Booooooy how i love those X vs Y flame wars, and booooooy how i fire up a search engine and search X vs Y everytime i want to do something, get info on something, chose something, and the dearest to my heart is the good ol’ “GIMP vs Photoshop” debate.
If you ask me, you can never do such thing as comparing those two (and the same goes for almost all vs. wars), and i think the best thing in a vs. war is the fact that you can see pros and cons and in the end you would be able to make a choice after filtering that in your brain.
I will not go into the GIMP/Photoshop pros and cons and i will explain why you should give GIMP a try, how it can be an alternative to Photoshop even for experienced users and how, with the right guidance you can easily use a free applications for almost all the stuff you do with a quite expensive software.
We are like 10 years ago and you just started working with Photoshop for some photo retouching/enhancing, image editing, building website mockups, creating logos and graphic elements.
As you get proficient with Photoshop, you start to master layers (no layer groups or smart layers yet), selections, filters, transformations, color corrections and layer modes, the basic back-bone of Photoshop in general.
Let’s say your job is to make a colage like a movie poster, what do you do?
– maybe you will extract some people from some pictures with a combination of quick mask, layer mask, eraser or pen tool, new layers, cut and paste and color correction.
– creating new graphic elements with marquee, elipse selections, copy/cut/paste on layers, brushes and filters
– put everything on layers, add text, color correct everything.
Years passes and one day, after months of Linux vs Windows and GIMP vs Photoshop, you decided to give GIMP a shot. And your new job is…create a poster…so…what do you do?
I think there is a great chance of using the same tools and workflow u’ve used a few years ago.
If you’ve worked very much with a software for a few years you gain proficiency and specific workflows that get printed on your DNA. I think even with the latest version of a software, you will use in general the old workflow because this is how you’ve worked, this is how you’re used to work, you work faster and are happy with that.
Now with GIMP, the tools you would use 90% of the time in Photoshop (back 10 years ago and now in CS5) are there, right at your fingertips… and for free :).
The same thing goes with CAD software on Linux, 3D animation on Linux, photography on Linux etc. and Linux in general, it keeps your brain working.
It’s a great deal, you keep your brain exercised for free.
So, if you miss:
- Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro try GIMP or MyPaint
- Lightroom or Aperture try darktable or digikam or shotwell
- Premiere or After Effects try Kdenlive or Cinelerra
- 3D studio MAX try Blender 3D, Maya, XSI, Houdini, Lightwave for Linux soon.
- Autocad try QCAD
- After Effects / Photoshop try Synfig for 2D animation
[UPDATED] – Thanks Dragos
[UPDATED again] – Thanks Dragos
In the commercial corner:
- You miss After Effects try Nuke for compositing “in non motion-graphics scenarios, and is much better for pure compositing tasks”
- Lightworks, a high-end pro editing software will be ported soon to GNU/Linux
- Mari for paint/3D paint
- TVPaint for painting and animation (After Effects / Photoshop alternatives)
- Also try Piranha, Mistika for comp/graphics/finishing.
- Also turnkey systems (preconfigured with RedHat) “Flame for motion graphics and post, Smoke for editing/finishing.”