Thursday, January 21, 2016

GIMP and the Learning Curve

If you haven't seen last weeks post here's a quick recap. My computer died and rather than pay Adobe a monthly fee to use their software, I have decided to look for alternatives. This is not as easy as it sounds.

On product that was highly recommended to me is GIMP, which is an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program. The program is an open source photo editing program that is rumored to rival Photoshop. While to two programs are used for image manipulation there are some vast differences.

First GIMP is a free, open source program. This means that the program's source code is available for others to modify, rather then the company making all the updates themselves. Unfortunately, this also means that the native program is not as robust as Phootshop when you first install.

The program starts out as several small windows. I have no idea why. It's easy enough to change once

you figure out where the setting is. The sidebars, or side windows if you don't change it to a single screen, have various options in them similar to the palettes in Photoshop. Similarly to Photoshop they can be clicked and dragged to different locations depending on how you like your program to be set up.

There are various icons for different features and, as expected, the symbols are completely different from those in Photoshop. Thankfully, they did create pop up banners which state the name of the tool when you hover over the button.

One of the most frustrating things that the program lacks, and what probably keeps it from being a true competitor to Photoshop, is it can not read raw files. The majority of professional photographers shoot in raw because it allows for the images be to easily manipulated without loosing data. There used to be an extension that could be downloaded to correct this. I, however, have not been able to figure this out yet.

There are some similarities between Photoshop and GIMP, side from both being image editing programs. Both programs allow for complicated layering and effects - once you learn how to use the software. They both also have an extensive listing of tutorial videos and websites.

While I'm not entirely sure that I like GIMP as a first choice, I will give it a few more weeks and invest some more time in watching the tutorials. figuring out how to add the various extensions, and getting the program to recognize my Wacom Tablet. I may learn to love the free alternative to Photoshop.