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GIMP Vs. Photoshop

Rutuja Jathar
GIMP and Photoshop are two of the most popular software in the field of digital graphics, and image creation and editing. In this story, we compare both of them to help you decide which is the right choice for your needs.
Every invention naturally gets challenged by an equally good one, and the exciting field of graphics design is no exception. However, while a trained expert might have the eye to determine which is the best of the two, his/her arguments can seem confusing to a layman.
Hence, in the following lines, we lend a helping hand for choosing amongst two of the best image editing software in the market - Photoshop and GIMP. But before that, let's understand what Photoshop and GIMP are in the first place.

What is GIMP?

GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program, which is a free, open source, raster graphic editing program. Along with image editing and retouching, this software offers free form drawing, image resizing, photo cropping, multiple image combining, image format conversions, and creating basic animated images in .GIF format. It uses three GUI tool kits.
Since its launch, GIMP has always been a subject of regular reviews and criticism, which is a common thing for such a popular application. Though originally this program was created for the UNIX operating system, it now works on most major operating systems including Linux, Microsoft Windows, Solaris, Mac OS X and FreeBSD.

What is Photoshop?

Adobe Photoshop is a graphic editing software developed by Adobe Systems. It is available in two versions namely - Basic and Extended. Among them, the Extended version has a lot more features compared to its counterpart.
Photoshop is a software used for media editing, authoring and animation. A Photoshop Document (.PSD) can store an image in almost all the available formats. It includes layers like color spaces, masks, transparency, ICC profiles, spot colors, alpha channels, text, duotone, and clipping paths settings. This makes it far better than say - .ESP or .GIF formats.
This software can also read as well as write the vector and raster image formats like Adobe Firework, .ESP, .GIF, .JPEG and .PNG. This fact gives Photoshop a slight advantage over GIMP.

How to Choose Between Photoshop and GIMP

While both Photoshop and Gimp are excellent software, you should consider the following points before deciding to go for one over the other.

Requirement and Compatibility

First up, determine your requirements, and the purpose for which you need the software. If you want a software just to make some minor changes in digital photography images like removing the red eye and resizing the images, then both these software are too advanced for such minor issues.
However, if you are an aspirant graphics designer or have a keen interest in photo manipulation and graphic arts, then these are some of the best and powerful software you will find.
Before selecting either GIMP or Photoshop, check the compatibility of both with the software and hardware system of your PC. The best way to do that is to search for the system requirements on the official websites of both GIMP and Adobe Photoshop. If your system is not compatible, then you may need to upgrade it to facilitate the working of these software.
In case your system is not compatible, then you may need to upgrade it to facilitate the working of these software.

End Result

You need to decide what exactly it is that you want to do with the end product of either one of these programs. Do you want it for web or for print or for both?
Both these programs are ideal for the web but, if you want one for printing, which involves critical color works and the CMYK color models, then Photoshop is definitely the better choice. GIMP supports the CMYK, but it lacks accuracy, and you also need to download this feature separately for it.

Technical Support

You should also consider the kind of web searching skills that you possess. Being an Adobe offspring, Photoshop comes with an easily accessible technical support, while GIMP being open source software, needs you to spend a lot of time for finding the solutions on the web.


GIMP is a free to download software, while you will have to spend a whopping USD 700 or more for downloading Photoshop! While Photoshop may definitely seem worth the money, owing to its plethora of features, it is recommended that you download a trial version, and compare it with GIMP before choosing the best one for you.
Thus, both GIMP and Photoshop are equally good graphic and image editing/creation software, and the choice between them is really just a question of time and money. GIMP is free and equipped with most of the inbuilt advanced features of Photoshop, but requires that you spend some time searching on the web and download the required plugins separately.
Photoshop, on the other hand, comes at a premium, but is a bit more advanced in comparison, and comes with all its excellent features straight out of the box.