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GIMP 2.8.0 VS. PHOTOSHOP CS5.5 EXTENDED By Steve Czajka, Edited by Sandra Livingston This article is a comparison between GIMP and Photoshop of over 70 features. The intent of this article is not to ignite a flame war on the Internet of which is better, “GIMP or Photoshop?” That is a decision that you, the reader, have to make based on your own specific needs. Personally I think that the Adobe Creative Suite is outstanding, but please don’t disregard GIMP as a hobbyist tool—GIMP is a very serious graphics package. This article attempts to compare the two packages to the best of my knowledge (with the help and assistance of our GIMP Magazine Team). I am not an expert on either of these packages, but I would consider myself a stronger-than-average user of each. I have used graphics packages over the last 20 years, starting out with Aldus PageMaker in the late ‘80s, when neon colours were cool and I was sporting an x386 PC running OS/2 (which was awesome, and wow times have changed). I then transitioned to early versions of PS, then my company switched to the popular Canadian Corel suite. My specialty was actually using and managing the Esri suite (a geographical information system with an advanced cartography engine used with Avenza, which is a powerful Adobe plugin for high-end cartography). Now I’m back to PS and CS5 at my present work. At home I am becoming well-rounded in open source products (GIMP 2.6, 2.8, Inkscape, Scribus, and a few others).

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I am writing this article from the perspective of a digital artist / layout / graphics type of user. I am not a photographer, although I work with professional photographers at work, along with professional writers, communications people, creative services people, legal beagles, and data / mapping people (where I live)—people who create amazing infographics to help simplify complicated data and analysis. People who are seriously considering GIMP as a hobbyist tool (or even as a professional tool) would benefit from reading this article. For new users of GIMP who may have already converted from PS, consider this article as a kind of training guide on where to find stuff. Developers of both GIMP and Photoshop would also benefit from this analysis: an average user’s perception of the user interface and functionality. In other words, how well does this software work, ease of use, etc. These packages are so deep that we decided to publish the full 70+ feature comparison article on our website at http://gimpmagazine.org. Simply click through this article to our website and look for Issue #3. Please use this article as a guide prior to making any acquisitions, and do your own research, ask questions, talk to people, try demo versions, and download / install GIMP from www.gimp.org. It’s free and painless! If we have captured anything incorrectly, kindly drop a comment on our blog, and we will send out an update notice in future issues of the magazine. Let the comparison begin . . .

Photoshop® is the registered trademark of Adobe Systems. 3D Studio Max is the registered trademark of AutoDesk. Avenza can be found at www.Avenza.com

Category or Feature Initial Cost

Photoshop CS5 Extended (Windows XP) $759.00 (plus tax = roughly $900.00 CAD) for Photoshop (PS). Typically you would buy PS, Adobe Illustrator, and InDesign in a bundle and pay roughly $2600.00 CAD for the package per single licence. If your organization has, say, 10 users (typical design shop), then the cost is $26,000.00 plus upgrade costs. PS has the option for monthly usage— meaning pay for the number of months you use the product. Think of it as subscriptionbased payment. This is a great option for

Full article from GIMP Magazine – Issue #3

GIMP 2.8 (Windows XP and Vista) It’s free!

Advantage GIMP

Inkscape is also free and is a competitor to Adobe Illustrator (AI). Scribus is free too and is a competitor to Adobe InDesign. Blender provides ultrahigh quality 3D rendering capability closer to Autodesk 3D Studio than to Adobe Photoshop Extended’s 3D feature, but this would round out your open source graphic suite, all free. I have to give a very serious advantage here to GIMP, as this amount of money savings could be invested in a mid- to high-

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Category or Feature

Ongoing Support Cost Platform Stability

Photoshop CS5 Extended (Windows XP) casual users, but keeping up with training makes this a difficult option. Student (non-commercial) version is available for approximately $300.00 Consider upgrade costs. From the previous revision it would cost a few hundred dollars to upgrade and keep current. Available on Windows and Mac. Stable, although 3D capabilities require users to save often. With respect to the non-3D aspects of Photoshop, I have noticed that artifacts remain after Photoshop has been closed. An example is the outline of the fuzzy brush. I am using a new laptop with plenty of memory, Win XP. Other than that it is pretty stable.

Sharing Documents Within Your Company or Between Companies

I understand that PS can run on Linux via Wine emulation software. I believe there is a significantly larger install base for Photoshop users. I understand the ratio is 98% PS to 2% GIMP, based on an infographic floating around the Internet in 2012. I am not sure of the actual ratios between GIMP and PS users as Adobe does not announce their install base numbers. And after I found out that the latest number of downloads for GIMP 2.8 was over 6.8 million, I think I would seriously have to challenge the aforementioned infographic’s claim of the 98% to 2% ratio.

GIMP 2.8 (Windows XP and Vista) end PC, high-end camera, or simply donated to the open source movement.

Advantage

Free upgrades, plus you also get to try out development versions (unstable) for free too! Available on Windows, Mac, and Linux. Extremely stable, more so than PS.

GIMP GIMP GIMP

Kudos to the GIMP development team for creating this far more stable product in an open source environment. Outstanding!

GIMP can open .PSD PS files. I am not sure of the details of this with respect to versioning. I am positive that many items are lost, like smart objects, as smart objects are not supported by GIMP.

Photoshop

GIMP can also open .PSD documents that were created in Photoshop. Obviously some items like smart objects will not be maintained, but basic layers, blend modes, etc. are supported. This supports - Layers - Layer Masks - Layer Opacity - Blend Modes - Saved Selections (as Layer Channel) - and more Special Note: GIMP has the ability to save as .PSD, and this can be opened into Photoshop CS5 with most items visible. These are all essential and powerful elements that GIMP users can confidently master their files entirely in GIMP, save them as .PSD, and send them to their clients for further work.

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Category or Feature

Photoshop CS5 Extended (Windows XP)

GIMP 2.8 (Windows XP and Vista) While I have to give the advantage to Photoshop given the ‘perceived’ user base, it is still only a narrow advantage. Keep in mind that the number of GIMP 2.8 downloads in the two months after its release was close to 7 million, so I would like to challenge that infographic stating PS 98%, GIMP 2% of the market. Additionally I understand the total downloads of GIMP since early versions are north of 40 million.

Advantage

Product Image / Advertising

The image of Adobe Photoshop is very strong. Adobe has the market when it comes to image editing and illustration. Top name designers and photographers and art studios all use Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and others to produce amazing images.

GIMP on the other hand is not as well known for high-end designer / professional use in the industry.

Photoshop

The word “Photoshop” is to image editing similar to “Kleenex” is to tissue. That is how powerful the product image is. Having said this, many people just assume that Photoshop is far superior to other packages, and this is a very poor assumption in my opinion.

Supports Open Document Format

Training

Support

No plans I am aware of to support this. I work in an area called GIS, and what I have learned from these experiences is that the software vendors that do not embrace open data standards will be left behind. This happened over and over in the GIS industry, where sharing files is critical. Photoshop training is available at most community colleges, as well as in professionally done DVD courses. I updated my skills on CS5 via a DVD training tutorial, and it was an excellent learning resource.

Support contracts are available. There is a massive online support community, but many of these are paid services.

Full article from GIMP Magazine – Issue #3

GIMP is sometimes associated with art creations that are campy or childish, which is also unfortunate considering the advanced nature of these tools. This is tragic considering the power of GIMP and related open source design tools. This is a tremendous opportunity for GIMP to improve not the software, but rather the image of the software. Modernize the website with an art studio look, develop a magazine that appeals to designers, and attract and better promote the design capabilities. Open Document Type. I understand that the GIMP development team, and others via Libra Graphics Conference, are working on the development of an open document file type that will support transporting documents between open platforms, supporting layers, objects, etc. There is a wealth of online tutorials, but few are structured as a course. For someone just starting out it would be difficult to navigate the thousands of tutorials that are out there. This is an area of huge opportunity to offer certified GIMP courses via DVD or online via YouTube (start to finish, basic level type of course). No support contracts available. This is an opportunity for GIMP. There is a massive online support community.

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GIMP

Photoshop

Photoshop

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Category or Feature App Store, or Plugin Repository

Upgrades

Photoshop CS5 Extended (Windows XP) Adobe has an advanced plugin store to purchase or download free plugins for Photoshop.

Creative Suite 5 was a significant upgrade, and 6.0 is now out. Some new features in CS6 are impressive: brush decay (incredible idea), focus blur, and others. I am not aware of any product roadmap that Adobe releases on their website to their paying customers.

Product Integration (Image & Vector)

Very strong between Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. I am impressed with the ease of integration.

Themes

To my understanding there are no themes or skins that Photoshop makes available. At CS6 I understand a theme will be available, or at least an alternate backdrop color. Photoshop has macros that are easy to use and can automate basic commands called Actions.

Macros / Scripting

Navigation

Photoshop also has plugins for advanced functionality. I actually find navigation difficult in PS. Having several shortcuts for the user to

Full article from GIMP Magazine – Issue #3

GIMP 2.8 (Windows XP and Vista)

Advantage Tie

http://registry.gimp.org/ is the official plugin registry for GIMP. Anyone can contribute, post comments, search, and perform a number of other tasks. This is highly useful for advanced GIMP users. GIMP 2.6 was a popular release at around 8 million downloads according to SourceForge and CNET.

GIMP

GIMP 2.8 is out, also with an impressive number of downloads and a very well received update from the community. GIMP developers were criticized for the long wait between 2.6 and 2.8, but I understand that they have committed to smaller, more frequent upgrades as time goes on. In addition to providing development versions to test out (prior to production), GIMP also publishes a product roadmap which can be found at http://wiki.gimp.org/index.php/Roadmap Minimal by file output only between GIMP, Inkscape, Blender, and Scribus. This is a huge opportunity for the open source graphics software community to band together, increase integration and even develop a graphics suite idea. There are several themes to choose from, and they look great. Installation is trivial. Alternate backdrop colors have been available for quite some time. GIMP has scripting only. Quite powerful, but requires expertise to build these scripts. There is an opportunity for GIMP to have a macro function similar to actions. I like what PS is doing in this area. Navigation out of the box with GIMP is also cumbersome like PS. Once you become aware of this feature below, navigation

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Photoshop

GIMP

Photoshop

GIMP

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Category or Feature

Photoshop CS5 Extended (Windows XP) remember is overwhelming, although some key ones are useful.

GIMP 2.8 (Windows XP and Vista) becomes exceptionally easy.

Advantage

Flick Panning, a fast way to move around the screen exists which is very handy. There are a couple of very useful navigation Tools: Pan Tool - d.click will zoom out temporarily so that you can pan to another area. Pan Tool - Will allow you to almost swipe pan. This is a huge opportunity for Photoshop to improve.

See our Tips and Tricks section of Issue #2 of GIMP Magazine to see how to set this up. This Navigator can be docked above or below the layers panel.

Navigation Coordinates

Custom Workspaces

This does not contain 1:1, which is important, nor does it contain image extent which is critical. Using CTRL +0 is a workaround. Navigation coordinates do not exist. This is an opportunity for Photoshop to improve.

Exists—found in upper right of application.

Can be widely customized, but a bit complicated to achieve.

GIMP

These are so useful for very precise work, and they work in conjunction with the Gridlines as well. These coordinates appear at the bottom left of the screen. Exists at the individual menu item per logged-in user.

Photoshop

No such thing as user profiles, other than at the operating system user login level.

Menus can also be customized (.mnu) and saved against a custom workspace. Shortcuts can also be set up (.kys), Edit /

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Category or Feature

Brushes

Photoshop CS5 Extended (Windows XP) Keyboard shortcuts, and saved against the custom workspace. More special brushes built in.

GIMP 2.8 (Windows XP and Vista)

Advantage

Limited, but essential brushes built into 2.6.

Photoshop

I also like the way brushes are presented in the upper left for various operations (paint brush, eraser, etc.).

Ability to download all GIMP brushes and all Photoshop brushes is a big benefit to GIMP. I understand at GIMP 2.8 significant progress was made in this area, including new brushes, new dynamics, new UI, and a new tagging system to make searching easy.

Brush Dynamics clearly give the advantage to Photoshop.

Dynamics Settings

Brushes

While brush dynamics have improved significantly, they are still not as

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Category or Feature

Photoshop CS5 Extended (Windows XP)

GIMP 2.8 (Windows XP and Vista) sophisticated in GIMP as they are in Photoshop.

Advantage

Undo Operation (a.k.a. History)

CTRL Z History states can be configured up to 40-50 by using Edit / Performance / Guides

CTRL Z Layers panel third tab has history view.

GIMP

Repeated CTRL Z just goes back and forth, forcing the user to open the history panel. Panorama Merge Multiple Photos into One Colour Picker / Colour Info Window

Edit / Auto align layers. This tool scales the images and blends them into one seamless image. This is an incredibly powerful feature. Big advantage for Photoshop. Tools / Color Sampler Tool (F8 or Window / Info Window)

History can be configured. Repeated CTRL Z operations continue to undo history operations in the stack, not requiring the user to open the history tab. Plugin required, but I understand it achieves much of the functionality.

Toolbox - color picker tool, use Info Window

Photoshop

Photoshop

I have seen the color picker comparison similar to PS, but I do not use this (see Meet the GIMP video for tutorial).

The number on the left identifies up to four color-picker colors. The circle in the middle changes as you scroll over the image. This is useful.

Patch Tool / Clone Tool Rotate

These tools also include a mini histogram and navigation panel. Patch Tool

Clone Tool

Tie

File / Automate / Rotate

Rotate Tool

GIMP

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Category or Feature

Nondestructive Editing

Photoshop CS5 Extended (Windows XP)

Note: Non-destructive editing is the ability to change an image (e.g., color balance) without changing the actual pixels in the image. This is an important feature if you work regularly in an environment of constant change. In other words, a proof is prepared and your client requests another change, over and over again—proof - edit, proof edit.

GIMP 2.8 (Windows XP and Vista)

Dialogue is intuitive and precise if needed. Standard image rotations are also available via Image / Transform. GIMP 2.6 contains some GEGL operations which are non-destructive. I understand at 2.8 non-destructive editing will be expanded as GEGL becomes part of the core, although I am not sure of the full details at this time.

Advantage

Photoshop

I think Photoshop will own the advantage here for quite some time.

Photoshop prides itself on non-destructive editing practices for nearly all operations, and this works amazingly in CS5. Photoshop has some real advantages over GIMP in this category, but remember this only makes a difference if your environment requires constant change. Image Adjustments

Image adjustments in GIMP are primarily done through the Colors Menu item.

Adjustment Layers—a non-destructive way

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Photoshop

Nearly all of these features exist in GIMP,

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Category or Feature

Spot Healing Patch Heal Healing Brush Content Aware - Fill

Photoshop CS5 Extended (Windows XP) of altering various properties of a layer in a convenient UI panel. Impressive tool that allows you to select an area to copy then fix another area with the first area.

GIMP 2.8 (Windows XP and Vista) but all of the operations are destructive.

Advantage

GIMP calls this the clone tool, and it is very effective.

Tie

Photoshop does a pretty awesome job here.

GIMP has a plugin for this, but it’s not nearly as effective.

Photoshop

Remove a tree within a landscape shot Crop Tool

Crop Tool also rotates. Straighten and Ruler are fast and built-in. Crop includes rotate, which is nice.

GIMP has an opportunity to improve here by perfecting the plugin and incorporating it into the core product. I understand that GIMP actually built this functionality first, prior to Adobe. Straight line rotate tool is available as a script.

GIMP

Crop includes Rule of Thirds, Golden Rule, etc. Includes crop, move, ratio, size, and expand from centre options.

Smart Objects

Smart Objects is a Photoshop concept (sort of). The idea has been around for years in GIS software. I think ESRI developed it with Layer Files back in 1995; a pointer to an underlying dataset where you can change the display properties of that layer representation without having to change the actual underlying dataset itself. Brilliant idea that is now making its way into Photoshop for good measure.

Content Aware Scale

This is a huge advantage for Photoshop. Edit / Content Aware Scale will allow you to take a photo of a cruise liner, for example, and stretch the image by emulating the water. The cruise liner would have the same proportions. No plugin required.

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No such feature exists.

Photoshop

Major opportunity for GIMP to improve. GIMP has a highly advanced proposed non-linear editing solution that will blow the doors off the artistic creation process, but it is still to be seen how this will work, and when it might be released.

The Liquid Rescale plugin does exactly this.

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Photoshop

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Category or Feature Layer Modes (Blending)

Photoshop CS5 Extended (Windows XP)

GIMP 2.8 (Windows XP and Vista)

Advantage Photoshop

Layer Rotation

GIMP

Click on the layer, then click on the curved arrows that will appear around the bounding box. Then perform the rotation. Then hit enter to confirm the transformation.

Both visual and precise rotation coordinates can be entered.

Degrees can also be entered for precise work.

Straightforward and intuitive, and fewer steps to execute.

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Category or Feature Layer Styles

Photoshop CS5 Extended (Windows XP)

GIMP 2.8 (Windows XP and Vista) This functionality doesn’t exist in GIMP. All of the operations are possible, just not in one easy-to-use interface.

Advantage Photoshop

This would be a really big area of opportunity for GIMP to improve in.

Image Metadata Image Size

Pretty awesome packaging of commands here with settings all in one easy-to-use interface. Huge advantage for Photoshop here. Photoshop has significant metadata options for input, viewing, and searching. Image / Size Both px and page size options exist. Resizing options exist in this dialogue also.

No metadata options available.

Photoshop

Image / Canvas Size

GIMP

Both px and page size options exist. Resizing options exist in this dialogue also.

The offset feature is an advantage. GIMP also uses Image / Scale to scale an image to size in another dialogue.

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Category or Feature Color Space

Photoshop CS5 Extended (Windows XP)

GIMP 2.8 (Windows XP and Vista)

Advantage Photoshop

I understand that CMYK is available but the image requires decomposition. Colors / Components / Decompose

GIMP does not have high bit-depth color at 2.6 or at 2.8. Having said that, most printing devices do not support high bit-depth color. You will notice this issue on images that have smooth gradients, especially when combined with overlay modes of other layers. A third-party open source CMKY software is also available. Selections

Photoshop

Rectangle Ellipse Free Magic Wand Select by Color Scissors Intelligent Edge Filling Foreground Select Tool When selection method is used in

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Category or Feature

Photoshop CS5 Extended (Windows XP) conjunction with Refine Edge, results are powerful.

GIMP 2.8 (Windows XP and Vista)

Advantage

This functionality simply does not exist. This is a huge opportunity for GIMP to improve.

Photoshop

Wow, huge win for Photoshop. This tool is quite useful for extracting objects from the background and previewing what they will look like while making fine-tuning adjustments. Selection / Color Range

Select by Color Tool

Tie

This functionality simply does not exist.

Right Click on Layer / Alpha to Selection

GIMP

Refine Edge

Select by Color

Alpha to Selection Create a selection based on the alpha value in a layer

I am amazed! I use this all the time for graphic design work. The workaround is as follows: - Duplicate the layer first as this is a destructive operation

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Category or Feature

Color to Alpha

Photoshop CS5 Extended (Windows XP) - Click on the layer - Layer / Layer Mask / From Transparency - Right Click on Layer Mask - Add to Selection - Then delete the new layer and work with your selection This is a huge opportunity for Photoshop to improve. This functionality simply does not exist.

GIMP 2.8 (Windows XP and Vista)

Advantage

Colors / Color to Alpha

GIMP

Simply select the colour that you want to convert to the alpha channel. Works as one would expect.

GIMP

The workaround is as follows: - Click on Layer - Select Color Range - Simply delete the selection from the layer, and you get the exact same results.

File / New Create from Clipboard Guides

Yes, this exists as a preset, but the clipboard image doesn’t actually appear in the newly created image. This would seem intuitive, but you have to create a new layer and paste this into that new layer. View / Guides / New Guide

Drag a guide from the ruler, and look at the position of the guide in lower left corner of screen.

GIMP

To delete, simply drag the guide off the image. Pick H or V and provide dimension. This user interface is lacking. Personally I use this feature over and over again when doing precise work. One advantage is that guides will snap to the centre or edges of the page, which is somewhat useful.

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My only concern is that new users may not be aware that this function exists, although Inkscape, Visio, Publisher, and other packages use this same method of adding / moving / removing guides. Far more intuitive, and a big advantage to GIMP users here.

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Category or Feature

Drag a Layer from One Document to Another 3D Rendering

Photoshop CS5 Extended (Windows XP) This is a real opportunity for Photoshop to improve. Arrange documents (side by side), then drag and drop a layer from one document to another. Another area for opportunity to improve. I don’t use 3D functionality so I cannot comment on this function. What I have seen so far is that the 3D quality that Photoshop delivers is great. I understand from a designer who uses this functionality often that it does crash, so save often. I would give the 3D function in Photoshop time for maturity, although it is nice to have this functionality within the package.

Layer Masks

GIMP 2.8 (Windows XP and Vista)

Advantage

Drag and drop the layer from one canvas to another.

GIMP

I don’t use 3D functionality so I cannot comment on this function.

Photoshop

From what I have seen so far, the quality is weak in GIMP. I would recommend Blender as a true 3D open source package with outstanding rendering capabilities. But Blender 3D is closer to AutoDesk 3D Studio than it is to Photoshop 3D. GIMP has a far more advanced creation of layer masks, but with the anchor tool is less intuitive.

GIMP

Easy to create and easy to use. There is also this handy panel that allows you to modify the properties of the layer mask specifically. This seems odd to me, as in GIMP a layer mask is treated nearly identical to a layer, so this panel is redundant in GIMP.

This is an opportunity for GIMP to improve simply by removing the anchor tool operation, which can be confusing. Otherwise another strong advantage to GIMP on this one.

View Layer

This is an opportunity for Photoshop to improve: - types of mask creations - view layer mask I had to check the help to find this one.

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Right-click on the layer and click view layer

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GIMP

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Category or Feature Mask

Photoshop CS5 Extended (Windows XP) Click on the layer mask then ALT-click on the layer mask to actually view it and work on it.

Image Browser

The use of shortcuts is great, but many users are going to be turned away or are simply not going to know that this functionality exists. This is another large opportunity for Photoshop to improve because this is an important function. Bridge comes with Photoshop, Mini Bridge, and Bridge.

GIMP 2.8 (Windows XP and Vista) mask, or edit or delete or show, etc. Very intuitive.

Advantage

No browser exists.

GIMP

Operating system file browser is required.

Measure Tools

Colorize and HSL

I am still trying to see the benefits of Bridge over my operating system file manager. I run windows XP and Vista and I have no complaints about my operating system browser. It allows me to preview files in many different ways, store metadata tags, sort by tags, add my own tags, and create contact sheets. So I am not sure of the value of Bridge at this time. I may learn to appreciate this feature in time. Ruler Tool

Colorize

I am going to give the advantage here to GIMP for not developing something that may never be used. I think this functionality for the most part is best left to the operating system to manage.

Measure Tool

Photoshop

Colors / Color Balance

GIMP

Colors / HLS

HSL

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Category or Feature

Photoshop CS5 Extended (Windows XP)

GIMP 2.8 (Windows XP and Vista)

Advantage

Colors / Colorize

Colors / Colorify

Selections to Mask

Create the selection Add Layer Mask

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Create the Selection Add Layer Mask

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Tie

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Category or Feature

Photoshop CS5 Extended (Windows XP)

GIMP 2.8 (Windows XP and Vista)

Advantage

Auto Select

Auto Select is a setting that will automatically pick the right object when you click on an object.

I believe this is a default in GIMP, although this may be an area of minor improvement for GIMP. The align tool

Photoshop

Align Layers

Tie

This feature is intuitive, but still lacking in many ways.

Object Style Manipulation

Puppet Warp is an amazing feature available in Photoshop.

I use the basic features of this tool often and it works perfectly. However, I find the advanced features of this tool difficult to use. There needs to be a more intuitive way to build an align tool. The align tool in Inkscape is an excellent example of how the UI could be improved, but I respect that Inkscape is object management and GIMP is layer management —a different system. iWarp, and the new Cage Tool, is designed to replicate this functionality. The Cage Tool has some minor usability issues.

Photoshop

(e.g., moving a person’s arm in an image)

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Category or Feature Camera RAW Support

Photoshop CS5 Extended (Windows XP) This is an enormous feature for Photoshop. High-end photography is done exclusively using RAW, which is the closest format that a single camera can produce. The manner in which this is integrated into CS5 is excellent (using non-destructive properties).

True Vector Masks and Shapes

Background Layer

Filter Management

Shapes drawn in Photoshop are actually true vector representations. Photoshop has the concept of a background layer that is locked. This requires it to be unlocked or changed in the design process. This is an opportunity for Photoshop to remove this feature and make it easier for their users. This is an area where the user interface in Photoshop is excellent.

This is an easy-to-use filter management tool that allows a user to pick a filter, and add several more while adjusting properties of each filter with a preview mode on the left.

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GIMP 2.8 (Windows XP and Vista) UFRAW and photivo.org is available for users of GIMP. However, there is no software integration between these packages and GIMP. You need to complete your work in the RAW software, then save it out and move it into GIMP.

Advantage Photoshop

This would be an enormous feature to integrate UFRAW functionality directly into GIMP. Having said this, there are some very highend photographers that use GIMP and UFRAW as a combination to produce amazing images. Vector Representations are possible in GIMP. However, paths are required to achieve this in combination with selections. True vector text can also be achieved, but this is only possible via a text-to-path conversion.

Photoshop

GIMP does not have the concept of a background layer. By default GIMP opens with one transparent layer.

GIMP

While GIMP has an exhaustive list of filters that come preloaded with the software, and even more filters that can easily be downloaded (e.g., 100 filters pack for 2.8), the all-in-one filter management tool does not exist. This is an area of opportunity for GIMP to improve.

Tie

Having said this, I need to point out the G’MIC plugin which contains an explosive filter gallery system, and FX Foundry, which contains some high-end filter effects. These combined provide an outstanding array of filters and filter effect possibilities.

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Category or Feature Filter Render

Photoshop CS5 Extended (Windows XP)

GIMP 2.8 (Windows XP and Vista)

Advantage GIMP

Limited amount of render filters.

I particularly like Pattern and Clouds. Other people often use the more advanced rendering tools below, which look very impressive when used artistically. The lens flare and lighting effects are located here in GIMP.

Again, way more advanced. Gradient Editor And Color Swatches

Photoshop

Very basic gradient editor.

Getting to this tool is a secret. You have to click on Gradient Tool first, then click on the gradient itself to get to the editor. This is an opportunity for improvement on the part of Photoshop.

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Swatches in GIMP are similar to palettes and color maps for indexed images. GIMP comes with several palettes that come preloaded. These palettes can be edited. GIMP does not have a similar comparative product to kuler.adobe.com.

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Category or Feature

Photoshop CS5 Extended (Windows XP) Photoshop also has color swatches. These are essentially a collection of colors that you would use in a graphic design layout. In addition to this, Photoshop also integrates with kuler.adobe.com, which is a website that allows graphic designers to create and share their own color swatch combinations.

GIMP 2.8 (Windows XP and Vista)

Advantage

The nice feature about swatches is that they are interchangeable between PS, AI, and ID. Histogram

Photoshop

Fairly advanced histogram tool to work on the entire image or part of an image. You can also select part of the histogram to recalculate your statistics. This also works on the entire image or part of the image. It does not show all colors on the graph, but does shown them individually. You can also select part of the histogram to recalculate your statistics. Curves Tool

Photoshop

GIMP also has a very intuitive curves tool. It

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Category or Feature

Photoshop CS5 Extended (Windows XP) The one advantage that I thought was quite useful was the Finger tool (upper left) that helps to modify the curve. Click the Finger tool, then click in the image and move up or down.

GIMP 2.8 (Windows XP and Vista) allows you to save presets that I am not sure if the Photoshop tool does.

Advantage

Sharpen

Photoshop

Lighting Effects

GIMP

The lighting effects in GIMP are more advanced. They support up to six lights in a single operation. They also support the same types of lights and intensity, but they take a three-dimensional approach and have more powerful materials and surface settings. Both are close, but the advantage goes to GIMP. Shadow

This is done via the Layers Style dialogue, which is already quite impressive.

Photoshop

The user interface could be more advanced. Text

Option Bar Settings

Photoshop

Character Settings The text tool in 2.8 is a significant improvement. Kudos to the GIMP team.

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Category or Feature

Photoshop CS5 Extended (Windows XP)

GIMP 2.8 (Windows XP and Vista) While there are great advancements in GIMP, the features are still quite far behind that of Photoshop.

Advantage

Text to Path is supported, but text properties are lost. Text Warp is not possible. iWarp is a work around. Paragraph Settings

Text in Photoshop is superior in every way. Basic text settings at the character level can be done using the option bar settings or the character settings. Paragraph settings are also exceptional for precise work.

Editor’s Note: I think that the wild deviation in text capabilities may have to do with cross-development. I remember that CorelDRAW in 1997 and Photo-Paint had exceptional text tools at least 10 years ago. Part of the advantage is that one company can share code between the two packages. There may be something for GIMP and Inskcape to work on closely together and share text tools, as an example. Inkscape has some very impressive text tools.

More advanced settings can be done at the character level. Text on Path is supported, and text properties are maintained. Text Warp is supported. Outstanding job, Photoshop team! Text as a Vector Clipping Mask Print Engine

This works very well as it is treated as a non-destructive layer.

In GIMP you must convert your text to a path that ultimately becomes a mask. This is not a non-destructive editing process.

Photoshop Photoshop

Easy and intuitive to use. I have found this tool to be somewhat limited. Improvements could be made here. What you see in the preview is not what you get in the output.

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Category or Feature Save for Web

Photoshop CS5 Extended (Windows XP)

GIMP 2.8 (Windows XP and Vista) The settings for this are done at Export in GIMP. Each file type has its own advanced settings. None of them have a comparison like Photoshop.

Advantage Photoshop

This may be useful.

Output Workspace (Image Gallery HTML) Proofing

Animation Tools

This is a Photoshop concept to compare the original on top with two or more samples of more compressed image settings. This is a great feature built into Photoshop that allows you to export a collection of images to a premade (but also configurable) image gallery to show off your creations to your clients. Photoshop has view / proof colors and soft proofing. This is the ability to see on screen what your output may look like when converted to CMYK, for example. Upon a conversion the colors will be adjusted and you can see / test the magnitude of those adjustments, then change, reconvert, and see until you are satisfied with the results. The philosophy is to work in RGB until the end of the process, then at the very last step convert to CMYK, proof, adjust, and finalize the CMYK for large-run printing operations. A robust engine that supports animation. The timeline feature is very functional.

I remember that GIMP had a few plugins for this, but nothing nearly as elegant a solution and nothing built in.

Photoshop

I am not aware of any proofing function in GIMP. This may be an area of opportunity, but is limited to an advanced few that may use this for large-run printing (1,000s or 100,000s of copies)

Photoshop

GIMP also has built-in support for animation, and also has the GAP plugin for more advanced animation operations.

Photoshop

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