back to article It may be poor man's Photoshop, but GIMP casts a Long Shadow with latest update

There appears to be no rest for Wilber as the GIMP team has updated the venerable image editor to version 2.10.6. We were delighted to see the arrival of the Straighten button in version 2.10.4, mainly due to our inability to hold a camera straight. Version 2.10.6 extends this handy feature to include vertical straightening, …

  1. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

    The GIMP project should do itself a favour and focus on improving the awful UI, rather than adding technical features.

    Apart from its name, that is its major problem for users.

    1. Mage Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

      Which GUI? It has two. Both are better than later versions of PSP than 7 when you learn them, not hard. Both are FAR better than the latest Firefox or Windows 10 desktop. Or MS Ribbon / Word.

      The GUI is daunting if you are used to something else. I pick the All in One window and customise. Some Photoshop users with two or three screens might like the default multiwindow.

      In either case, actually using it and configuring it is rewarding. Unlike Win 10 where all than can be changed is colour schemes or Firefox where you need 52 ESR and Classic Theme restorer.

      Really it's just a bit different and productive once you figured where the various parts are and how to configure.

    2. AMBxx Silver badge

      Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

      Often seems to be the problem with open source - everyone wants to do new cool stuff. That means you end up with a horrid UI and a product suitable for the most technical users. VLC has the same problem - I just want a big pause/play button.

      I'd been using Photoshop Elements for years, updating last year to the latest release. It's now been dumbed down so much that I might as well edit picture is MS Paint. I downloaded GIMP, but it's all so complicated and awkward. Even duplicating a small part of an image is painful.

      I miss Paintshop Pro.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

        I second the comment about the name. For novice users it is bloody helpful if an application's name gives a clue to its function. For experienced users it is no problem, but for a novice who is already struggling to remember another dozen newly-learnt concepts, an abstract application name is just not helpful.

        Compare to Photoshop, Paint, Paintshop, Corel Draw etc.

        A lot of OSS shares this oversight. The name of a piece of software should help a user, not just be an opportunity for the developers to express a joke. If this attitude adopted, it can only help the *User* Interface development as well.

        1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

          Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

          an abstract application name is just not helpful

          Gnu Image Manipulation Program. The name says exactly what it does. (Apart from the Gnu bit, but then Adobe Photoshop doesn't have much to do with mud houses.)

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

            > Gnu Image Manipulation Program. The name says exactly what it does

            Only if the full name is displayed under the icon, and not The GIMP. And to novice the GNU part is just mouse, if their head us swirling with JPGs, TIFs and PNGs. Acronyms are a form of jargon, only suitable for the initiated. Because of the way most desktop GUIs treat icons and text, Photoshop will be on a line below Adobe, making it readily scannable- it's not buffered on both sides with redundant information such as The, or Program.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

              Yes, we need an image processing and pixel manipulation program for the uninitiated.

              1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

                Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

                > Yes, we need an image processing ... program for the uninitiated.

                I mainly do simple photo processing: straightening, cropping, sharpening, colour adjusting, resizing, ... I find that Digikam does it all quickly, simply and easily. If I need to do pixel stuff then I do it in GIMP.

          2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

            Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

            "Adobe Photoshop doesn't have much to do with mud houses."

            But Acrobat accurately reflects how your documents will be turned upside down and twisted in strange ways by the malware that came along with it.

          3. Dave559 Bronze badge

            Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

            The unabbreviated name does explain what the IMP does, it’s just that its full acronym (including GNU) is one that can’t really be referred to in polite company (or, perhaps worse, in a business context: do they want many people to use their otherwise excellent software or not?).

            I think this is one case where losing the GNU from the name really would be a definite step forward (much as I love the tradition of punnery in many open source software names (such as mail clients traditionally being named after dead trees (but of course))).

            Besides, as anyone who has ever visited Discworld is aware, it’s well known that it’s imps who do the hard work behind the scenes of image manipulation, not rubber clad dungeon dwellers…

            1. DJ Smiley

              Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

              IMP's behind the cameras, gimps in front eh?

        2. Teiwaz Silver badge

          Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

          I second the comment about the name.

          The name of a piece of software should help a user, not just be an opportunity for the developers to express a joke

          GNU Image Manipulation Program - GIMP

          Yes, highly amusing.

        3. Gene Cash Silver badge

          Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

          > I second the comment about the name

          Then there's the idiots running Dia, which is a knockoff of Microsoft Visio. Just try googling for information on that...

          1. Allonymous Coward
            Linux

            Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

            Don't bother, Dia's pretty bad.

            Have a look at yEd instead if you really must do diagramming on Linux.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

              or for diagramming, just use gliffy (https://www.gliffy.com) and the OS won't matter.

            2. Mark Wallace

              Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

              "Don't bother, Dia's pretty bad.

              Have a look at yEd instead if you really must do diagramming on Linux."

              Or Libre Office. Libre Draw can create and edit Visio (.vsd*) files.

          2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

            Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

            > a knockoff of Microsoft Visio

            Actually it was a knockoff of Shapeware's Visio. Microsoft bought it later.

            1. xasperated

              Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

              Microsoft bought it and took all the good features out of it

        4. This post has been deleted by its author

        5. Steve Knox Silver badge

          Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

          1. What's hard to understand about GNU Image Manipulation Program? It's a Program to Manipulate Images, brought to you by GNU. Makes sense to me.

          2. Neither Adobe PhotoShop nor JASC PaintShop Pro allow you to sell or buy photos or paints. How is that easier to understand? I think it's more that you're familiar with them so you assume novices will be as well. At best you may argue that PhotoShop has become a colloquial term, but that's simply brand penetration, not clear naming to begin with.

          3. Even if you only know it by GIMP, since it is not pre-installed on any systems that I know of, how would it even end up on a novice user's machine without them downloading it, at which point one would assume they've been to a website which describes to some degree what the software does.

        6. Dave Rickmers

          Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

          How does Gnome Image Manipulation Program not convey your desired clues? Do flashbacks of Zed's basement haunt your unguarded thoughts?

      2. Anonymous Bullard

        Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

        I miss Paintshop Pro.

        Don't we all!

        I was using that from when it was just a converter. Up until Corel got their mitts on it. 9 was the last good version.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

          I've been using a copy of Paint Shop Pro 4 for over 20 years now, because it does everything that I need. It runs just fine on Windows 7 (haven't tried it on Windows 10 yet).

        2. cutterman

          Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

          I'm still using PSP 6.02 (and GIMP)

          Very capable package - a few limitations but not many and since I know the UI by heart, very quick.

          Amazing what can be crammed into 70MB.....no license key either.

          Mac

      3. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

        VLC has the same problem - I just want a big pause/play button.

        Try the space bar - it's the biggest button on the keyboard!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

          yes, space bar is there, but who reads the (...) manual, ever? I only found out about the space bar when my wife entered the room and I tried to hit alt tab...

          1. Gene Cash Silver badge

            Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

            > yes, space bar is there, but who reads the (...) manual

            I think spacebar is pause on just about every video playing software I've seen, including YouTube.

          2. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

            Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

            "I only found out about the space bar when my wife entered the room and I tried to hit alt tab..."

            Most of the media playback software I've come across uses the space bar to pause and resume playback,

            It's one of the first things I try with such software.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

            yes, space bar is there, but who reads the (...) manual, ever? I only found out about the space bar when my wife entered the room and I tried to hit alt tab...

            That's what happens from watching hentai when the rest of the family is still awake...

            1. bobajob12

              Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

              Just think, someone on our planet has the job of pixelizing, uh, certain frames in such content.

              Perhaps they use GIMP?

              https://docs.gimp.org/2.6/en/plug-in-pixelize.html

        2. VIA_KT133

          Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

          Until my phone gets a space bar (come back to me BlackBerry!) I'm always aboard for big bigger buttons.

      4. David Nash Silver badge

        Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

        I've never understood these complaints about the UI. Maybe because I wasn't a Photoshop user first?

        How is it complicated? Seriously, is there any site where someone has reviewed the UI and listed out specific items? I am interested to know what I am missing out on.

        1. elgarak1

          Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

          It's not so much that it's complicated. It's that there so many things it does slightly different than everything else. Each of these things are, by themselves, merely mild irritations. But in the mass...

          Things like that it shows layer boundaries by default (no other graphics program I use does. Affinity Photo shows them context sensitive when needed.), and cannot remember that I turned it off (it remembers all other kinds of shit from last session. Why not this one?). Things like selection fields do not just show the options when I click on the little down arrow – I have to click AND HOLD, contrary to everywhere else on the system. Then there's the file explorer it has for "File Open" it has in it that behaves totally different (not even bad. Just different enough that I loose orientation. I click on the top folder on the sidebar, and it does not show me the contents of said top folder. It goes to a sub folder three layers deep where I was last time.) [These last two are probably connected to the fact that they do not properly port, just cross-compile.]

          And so on.

        2. davcefai

          Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

          The UI used to be "one of a kind" where you could spend more time looking for a function than using it. The default UI is now much more conventional. Frankly I was not aware that there is another one and will spend some time trying to find it.

          After PSP went past v9 GIMP became my default photo app, especially as I could then use it on both Windows (at work) and Linux (at home).

      5. Malcolm 1

        Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

        Have you tried Affinity Photo? It's fairly amazing for about £50

      6. Sandtitz Silver badge
        Happy

        @AMBxx

        "I miss Paintshop Pro."

        I miss Deluxe Paint.

        Also, I don't miss Dr Halo or Zsoft Paintbrush...

        1. Andy Non

          Re: @AMBxx

          I continued using Paintshop Pro on an old XP computer, long after its sell by date. One of the few reasons I'd boot that old computer instead of using Gimp on Linux Mint. I'm gradually getting into Gimp now but the learning curve is so steep I need grappling hooks. I still struggle to do basic things I did with ease in Paintshop Pro like draw a straight line of a certain thickness and colour - it tends to just stick in a line of its own choice of colour or thickness and won't let me undo it if it turns out wrong. Granted Gimp seems to have a zillion features (that I never use), but I just find it slow and irritating to use. I also find it pedantic that you can't save to JPG / PNG and have to export to it. I know they are lossy, but that is often the format I need to save to for subsequent applications to use.

        2. Glen 1 Bronze badge

          Re: @AMBxx

          >>"I miss Paintshop Pro."

          >I miss Deluxe Paint.

          +1 from me fro those.

          I also miss:

          Caxton Press

          Print Master Gold

          One of the reasons why I prefer nano the the behemoths that are Vi and EMACS is the discoverability of features. In many image editing programs, you have to guess where the function you want to use is and hope the developers thought the same way. Paintshop Pro (pre Corel) was the only one to get things right. (I.e. make the same guesses as me)

          Example: Image Resize.

          Is it a tool? a plugin? Will be next to the related (but different) canvas size or maybe crop? What is the distinction that decides if something is under the edit menu or elsewhere?

          When you spend longer googling "How do I do x in y software" than actually doing it, there is a problem. Given that a lot of these functions are called the same, but are in different menus, a search/help system where you could type in the name would be amazingly useful. It shouldn't require an internet connection.

          Sort of how the win10 start menu was intended, but failed miserably to do.

    3. elgarak1

      Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

      Spot on.

      I never got the hang of it to use it regularly. I want to love it, because I have a soft spot for open source and free software, but GIMP never felt nice enough to actually use.

      1. Ragarath

        Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

        Come on, it's just learning a different way of doing things.

        I needed Photoshop 6 months ago but was unwilling to go their subscription model. So I went back to try Gimp, to start with it is a sharp learning curve because yes, it's different than Photoshop and looks at things from a different perspective. Learning the different way layers work, the UI etc. 6 months on and when I use Photoshop I find myself thinking "This is easier in Gimp", of course there are also times when I think, "Photoshop is better at this" and hope that Gimp catches on but they are not as numerous as you'd think.

        From my rant, just take it as I really like Gimp a lot now when I would only use Photoshop 6 months ago. You just have to take the time to learn it. You have to do the same with Photoshop if you've not used it before, why not give Gimp the same chance?

        And on the name, come on are you really going to complain about the name! Come on, lots of things have names that don't specify exactly what they do. I'll give you a big one. Google.

        1. AZump

          Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

          GIMP

          GNU Image Manipulation Program

          The name means EXACTLY what it is and does. Pass it on!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            The name means EXACTLY what it is and does. Pass it on!

            gimp

            North American informal derogatory

            noun: gimp; plural noun: gimps

            1.

            a physically disabled or lame person.

            a limp.

            2.

            a feeble or contemptible person.

            You're right. Its name means exactly what it is and does.

            1. Ragarath

              Re: The name means EXACTLY what it is and does. Pass it on!

              gimp

              North American informal derogatory

              noun: gimp; plural noun: gimps

              1.

              a physically disabled or lame person.

              a limp.

              2.

              a feeble or contemptible person.

              You're right. Its name means exactly what it is and does.

              Wow, when did this program become a sentient person as in the dictionary you rolled out there.

          2. h4rm0ny

            Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

            Yes, but then you have to expand out GNU to Gnu is Not UNIX. At which point things become a bit more tricky.

        2. Monty Cantsin
          Trollface

          Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

          "Come on, lots of things have names that don't specify exactly what they do. I'll give you a big one. Google."

          What are you talking about? You use Google to Google things. It couldn't be any more descriptive!

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Mnemonic naming.

          Google, heh. Bing! We have a winner!

          I'm the guy with the symbolic links in his pocket.

        4. BobChip
          Thumb Up

          The best software .......

          The best software in the world is the software you know best.

          Any truly capable software will be complex and will take time to learn. And it will be different. As Ragarath says, make the effort to learn it before commenting or complaining.

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

        I use gimp a LOT. The only mildly irritating thing is that I have to 'export' to any format other than the 'gimp' format. But that's ok, once I understood the semantics of their menu, no big deal.

        And I'm glad there's AN ACTUAL MENU and NO [profanity spew] RIBBON nor FAT-FINGER-BURGER. Well, in the versions I've been running on FreeBSD, anyway... (2.8.18 and 2.8.22, which work pretty well)

        One thing gimp does lack is some of the things that MS Paint has always had, some of its line and curve generators and related things. Maybe if I worked with it some more I could figure out how to work around that...

    4. FlossyThePig
      Mushroom

      Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

      Why does everything have to be an effing "experience" these days. If it's not an "experience" it's a "journey".

      1. Lt.Kije

        Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

        I second your sentiment (and I scream ever time I'm offered an app prefixed "my")

        In GIMP's case it's less of a Journey and more of a Quest.

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

        "Why does everything have to be an effing "experience" these days"

        This reminds me of a light bulb joke:

        Q. How many 'Silly Valley' residents does it take to change a light bulb?

        A. Three. One to actually change the bulb, and 2 to "share in the experience"

        And I bet I answered your question, too.

      3. Fred Dibnah

        Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

        Thanks for reaching out, Flossy. :-)

      4. Loud Speaker

        Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

        it's not an "experience" it's a "journey".

        In the case of Gimp, it is a wrestle - with an alligator!

        Just try to add some text in a specific place, font and size. Even one word can take an hour as all your settings get eaten by vultures or kidnapped by aliens - you set 12 points? Well tough - it goes back to 17 pixels before you can press a space bar. You selected "Pillar box red"? Well, you did, but the default is black, so that is what you get?

        As for changing the brush size? well you will need to sacrifice more than a goat for that to work!

        1. Trilkhai

          Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

          Odd. I'm only moderately technically-oriented, learned Photoshop up through an advanced (class) level about 17 years ago (last version prior to the "CS" junk), but had little trouble switching to GIMP in 2008. I believe GIMP's UI is fairly similar to that old version of Photoshop -- I know that when I tried using a recent CS edition, I was frustratingly lost due to the UI changes.

          To respond to some of the things mentioned in this thread:

          -- Choose a brush/pencil size: select the shape in the tool box, then tweak the "size" control beneath it or use the [ and ] keys to increase/decrease size.

          -- Draw (or erase) a straight line: select the brush or pencil and a size, then click at the starting point on the image, hold down the SHIFT key and click around the endpoint (as long as you don't release the SHIFT key you can readjust it).

          -- Undo: hit ctrl-z... Or use the Layers & History box: IIRC 'history' is the second tab from the left; once it's selected, you can step backwards through every action you've taken.

          I admit that the UI could definitely use a lot of work and that it needs a name change. Yeah, yeah, we know what the acronym stands for, but we all refer to it as GIMP, which *is* an insulting term.

    5. ilmari

      Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

      From my observations of random people trying gimp, they can't find anything because the buttons are all in windows floating around, sometimes with scrollbars, sometimes not.

      Then, eventually, they try close gimp, except most of the time they close all the toolboxes before closing whichever window that makes gimp actually close. On next start, all the toolbox windows are gone, and user wonders where everything went, or concludes that maybe he/she misremembered and that gimp actually has no features.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

        "except most of the time they close all the toolboxes before closing whichever window that makes gimp actually close"

        yeah some parts of the UI need [quite] a bit more user friendliness. I just tried that with a different login context, and had a little trouble getting the main toolbox back the way I wanted it.

    6. steviebuk Silver badge

      Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

      Especially when saving. File save as. What? Why can't I save as JPG etc.

      Oh, what? I have to choose "export" instead? Really when every other fucking program just has it in the Save As bit. Why did they go the "export" route?

      Still. Can't complain, it's free.

    7. Holtsmark

      Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

      In my eyes, the Gimp UI is not a problem. I am still loosing the toolboxes every now and then, but otherwise the menu's do what they say that they do, inclunding the opening of new toolboxes.

      Gimp covers all my personal and professional needs for bitmap processing (including website work).

      Expanding my free toolbox, Inkscape covers all vector graphics needs, including backporting pdf's to dxf for import into CAD (reverse engineering parts that do not come with a 3d model).

      Libre Office writer is good enough to handle large technical documents including operating manuals with very complex page numbering (LO-Calc remains lacklustre).

      If you want a horrible UI, then go look at Blender3d. All other programs (except, maybe dwarf fortress) pale in comparison. This is a pity, since the program itself is getting mighty powerfull. (I work in CAD on a daily basis and I used to handle 3dsMAX in various versions, so it is not a matter of not knowing 3d),

    8. herman Silver badge

      Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

      I never used Photoshop and once when I tried it, the UI was bloody awful. The GIMP is so much more logical and intuitive and it is properly designed for use on three screens - try to use Photoshop on three dissimilar screens - a total disaster.

  2. Mage Silver badge
    Happy

    Not just Photoshop, but PSP.

    I used to really like Paint Shop Pro. It seemed to go "off" more and more after Version 7, so I uninstalled and went back to 7. Occasionally I tried The Gimp, but text baffled me. Then I switched entirely to Linux Mint + Mate desktop + TraditionalOK theme (or similar customised earlier). I figured out how to do text, which was actually FAR better than PSP7. I found the PSP native format plug in wouldn't work, so booted my old 2002 XP Laptop and converted all my PSP7 native stuff to Photoshop format (the Tif, png, bmp, jpg was no problem in Gimp). No problem importing the photoshop format.

    The Gimp isn't something to be figured out in 10 minutes, but once you put half a day or a day into it, it's actually easier to use than PSP7. Much easier than later PSP versions with their baffling inconsistent GUI compared to 7.

    I've used Photoshop and in the days of Win 3.x, Aldus Photostyler, sad it was eaten.

    ~

    With PSP now "broken" by Corel, Windows "broken" by MS and Adobe a Rental model that fails if their server or internet is down, now Photoshop is only for corporate funded Mac users?

    ~

    Ages ago they added decent Pen support and ability to have one window.

    My Gimp is 2.8. My LibreOffice only 5.2, My Firefox is 52 ESR. I COULD update direct, but actually using Mint and letting the Ubuntu and other users test the newest version of stuff is turning into a nice strategy.

    I'll look forward to getting LibreOffice 6.x and its enhanced custom dictionary mode, though Tabbed documents like Gimp & Firefox has would be nice. I look forward to this newer Gimp, eventually.

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: once you put half a day or a day into it, it's actually easier

      That really doesn't matter. You've lost most of the potential users in the first half day.

      A good user interface is inviting, uses standard elements that users already know and invites experimentation by ensuring undoing stuff is as easy as doing it. It doesn't matter how much fancy stuff your app does, if it's not easy to use and there are alternatives then most users will go somewhere else.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: once you put half a day or a day into it, it's actually easier

        You've lost most of the potential users in the first half day

        On the other hand, it's not dumbed down to attract new subscribers.

      2. Ragarath

        Re: once you put half a day or a day into it, it's actually easier

        @sabroni why do they have to emulate someone else's UI? Why does it have to be "standard elements" if those standard elements are doing it wrong in the first place?

      3. Dog11

        Re: once you put half a day or a day into it, it's actually easier

        That really doesn't matter. You've lost most of the potential users in the first half day.

        That must be why everybody uses Movie Maker instead of Adobe Premiere, eh?

      4. eldakka Silver badge

        Re: once you put half a day or a day into it, it's actually easier

        That really doesn't matter. You've lost most of the potential users in the first half day.

        If they can't spend a day or 2 learning how to use it, then they aren't the target audience anyway, they weren't potential users, therefore nothing has been lost by them giving up after half a day.

      5. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: once you put half a day or a day into it, it's actually easier

        That really doesn't matter. You've lost most of the potential users in the first half day.

        Anyone with that short an attention span was probably never going to use any piece of software to it's full extent, they'd be better off with MS Paint or something for small children to use with their grubby fingers leaving smudges over the screen.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not just Photoshop, but PSP.

      "With PSP now "broken" by Corel, Windows "broken" by MS and Adobe a Rental model that fails if their server or internet is down, now Photoshop is only for corporate funded Mac users?"

      I couldn't agree more!

      The Adobe rental model is a particular bugbear of mine, it's why we're still stuck on CS4...

  3. WylieCoyoteUK
    Thumb Up

    I use Libreoffice and GIMP a lot, also Scribus, which nicely integrates with GIMP, and Inkscape.

    Nice to be able to work on the same files with the same apps across different platforms. My preferred OS is Linux, but I use Windows at the office, most of the competition are Windows or Mac only.

    I actually like the multiwindow UI, great with multiple screens, I can work with the image on one screen and the layers and toolbox on another. But you can have a single window if you prefer.

    Such a powerful image editor is never going to be simple, especially when some people try to use it as a drawing program, for which there are far better tools.

  4. Calum Morrison

    It's maybe time I gave the gimp a workout again; it's years since I bothered as PSP was just much easier to get to grips with. When it disappeared up it's own erse I just defaulted to Paint.Net - an easy install via ninite.com that does what 90% of users would need.

  5. smudge Silver badge

    First thoughts on Straighten

    We were delighted to see the arrival of the Straighten button in version 2.10.4, mainly due to our inability to hold a camera straight. Version 2.10.6 extends this handy feature to include vertical straightening...

    First thought was that I wished I'd had that when I was scanning about 10,000 old family photos that came down to me. I would do several in one scan, then, using GIMP 2.8, cut out each individual one, and nearly always had to rotate them a little because it's impossible to place them exactly on the scanner platen.

    But I have just tried the new "straighten" function, and I think that hitting shift-r and rotating the image manually is probably quicker. And not every photo has a handy vertical or horizontal straight line.

    Still, I'll give it a proper trial when I come to scan the thousands of my own photos, which SWMBO wants out of that cupboard!

    1. FelixReg

      Re: First thoughts on Straighten

      @smudge I've digitized 10000 to 15000 slides and also some pictures and a handful of 8MM movies from the 1930's. All through ScanCafe. They have regular sales with considerable discounts. I have no other connection to them except being a happy customer who tells friends and relations to go that route. (Note: I'm the type of person who gives 4 stars if a product is completely satisfactory. 5 stars mean, "Wow!")

      I ran a few dozen or so slides and pics through ScanCafe first to evaluate.

      Hope this helps.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: First thoughts on Straighten

        Picasa by Google was always very good for quickly straightening photos manually, far quicker than Photoshop. The speed was partly that photos didn't have to individually opened, edited, and, saved, and partly the straightening slider tool automatically displayed guidelines and cropped images. One worked from a page of thumbnails, and edits were saved to the original file. After editing a batch, the whole batch could then be saved with changes to a new folder.

      2. smudge Silver badge

        Re: First thoughts on Straighten

        @smudge I've digitized 10000 to 15000 slides and also some pictures and a handful of 8MM movies from the 1930's. All through ScanCafe.

        You mean this lot? https://www.scancafe.com/

        Hmmm - Indianapolis, Lausanne, or Bangalore.

        If I am scanning photos, it's because I attach some value to them. So there is no way I am sending them anywhere!

        1. FelixReg

          Re: First thoughts on Straighten

          @smudge Worry about shipping around the world was one reason why I tested with a small batch for each of the two big runs I did. My first ~10,000 slide run were slides from a recently deceased parent.

          So far as I know all slides went through Bangalore. Took a month or so. The movies where done in Fremont, probably. The pics, I'm not sure. They took a while, like the slides.

          The pics came back in better shape than I sent them. Pictures from around 1900 can be difficult to send and I'm not the world's best packer. I shipped in boxes, each with around 5000 slides in them, plus some pics, etc.

          I do know when one of the 8mm movies came out blank (no surprise, I'd already seen that, but lazily put it in the big box anyway.) they sent back an overhead video of the unpacking and handling procedure along with apologies. What I figured from that video was:

          1) They probably video all handling.

          2) The video showed a professional-level production setup.

          Yeah, I was impressed. Surprisingly, they did recover the other videos, in very bad shape as they were.

          Also, I'd done quite a bit of experimentation myself using two or three methods and equipment, etc. And, some of my own slides I'd had done by a pro photography place long ago at something like a buck or two a slide. ScanCafe's results were notably superior to all methods I tried.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: First thoughts on Straighten

      If you need to process a batch of images you could try the --deskew function in imagemagick.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    +1 about the GUI ...

    It's the Achilles heel of Linux. With no big vendor with a dog in the race (cf Microsoft) we've ended up with a fractured disparate approach which is the kiss of death when trying to plug Linux over Windows.

    Whilst generally that can be considered A Good Thing, it makes it very hard to deliver a Linux version of a Windows box. Even if all the applications are better.

    1. I Am Spartacus
      Facepalm

      Re: +1 about the GUI ...

      You want to deliver a Linux version of a Windows box?

      Why? Seriously, why would you want to do that?

      One of the key points of Linux is that you can choose, and then customise, the desktop, and the UI for most applications, to do what you want. And specifically, not what some eager young thing in Seattle decides is the right way to build ribbon bars and that no, I don't need that menu item that I used for the last 5 years, so we hid it for you. Yes, Excel developers, I am talking to you here.

      If you REALLY want a Linux box that looks like Windows (shudder), then I suggest you first try and learn how to use Google. Honestly, it really isn't that hard to use. I tried Google and searched for "windows 10 theme linux" and the first hit was b00merang

      1. elgarak1

        Re: +1 about the GUI ...

        "It can be configured" unfortunately very often translates to "must be configured, as the presets are abysmally bad". A lot of Linux distributions, Linux UIs, and Linux originating apps suffer from it. GIMP is a prime example. (Interestingly enough, the styles in Word are another good example. It's not just on Linux...)

        Now, if a user sets out to configure, one realizes that configuring GUIs and GUI elements is actually quite hard work to make it good. Which is why a lot of users flock to somewhere where this hard work has been done by professionals. Which often means having to pay cash.

    2. fandom Silver badge

      Re: +1 about the GUI ...

      Seriously, after the "fractured disparate approarch" that's Windows 10 GUI, you should have used a different "big vendor" for your trolling.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: trolling

        You call it trolling, I call it pointing out the obvious limitations.

        Windows 10 has 2 looks, new flat style and old windows style. In Linux you can have as many as you like! As long as you keep thinking that's an advantage Linux is staying in the server room.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: trolling

          All of my applications* on Linux have the same UI style. I can select from 100s of others, or even tweak them myself. All applications will respect my configuration.

          On Windows, there's win10 desktop (sometimes you'll see win 95 style), UWP (Ugly Windows Phone), and then there's a multitude of applications all using their own different themes. It's a fucking mess!

          *except, of course, Skype and VS Code, but they're not too far off.

        2. defiler Silver badge

          Re: trolling

          In Linux you can have as many as you like! As long as you keep thinking that's an advantage Linux is staying in the server room.

          I'm with this argument. It's the techie's approach. We can make it customisable, therefore we must make it customisable. It gets to the point where there's too much choice, and people are paralysed in making a decision. So they stick with Windows because it's what they know and it's less confusing.

          Sometimes choice is a bad thing. I hate buying toothpaste because it's all powdered rock, fluoride, mint and a binding agent but somehow there are 50 options when I'm in front of the shelf. At that point I take the simplest option. And when it comes to GUIs, for most people the simplest option is to stick with Windows / OS-X.

          Pare it down to 6 options that'll work with desktops, servers and laptops. Have an "expert" mode with all the configuration buttons you like, but keep them hidden by default. That is how you'll attract users.

          Honestly, for developers they don't seem very good at Keep It Simple, Stupid.

          (I think it's been 3 years since I last saw a GUI on a non-Android Linux machine. It used to be my daily driver, and it was definitely viable. Now all my Linux is on the server end.)

          1. h4rm0ny

            Re: trolling

            I don't think it's bad that there are lots of options in itself. But what it results is balkanization of all the developers and users so that no single UI ever gets the level of polish and progress that it would. Windows has a single UI that is linear and iterative. I like it these days. KDE, GNOME, et al not so much. I actually use Xfce almost all the time on GNU/Linux because it's light, simple and has reached that level of polish by simple virtue of being both these things.

    3. Malcolm 1

      Re: +1 about the GUI ...

      In my limited experience Linux UIs tend still to give the impression of being wrappers around console apps. Which is the Linux way of course (and provides the scripting superpowers) but doesn't lend itself to fluid user experiences which often require deeper interaction with the application runtime.

  7. mark l 2 Silver badge

    GIMP does take some time to get used to, on a previous job version 2.6 was the only tool I had available when I needed to do some graphics work on the PCs. I was used to using photoshop and the Corel suite. So I sat down for a while and learned how to use it and then actually showed some colleagues who had attempted to use it before and given up and they actually became fans of it.

    I do think the UI does require some work, this can often be a problem with open source software. The people who develop it aren't coming to use it for the first time so they find the UI easy where as newbies can struggle to work out how to do even basic functions. Such as have you ever tried to draw a filled shape in GIMP such as a circle or square? Not obvious how to do it for someone who has never used the software before.

    1. frank ly Silver badge

      Use of the selection tool (rectangular or elliptical) to define an area, then applying a colour inside the selected area with the fill tool is a standard technique across various raster graphics applications. It's also very simple as a concept and a task to do.

      If someone has never used this type of application before, or has spend a long time with vector graphics applications like Inkscape, then there will of course be a learning curve but it's hardly a steep one.

      I've lost count of the number of computer applications I've tried where I've said, "How the heck am I supposed to do XYZ?" and after a short time I realised it was quite simple.

      The GIMP UI is 'old fashioned' and has some irritations and annoyances but these are in the details. The basics are superb.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        He means compared to something like Paint where it's a standard tool: click, drag, done. I myself am a longtime GIMP user, but even I faced a learning curve at first.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've used GIMP for a long time. I migrated to that after PSP8 - although agree with the comments above on the UI - I still prefer the user interface to something like Paint.NET

    In terms of professional editing - I still struggle with the lasso and layer tools in GIMP. I used to use Adobe CS3 so worked a lot in Adobe Fireworks and Adobe Photoshop. The layering within those products is really good and it's possible to pick up a now old copy of CS3 for professional editing.

    However, I can't grumble too much as GIMP is free.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: I can't grumble too much as GIMP is free.

      You definitely get what you pay for, too!

      1. Adair

        Re: re: I can't grumble too much as GIMP is free.

        Yep, zero cost = zero right to complain.

  9. andy gibson

    Serif PhotoPlus

    A nice compromise for those who struggle with Photoshop, don't like the Gimp and lament the good old days of PSP

    1. cosymart
      Thumb Up

      Re: Serif PhotoPlus

      I find Serif Draw Plus much easier to use and far more useful IMHO.

  10. cosymart
    Facepalm

    Straighten

    Microsoft Photo Gallery 2012 has a straighten tool which works fine....

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm curious why people are lamenting the passing of Paint Shop Pro?

    I'm still happily using PSP7 on Windows 10 without issues.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Joke

      That's why you're tied to Windows?

  12. jrd

    Picked up a cheap second-hand copy of Photoshop CS2 some years back after failing to get to grips with GIMP. CS2 does everything. Not at all easy to learn, but there's such an established user base that I can type "cs2 how to ..." for just about anything and find an an article or video to help me out. It's also been rock solid (probably the most reliable non-trivial application I've ever used).

    1. Charles E

      Failure version 2.10.6

      GIMP will never gain widespread acceptance, because the industry standard tools like CMYK separations, Pantone colors, etc. are all proprietary code and thus cannot be included in GNU-license software. Sorry, that's just a fact of life for professional graphics creators. Amateur software is only good for amateurs.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Failure version 2.10.6

        And there's a reason no open-source implementation can be made? Pantone perhaps is out of reach because of patents, but CMYK is basic enough. Last I checked, CMYK is simply low priority because DTP isn't the bulk of GIMP's users (you still have photographers, web image designers, et al).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Failure version 2.10.6

          CMYK management it's not a DTP operation only - if you're a photographer and you're going to print your work using an halftone CMYK printer - you may want to control the process to ensure the best results.

          Gimp also lacks many needed features for proficient photo editing, like larger RGB color spaces, and adjustment layers. Even to open RAW files you need to add third party application like DarkTable or RAWTherapee (Photoshop comes with ACR fully integrated).

          As it is now, it's really mostly a tool for web image designers who don't need a more powerful tool.

          Anyway, making inroads in the prepress industry is not easy, most workflows are based on what became de-facto standards, and you'll need a truly excellent product to have chances. Lacking Pantone support for spot colors when it's a must doesn't help either.

          And I don't know how many Gimp developers have the required hardware to develop and test high-end CMYK functionalities...

          1. JMcL

            Re: Failure version 2.10.6

            Speaking as someone who's used GIMP for over 20 years, and Photoshop almost as long, I'll always turn to PS for photographic heavy lifting (though I've relied mostly on Lightroom for the past 10 years or so).

            The biggest barrier for GIMP as regards photography for me was always lack of bit depth - GEGL simply stagnated for years. Anything other than extremely basic adjustments would quickly result in a histogram like a wide toothed comb. GEGL support seems to finally be getting there in recent versions, so I may need to check it out, though awkward raw workflows remain an obstacle.

            Sadly, photography remains really the only reason I still have to keep Windoze around - wish it were otherwise (and yes, I've given most serious Linux only options a go over the years).

  13. cs9
    Joke

    I tried GIMP once. It's still stuck at the startup screen. Unfortunately there's no "joking but sort-of-not-joking" icon.

  14. big col
    Gimp

    The name got me into bother

    Many years ago I was showing a group of student teachers the software we used. After a quick photoshop demonstration I was asked if there was anything less costly.

    Gimp I say, its open source so free for you to use. I will show you

    Unfortunately I entered gimp.com, rather than gimp.org. In those days the .com site was... see icon

    Dodgy website projected on big screen to 25 student teachers...

    woops... Quick clickety click to the correct address, and carried on red faced.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Straighten tool, really?

    As long as GIMP doesn't support adjustment/filter layers - which will come only in 3.2 - it's very little useful for actual image processing. Many modern editing workflows are based on them.

    And if it still recommends to work in sRGB (https://docs.gimp.org/en/gimp-imaging-color-management.html) is really a big no-no for any image taken in RAW format with a digital camera which is not a phone. Its roadmap (https://wiki.gimp.org/wiki/Roadmap) still lists "Support for RGB working spaces other than sRGB " as a future feature, not yet assigned to a release (as real CMYK support), are they kidding? Even commercial monitors often now offer larger color spaces (especially 4K ones), and of course you need at least AdobeRGB to properly asses prints previews.

    Same for script recording and playback.

    But the priority looks to be to update the widgets library because it couldn't keep pace with its own one (GTK) - and this is anyway a big Linux UI issue, the lack of a standard GUI library with very good backward compatibility leads to issues like this.

    I see many here compare it to very old versions of Paint Shop Pro - PSP 7 was released eighteen years ago, and unfortunately it looks where Gimp still is.

    Good for basic editing needs if you can't afford anything better (and Adobe subscriptions don't help), but really, not an actual professional tool at all.

  16. h4rm0ny

    Please use standard Windows UI

    Whenever I save or open a file in GIMP I can't paste in a path from Windows Explorer or anything else because it uses it's own archaic file manager that looks like it's built with TKWidgets or something.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Please use standard Windows UI

      GIMP is multi-platform and has to work on the assumption there is NO standard UI for file handling due to the many distros that are possible.

      1. elgarak1

        Re: Please use standard Windows UI

        This sound reasonable – until one realizes how many other cross-platform-opensource apps manage to use the standard OS file dialog.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Please use standard Windows UI

          Anyway, according to the developers, this is because GIMP uses GTK+, which IS the standard I/O system if you're using GNOME IIRC and doesn't accommodate any other because of this. It's not just Windows users complaining. Those using other Linux desktops like KDE (which uses QT) complain, too, and have been given the WONTFIX.

          Thing is, this isn't really an issue with GIMP but with GTK+.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is truly the year of Linux on the desktop.

    I miss PixelPaint.

  18. This post has been deleted by its author

  19. AceRimmer1980
    Pint

    I miss Deluxe Paint

    Is there an easy way to select an area and instantly use it as brush, like DPaint could 30 years ago?

    1. John Sanders
      Happy

      Re: I miss Deluxe Paint

      Just tried and it is easy.

      Draw something.

      Select an area using any of the select tools, area, rectangle, oval, etc.

      On the Edit menu, select copy,

      Click on the pencil/paint brush tool.

      In the tool options, choose clipboard as brush

      De-select the area, menu select choose none

      Draw.

      * Bonus:, adjust size of the brush using the '[' and ']' keys (like photoshop)

      Very easy to figure out and I never did it before. GIMP is soooo complicated.

      PD: I also loved DPaint, Amiga Rulez!

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    GNU - Gnu's Not Unix

    A recursive Three Letter Acronym

  21. Chris G Silver badge

    Other than resizing and removing redeye once or twice I don't use any processing, long ago I decided I wanted to take photos not make them. Itry to get everything right before releasing the shutter, Composition, exposure,iso etc, maybe it has something to do with having learnt with film. Now with digital I have the luxury of taking unlimited shots of a subject with different parameters, unless it is an action shot in which case if I am at an event like motor sport I will be set up for it.

    Photoshop et al is graphic art not photography, I hate some of the over processed images you see around that people acclaim as brilliant photography when it's actually the result of hours of processing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Photoshop et al is graphic art not photography

      Why I agree that overprocessed images are usually bad, digital photography, like film photography, may still need some "development" to get the best image, especiaòòy if you shoot RAW to expolit the camera fully, even when the image is shoot correctly (which really doesn't require taking unlimited shots if you know what you're doing).

      One area for example is sharpening. But camera without an antialiasing filter - used to counter moiré patterns-, any image will benefit from sharpening to recover from the softness created by the filter. It may not look needed when images are greatly downsampled, i.e. an high megapixel image on a 1920x1080 display will be, but as soon as you print it on a good photo printer on larger papers, from A4 onward,, it can easily show. You may also want to reduce noise for high ISO shots.

      If you shoot RAW, the dynamic range may be higher than what the display medium could show, so you'll need to bring it into the allowed range while keeping required tonal gradation- it's not different from what Ansel Adams did with its Zone System.

      If you shoot JPEG, the camera will process the image for you, applying sharpening, etc. on its own.

      But photographers using reversal film (but Franco Fontana duplicated his landscape images to increase saturation...), some degree of post processing in the darkroom was often made, just selecting a paper grade to control contrast was actually a form of post-processing.

      But of course for automatic consumer development, and even there enlargers could automatically process the image to make it look good enough on paper, correcting for brightness, casts, etc.

      Post processing may be just a finishing touch, or a way to alter the original image wholly. But usually, without a little proper processing, images may not be better than consumer one-hour labs results..

      PS: red eyes can be easily avoided as long as the flash is not close and aligned to the lens. Cameras with built in flashes just above the lens are the worst. Also, direct flash is usually a bad lightning choice.

  22. Tony Paulazzo

    Never mind the User Interface, get MS to bundle it as part of windows. The only reason Photoshop is ubiquitous is because it's easy to pirate for kids, they learn the interface, they're locked in for life, they look at the slight learning curve for GIMP as teens then scurry back to the familiar Photoshop which they'll hopefully pay for as students / adults.

    Or, y'know, make it more like Photoshop which would also work.

  23. Grenou

    Straightened Tower of Pisa?

    That means no more tourist and no income from the tourist trade, tsk tsk.

    PaintShop ProX9 straightens images very nicely... plus lots of other things.

    I have used it since 1998 and have no plans to change :-)

    As with all image editors, it's the person using the keyboard who is in charge.

    Don't blame the editor..

  24. Paul Bullough

    Startup time

    Does it still take half an hour to load the fonts?

    Let me check ...

    No! It starts in four seconds. Who are you and what have you done with Gimp?

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Startup time

      They fixed the startup in the 2.10 cycle by making font loading asynchronous, so it doesn't have to wait for all the fonts to be loaded to continue startup.

  25. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Common to all (capable) image editors

    If it's any more powerful than MS paint, there is a huge learning curve. This is universal - it applies to Photoshop, PSP, GIMP, anything else.

    If your favourite tool is 'easy', that's because you've already been through that curve with it. I decided to give GIMP a good try a few years ago and haven't looked back since. OK, it has it's quirks (why do I have to export to a jpg when I opened a jpg??) but as with all tools, you get used to the quirks.

  26. Dave Rickmers

    Gnu yadda

  27. i1ya

    Fellow commenters already bashed GIMP - kudos to them

    ...still can't resist myself.

    GIMP is good for occasional image resizing or cropping, maybe even for applying some filters, but it royally sucks for non-destructive editing. Layer effects? Nah, who needs them. Ability to lock mask position while moving the layer content within it? That's for lazy Adobe fanbois. Who am I kidding, ability to preview layer during transformations, to do image editing, like, visualy, was added when GIMP celebrated it 20th anniversary. People who advocate GIMP must never have tried to use longer than 10 minutes.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If I had time, energy, etc etc

    I would create a "distro" of GIMP:

    - reskinned UI (imagine running GIMP in "Photoshop mode"), so that transitioning was easier. I mean, it's twenty-freaking-eighteen and Excel still responds to the "/" key. You know, in case Rip Van Winkle wants to finally come over from Lotus 1-2-3.

    - Bury the GIMP name. Yes it's logical. No it won't pass muster in (e.g.) sensitive American workplaces. Stupid? Perhaps. But not a hill worth dying on. Call it something fun, or functional, and move on.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: If I had time, energy, etc etc

      "Yes it's logical. No it won't pass muster in (e.g.) sensitive American workplaces."

      WHY won't it pass muster in American workplaces? I mean, people are so over-sensitive these days. The best way to defeat an epithet is to neuter it (or even better, turn it into a compliment, ie. "AND PROUD OF IT!"). I once heard a black comedian come up with a way to neuter the most common historical epithet directed at blacks: simply make an innocuous snack chip by that name. Then people will be using the name for that purpose so much the old meaning will fade into obscurity.

  29. cutterman

    PSP then and now

    Been using JASC's PSP 6 for years - all 71MB of it - amazing what they packed in there - masks, adjustment layers, the whole megillah. Quick and (reasonably) intuitive.

    GIMP too, all 967MB of it - quirky, hard to learn to use but extremely powerful. Too powerful for me except for special occasions.

    Got myself Corel's PSP2019 the other day - just curious - all 1.5GB of it if you include all the weird effects that I'll never use. Can still see traces of the original PSP in the main executable - much the same as PSP6 but just harder to use with that over-complicated smorgasbord of a UI. I bet most of the original JASC code is still in there!

    So what do I do when I just want to put a vector overlay on an image, blend in a highlight or use a gradient mask? Why, PSP6 of course!

    Funny old world.

    (Wish I could find a copy of JASC's final version of PSP, before Corel fouled it up)

    Mac

  30. Taking

    gimp (place image) ???? help to get full version gimp

    Does anyone know where I can get a copy of the GIMP that you click PLACE to put an image down and put it on the photoeditor because every time I buy GIMP off ebay or use my copy now it opens up into this cheap tacky crap version which doesnt have place image so i cant move it around it is fixed

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: gimp (place image) ???? help to get full version gimp

      Assuming you're not a troll in disguise, you can always go straight to the source: to gimp.org.

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