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GIMP – is it any good?

Before any of you wonder what we’re talking about, GIMP is an image manipulation software. We aren’t reviewing any psychotic, masked slaves, the kind you’d find in Pulp Fiction or other such classics. (However if you do fancy those Gimps, just drop us a line and we’ll be more than happy to oblige you with a review.)

Focus:  GIMP!
Right, to avoid confusion;

“GIMP is the GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed piece of software for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. It works on many operating systems, in many languages. (more…)”

– From the Gimp website.

After using the software for a while you realize that it’s capable of a lot. The UI isn’t particularly great, but it’s very simple and no tool is more than a couple of clicks away making it fairly easy to use. It didn’t take me very long to figure out the basics. You can do almost all the basic things that you’d want to in an image manipulation software. Red Eye Removal for those Facebook junkies, image cropping and re-sizing for any of you obsessed with sharing all your photographs, colour correction and image enhancement are just a few of the things you can do with GIMP. You can also delve into deeper and more complicated things like Digital Image Manipulation, Animation, etc.

You can find out more by checking out the feature list.


Since this is a community developed piece of software, there are quite a few tutorials out there to help you get acquainted with the software and then there are even more tutorials to help you become a pro with GIMP. (That sounds so wrong!)

In itself and as an image manipulation tool the software is great. However if you compare it to other professional software like Adobe Photoshop or Corel Draw, it leaves a lot to be desired. But I think that’s the great thing about GIMP. It’s not meant to compete(or maybe it is?) with those programs, but as an Open Source solution for people who don’t wish to spend the money on expensive software but still want to give their creative side an outlet.

All in all, I’d say it’s a nice piece of software and I’d definitely suggest giving it a go before you make your decision. For me, though, I’m going to stick to the more conventional Photoshop. (I am quite an Adobe fan-boy, so don’t take my word for it.)

You can download GIMP here, and here’s the documentation. Incase you’re a developer and would like to contribute to the development of GIMP, you could either do plugins or dive straight into the core development of GIMP.

Here are some of the things I came up with after some tinkering around in GIMP.
This is a film-grain look that I’ve given to a random picture that I pulled from Sxc.hu.


And here I converted a photograph of Uma Thurman into a sketch.


(GIMP, Pulp Fiction, Uma Thurman…. You guessed it! I’m a huge QT fan. In fact, I have ‘Son of a Preacher Man’ playing in the background right now…)

If you try GIMP, let us know what you think about it. Additionally, if there are any other Image Manipulation softwares you’d like us to test out for you, let us know and we’ll have our very own ‘Gimp’ test it for you.


  1. I’m not denying it’s capabilities.
    But Adobe’s creative suit comes with a whole bunch of other programs that allow you to do a lot more. While this is perfectly fine for someone who doesn’t design for a living, I think Adobe is far more powerful. Especially with the launch of CS4.

    But as I said in the post, I’m an Adobe fanboy. If they packaged ham and sold it, I’d buy it.

  2. In the end it all comes down to what you want to do with it. GIMP is powerful and it can do pretty much anything you want it to do..problem is you will have to take the trouble to learn how.Its the learning curve which keeps people away from linux even.

    In the end its just what people are used to using considering its these commercial software that we learn in our educational institutions.If they started teaching linux in school i’m pretty sure you would have more people who embraced it,for something free GIMP is awesome.

  3. GIMP is basically an open source alternative to Photoshop
    Like PHPBB is for vbulletin
    Open Office is for MS Office
    I have used it for at least 1-2 years and I love it as Adobe’s Creative Suite is $1,500 and as far as I can see in my wallet: $3.75.
    You don’t have to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars for software.

  4. It depends on how you will use the GIMP. As I start using it, I really had bags of complains about this software. But while I am making this comments about this software I kept in my mind the capabilities this software hides. There are a lot of things you can learn from GIMP, although this is not as very good for comparison for other editing softwares, but this GIMP has some punches can do. I am starting to get the hang of this software slowly. I keep on using this once in a while to explore the magic of this underdog. But wait i have some thing to show you it is done all in all in GIMP for just an hour.Here is the link http://wul.deviantart.com/art/spawn-fanart-111864485

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