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Old Dec 9, 2012, 05:58 PM   #1
MisterKeeks
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Anyone here use GIMP?

I'm not a professional photographer, but if I edit shots, I use GIMP. This is only because it's cheap and I'm cheap too, so things work out. However, it seems like the overwhelming majority of people use Photoshop, and some use Aperture. Because of this, I started wondering why more people aren't using GIMP. Is it because of a lack of features or support, or because it's a hassle to switch programs? How far does GIMP have to go before it's a real alternative to Photoshop for Pro users?
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Old Dec 9, 2012, 06:08 PM   #2
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I'm a designer, not a photographer but I only use GIMP for saving favicons for web design. I use Photoshop because I'm used to it and it's the industry standard. I wish another company or group would create a serious alternative to Adobe apps, for me GIMP isn't it.

Pixelmator shows some promise but the lack of layer styles prevents me from using it as anything more than a quick edit utility, rather than proper work.
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Old Dec 9, 2012, 06:31 PM   #3
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GIMP's user interface is worse than Photoshop's, which is saying a lot.

I don't use Photoshop for photography, instead using Aperture (and I'd use Lightroom if not Aperture). Use Photoshop for design stuff, and have been using it long before layer styles exist, so their presence or lack in alternatives don't matter to me (though I do use them in PS, I just remember how to do these things without them).
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Old Dec 9, 2012, 08:45 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by NoNameBrand View Post
GIMP's user interface is worse than Photoshop's, which is saying a lot.
They recently moved from an X11 application to a native app. I haven't tried it out, but there might be some improvements in there. The nice thing about GIMP is that it still runs well on some older harder (G3s), whereas Photoshop would be a mess.
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Old Dec 10, 2012, 03:10 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by NoNameBrand View Post
... Use Photoshop for design stuff, and have been using it long before layer styles exist, so their presence or lack in alternatives don't matter to me (though I do use them in PS, I just remember how to do these things without them).
Good for you but I prefer to use the tools that save me time. A simple colour overlay saves me from having to clone a layer, it also makes for smaller files.
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Old Dec 10, 2012, 03:12 AM   #6
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If you're cheap, get pixelmator. It blows gimp out of the water.
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Old Dec 10, 2012, 04:32 AM   #7
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As someone who used to use MousePaint/Kid Pix/Paintbrush/Paint as a kid, I like the very similar tool setup. I like removing/collapsing everything else on the right side, and GIMP doesn't have those kind of options. The toolbox takes a lot of screen space too.

I've been using Photoshop since the late 90's too, and I'm so efficient in it that it isn't worth my time to relearn new software that basically does the same thing.

You get what you pay for, and for me GIMP feels like every other Linux made software, not very nice to use.
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Old Dec 10, 2012, 06:36 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by m00min View Post
Good for you but I prefer to use the tools that save me time. A simple colour overlay saves me from having to clone a layer, it also makes for smaller files.
Sure, but the difference in price between Pixelmator and Photoshop is what, $750? Time is money, but money is also money and not everyone can justify the cost of the professional tool. Anyway, people who have the former and want to do that sort of effect can just read up on Photoshop 3/4/5 techniques (not CS3/4/5 - I mean from the '90s).
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Old Dec 10, 2012, 06:42 AM   #9
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I'm also on Pixelmator; works very well for my pixel-needs; photo processing (raw file conversion) is done by Bibble Pro (now Corel). No Adobe for me; I tried years ago but too complex and too expensive for my needs.

And Pixelmator can do very well the effects. Nice combo.
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Old Dec 10, 2012, 06:50 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by NoNameBrand View Post
Sure, but the difference in price between Pixelmator and Photoshop is what, $750? Time is money, but money is also money and not everyone can justify the cost of the professional tool. Anyway, people who have the former and want to do that sort of effect can just read up on Photoshop 3/4/5 techniques (not CS3/4/5 - I mean from the '90s).
Fair enough, I'm coming from a professional POV. If you can't afford PS (and if you're doing photo editing as a hobby I would think twice about spending £600 on CS6 PS) then use the cheaper option. It will probably have 95% of the tools you'll ever need.

For any kind of professional work though you'll run into problems (workflow with other creatives for example) if you haven't got CS. For design work anyway, dunno about photography, I imagine there's less sharing of source files maybe.
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 12:02 AM   #11
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I'm not a professional photographer, but if I edit shots, I use GIMP. This is only because it's cheap and I'm cheap too, so things work out. However, it seems like the overwhelming majority of people use Photoshop, and some use Aperture. Because of this, I started wondering why more people aren't using GIMP. Is it because of a lack of features or support, or because it's a hassle to switch programs? How far does GIMP have to go before it's a real alternative to Photoshop for Pro users?
Quote:
Originally Posted by MisterKeeks View Post
They recently moved from an X11 application to a native app. I haven't tried it out, but there might be some improvements in there.
One of the big problems with the Gimp is that it relies on the GTK toolkit, not the native Quartz, since it is a Linux project, and the GTK-Quartz as used by the Gimp on OSX is painfully slow as well as ugly and stands out like a sore thumb on OSX with poor integration, eg the GTK file menu. As a visual person, it jars, and the way you have to switch focus between the tool palettes and the photo windows is just plain annoying. Mired in GTK, it is just plain too slow and poorly integrated to be taken seriously.
Back when I was interested in Linux, before I got my Mac, I spent some time playing with Gimp and Inkscape and participating in their bugzillas; in the case of the Gimp it left me with the impression they don't have the industry and technical knowhow that Adobe can pay for, ie the best way to convert to black-and-white, or the ongoing issue of CMYK and other colourspaces support, so I basically don't trust it shows me a true representation of the image in its current colour profile. Taking stock of it and Linux's nonexistent colour management and lack of Gamma correction (good luck editing x11 config files or issuing terminal commands every time the screen saver resets the Gamma to 1) led me to abandon both as viable for use in anything to do with graphics (there is a very long list of reasons why Linux was and is unviable for graphics work).
For the Gimp to be viable for Pro work, it has to become truly native (dump GTK), have proper colour management and support various colour spaces like LAB and CMYK, at the very minimum; the latter is tricky to do right as it relates to various Press conditions and must account for dot gain and other print conditions which the printer can specify. Good RAW import support is needed; I know it has some RAW support, but doubt it is much chop, not that I have properly tested it (good RAW conversion is a bit of a dark art). Good lens correction and chromatic aberration correction would be greatly appreciated by photographers as well, something that Lightroom gained with the release of LR4 and Aperture users are waiting for still (where are you, Aperture 4?).
I'm entrenched in the Photoshop way, so I don't care for the Gimp organisation of menus, but that is preferential and harder to judge as to what is "right". Photoshop has a lot of other powerful features, like its collection of Filters and other 3rd party plugins, but whether they are needed depends on the use.

I have Photoshop, and I won't go into how much it costs, but once you use it and know how to make the most of its power, it is just too damn good. For most photography however, I use Aperture (having tried Lightroom 4 for several months exclusively to test it before switching back) mainly because of nondestructive editing of RAW files, metadata management, and the sheer volume of photos makes editing each individual one in Photoshop or any other regular photo editor impractical. For anything beyond adjustment sliders and curves or simple localised brushed-in adjustments, I open it in Photoshop for editing as there is no better substitute. It's RAW support and lens profiles are matched only by Lightroom which use the same engine, and its colourspace support and editing capabilities are similarly unmatched; its engine is based on LAB which can be converted into any other colourspace; LAB editing is a very powerful advanced Pro technique that can yield results that no other way can. For publishing, there is nothing to match it either with its professional CMYK profiles. Moreover, opensource editors like the Gimp can't do duotones using Pantone colours due to patents (same problem Inkscape has, though as an SVG editor it isn't technically meant for printing as SVG only supports RGB).

I have bought Pixelmater, but have only done rudimentary experimentation as it is just too tempting to simply get your work done in something you know well rather than spending a lot of time to see if you can do what you want as effectively as PS. It doesn't currently have adjustment layers, but they are imminent, so I will investigate then. It is very slick looking at least and a lot lighter than Photoshop, so potentially good for quick edits.
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 08:19 AM   #12
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I have gimp and have used it, but I also have PS (I work at a university and can get CS at discount, so it's not too expensive). I like the idea of what they're doing, but for me, no 16-bit processing or native CMYK are the proverbial deal-breakers. At least PS generally works, unlike a certain dominant office suite. If Adobe were to stop offering it as a standalone product and try to force everyone onto cloud services, I would give it up.
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 08:40 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by msandersen View Post
One of the big problems with the Gimp is that it relies on the GTK toolkit, not the native Quartz, since it is a Linux project, and the GTK-Quartz as used by the Gimp on OSX is painfully slow as well as ugly and stands out like a sore thumb on OSX with poor integration, eg the GTK file menu. ....
GIMP 2.82 is a Quartz application. X11 is not necessary.
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 11:10 AM   #14
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GIMP 2.82 is a Quartz application. X11 is not necessary.
Badly phrased then. Gimp uses GTK-Quartz, an implementation of GTK using Quartz instead of X11. It is still early days for it. It uses an OSX skin over GTK to make it look more Aqua-like, rather than using the native widgets, but is still not "native". It may improve over time, but GTK is not a great toolkit to begin with and doesn't have good native integration, unlike QT.
Try this: Open an image. You get the GTK Open dialog, not the OSX one. Let's say your image is on an external disk. OSX would list those on the side. In GTK, you have to navigate into the Volumes mount point. Now try something simple like zooming in and out. For starters, you have to use the Control key, not the Command key. Watch how achingly slow it is to redraw the image. Every operation is achingly slow. Like a simple Curves adjustment. Now try going to the Finder, the Gimp palettes still overlaps rather than going behind, but the image window is behind. Go back to the Gimp by clicking the tool palette. The image window is still hidden. Cmd-~ will not show it. Cmd-tab will bring it back. Try minimising the Tool palette and get it back by clicking the Gimp icon in the Dock. Oops. It doesn't reappear. You have to use Cmd-B.

There are a myriad of such problems, but the killer is the extremely poor performance of GTK on OSX, and in image editors, performance counts for a lot. A lot could be forgiven or ignored (like the File dialog) if only performance was acceptable.
For the Gimp to be useful on OSX, either GTK has to improve drastically, which going by the development pace for Linux itself is problematic, with significantly improved integration like native widgets and file dialogs, or they have to dump GTK, which will never happen, considering it is married to the Gimp going back to its origins.

That said, there has been one attempt at using the Gimp project to make a native image editor, namely Seashore, but it is currently not being maintained and deliberately only had a small subset of the Gimp's features. But it demonstrates that a native version COULD be built on Gimp code. It would be great to see something like Seashore being taken up and fully realised with all of Gimp's capabilities and then some using OSX toolkits and QT filters. To be frank, I never cared for the name Gimp, it has unfortunate connotations. A clean native fork with a new friendlier name is the best way to go, albeit a LOT harder, but if done could garner significant user support, even amongst pros. I'd be prepared to pay for such a port, within reason, along the lines of Pixelmater. Other projects have managed reasonably decent native versions, like OpenOffice/LibreOffice, although that may not be the best example of implementing a clean new OSX version, but it is a huge project that has been successfully ported from X11 and has a significant user base.
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Old Dec 12, 2012, 03:47 AM   #15
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If Adobe were to stop offering it as a standalone product and try to force everyone onto cloud services, I would give it up.
This is why I like to keep track of Pixelmator, GIMP, etc. I don't like the idea of my critical software as a cloud service.
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Old Dec 12, 2012, 08:15 AM   #16
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I tried very hard to like Gimp, but it just doesn't suite the way I like to work.

I have Pixelmator for anything I can't do with Aperture and Nik filters.
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Old Dec 13, 2012, 12:50 AM   #17
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Gimp's a step above the basics, ie Aviary, iPhoto, Preview, even the online Photoshop Express but it doesn't compare with Photoshop. But why should it at that price?
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Old Dec 13, 2012, 10:20 AM   #18
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For any kind of professional work though you'll run into problems (workflow with other creatives for example) if you haven't got CS. For design work anyway, dunno about photography, I imagine there's less sharing of source files maybe.
Yes, if you need integration with Indesign, Illustrator, etc., you might as well keep using Photoshop. I don't see too many people switching from Indesign to Lyx or Context except for special purposes. I mean, what the Mac needs is not a substitute for Indesign but one for FrameMaker (curse you, Adobe!).
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