back to article Longing to bin Photoshop? Rock-solid GIMP a major leap forward

Despite its relatively obscure version number, GIMP 2.9.2, released recently, represents a major leap forward for the popular image editing suite. Like all odd-numbered GIMP releases, 2.9.2 is considered a technical preview, but the features here will form the base of the stable release GIMP 2.10. In the mean time, I've found …

  1. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. AMBxx Silver badge
      Joke

      Yep - this idea of editing images in a UI is just so overratted ;)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Command line?

        You were lucky, we only had one's and zero's to edit with and most of the time, we didn't even have zero's.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          You're

          A right one, aren't you?

          1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: You're

            You had ones?

            Lucky bugger, we had to chisel our own out of solid granite, and if you think that was easy, just try doing the zeros as well.

            1. moiety

              Re: You're

              You mean you didn't build your own computer first with hairy string and coat hangers? Pansies.

              1. Stevie Silver badge

                Re: Luxury!

                We used ter dream of 'avin' string t' tie off us coat 'angers. We 'ad ter use own sinews, cut out wiyya blunt knife.

                1. TeeCee Gold badge

                  Re: Luxury!

                  A blunt knife? Luxury that is. We 'ad to mek hole wi' bradawl and pull out sinews wi' pliers.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Luxury!

                    Pliers?!?!? Silver-spoon-fed bassards ye all! We 'ad ter gouge bits of sinew wit' bare fingers, wave 'em ter us dogs, and hope doggies would yank them out fer us, then chase doggie down crawling with bare hands to retrieve said sinews, before makin good 'n' proper use of 'em.. Pliers - pfffffft!

                  2. PNGuinn
                    WTF?

                    Re: Luxury!

                    Yew 'ad pliers?

                    Luxury! We 'ad 't use our teeth. An' pick 'em up off 't floor first an' set 'em back in our mouths after our dad'd........

                    1. 45RPM Silver badge

                      Re: Luxury!

                      Dad? You knew who dad were? Reet posh you must be. Mam dunt knaa who us were. Tho t'munnys on er faatha or uncle Derek.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          ASCII art

          Plenty of resolution when coupled with an old dot matrix printer that couldn't do image mode.

          You should have seen my graphics card then too - it could do 80x25 on a GREEN background.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @1980s_coder

      Yeah, now you kids get off my lawn!

    3. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Damn critics

      So many d/vs!!!

      Imagemagick is amazingly useful. I was trying to manipulate some images a couple of years back and found using a ui was just something I was not practised at. As a coder I found being able to code my solution much more compatible with my mental pathways.

      Personally I prefer to script imagmagick functions in Ruby, although the CLI version is much better documented on the web. I still use Gimp for simple one off operations that require manual edits.

  2. JDX Gold badge

    Does it still hate the user?

    My only experience of Gimp was quite a few years ago, when as a non-artist I wanted to a little image-editing and 3D modelling and looked into Gimp and Blender respectively.

    Back then, both of these epitomised the old-school Linux school of thought on UI i.e. it was awful. Both were already very powerful but for a Windows user like myself, the barrier to entry was just too high.

    This was as I say a long time ago so I'm genuinely interested, how have things changed? If we compare it with tools like Photoshop how easy is it to get started and do a few basic things, figure out what the buttons do and the UX hangs together just by using general computer-savvyness?

    1. Malcolm 1

      Re: Does it still hate the user?

      It did the last time I tried it (last year I think). There's clearly a lot of great functionality in there but I can never get past the awkward and ugly UI reminiscent of 90's Windows shareware written with Borland OWL. Shame. If I had the time it would be an interesting project to try to "fix" the UI.

      I have exactly the same issue with Inkscape (although all vector editing tools, regardless of provenance, seem to be either far too simple or have weird UI conventions).

      Blender always did have an esoteric UI model, but it at least appeared to be well thought out and consistent. I've witnessed people with a high degree of proficiency in Blender and it all seems to make a lot of sense once you get up the learning curve.

      1. Mario Becroft
        Stop

        Re: Does it still hate the user?

        The only reason people think Adobe Photoshop is easy to use is because it's what all graphic designers have been brought up on. If you take a step back and come at it as a new user without preconceptions, Photoshop's user interface is as inconsistent and esoteric as The GIMP's, if not more. Same goes for Illustrator/Inkscape. It's mostly down to historical contingency.

        I don't disagree that The GIMP lacks many essential features and has a long way to go before becoming a contender. Non-destructive editing being the killer feature here.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Does it still hate the user?

      If you're referring to the floaty MDI, then there is now a one window interface (since about 2009) which was the biggest bug bear of most Windows users (not so much of a problem for Mac users as they would be used to it).

      My only issue (I use it about 5 times a year) is that I keep thinking of it as an object based program like Inkscape and looking for the select arrow, rather than an image based program. But that's more to do with the work I do with it (not so much photo editing, image manipulation) rather than the program.

      I also struggle a little with the floating text, pasted layers, anchoring and that difference between the layer, the image and the selected area (e.g. Thinking I am pasting onto the canvas when I am actually pasting within a selected image on a selected layer and so can't see my pasted item as it is out of the image bounds).

      However, with live filtering and when it gets non-destructive editing it will be amazing (for the role it is designed for). This along with Inkscape would suit my (limited) purposes completely.

    3. Palpy

      Re: Does it still hate the user?

      I think it's gotten much friendlier (personal opinion). It hardly bites ever, and only messes on your foot now and then. (I'm on 2.8.10, in Ubuntu, Mint, or Fedora, depending.)

      Teh Gimp's got single-window mode since a couple of revisions ago, which does away with the floating ducks if you want. I mean docks! I still have trouble with the text tool. Other stuff seems pretty easy to figure out, supposing that you're familiar with a graphics editor providing multiple selection tools, color curve / level features, filters, etc.

      But to tell the truth, I've been using it long enough to not remember where my original learning curve was steepest. I suppose it was getting used to layers. But Photoshop uses layers as well.

      Thanks, El Reg, for the article. I look forward to the stable release.

      1. Bleu

        Re: Does it still hate the user?

        Once again, my post vanished. Suppose I had better use anything but Opera for reg. posts in general, I foolishly lost everything but phone list, mail, photos, and one-seg videos with recent repair.

        I hope that the 'one window' approach does not preclude floating toolboxes, I prefer them.

        Even with the archaic version of the Gimp on my PC, it does what one wants, if one wants to do something complex, it takes a little thought and planning, but that is as true of Photoshop.

        My one irritation when learnimg the Gimp was the extreme lack of forgiveness re. not having precisely matching numbers of pixels, liked that except when trying to mix something smaller in, that was irritating. Sounds like it is beyond that now.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Does it still hate the user?

          >I hope that the 'one window' approach does not preclude floating toolboxes, I prefer them.

          Don't worry it's all configurable and you can set it to archaic mode if that's what you like, while the Windows users can have it look and operate like PSP/PS/whatever and stop thinking it hates them. 2.10 is still GTK2, so still has that old lumpy look to its widgets but they're perfectly serviceable and I can't think why anyone but the most extreme of fashions would shy at something so trivial.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Does it still hate the user?

            ^ "fashionistas" was "corrected" to "fashions" for me there. Sorry :o(

      2. PNGuinn
        Joke

        Re: Does it still hate the user? @ Palpy

        Stick with floating ducks my friend. Floating docks is the stuff of nightmares. Or a cheese supper.

    4. nigel 15

      Re: Does it still hate the user?

      It does, sadly.

      1. Andy Non

        Re: Does it still hate the user?

        As much as I'd like to use GIMP I find the learning curve too steep to dedicate enough time to learn to use it. Whenever I've tried to use it for something simple it leaves me scratching my head. I wanted to knock up a little map to help someone find our house but couldn't even figure out how to draw a straight line. Gave up in the end and (shock horror) drew one on a sheet of paper and scanned it.

        1. Kiwi Silver badge

          Re: Does it still hate the user? @Andy Non

          As much as I'd like to use PHOTOSHOP I find the learning curve too steep to dedicate enough time to learn to use it. Whenever I've tried to use it for something simple it leaves me scratching my head. I wanted to knock up a little map to help someone find our house but couldn't even figure out how to draw a straight line. Gave up in the end and USED GIMP

          I have tried to use PS. I've even learned a lot from watching others use PS. But I cannot use PS, without learning a lot and a hell of a lot of unlearning stuff that I find quite natural and intuitive in GIMP.

          For those who say "GIMP is too different to PS" I say "That's good, because I cannot for the life of me figure out PS!".

          Oh, and there is a slight untruth - I wouldn't actually want to use PS - I've looked at it to please others/see if all the fuss is worth it but I have no desire to use it, GIMP is more than sufficient for my needs... But then, I live by "If you can't do it in the camera you can't do it" for taking pics, and only "edit" for the purposes of combining/cropping/etc)

        2. Quortney Fortensplibe
          Thumb Down

          Re: Does it still hate the user?

          The Gimp is fucking awful!

          I'm chomping at the bit to abandon OSX and move to Linux full-time. But the total lack of any half-decent graphics software to replace Photoshop and Illustrator is a complete deal-breaker. Every few months I'll read an article about how great the new version of The Gimp is, or "How to set up The Gimp, for Photoshop users" and get my hopes up for a while. Only to be disappointed again, when I find it's still as much of a barely functional mess as last time I looked at it.

          Non-Destructive-Editing coming in a "future release" WTF?! Photoshop has had NDE for years. I have free throwaway apps on my phone that can do NDE —and the so-called no.1 professional image editor on Linux still hasn't implemented it. Just take it out the back and shoot it, someone!

          As regards:

          "...As much as I'd like to use PHOTOSHOP I find the learning curve too steep to dedicate enough time to learn to use it. Whenever I've tried to use it for something simple it leaves me scratching my head. I wanted to knock up a little map to help someone find our house but couldn't even figure out how to draw a straight line..."

          Sounds to me like you're using the wrong tool for the job. Photoshop is primarily designed for photo/video type image manipulation. For creating graphics/logos/diagrams/maps and the like, you'd be far better off using something like Illustrator [or Inkscape, it you want to continue on the self-flagellation route]

    5. Planty Bronze badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Does it still hate the user?

      I would also still avoid GIMP at all costs, due to horrible UI experiences in the past, where trying to do simple things left me scratching my head.

      I have no interest in internal wiring changes if the UI hasn't been completely overhauled (binned and started again).

      1. Naich

        Re: Does it still hate the user?

        > I would also still avoid GIMP at all costs

        Luckily it doesn't cost anything, so my advice would be don't listen to the haters and give it a go.

    6. SolidSquid

      Re: Does it still hate the user?

      Don't know about Gimp, it's always had a degree of "we're not photoshop, so we'll do it our way" attitude to user feedback, but Blender's made some big updates over the last few years as a result of the feedback from the Blender Foundation animation projects (which are largely funded to provide real world feedback on the software). I still wouldn't call it "easy to use" since most 3D modelling and animation tools tend to be a bit on the technical side, but it's at least on par with things like Maya for usability and the workflow works well once you get into it

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @JDX - Re: Does it still hate the user?

      Freetard perhaps ? I suppose you would like Photoshop elegance and performance for the price of GIMP. Anyway, what you're saying amounts to complaining a Boeing 747 is rubbish because it is so complex and difficult to fly for a beginner.

      I couldn't find from your post if you did any effort to read the documentation but I will excuse you since this is typical for Windows users as well as Linux wannabes (effortless instant knowledge - I know, your time is money and stuff like that).

      Being myself equally exposed to GIMP (on Windows) and PS I can tell you I had the same learning curve when trying to achieve basic tasks and none of the UI proved more difficult than the other. More than that, on several occasions I've been forced to google on how to do some tasks in MS Office 2016 because its UI was far from clear and I surely don't consider it being old-school Linux.

      Didn't give you any down-vote though.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: @JDX - Does it still hate the user?

        The difference is you can find a lot of good documentation and tutorials about Photoshop, not so much on GIMP. Thereby it's "easier" to learn PS than GIMP, if you're a novice (and most people may be more interested in investing resources on PS because it is a de facto standard)

        Moreover, if people believe PS is really a great pile of bad stuff when it comes to UI and usability, why deliver more or less the same in GIMP?

      2. Adam 52 Silver badge

        Re: @JDX - Does it still hate the user?

        Well I pay for Photoshop on Windows. Windows 10 is forcing me to look for alternatives. I'd happily pay the same price for Photoshop on Linux, or any other tool but not for the truly unpleasant GIMP user experience.

      3. Someone Else Silver badge
        Coat

        @ AC -- Re: @JDX - Does it still hate the user?

        I couldn't find from your post if you did any effort to read the documentation but I will excuse you since this is typical for Windows users as well as Linux wannabes (effortless instant knowledge - I know, your time is money and stuff like that).

        Documentation? In an FOSS program? Shirley, you jest!

      4. JDX Gold badge

        Re: @JDX - Does it still hate the user?

        And that's exactly why Linux won't ever make gig strides on the desktop. You ask a perfectly nice "has the UI improved over the last few years" question and get randomly insulted for not buying into some world-view about how one is supposed to use the software.

        As for "you can't make a simple interface to a powerful program", that is just crap. Older FOSS used to be very obviously made by coders who didn't know or care about UX, as a coder myself I know what it looks like when a coder designs a UI.

        As for documentation, a)most FOSS documentation is crap and if you complain you get told to look at the source b)it wouldn't answer my question, only trying to use the thing would.

        1. John 110

          Re: @JDX - Does it still hate the user?

          "has the UI improved over the last few years" is only a perfectly nice question if the reader agrees that it needs improved (I do for GIMP by the way)

          Obviously some people feel strongly that it doesn't need improved...

        2. The man in the pub
          Meh

          Re: @JDX - Does it still hate the user?

          God preserve us from UIs made by coders (unless for coders)

          God preserve us from UIs made by Graphic Artists

          You need a UI designer who understands what the implications are for the coders (and pushes the lazy bastards to make an effort) and is graphically literate but reigns in the wilder excesses of the "make it pretty and flashy at the expense of understanding" brigade. Crucially the UI designer must also understand the way the user thinks so that the end result is intuitive but also is harmonious, at least to a significant degree, with the UI metaphors in the environment in which it will be employed.

          Engineers who are also psychologists and artists in equal measure are as hard to find as artists who are competent engineers. Not impossible but difficult.

          If Linux, and the FOSS programs associated with it, can crack this problem they have a future as the third force on the desktop (4th if you count Android). If they don't crack it they will remain forever a technical walled garden for the techno nerd, speaking in a strange language and conducting some sort of voodoo like religious activity that provides background services to the real world.

    8. Joseph Eoff

      Re: Does it still hate the user?

      It never hated the user.

      I have always used GIMP, and the few times I've had to use Photoshop I had the damnedest time getting anything done.

    9. BobChip
      Linux

      Re: Does it still hate the user?

      No, it does not. It IS different, and unfamiliar to experienced Photoshop users, but they had to learn Photoshop in the past, as I did. I switched to GIMP, a long time ago, and I had to go through the learning curve like anyone else. GIMP is very powerful, and does far more things than I am ever likely to need.

      THE BEST SOFTWARE IN THE WORLD IS THE SOFTWARE YOU KNOW BEST

      1. Hans 1 Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: Does it still hate the user?

        >THE BEST SOFTWARE IN THE WORLD IS THE SOFTWARE YOU KNOW BEST

        Until the smart asses come along and change the "Save" dialog. When you inquire as to "why" they changed it, they reply "Because power users did not know that saving an image to compressed GIF actually causes data loss." By no means do I consider myself a gimp power user, but #!$@!!

        That is why I stick with 2.6, does what I need AND has a "proper" Save dialog.

        NB: I work on something like 20 images at a time: open image, little touch-up here, little touch-up there, Ctrl+s, Alt+F4, on to next image.

        With the new save dialog (I think in 2.8+), I have to click through the menu, confirm I want to overwrite a file and when I accidentally hit Ctrl+S, I have native GIMP images lying around, which are utterly useless to me.

        1. Steve Graham

          Re: "save" functionality

          In case other readers interpret what you said as hyperbole: yes, that was EXACTLY the reasoning expressed. GIMP developers think "power users" are too stupid to understand compression and data loss.

          I found a couple of scripts to do "save current" and "save as..." and put them into the main menu above the official ones.

        2. Kiwi Silver badge

          Re: Does it still hate the user? @Hans 1

          With the new save dialog (I think in 2.8+), I have to click through the menu, confirm I want to overwrite a file and when I accidentally hit Ctrl+S, I have native GIMP images lying around, which are utterly useless to me.

          I've seen enough cases where someone's spent a bit of time creating a picture and then saved it out to JPG or GIF in a very low resolution, and not saving the the original files means they lose work - on that regard I can understand why the writers of GIMP may've chosen to make such errors harder to make.

          But I do agree with your sentiment. Much of my work is for web or non-GIMP users, and I want to choose what things are saved to quickly and easily. Give me a config option to let me choose defaults and let me take the risk - maybe with a warning or something at the time but let me quickly save work to whatever format I wish. Hell, even a dual save would be nice - xcf and jpg/gif/whatever, if I want to save like that.

      2. Kiwi Silver badge
        Linux

        Re: Does it still hate the user? @BobChip

        THE BEST SOFTWARE IN THE WORLD IS THE SOFTWARE YOU KNOW BEST

        Not always true! I fix Windows for a living and know a lot of it a hell of a lot better than I know things with Linux. I struggle to fix things with Linux when I do manage to break them because I don't get the practice. I have machines with uptimes measured in hundreds of days1 or longer and time between actual "repairs" is in years (repairs != hardware upgrades).

        For learning how to fix broken things, Windows is better. For learning what a truly wonderful computing experience can be, you need *Nix..

        1Reboots for kernel updates etc

    10. sisk Silver badge

      Re: Does it still hate the user?

      Maybe I'm an oddball but I've always found Gimp's UI to be much more intuitive that Photoshop's. I picked up Gimp and started using it sometime in the late 90s or early 00s when I no longer had access to a high school computer with Photoshop on it and achieved a reasonable level of proficiency fairly quickly. It took a college course years later for me to hit the same level of proficiency in Photoshop, and I still feel like it's easier to find stuff in Gimp's UI.

      1. Dexter

        Re: Does it still hate the user?

        sisk: Maybe I'm an oddball but I've always found Gimp's UI to be much more intuitive that Photoshop's.

        Maybe I'm an oddball but I've always found both Gimp and Photoshop (and Pixelmator on the Mac) to be hideously difficult and unintuitive to use. It always takes ten times as long as it should to do anything, and involves copious use of 'undo'.

  3. Unep Eurobats

    GIMP: love it

    Trouble is I use it so infrequently that every time I have to work it out from scratch. What's a layer again?

    1. phuzz Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: GIMP: love it

      A layer? That's a hen you keep for it's eggs, as opposed to it's meat.

      >>> mine's the one with some free range eggs in the pocket

      1. joejack

        Re: GIMP: love it

        That reminds me, I need to pick up a henway later.

        1. RedneckMother
          Thumb Up

          Re: GIMP: love it

          @joejack

          WassamataU... having trouble with unexpected weight loss?

          :-)

          1. perlcat

            Re: GIMP: love it

            The GIMP has done everything I've needed it to do. If I script, then it's Image::Magick, but for what I need, it's worth the learning curve.

    2. frank ly Silver badge

      Re: GIMP: love it

      Layers are great once you get to know them and their associated alpha masks can be useful too. You just need to play/practice with them or watch one of the many YouTube tutorial videos about them.

    3. PleebSmasher

      Re: GIMP: love it

      It's like putting a piece of see-through plastic on your drawing. You can then draw on the plastic or whatever.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tough Sell

    Know a couple of media people who believe Adobe's Photoshop is the only photo editing software.

    GIMP could be the cure to all ills but I'd doubt it would ever be adopted by the lovies (principle end users), save the odd bizarre tech savvi deviant.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Gimp

      Re: Tough Sell

      What nonsense! I bet they're the kind of "media people" who can only run "the only photo editing software" on "the only photo editing hardware" even though it's been nothing more than overpriced PCs for years now.

      Real "media people" (i.e. those who actually make a living doing interesting things in "media") use the best tool for the job at hand, rather than mindlessly spouting the gospel according to some arbitrary corporation. Under no reasonable is Adobe's Photoshop "the only photo editing software." Under no conceivable circumstances is Adobe's Photoshop even the best photo editing software. There are certainly many common and uncommon tasks to which Photoshop is well suited and proves to be a slick and efficient tool. Equally, there are many common and uncommon tasks to which Photoshop is appallingly badly suited and offers an awkward, clumsy, illogical, convoluted, error prone ordeal only undertaken by masochists and morons. There are also plenty of common and uncommon tasks which Photoshop is simply incapable of performing and utterly useless. You choose the right tool for the job, based on the breadth and depth of your knowledge and experience.

      Gimp < 2.9 is utter crap. An incompetently designed ham-fisted image wrecking toy. There is *NO* image processing task it can perform which Photoshop can't do *BETTER* and there are myriad common tasks which Photoshop handles well and Gimp < 2.9 can't do at all. That said, there are extraneous things old Gimp can do better than photoshop, e.g. its scripting, automation and the like are very powerful and, while not up to serious use, it's image processing engine is perfectly adequate for small, simple operations like minor tweaking for the web. So it isn't totally useless, despite being crap.

      Gimp 2.9 however includes a complete replacement of the heinous image processing catastrophe that went before. Competently and intelligently designed with *MODERN* image processing tasks in mind: Unlike the 20yr old kludge lurking inside Photoshop. Gimp 2.9 can already do many useful processing tasks *MUCH* *BETTER* than Photoshop can ever be wrangled to achieve. Gimp 2.9 can also already do *MANY* useful processing tasks that no version of Photoshop can do at all. I know this because I use *BOTH* practically every day. Gimp 2.10 isn't going to be a "hard sell" at all because 1) it's one of the most exciting things to have happened in computer photo editing in at least the last decade and 2) it's not available for purchase.

      If your "media people" are even remotely competent they'll understand that and already know all about GEGL, otherwise they're just hipsters who like to be called "media people." If all they want is to stick with Adobe/Apple for the rest of their lives/careers, they won't be hurting anyone but themselves.

      1. AegisPrime
        Mushroom

        Re: Tough Sell

        Real "media people" do indeed use the best tools at hand - sadly Gimp isn't one of those tools (unless you've been bludgeoned into it by working at an all-Linux studio which fortunately I've never had to).

        That's not to say there aren't some fantastic creative applications on Linux - Modo, Nuke, Mari, DaVinci Resolve and more - Gimp and Blender aren't even the same sport though.

      2. sisk Silver badge

        Re: Tough Sell

        Gimp < 2.9 is utter crap. An incompetently designed ham-fisted image wrecking toy. There is *NO* image processing task it can perform which Photoshop can't do *BETTER* and there are myriad common tasks which Photoshop handles well and Gimp < 2.9 can't do at all.

        As a web developer who used Gimp in a professional capacity starting around v1.2 I have to disagree with you. I was actually rather appalled to discover some of the filters and scripts I'd come to rely on in Gimp 2.2 or 2.4 were actually missing from the current version of Photoshop at the time. There were many tasks that I did fairly frequently around that time that were much, MUCH quicker and easier to do in Gimp.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up

          Re: Tough Sell

          Sisk, perhaps surprisingly I agree with you wile not disagreeing with myself. I currently use PSCS6 and was referring to that in the comparison above - not ancient versions. I don't see why one should compare any software with something obsolete and superseded. The "Gimp < 2.9" "old Gimp" is of course the 2.8 current "stable" branch. I can't think of any operation PSCS6 can't perform on an image which you can do in "stable" Gimp. If there is, feel free to point it out. However even if there is something, it WILL be damaging the image. Every step of manipulation in old (pre GEGL) Gimps degrades the data and that damage is cumulative. A few examples of how the old image wrecking engine goes about its work:

          Just about all its ops are (erroneously) performed linearly even though you can't work on linear data as old Gimps can't handle more than 8bit integer values and a gamma .4545 - 2.2 round trip in 8bit int would obviously utterly devastate the darker values.

          Despite operating on no more 8bit per channel, old Gimp doesn't have the vaguest idea what dithering is or why it is essential in ops performed under such shallow colour.

          As hinted at in the article, resampling/rescaling is totally fucked. Linear maths on gamma encoded data (as usual), incorrectly implemented algos, misguided nearest neighbour presampling... and so on.. it's so shockingly demented it's hard to imagine how you'd make a worse botch of it if you were trying to. I've seen Gimp victims advocating performing large reductions as multiple resamples each never smaller than 51% as a "workaround" to mitigate some of the incompetence.

          1. sisk Silver badge

            Re: Tough Sell

            I'll have to take your word for it. I've still got CS4. I had CS5 at one point, but the install disk went missing around the same time a new computer showed up on my desk. I've never used CS6.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Tough Sell

          >As a web developer who used Gimp in a professional capacity starting around v1.2 I have to disagree with you.

          What happens when designers send you layered PSDs - with every frigging draft, CMYK etc. All very well recommending it for general purpose image editing, but what makes PS ubiquitous for web developers is that you really don't have any choice but to learn it and use it. GIMP have no interest (rightly) in engaging with CC workflow - pro designers have no interest in leaving it.

          1. sisk Silver badge

            Re: Tough Sell

            What happens when designers send you layered PSDs...

            That particular problem has never come up. In the rare event that someone other than me is doing graphics for the website they usually send it to me as a PNG or JPG. It may be a pain in the backside to juggle multiple peoples' needs most of the time, but being the only web guy for an organization does have its advantages. If it ever did happen then I would be forced to load it up in Photoshop.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Tough Sell

      There are now lots of very good Photoshop alternatives for around $50. Personally I use Photoline (excellent PSD support) but Serif's Affinity Photo has been getting a lot of fans.

      Much as I support open source software, for many things like image editing it's worth paying a bit for convenience. A good UI that supports your workflow will quickly repay itself. This is why Adobe is still able to charge so much for something like Illustrator.

      1. Seajay#

        Re: Tough Sell

        I'm regularly tempted to buy one of the cheaper photoshop alternatives but the main cost of image editing programs is the investment in time required to learn them. It feels like a huge waste to spend time learning something like Affinity which for all I know could disappear next year. GIMP may be harder but at least you know you'll be able to use it for a while and equally importantly you know you won't end up with all your images stuck in a proprietory format when your licence runs out.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Tough Sell

        Thank you! Checking those out!

    3. Bleu

      Re: Tough Sell

      Those are the same people who believe that Apple is the world's only tech. company, and flaunt their devices as if they were some kind of badges of merit.

    4. Jan Hargreaves

      Re: Tough Sell

      It will go nowhere if it keeps that name. How they fail to see that branding is important to be successful is beyond bewildering.....

      http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=gimp

      (1) a derrogatory term for someone that is disabled or has a medicial problem that results in physical impairment.

      (2) An insult implying that someone is incompetent, stupid, etc. Can also be used to imply that the person is uncool or can't/won't do what everyone else is doing.

      (3) A sex slave or submissive, usually male, as popularlized by the movie Pulp Fiction.

      1. DropBear Silver badge

        Re: Tough Sell

        Sure, and Yahoo never went anywhere either (regardless of where it sank after Google ate its lunch)...

        Yahoo:

        noun: yahoo; plural noun: yahoos

        a rude, noisy, or violent person.

        synonyms: redneck, boor, lout, oaf;

    5. KeithR

      Re: Tough Sell

      "GIMP could be the cure to all ills...."

      Now, it REALLY couldn't.

      Its main problem isn't with its UI (you can get used to anything eventually), or its range of functions.

      It's that it CANNOT do the things that I need it to do, as well as (say) PhotoShop can do them - it does not deliver the QUALITY of output that I look for,

      Two cases in point: highlight recovery, and noise reduction.

      The Gimp flatly fails to deliver the kind of recovered detail from (nearly) blown highlights that PhotoShop delivers - it simply doesn't have that ability.

      And there are so many hoops to jump through to get any kind of useful, high quality noise reduction that - frankly - it's a joke.

      So The Gimp's REAL problem is image quality. It doesn't DO image quality.

  5. Joe Harrison Silver badge

    My (grumpy) prediction for 2016

    I will reaffirm my belief in the principle of Free Software and get all excited about the new GIMP tech preview. Unfortunately I won't initially get a clean compile but after a few hours work I will find out where the bugs are or what I did wrong in the compilation and build process. There may or may not also be some Dependency Hell. Finally GIMP will run in a very impressive manner.

    Except for the bit I actually want to use, which will fail with an unintuitive error message when I try and do it. I will search the internet for a solution but the only hits will be other users saying "me too how do I fix this". I will mutter under my breath and go back to whatever I was using on Windows.

    Sad but true, been there before on many other products.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: My (grumpy) prediction for 2016

      It's a shame, because GIMP could be a flagship 'product' for FOSS on the desktop.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: My (grumpy) prediction for 2016

        It's a shame, because GIMP could be a flagship 'product' for FOSS on the desktop.

        It couldn't because it is the GTK (Gimp Tool Kit) that hates the user: it's an abomination.

        Anyway users will never really care about FOSS. They will care about free (as in beer) and they will care about the ability to get the job done. People who profess to care about FOSS aren't really users.

    2. Richard 81

      Re: My (grumpy) prediction for 2016

      Make that Free Software on Linux. At least Windows-based free software tends to come as binaries in nice convenient installers. It may pump your PC with malware, but at least you don't need a PhD in computer science to get the bloody thing working.

      1. desht

        Re: My (grumpy) prediction for 2016

        Yeah, but at least Linux doesn't have that stupid 8.3 filename limit... oh wait, we're in 2015, not 1995.

        If you actually believe you need a CS PhD to install something like GIMP on any modern Linux distro, the problem is with you, not the OS or the app.

      2. nijam

        Re: My (grumpy) prediction for 2016

        > It may pump your PC with malware

        If you're on Windows, you've got malware. Just get used to it.

    3. Palpy

      Re: My (grumpy) prediction for 2016

      Mmmm... too bad you fellows don't just get the precompiled deb or rpm. I would feel your pain, except that I've never compiled Teh Gimp nor needed to.

      I feel great embarrassment: since I moved to Linux a few years ago I have never had to compile anything. (I can hear the wise old neckbeards now, muttering "Aye, well, we had it tough -- had to compile from raw gravel whilst living in a lake... every night Torvalds would thrash us to sleep wiv his belt...")

      1. Paul Shirley

        Re: "Aye, well, we had it tough -- had to compile from raw gravel"

        You've not lived till you've built a new machine definition for gcc, built and debugged a cross compiler with it on DOS, written libc from scratch to avoid GPL issues and created a CD filesystem driver + tools to build the CD's, all with a few weeks experience with gcc or C... then finally got started on the actually porting PC C++ to a games console Sega abandoned shortly after!

        You middle aged folk had it easy ;)

        1. Captain DaFt

          Re: "Aye, well, we had it tough -- had to compile from raw gravel"

          @Paul Shirley's; "You've not lived"

          I think you're confusing "lived" with "suffered".

          I like myself, so I'll stick with debs, thanks.

      2. Bleu

        Re: My (grumpy) prediction for 2016

        Nice line, but your joke fails by having Torvalds instead of Stallman.

      3. DropBear Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: My (grumpy) prediction for 2016

        " I have never had to compile anything."

        Lucky you then. I suppose you never wanted to do any obscure / arcane / occult stuff like, you know, access a bloody windows share from Midnight Commander...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Joe Harrison - Re: My (grumpy) prediction for 2016

      So you didn't try it and you already know when and how it will fail miserably. How impressive!

      Can I have your crystal ball or whatever herbs you're smoking, please ?

    5. Bleu

      Re: My (grumpy) prediction for 2016

      Nobody is forcing you to download what is, as the review clearly states, pretty much a beta version.

    6. John Sanders

      Re: My (grumpy) prediction for 2016

      You do realize it is not been made available yet and it is only available for the more technically inclined to play with, and not to make any serious work with it.

      Do you?

      Judging by your comment it doesn't look like you are aware of this little tiny winy detail.

      My prediction is quite different, GEGL is a big jump ahead and will allow for massive improvements to GIMP in little time compared to how long it took to get to a complete GEGL implementation.

      Remember this, Photoshop will incorporate some of the features that are to come on the next iterations of GIMP

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OmOyQyuiO_E

      There is lots and lots and lots of truly innovative stuff floating around for GIMP that could not be incorporated as part of the main software because of the incomplete GEGL engine.

      Some of Photoshop latest additions came from other programs you know, for example the inspiration for "Content Aware Fill" came directly from the Resynthesizer plug-in in GIMP.

      There are many other features that Photoshop has incorporated over the years from other software too.

  6. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

    More than three colour channels?

    Lack of support for four colour process or spot colour layers is what has kept gimp out of professional users' workflows, so it's remiss of this article to not mention that the imaging engine is no longer limited to RGB and RGBA, and now images can be any number of channels of integer or floating point data points.

    ... It's quite an impressive bit of work, and congratulations are due to all involved- this is the kind of thing open source development excels at.

    Whether the UI exposes this is another matter. (UI design is, sadly, something that Open Source projects struggle with)

    1. K Silver badge

      Re: More than three colour channels?

      Have 1 up vote for the useful info, and second theoretical one for the moron who downvoted you!

      Have to agree on the UI in most open-source software, though its not the projects own fault, open-source projects rarely have enough resources and contributors to keep the UI with the "times". I've often pestered my employer(s) to contribute back with time or contributions, we are profiting, so its right to give something in return to help the cycle.

      1. Mage Silver badge

        Re: UX / GUI

        The GUI / UX has been going down hill in MS Land since 2004.

        Vista

        Ribbon

        Flat

        Tiles

        Flat & Tiles

        PSP7 was the peak of decent GUI for Paint Shop Pro but lacked the drag line tool of Win 3.1 Aldus photo editor for picking amount of Rotation. I installed PSP X or 10 or something, and went back, Corel had seriously messed up UI consistency. Some Photoshop plugins do work in Paint Shop Pro 7

        "Pretty" or "Minimalistic" of itself doesn't mean a good UX (ask Nielsen Group), Excessively Skumorphic, inconsistent, fragmented or Minimalistic (esp. flat) UI designs are are a failure.

        Mint is now (esp Mate Desktop) is now maybe better than Ubuntu for UX/GUI. Windows is a GUI disaster now. Gimp only needs to get a bit better. It does, like Thunderbird, Calibre, Firefox, Filezilla, X-Chat, VLC, Open Office, Libre Office, Audacity and other programs have native Windows and Linux versions.

        1. DropBear Silver badge

          Re: UX / GUI

          "PSP7 was the peak of decent GUI for Paint Shop Pro"

          Actually, I rather like my (Corel) PSP9 - I can't recall any revolutionary UI screwups with it (X might be a different ballgame, just can't recall any specifics anymore)

    2. wolfetone Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: More than three colour channels?

      You can have any colour you want.

      As long as it's black.

    3. PNGuinn
      Coffee/keyboard

      "(UI design is, sadly, something that Open Source projects struggle with)"

      Ribbon anyone?

      TIFKAM?

      ...................................................................

      1. Old Handle

        Re: "(UI design is, sadly, something that Open Source projects struggle with)"

        Well yes, commercial software UI has sucked lately too, but in different ways and for different reasons. As best I can tell the commercial UIs suck on purpose while FOSS UIs suck because they can't help it. (With a notable exception of Firefox which has adopting the commercial-style suck-on-purpose model.)

        I'm a PSP fan too, incidentally. I typically have both 7 and 9 installed and use them for different tasks, although I'm gradually learning to deal with 9's clunkier interface and using it more often. Unfortunately I'll never upgrade past that unless Corel (who bought it out) reverses their decision to load it up with DRM.

        1. Toastan Buttar

          @Old Handle

          "As best I can tell the commercial UIs suck on purpose"

          What does that even mean? The commercial companies have deliberately set out to make sucky UIs? Why would they do that?

          1. Captain DaFt

            Re: @Old Handle

            "What does that even mean? The commercial companies have deliberately set out to make sucky UIs? Why would they do that?"

            They have, and nobody (not even them) knows why.

            If you try to find out, you hit a wall of designers orating incoherently.

          2. Kiwi Silver badge

            Re: @Toastan Buttar

            "As best I can tell the commercial UIs suck on purpose"

            What does that even mean? The commercial companies have deliberately set out to make sucky UIs? Why would they do that?

            It's not really deliberate, more a mixture of marketing, arts degrees, incompetent management ("My nephew knows a bit of programming, let him do the website!"), and deliberate corporate sabotage (Look at W8, got to be someone who hates MS behind that mess!)

      2. PNGuinn
        Joke

        Re: "(UI design is, sadly, something that Open Source projects struggle with)"

        A downvote. Hah - you must be Clippy and I claim my £5.

      3. Kiwi Silver badge

        Re: "(UI design is, sadly, something that Open Source projects struggle with)" @PNGuinn

        Ribbon anyone?

        Mental note. When a couple of days late to a thread, make sure no one else has commented on the obvious...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: More than three colour channels?

      No CMYK or anything more than RGB planned for GIMP until (maybe) 3.2 unfortunately. Two releases away. As has already been said, the RGB capabilities are already coming together beautifully though, so GIMP 2.10 looks set to be a superb RGB editor.

    5. Kiwi Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: More than three colour channels? @Kristian Walsh

      (UI design is, sadly, something that Open Source projects struggle with)

      I'm guessing you've never seen W8 or W10? Or the Office "ribbon"?

  7. nigel 15

    The gimp sucks

    I'm sorry but it does. It feels like it's been designed one feature at a time and each feature just dropped anywhere there was space. The fact that I would have to compile it myself does nothing to reassure me this is over. It needs taking apart and putting back together from the ground up.

    I like PSP more than PS. If you want to go free then Paint.net is so much better than gimp it's not even close.

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: The gimp sucks

      You have to compile it yourself as it's a preview, it's not the actual release. Unless you're using Slackware, then you will never have to compile GIMP.

      However, you're wrong. Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong. It has a steep learning curve yes, but if you can't be bothered to learn how to use any type of software, then that software will always automatically suck.

      So learn how to use it, or stick to what you know. But either way don't label software as crap just because you have zero patience to learn anything new.

      Good day sir.

      1. IHateWearingATie

        Re: The gimp sucks

        There is a difference between needing to put effort in to learn a complex application, and needing to put effort in because the person who designed the UI didn't. My experience is that GIMP is in the latter category.

        I haven't used GIMP for 3 or 4 years, but the UI sucked so badly I ended up splashing out on Photoshop. Will try it again once 2.10 is released.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @IHateWearingAtie - Re: The gimp sucks

          No, no, no! Please stay with Photoshop if that suits you and forget about GIMP.

      2. Chris King Silver badge

        Re: The gimp sucks

        You have to compile it yourself as it's a preview, it's not the actual release. Unless you're using Slackware, then you will never have to compile GIMP.

        If you can't work out how to build a particular package, someone else probably has. They haven't got a 2.9 package yet, but it will happen once the package maintainer gets round to it.

        1. keithpeter
          Windows

          Re: The gimp sucks

          "If you can't work out how to build a particular package, someone else probably has. They haven't got a 2.9 package yet, but it will happen once the package maintainer gets round to it."

          GIMP is, of course, part of a default install (in the XAP package set) and so is not found on Slackbuilds, but I take your general point.

          1. Chris King Silver badge

            Re: The gimp sucks

            Doh - I'd forgotten it was in XAP !

            (I wonder if 2.10 will be pushed out the door before Slackware-Current becomes 14.2 ?)

    2. Kevin Johnston

      Re: The gimp sucks

      Ah, that classic presumption.

      If you will not make the effort to use the product properly then how can you say something else is better? No better than saying that Italians are not as helpful as Americans because you only speak English

      1. nigel 15

        Re: The gimp sucks

        Don't assume that I can't work the gimp.

        Equally the developers shouldn't assume that everyone is willing. An intuitive ui is just as important as the functionality.

        1. wolfetone Silver badge

          @nigel 15

          "Don't assume that I can't work the gimp.

          Equally the developers shouldn't assume that everyone is willing. An intuitive ui is just as important as the functionality."

          I said good day sir!

        2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

          Re: The gimp sucks

          "An intuitive ui is just as important as the functionality."

          However, for most people "an intuitive UI" just means "what I have spent many hundreds of hours getting used to", and the common ones are locked down by copyright and design patents so that they cannot be reused.

          1. Mr Templedene

            Re: The gimp sucks

            I've been saying for years that no interface is intuitive, I used gimp and got used to it before trying photoshop, nothing was in an "intuitive" place in photoshop, for me. Not because it was badly designed, just because it was different.

            I remember struggling with windows 95 at first, as it was so different to 3.11

    3. Palpy

      Re: The gimp sucks

      Ah, I remember working with Paintshop Pro. And being cheesed off when they started changing the interface with every release. But it was a good application, though the versions I used had fewer features than the Gimp or Photoshop. But IMHO, Paint.net is a big step down in terms of versatility. A nice little program, but emphasize the little part.

      And if you download it, watch out carefully for PUPs and other malware. Not P.net's fault, but its popularity has made it fertile ground for bad actors.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can't complain as it costs nothing, for free it's priceless.

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      I can't complain as it costs nothing, for free it's priceless.

      I just taught somebody yesterday a basic workflow for scaling an image for the web and uploading it to an image resource on a webserver. The UI does not get in the way of you being able to set resolution, print scaling, and export in preferred format with copyright notice and (for jpegs) quality. Something that is actually much harder to do in MS Paint.

  9. AMBxx Silver badge
    Windows

    time to leave photoshop?

    I'm running Photoshop Elements 5! Maybe time to switch, but I'd like some decent integration with OneDrive - I'm assuming that's not available here!

    1. Paul Woodhouse

      Re: time to leave photoshop?

      run it alongside shotwell,... works for me...

  10. decoherence

    Photoshop user since version 2 (pre CS, pre-layers) and I find the GIMP generally less annoying to use compared to modern Photoshop's 'workflow'. But I also think Blender's UX is the best out there so don't mind me.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > But I also think Blender's UX is the best out there so don't mind me.

      Blender certainly has a steep learning curve but then it is a complex system as are all decent 3D systems.

      As someone else said above, its real strength is its consistency. They had a bit of a redesign some time ago and I was amazed at how they had managed to maintain the ideas between the different tools.

      For example, the command for moving stuff around in the 3D space is exactly the same as moving clips around in the video editor. It also has keyboard shortcuts (which you inevitably end up using all the time) consistently appear in all the tooltips.

      I love it.

  11. Sil

    Still years away from Photoshop

    I have been using Gimp as a replacement for Photoshop ever since Adobe is asking outrageous prices for a forced subscription instead of allowing to purchase the software for a very high price, an option which is in the past allowed to pay an upgrade every 3rd or 4th upgrade, which was more than enough due to the snail pace of innovation.

    While I'm very thankful, Gimp is still years away from Photoshop in capabilities, ease of use, productivity and documentation, and I'm still longing for Photoshop.

    I must say I'm thoroughly lusting after a Windows port of Affinity Photo on the mac: if it's as good as it seems to be, it's worth many times its 40 pounds price.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Still years away from Photoshop

      So you haven't tried anything newer than 2.8.x then? Did you even read the article?

    2. KeithR

      Re: Still years away from Photoshop

      "ever since Adobe is asking outrageous prices for a forced subscription"

      Oh, just fucking STOP IT! Less than £9UK a month for PhotoShop AND Lightroom is UNBELIEVABLY cheap!

  12. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    Multi-channel and deep bit depths is what I need

    I do a lot of multi-channel deep bit depth work in astronomy, and Gimp's lack of support there has caused me to use it only in the latest stages, if at all. I will certainly try the new version.

    And I can live with the GUI (yes, it is a bit clunky), heck, I can even live with ImageJ and MatLab, or even ImageMagick command line stuff. However, I cannot live with Photoshop's software rental approach. I am quite willing to buy their older version, but they don't sell that any more (at least, not via any legal site I have found). Adobe is free to choose its business model, and I am free to look elsewhere.

    I also cannot live with their reliance on the cloud. I might be in the depths of Uganda, which means I might be far from (decent) internet connection, and I do not want a pop-up saying: "Sorry Michael, I can't do that for you." Yes you can be away from authentication for a while, but I do not like this kind of time-bomb ticking away in the background waiting to go off at some moment.

    For others it may be ideal, of course. Horses for courses

    1. moiety

      Re: Multi-channel and deep bit depths is what I need

      Amen. By their "place your bollocks in our hands" model (and also the frequent "it's time for you to do Abobe stuff for our convenience" popping up whenever it suits them with no apparent way to turn it off and irrespective of what you happen to be doing with your own bloody computer at the time), Adobe have taken themselves out of the game for me. Whatever the solution is, it's not Adobe.

      I've been using Bloom and it does a lot of things OK; but there's no clipping path and it gets downright flaky when you get right down amongst individual pixels; both of which are serious problems for the way I use a graphic editor.

      The "no preview on filter" has been the Gimp-killer for me up until now...just can't work like that (that and a slightly sheddy final output). If both of these have been solved then I'm definitely going to give Gimp another serious go. Good news.

    2. David Nash Silver badge

      Re: Multi-channel and deep bit depths is what I need

      "I do a lot of multi-channel deep bit depth work in astronomy, and Gimp's lack of support there has caused me to use it only in the latest stages, if at all. I will certainly try the new version."

      Yes, this. I am in the same position. If the new one can do 16-bit per channel, or even higher, then good times are here.

      And I learned GIMP way before trying Photoshop (for cost reasons, obvs) and therefore I have no problems with the GIMP UI. The whole "layer" thing is more or less the same as Photoshop anyway and I am normally able to translate from PS tutorials on the web to the GIMP equivalent (does the new GIMP have "adjustment layers" by the way?)

      Edit: just read further down that it does not yet have Adjustment Layers. Shame, as many Photoshop tutorials use them. Have to fake it by using a normal layer.

    3. KeithR

      Re: Multi-channel and deep bit depths is what I need

      "I also cannot live with their reliance on the cloud. I might be in the depths of Uganda, which means I might be far from (decent) internet connection "

      Utterly bloody clueless.

      The ONLY thing "cloud" about Adobe's subscription model (and note - it's not "cloud" AT ALL) is that ONCE EVERY 99 DAYS the software has to be able to "phone home" to check that your subscription is still current!

      EVERYTHING else is just like it's always been: the software's on your machine, your images are on your machine.

      You gonna be away from any internet connection for > 3 months?

      By all means don't do CC - but FFS at least stop making up reasons not to use it.

      1. Kiwi Silver badge

        Re: Multi-channel and deep bit depths is what I need @KeithR

        The ONLY thing "cloud" about Adobe's subscription model (and note - it's not "cloud" AT ALL) is that ONCE EVERY 99 DAYS the software has to be able to "phone home" to check that your subscription is still current!

        Are you sure about that?

        "Annual members can use the apps for up to 99 days in offline mode. Month-to-month members can use the software for up to 30 days in offline mode."

        (From the Adobe FAQ, https://helpx.adobe.com/creative-cloud/faq.html )

  13. badun

    I like GIMP

    I'm not a pro nor will I ever be but I've used GIMP regularly for quite a few years. It has its flaws and foibles but the fact that it is free and powerful is more than enough for me. I greatly prefer it over Paint.net and the cost of Photoshop has always been a no-starter for me. Adobe and Corel have their own UI quirks that turn me off so obviously user perceptions about what's good and what's bad are going to be different. I encourage anyone who hasn't used GIMP or hasn't used it in the past two years to give it another go when 2.10 is released. It may not replace a commercial product for your daily use but if you become familiar with it then you know there's always a free backup available if the need arises.

  14. Cornholio

    RAW?

    Can I feed it my DNG files? Poor RAW support in Opensourceland is a big stumbling block for photographers.

    1. SolidSquid

      Re: RAW?

      Have a look at Darktable, it's got support for RAW formats and a decent amount of image processing. You might have to export to a non-RAW format to do some of the more advanced stuff in GIMP, but it should do a decent amount of the basics

    2. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

      Re: RAW?

      There is also UFRAW:

      http://ufraw.sourceforge.net/

      I haven't used it yet, but will probably do so shortly.

      1. Chemist

        Re: RAW?

        "There is also UFRAW:"

        Of course try it but I'd seriously recommend Darktable ( For Mac & Linux)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: RAW?

      >Can I feed it my DNG files?

      Yes.

      >Poor RAW support in Opensourceland is a big stumbling block for photographers.

      No it isn't - it's excellent. Probably better than any other platform.

      Try a recent RawTherapee (_astonishingly_ powerful but correspondingly complicated) and Darktable (quirky UI but simpler) for starters.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: RAW?

      Darktable is available for mac and Linux out of the box and really quite powerful but lacking a windows binary. It's simple but intuitive with the 2.0 release but the manual online is stuck at 1.6 it is very lightroom-esque.

      RawTherapee is probably the most powerful raw editor out there including the ability to not de mosaic and see every pixel without interpolation. It also supports HLADclut images which are basically a reference point to recreate film looks (additional 500 Mb download).

      If you find a "look" for your images, then in Darktable you use an image and map the tones from it onto another, in RawTherapee you'd create your own HALDclut image and apply it to the image.

      Both ship with filters from sensible to "hipster logo, pop" type of things. Darktable is probably best if using mac and linux only, and want a shallow learning curve, RawTherapee was written by programmers and so you can get sidetracked in your workflow. Taking screenshots is a great way to document history as although the raw editing facilities are revertible, and the settings used to get an effect are displayed when an image is reloaded, the history is missing which is a pain for a constant workflow.

    5. peredur

      Re: RAW?

      As I understand it, RAW support is very good. What is not very good is support for proprietary "extensions" inserted by (for example) camera manufacturers to enhance their revenue streams. There are also difficulties, again as I understand it, with some patents owned by Adobe that make some things unavailable in FOSS.

      This is what my photographer daughter tells me, anyway. So I could be completely wrong.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: RAW?

        RAW formats are by definition proprietary - thereby there are no "proprietary extension" to "enhance revenues". The leading brands (Canon, Nikon, Sony) all use their proprietary formats they fully control.

        Most of them are not documented but under NDA from the owner company. FOSS projects have to reverse engineer them - which makes support far from "very good" - "adequate", maybe.

        Adobe DNG is an open RAW standard, but it is patented by Adobe. For the matter even the TIFF standard is copyrighted by Adobe (not a patent, but still a copyright). Anyway, there are no licenses or patent issue I'm aware of that hinders DNG implementation in FOSS projects (see https://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/digital-negative.html#dng).

        If some FOSS developer are driven by political issue about Adobe and patents and don't want to implement it, it's just a damage to their users. Far too many FOSS projects are damaged by the political stances of their lead developers - and it's not a surprise they are often from some known European countries and from some known political formations.

        But RAW decoding is just the first step. Then you need professionally made cameras and lenses profiles, if you have not the tools and experience to make your custom ones. "Community efforts" may deliver some, but you can't know what quality they have, and you have to hope the ones you need are available.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sure, many amateurish ones, but no native ones (on Mac and Windows I can use the camera makers tools...) or the ones developed by people who can have access to the camera companies....

    Of course if all you need are some cats pictures...

    BTW RawTherapee uses dcraw for RAW decoding.

  16. Nuno trancoso

    The Gimp<>PS/RawTherapee<>AdobeCameraRaw views pretty much says all that's needs to be said about the state of FOSS graphics apps in particular, and UX in general.

    They fail because while (some are) technically on par (or even superior), they're coded by tech minded people that reply to the rest with the usual "don't like it, fork it". Because while they wrote it, they don't make a living USING it for REAL WORK. Or they'd know how bad it sucked.

    Commercial endeavors can't afford to pull stunts like that because, who would have thought, they make a living out of it, not a hobby. No customers, no money.

    Hope lies in the Firefox/Thunderbird/OpenOffice/Natron/etc camp, that figured that it was 10000x better to just copy a proven UX/paradigm than trying to come up with some half-assed innovation. And given M$ is losing it's grip on "usability", now it's as good a time as ever for FOSS to stop it's knee-jerk attitude and start "stealing" people away just by being "more usable".

    As for the headline, nah. While PS7 has (lot less) "hot features", it works lot faster from a usability viewpoint. And starts up WAY faster than GIMP or CS6 ever will.

    1. Outcast

      Slow loading ?

      Not on my system it aint

      GTX970, 16gb ram ,iiyama 28" 4k monitor

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NcwAD8-DgR8

      As for learning curve... I remember trying to learn on Art Dep pro, then Image FX (morphing) and Photogenics. (Bit of True Brilliance thrown in there too)

      The difference was that it was fun and exciting doing that stuff back then.

    2. DropBear Silver badge

      "Commercial endeavors can't afford to pull stunts like that"

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA... No. The only difference between the two is FOSS tells you "my way or the highway, unless you're willing to fork - I don't really care which" while commercial tells you "my way or the highway, but your entire industry is using my stuff - your move..."

  17. Dunstan Vavasour

    Adjustment Layers

    Still a couple of releases before adjustment layers are on the roadmap: at the previous rate of development that's half a decade.

    I'm more than happy using Darktable for photo processing, but GIMP doesn't cut it for the final furlong - I want to edit on lots of layers and there are too many essential actions that aren't easily switch-on-and-offable using layers (e.g. healing tool).

  18. Hieronymous

    Zoner 14, the free version, works well for me

    I do have a (pre-subscription) copy of Adobe Creative Suite, therefore including Photoshop. But, for routine image editing (like editing photographs), I also have, and prefer to use, the free version of Zoner 14, For that role, I find it to be well-featured, friendlier than Photoshop, and rock-stable running on Windows 7. Does anyone else use this?

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Zoner 14, the free version, works well for me

      Today most people use tools in the Lightroom class for routine photo editing, especially because, unlike Photoshop and friends, they can work on more than one image at a time, speeding up some editing tasks on a large number of images, and some offer DAM capabilities also.

      Then switching to Photoshop or the like when the editing needs go beyond what the less powerful tool offers. RAW importing and non-destructive editing capabilities are usually a must. Many like to work with graphic tablets as well for retouching, thereby support is a plus.

      Zoner 14 free looks very limited to me, but if it's enough for your needs, why not?

  19. Gannettt

    I used to be a huge fan of the GIMP, but gave up at 2.6 when I moved to a Mac: the OSX port was horrible, the drawing cursor would trail the mouse pointer by a second or two. The last version I really enjoyed using was 2.4.7 in 2007, after that, it just got a bit bloaty for me, although singe window mode sounds like a great step forward.

    I may just give it another go.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The best mac version is on a german website linked from the main gimp one (so it's genuine and not a trojan), it's a port specially built to deal with shortcut keys, cmd buttons and is way better than the official gimp for mac os x version. AFAIK (yesterday) the beta versions weren't ported though.

  20. Bucky 2

    The best software

    ...is the software I prefer.

    If you do not prefer the same software, the only possible conclusion is that you have made a mistake in your evaluation.

    Since you have made a mistake in your evaluation, you are a bad person.

    Since you are a bad person, you must be insulted with all the rage I can summon.

  21. Jim-234

    I guess I may give it a try again.

    I've put it on a lot of computers, but not really used it much myself.

    Last time I opened GIMP up to do a simple crop on a picture, it took me longer than a couple minutes to figure out how to do it, so I just did it in MS paint instead.

    1. David Nash Silver badge

      "a simple crop"

      I just can't understand this. There is a "dotted line select" tool, and a "Crop to selection" or something option on the menu.

      Just works. Where's the problem with that UI?

      The only thing I don't like is the whole "export" concept, rather than "save as".

  22. batfastad
    Thumb Up

    GIMP!

    Have been a big fan of GIMP for many years, only using Photoslop for final exports or conversions of CMYK images. I have a decent workflow with GIMP in conjunction with Scribus and Inkscape too.

    Progress with the switch to GEGL is a fantastic milestone as I believe that will allow easier integration of CMYK handling at some point in the future. It's been a few years since I dropped into the GIMP IRC to ask about CMYK though, they don't like that question very much ;)

    Ok, so it's not as polished as commercial software with a budget millions of times larger. But what an amazing piece of software, that anyone can use, for free. FREE! So just let that sink in before you diss it.

    1. DropBear Silver badge

      Re: GIMP!

      "FREE! So just let that sink in before you diss it."

      That might influence my willingness to use it. It has zero influence over how usable I think it is, therefore over how loudly I may or may not diss it. For the record, I don't think it's all that bad at all since the handful'o'windows issue went away, but _if_ I did think it was awful no amount of freeness would matter one damn bit.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Net.Paint All the Way

    I tried GIMP, but found it took forever to open and/or close.

    I find Net.Paint does what I need and is much zippier.

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: Net.Paint All the Way -I find Net.Paint does what I need and is much zippier.

      Whereas I found it practically useless and uninstalled it after a day or two. Your anecdote = my anecdote.

  24. Gene

    Depends on what you use it for

    I've been using The GIMP on Macs for many years and never had any trouble getting it to work. I only need a small subset of the features, so I took the time to learn them. For people who do the same tasks over and over, it's a viable choice.

  25. Big_Boomer

    PSP

    You can all laugh at me if you like but I still use JASC Paint Shop Pro 7 Anniversary Edition. Bought it way back in the early noughties and have never had a reason to use anything else. GUI, Filters, file format support, and utilities are good enough. Like the man said, I know it and it does what I need. Tried GIMP a year or 2 back when playing with Mint 17 and wasn't impressed given that my 15 year old software pretty much had it whupped. When I finally come across something it can't do, then I may consider finding something new, probably the latest version of Corel PaintShopPro. Yes it's Windows only but I've been using it since PSP 1.0 came out as shareware in '91. Old dog I am, but new tricks I still learn if needed.

    1. batfastad

      Re: PSP

      Mate, Paint Shop Pro was really great. I bought it and used the heck out of it for many years until it was bought by someone (wiki: Corel). Switched to GIMP when I switched my desktop OS to Linux but no doubt that old version of PSP I had still goes like stuff off a shovel!

    2. j7n

      Re: PSP

      I still use both Jasc PSP7 and PSP9. I couldn't get used to movable palettes that obstruct the work area, and actually prefer the new GUI. Both programs have a solid Windows native feel to them, which I value above else (Qt and GTK do not have it). Photoshop in comparison feels foreign. The details add up, such as Alt activating both the menus and also modifying the tool.

      However PSP wasn't at all optimized for "high" resolution images (relative to the available cpu/ram). Calculating a histogram and executing preview takes ages. It updates the entire image instead of only a block of it, or the current zoom level. PSP didn't have its own virtual memory (scratch disks). Color depth reduction methods are inferior to contemporary Photoshop 7.

      PS7 from 2002 is my main tool. Palettes aren't that bad actually, and allow more screen area. I only wish I could rebind the Tab key to something else, like the Grave/Tilde, because Tab also focuses textboxes. The UI widgets are a bit lumpy, but compact and responsive.

  26. packrat

    pythlon coded scripts

    jeez.

    I had to learn python for gimp .

    use it every day for idiot-work. (text, borders. poster art.)

    https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/100378461107020829233/100378461107020829233/posts/jPkYQhoEeUf?pid=62 ( for the freebie version.)

    I tried sending money their way for this program. twice.

    the www , as usuakl, didn't need censorship with bad links and old info.

    new packs? bio-metric AI characterization for animation, please. (HA!)

    (gait+ whatnot is good ID these days.)

    packrat

  27. strum Silver badge

    bOTH

    I use both PS & GIMP - and I think the UI on both is poor, although the functionality is very similar.

    Bring back PSP!

  28. TimeMaster T

    GIMP user for ~10 years.

    for the average home/amateur photographer its great. And I've used it for a lot more than just dealing with red-eye.

    It has the advantage of being both free and multi platform as well as being able to read just about every digital image format in existence.

    Disclaimer: I've never used Photoshop so I can't offer a fair feature comparison.

    That said if you can't afford Photoshop try GIMP, and I mean really try it, don't just start it up and whine that it has a different layout than Photoshop. There is always going to be a learning curve when you try a new piece of software.

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: GIMP user for ~10 years.

      "don't just start it up and whine that it has a different layout than Photoshop. There is always going to be a learning curve when you try a new piece of software."

      In the past I have found that for a number of people the actual learning curve is that they do not understand enough about images. Resolution, print resolution, layers, channels, filters, output formats, transparent backgrounds and so on are all dark mysteries. They want to do magic on pictures without having to learn all that technical stuff. It is easy to blame the UI or the name of the program to conceal that the real reason you can't use it is simple lack of knowledge.

      With Photoshop there is usually a keen amateur photographer happy to show off his or her knowledge, and once someone has learned how to do what they want - usually the same things all the time - it becomes easy.

  29. AC Wilson

    Much ado about...

    Why all the fuss about photo editing? I would think just take better photos in the first place...

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: Much ado about...

      "I would think just take better photos in the first place..."

      Reminds me of a lecture at the RPS once. Shown a slide of a building with a telephone pole in front and the same building without. How was it done?

      Well, says the photographer, the correct answer is to take two photos separated by about a metre, then join them up in Photoshop to exclude the pole. Of course you have to be careful to keep the camera aligned.

      But the picture was of a house bought by a billionaire who wanted to show if off. So what we actually did was, we got BT to move the pole, thus giving the billionaire something else to boast about.

      Yes, your advice is easy, and worth precisely what it cost.

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