end editing needs.
  • Adobe provides high level of customer support and can fix bugs very quickly and can address your queries professionally.
  • Photoshop facilitates superior image retouching and consists of powerful tools.
  • Photoshop is part of Creative Cloud that features other top software such as Lightroom, InDesign, Illustrator, etc.
  • You can open RAW and JPG files in Photoshop.
  • The tutorials would provide you with answers to your questions.

Activities that both the programs support

You can do simple photo editing works with both. This may include image resizing, rotation, cropping, color change, unwanted object removal, fixing of blemishes, and restoration of damaged photos.

GIMP: Pros

  • GIMP features almost the same tools as Photoshop. So Photoshop users can use GIMP’s tools very easily.
  • GIMP is free and features the same interface as Photoshop.
  • It is lightweight and can be used easily by Linux users.

Photoshop: Pros

  • Photoshop, being a component of Creative Cloud, can modify other files from other software such as Illustrator, Lightroom, InDesign, etc.
  • Photoshop employs its dedicated team of developers and its online team provides a high degree of support.
  • It features several plug-ins, filters, and tools, which enhance user experience.

GIMP: Cons

  • GIMP’s tools are not as refined as Photoshop’s tools. GIMP features just a single Healing Brush while its competitor provides multiple Brushes.
  • GIMP is a community-supported program and so it lacks professional support and users may be forced to wait for a long time before their problems are addressed.
  • GIMP does not work well with Windows OS.

Photoshop: Cons

  • Photoshop Elements as well as the additional files are expensive. The element files come with a minimum price tag of $100 while the price of the extended files may be as high as $1000.
  • Photoshop’s pirated version is used by most beginners who have tight budgets.
  • Many photoshop plugins do not incorporate upgrades and so many users end up using backdated services.
  • Photoshop demands regular license validation, which is a costly affair.

So now what?

You can easily decide whether you need Photoshop or GIMP if you know the purpose for which you are looking to use a photo editing program. You need Photoshop if you are a professional and you need to instill special effects. If you an amateur and if you have a low budget, you can go for GIMP. It’s up to you to decide and we hope that this article provided you with valuable decision-making inputs.