There’s no question about it: Most pros use Adobe Photoshop. It’s been the go-to photo editing program for graphic designers, photographers, editors and artists for many years.
Unfortunately, it’s also quite expensive! The latest version of Photoshop can cost over $600. That’s prohibitively costly for many people, including professionals. Isn’t there an alternative that has similar features but won’t break the bank?
It turns out there is: It’s called GIMP. That’s an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program. It began in 1995 as a project at UC Berkeley, but it’s come a long way since then!
In fact, it has many of the same capabilities as Photoshop. There are plenty of filters, brush tools, gradients and more. GIMP even lets you use layers like Photoshop.
In the past, GIMP was criticized for being difficult to learn, but the latest version has an easier interface. Even so, if you’re used to Photoshop, GIMP may seem unfamiliar, but it isn’t too hard to learn.
There are dozens of tutorial videos for using GIMP. You can also find plug-ins on the GIMP website, including a bevy of added tools.
To download, click the big orange download button in the header of the GIMP site. Then select the orange text link “Download GIMP.” You can find the OSX installation version
Be sure to read the Terms and Conditions before agreeing to them! GIMP will install without any bloatware or extra add-ons.
Once you’ve installed GIMP, I recommend checking out the Help tab in the top right of the toolbar. Select “User Manual” to view seven helpful guides to the basic features. You can also read daily tips that can unlock very useful features in GIMP.
Even though the process is different than Photoshop, many of the same results are achievable. If you’re having trouble figuring out how to do something, I suggest looking for help on YouTube.
Note for OSX users: GIMP is available for Mac users, but the link takes some finding. Click the Mac download link below and scroll down through the GIMP blog to find the entry about their new OSX version of GIMP. Once it has been given a dedicated page, the Mac download button will link directly there.