Photoshop is seriously pricey. I usually mess around a bit to crop, retouch, mashup and put text on pictures. Not anything that will win me awards or warrant the investment in the real deal. Now that I’m on my own without an employer to foot the Adobe Creative Suite bill, I do the same things that I would in Photoshop through the free downloadable program GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program).
From my long ago training on Photoshop and my mostly casual encounters since then with Adobe, I can transfer the same tech knowledge to GIMP and find my way around no problem. If I get stuck, their help guide is…well…helpful. I’m running the stable version released last year, v2.8, and haven’t had any problems with it.
The collaboration to create and maintain GIMP started at Berkley when a couple of students, Peter Mattis and Spencer Kimball, created it as a class project. They released it to the public in 1996. Users and other computer people ran with it, even when the original developers moved on. An enthusiastic community kept the program alive and updated. It’s been around ever since. Students and tech people continue to work out stable versions to release to the public, building on the idea of open creation and sharing of software.
While a professional would probably want the real thing, the rest of us, which means most everybody else, can do just fine with what GIMP has to offer. The Linux penguin pictured above was made with the first version, which was highly unstable and was no where near as advanced as today’s version. Which means what I do with the program is far from using the all capability that the program has to offer.
The program works on Windows and Mac. It has features like photo enhancement and retouching and supports pretty much any image file format you’d want. So, yeah, it’s Photoshop for free. Unless you want to invest in Adobe as a business decision, GIMP will do just fine and save you hundreds of dollars.