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Photoshop vs GIMP: the difference between the two powerful photo editors

13 Nov 2018 8:01 am || 0

As a photo editor or as a user of the photo editing software, you are obviously on the lookout for helpful features and benefits to add to your toolkit. While Adobe Photoshop, the highly acclaimed application for photo editing purposes, comes at a price, a free alternative is available in the form of GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program).

So, which way would you like to go after assessing the differences between Photoshop and Gimp? Here in this tutorial, we aim to help you take a look at GIMP and Photoshop features and tools; alongside, the article will help you understand why you should use these photo editors to enable your cause.

Photoshop vs. GIMP

Adobe Photoshop CC GIMP
Adobe Photoshop is an image/design manipulation platform that is comparatively difficult to use. GIMP has quick and easy-to-handle features that are useful for beginners and professionals alike.
Adobe Photoshop CC can be bought as a single app for teams/individuals or as Adobe Creative Cloud software. The pricing would vary as per the features of the selected plan. GIMP is free and can be used without the payment of any subscription fees.
Adobe Photoshop supports Windows, Linux, Android, iPhone/iPad, Mac, and Cloud/ web-based platforms. GNU/Linux, Microsoft Windows (XP SP3, Vista, 7, 8), Mac OS X (10.6 and newer), Sun Open Solaris and FreeBSD are some platforms that provide support to GIMP.
It usually takes up to 1 GB of space to perform well. Small and light, it merely takes about 25 MB of space on the Mac or Windows Platforms to perform.
Photoshop requires higher RAM capacity and other hardware resources. GIMP requires Lower RAM capacity and hardware resources for appropriate performance.
A proprietary product that costs higher to purchase and maintain. The open-source, free software is inexpensive to purchase, support, and use.
Being proprietary, Adobe Photoshop can be updated only through the Adobe platform. As it is open-source software, GIMP can be updated by any user who is equipped to develop and contribute to open-source platforms.
Useful for professional designers, photographers, and photo editors who desire to make a living by using the tools and features of Photoshop. It is purchased by those who plan to use the software more often. Useful for hobbyists, amateurs and freelancers who want to try out their hand on smart photo editing tools without having to pay anything for the software application.
Photoshop provides industry-standard features and tools at a cost. GIMP offers community-centric and free tools only.
Photoshop has customers and clients that it caters to perfection. GIMP has contributors, well-wishers, and users.
Adobe Photoshop has several proprietary tutorials for its users. GIMP boasts of voluntary and open-source tutorials.
Photoshop provides Pantone colors. It is non-supportive to the native XCF file format used by GIMP. Photoshop files can be opened and edited in GIMP as it supports PSD files.

GIMP Introduction, Review & Cost

GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a cross-platform photo image editing application. It is the forerunner in the field of open source programs of similar nature. It provides users with the ability to manipulate source codes and distribute the changes made to images. This photo editing software is 100% free but does not compromise on features or benefits in any way.

As per regular users of GIMP, it provides benchmarked features to make it an excellent free alternative to commercial-grade tools such as Adobe Photoshop. Overall, GIMP offers sophisticated tools that are designed to be helpful for graphic designers, photographers, and illustrators to get their job done in the most convenient ways.

Tools & Features of GIMP

Before we delve into the realms of GIMP vs. Photoshop comparison, it would help to understand the main features of GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program).

  • GIMP provides an easily customizable interface to help users navigate the various buttons of the software with ease.
  • It is possible to write or modify the source code for fitting in user needs or creating new plugins with the help of this innovative photo editing software.
  • GIMP tools have the capability of reading and editing PSD files.
  • It provides a full and exhaustive suite of high-quality painting tools.
  • Users can access different graphic design elements to give shape to their creative instincts.
  • Smart retouching tools provided by GIMP aid digital photo editing efforts to a large extent.
  • The hardware support provided by GIMP permits users to gain prompt help to add to their digital photo editing efforts.
  • GIMP offers Scribus, which is an open-source layout program page that helps in publishing printed and digital materials.
  • Inkscape is a free/ open-source feature-rich vector graphics editor that is packaged with GIMP.
  • Swatchbooker is a free application designed for Linux and Windows. It provides the best editing color palettes that support gradients and patterns.

Read here Krita vs. Photoshop

Why we use GIMP?

The following points will explain why you should be using the many features and benefits of GIMP:

  • Use GIMP if you are a Linux fan

GIMP has proven to be the undisputed champion when it comes to high performance on the Linux system. Unlike Wine that requires several workarounds, GIMP is easy to use and delivers the best results for Linux users. Similarly, it is far superior to Photoshop that can be hassle-some and unreliable for those who prefer working on Linux.

In case you have set up your own Linux machine, then you would be well-equipped to handle the nuances of open source software and various open-source forums. GIMP is a decent, free, open-source alternative that will give you the best returns for your efforts.

  • Use GIMP to Get a Budget-friendly Software

Photoshop and Lightroom would bring you down by about $10 a month when you choose to pay for their regular usage. Though this is not a very high or expensive price tag, the payment for Photoshop serves to be an ongoing commitment. Occasional usage of Photoshop fails to justify this expense. The gimp vs. photoshop differences are enough to prove that GIMP fits the bill for those looking for an inexpensive option to go about their photo editing tasks.

  • Use GIMP for Infrequent Use

GIMP is a powerful tool that has left other free photo-editing applications behind. In case you require powerful tools once in a while, then GIMP will serve as a good app for you. Unlike other free photo toolkits, along with cropping images, add brightness or contrast, etc. you can make some real edits with GIMP. You cannot go wrong with the tools of GIMP if you want to go the extra mile with your editing software.

  • Use GIMP if you are not happy with Adobe

While Adobe belongs to the niche category, there are plenty of users who are unhappy with the features of Adobe Flash. If you are among them, then you would certainly like to use GIMP instead of other free photo editing software.

Adobe Photoshop Software Introduction, Review & Cost

Adobe Photoshop CC is a design, image, and photo editing software that is very helpful for photographers, professional designers, and artists. An integral part of Adobe Creative Cloud services, this design and imaging app is useful for building mobile apps, posters, banners, websites, and icons with the help of intuitive tools and templates.

As per users, the professional photography tools provided by Adobe Photoshop create, enhance, and transform pictures into impressive works of art. Adobe Photoshop CC may be yours in the form of a single app for individuals/teams at a cost. It can also be used as Adobe Creative Cloud application.

The purchase prices of these software versions are:

  • Single App (Individual)
  • $19.99/mo. Annual Plan (Payable Monthly)
  • $239.88/yr. Yearly Plan (Prepaid)
  • $29.99/mo. Monthly Plan

When you select any specific and latest of the app, you get 100 GB of secure cloud storage, premium fonts, your portfolio website, and smartly-designed social media tools.

  • Single App (Business/Teams)
  • $359.88/year/Annual license Plan (Prepaid)
  • $29.99/month/Annual license Plan (Paid Monthly)

Tools & Features of Photoshop

The primary difference between GIMP and Photoshop is that the former comes free of cost. The following features of Adobe Photoshop software make it a worthwhile purchase; take a look:

  • There are four healing tools provided by Adobe Photoshop for the cause of editing and transforming pictures.
  • The color & luminance range masking tools of the software comprising of a full palate.
  • The stroke smoothing, brushes from Kyle T. Webster, and better brush organization features help to create and customize different types of digital masterpieces.
  • Adobe Photoshop is oft-purchased for its Paint Symmetry, collaboration tools, and cross-platform compatibility with Lightroom, Adobe Stock, and so forth.
  • The other noteworthy features of this photo editing software are it's custom path and width, the presence of multiple copy-paste layers, CMYK mode, and curvature pen tool.
  • It offers non-destructive editing features wherein the original layer remains unchanged.
  • Users can quickly share their creations with the help of Adobe Photoshop.
  • Quick Share Menu, Tooltips, 360 Panorama Workflow, and Properties Panel Allow for easy navigation of the tools and features of the software.
  • Depth Map Import from High-Efficiency Image File (HEIF) is the file format for saving individual image files.

Read here Affinity Photo vs. Photoshop

Why use Adobe Photoshop Software?

The pointers given below will help you understand why you should be opting for Adobe Photoshop Software as the preferred photo editing software.

  • Apt for Phone Lovers!

Recently, Adobe has developed several tools for smartphone users. Though the earlier versions of the software were not forceful or phone-friendly, the updated and new versions are being lapped up by users like never before. Lightroom Mobile, Photoshop Fix, Photoshop Mix, etc. are some of the most coveted Photoshop tools on the racks.

  • Use Adobe in case you are a Professional

Adobe’s tools are handy for professionals. If you are provided with a PSD or any other kind of Adobe proprietary format by the client, then you will need this software to complete the task on hand.

  • Designers like Using Adobe Photoshop

GIMP does not serve as a perfect option for designers, even though it may be capable of replacing Photoshop in certain areas. Like Illustrator or InDesign, Photoshop provides an exhaustive range of tools to perform as a deal-breaker. So, even though GIMP may be helpful for quick logo mockups, the complete range of Photoshop features will be needed along with the necessary companion apps to deliver the best results.

  • Use Photoshop for Editing your Photographs

Editing is a part of your job if you are a professional photographer, and Photoshop helps you go the extra mile with the same. Lightroom is a companion app of Photoshop that allows you to sort the proper images and pull them out from the rest. Photoshop Adobe also offers a powerful RAW processor that is not available with GIMP.

Other Free Photo-Editing Softwares

The other free alternatives to Gimp as photo editing software are:

1) Photo Pos Pro

A well-designed alternative to Photoshop with certain restrictions, Photo Pos Pro, offers advanced and novice interfaces alike. Its features include an intuitive design, supporting masks and layers, the limited size of exported files, etc.

2) Paint.NET

Though it has lesser features in comparison to GIMP, Paint.NET is easily mastered. Its essential features include one-click tools, manual options, support for layers, fast and convenient-to-use tools, and lower customization features than GIMP.

3. Pixlr Editor

This browser-based tool is a more powerful photo editing than the desktop app in terms of digital painting gimp vs. photoshop. It provides support for masks and layers along with various Photoshop-style tools.

4. Adobe Photoshop Express

Photoshop's best tools can be found in this touchscreen-friendly package. It offers good-looking filters and one-tap adjustments. However, it has no plugin support or layers to its credit.


The debate about Photoshop vs. GIMP would go beyond Photoshop and GIMP tools and features. Professionals would like to invest in Photoshop when it comes to purchasing advanced photo editing tools. Amateurs working on the LINUX platform or having budget issues would prefer to go GIMP’s way – especially if they are planning to use its latest photo editing sparingly and once in a while.

Take your pick after understanding the key differences between gimp and photoshop!