Photoshop Alternatives

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by nbs2, Aug 25, 2006.

  1. nbs2 macrumors 68030


    Mar 31, 2004
    A geographical oddity
    Being relatively poor and fairly busy, and having a wife with child, I don't know if I have the time to learn PS well enough to justify the cost. I have been scouring for alternatives, and have found a few as a result of the brilliant minds on these forums and elsewhere. I was wondering if anybody has an opinion they would like to share regarding the following (or any others that you know of):

    GraphicConverter, GIMP, Toy Viewer, and PixelNhancer

    I've downloaded all four (ok, GC came with my PB, but same difference), but have only used GC (mostly for resizing).

    I guess I'm trying to figure out what the advantages/disadvantages to each's funny that trying to googling for a nice comparison doesn't yield much - top hit was a thread here from over a year ago about resizing a jpg...
  2. Bocheememon macrumors regular


    Mar 1, 2006
    Fertile, MN
    I don't know much about free alternatives, but I always recommend Photoshop Elements 4 to people interested in photo editing.

    Elements 4 is a simplified version of Photoshop with many of the same core features but at a smaller price of $60-99 USD. I use CS2 extensively for all Fine Art work but I also own Elements 4. The user-interface of Elements 4 is simplified and the program even provides visual charts of what each effect or option can do. It is very user-friendly and affordable.
  3. Pistol Pete macrumors 6502a

    Pistol Pete

    Jan 6, 2005
    So Cal
    Gimp is free...its basicly just like photoshop...

    google "gimp app"

    good luck.

    edit: you said gimp....hmmmm ive used it one...its was fine considering it was free...
  4. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

    Jun 25, 2002
    Gone but not forgotten.
    If you need high quality results, you'll use Photoshop Elements instead of any of the free or shareware alternatives.

    It has a strong foundation, books, online tutorials, and people who know how to make it work smoothly. You'd be hard pressed to find such support of free products, including The GIMP.
  5. netdog macrumors 603


    Feb 6, 2006
    I'd recommend you take a look at Seashore? Think GIMP but written in Cocoa. I like it very much.
  6. 7on macrumors 601


    Nov 9, 2003
    Dress Rosa
    I really liked GraphicConvertor. Too bad my Macbook didn't come with it.
  7. RacerX macrumors 65832

    Aug 2, 2004
    I actually use ToyViewer and PixelNhance in conjunction with the full version of Photoshop on my Mac OS X systems, and ToyViewer and PixelNhance in conjunction with TIFFany 3 on my other systems.

    Frankly, Photoshop Elements is a great app and worth the price. I had had years of experience with Photoshop LE and was under the (misguided) impression that Elements was just a renaming of the product. Elements is able to do most of the major things that Photoshop can do.

    The only things that keep me with Photoshop are ImageReady and the general layout (Photoshop Elements may have most of the same features... but they aren't where I expect them to be).

    That having been said, I just bought Photoshop Elements 4 for a client who is into photography and archiving.
  8. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    Not really. I say bite the bullet and go with PS Elements especially for the reasons that bousozoku stated.

    And then also maybe one day, you might have the wherewithal to get the full-blown daddy of Photoshop CS3 or 4 and then you'll find the learning curve so much easier.
  9. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

    Jan 6, 2004
    i also recommend PSE 4. great app and won't rip a hole in your wallet.
  10. nbs2 thread starter macrumors 68030


    Mar 31, 2004
    A geographical oddity
    Ok, it looks like PSE will be what I end up getting - if Lori can be satisfied that it will be enough for what I normally do, but more useful than a free app (mostly light editing, touching up - nothing too complex). I guess the biggest thing it has going for it is BV's point - being half way up the learning curve can't be a bad thing...
  11. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Gimp does just about everything Photoshop can do. And yes it has a steep learning curve just like PS. Several advantages of Gimp over Photoshop:

    1) Gimp runs naive on Intel hardware, PS require Roseta.

    2) Gimp is multi-platform. It runs the same way on MS Windows,
    Linux, Solaris and Max OSX. Learn it once and use it everywhere

    3) Gimp is free as in both "free speech" and "free beer". So you
    CAN actually use it anyplace. But it on every computer you have
    access to.

    Photoshop professionals do typically have one complaint about Gimp:
    They say the user interface is not exactly like Photoshop. Well
    "duh" Gimp is not a PS clone the non-PS GUI is a feature not a bug.

    I typically use Gimp to selectively apply filters and color tools.
    I will almost never "sharpen" the entire image but only the parts
    the need it. I will also many time very slightly desaturate the background
    and darken the edges of the image (A. Adams called this "edge burnning".)
    I will clode out defects an use an anti-noise filter on the sky. Gimp does all of this quickly without need to build layers or masks
  12. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California

    I don't understand the quality issue. Do you have examples and some way to measure them? The neat thing about Open Sourse software is that as soon as you can point to a problem it can be fixed in minutes.

    Go to and hunt down some Gimp books. Lots to choose from also some very active on-line forums and then the devaloper themselves are all on-line. Lots of support available
  13. iMeowbot macrumors G3


    Aug 30, 2003
    Cool! Can these missing and incomplete features be implemented by Monday? (It's the weekend, asking for a few minutes' turnaround might be pushy). The PS plugin support can wait, but the bitness and other line items are kind of important.
  14. fivetoadsloth macrumors 65816


    Aug 15, 2006
    id say gimp, it is a bit hard to get used to though, but thats what i think.
  15. RacerX macrumors 65832

    Aug 2, 2004
    It would be even neater if that was actually true. In practice, if it isn't a problem for the developer themselves, it is back burner stuff.

    Those wouldn't happen to be the developers who have also refused to make a Mac version of Gimp? :eek:
  16. relimw macrumors 6502a

    May 6, 2004
    Umm, let's see, gimp runs on my Mac, soooo, I guess it is a Mac version? Or are you asking for a nice Cocoa frontend that eats up extra cpu cycles? (Which from an initial peek, Seashore seems to provide.)
  17. RacerX macrumors 65832

    Aug 2, 2004
    And how does a Cocoa front end take up more resources than creating an X Windows environment to run Gimp?

    I can run Windows apps on Macs, I can run Sun apps on Macs, I can run Linux apps on Macs... that doesn't make them Mac apps. And running apps in X11 is no better than running Windows apps in Parallels.

    If I want to use an X Windows app, I have three SGIs and two Suns sitting here (and I have Gimp installed on the SGIs).

    The Gimp community doesn't care about the Mac community enough to make a real Mac version of Gimp. Plain and simple. And it isn't like Gimp has some overly complicated interface that you couldn't create in a Mac (Cocoa or Carbon) environment.

    By comparison, AbiSource took the time to make a real Mac version of AbiWord (which is Carbon and not Cocoa... sadly).


    So, Umm... yeah, if you want to sing the praises of people who don't consider you worth taking a little effort for, then by all means use Gimp.

    But for me, as long as I have to add an additional environment to run an app... that app is NOT Mac native. As long as the Gimp developers have no interest in making a Mac version of Gimp, we (Mac users) should have no interest in trying to run Gimp on our Macs. Using Gimp as it is only shows them that we are willing to settle for less, which means they have no reason to offer us any more.

    I'm not asking for a special Mac version (that takes full advantage of what makes Mac special to begin with), but equal footing with other platforms would be nice. At least we get that from both AbiSource and Mozilla. And neither OpenOffice nor Gimp are willing to even go that far.
  18. Super Macho Man macrumors 6502a

    Super Macho Man

    Jul 24, 2006
    Hollywood, CA
    Woah, I just read that and I had no idea the Gimp didn't support 16-bits per pixel. What is this, 1989? How can any digital photographer who is even semi-serious about their work use this? Why is there no 16-bit support? The Gimp has been around how long?
  19. nbs2 thread starter macrumors 68030


    Mar 31, 2004
    A geographical oddity
    This doesn't realy affect me - I have a G4, which I don't plan on upgrading for a while and I only use my computer for photo editing...
  20. billy_d_goat macrumors member

    Mar 23, 2005
    Given your G4 and budget, I'd say go with GIMP. I've played with it, though I do prefer Photoshop at the end of the day.

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