View Full Version : My intro, and a discussion of Photoshop vs. the Gimp

04-27-2007, 08:34 AM
Hello, all. I joined this forum a few weeks ago on the theory that it looked interesting, even though I couldn't read any of the posts. (Thanks for fixing that, BTW. Maybe new people will join, now.) Now I have been catching up reading things.

My reason for joining (besides my interest in maps) is that I have been slowly learning the Gimp, working through tutorials. One thing I have discovered is that the Gimp can function as an excellent tiling application, as well as giving all the additional advantages it gives as a full featured graphics program. I will be posting a separate post here on how to use the Gimp for tiling.

I noticed some discussion about the Gimp vs. Photoshop. I have some clear opinions about which is better, and which you should use, and why.

Photoshop is better. Much better, still, I think, for some things. You should use the Gimp. At least learn it alongside Photoshop, if you can afford the latter. Here's why.

The Gimp is still (and will always be) under development. Anyone can write enhancements to the Gimp, and will, for anything they want to do with it, or enough people want. It will get better, and better. Photoshop will improve, too, but not at the rate Gimp does, because they have a smaller and less stable base of coders. Photoshop has a ten-year-head start. In another ten years, the applications will probably be on a par, and after that, there will be no real need for Photoshop any more. Gimp will do everything Photoshop can. People who make money providing support for Photoshop can do the same providing support for Gimp.

The more people who use Gimp, the more feedback those working on it can be given about what needs to be fixed, and the more ideas for nice features people will come up with. More people will be familiar enough to answer questions, so more people will feel comfortable trying it, and their questions will be answered sooner.

Using Gimp supports it, and supports the idea of free software and open source software, which will in turn drive software advance at a faster rate. By supporting Gimp, you are also making it more likely that a free, high quality program for whatever you need three years down the road will be available, even if it isn't a program which has commercial value.

Adobe, as a corporation, is one of the "Good Guys" in the corporate technological world, and they deserve the money they make on their outstanding products. Without Photoshop, Gimp would not exist, and probably computer memory would not be as cheap as it is since, to a large extent, graphics created the market to make that research worthwhile. However, a scientific sharing of software technology will advance our capabilities far faster than a profit motive can. That benefits everyone.

04-27-2007, 11:38 AM
You've made some good points, but I have to disagree with most of them personally speaking of course. Others may agree wholeheartedly.

The first biggest disagreement is the last point you made.

However, a scientific sharing of software technology will advance our capabilities far faster than a profit motive can.
While I appreciate the thought, I have to point out that America is a capitalist society and as such there isn't anything more powerful than the dollar to make advancements. Consider prior advancements in technology. Almost every single one of them was due to financial gain. Weapons and associated tech during every war increase due to the government throwing millions if not billions of dollars at defense contractors. Improvements in all the main stream software applications and operating systems have come about because those companies wanted to make more money. While it would be neat to think that sharing of technology advances things, it doesn't really stand up to examination.

The next is that GIMP will eventually surpass PhotoShop. Again, that would be sweet if it did, but realistically it won't happen unless Adobe stops all development. I can see one of two things happening. The first is that Adobe decides that GIMP is becoming too strong of a competitor and reduces its cost (probably a pipe dream), or second it starts incorporating all of the code and advances that GIMP is making (a much more likely scenario). These is feasible since GIMP is open code, and the Adobe developers can make easy tweaks to make it different enough to call it their own. Then of course you have a corporate name and support behind the product. There are very few businesses that would be willing to embrace open source applications within their infrastructure. I fully realize that there are some and have even considered it for the company I work for, but in the end open source applications can be more trouble than they are worth.

I sincerely hope that I am dead wrong and you are completely right but being a realist and having taken many a business class I'm afraid that my scenario is a bit more accurate. However, no one can know for sure and a year or two from now may prove us both wrong when some other graphics program stills the market share. Who knows where Corel is headed or what is in the works currently.

04-27-2007, 12:05 PM
I have to agree (sadly). Things motivted by money will develop faster. After all these people don't need other jops while writing software part time. It is their job and if they want to keep it, they need to make progress.

Gimp is very powerful and should meet the needs of most mappers and its free. :D

04-27-2007, 03:54 PM
I'm sure I'm not alone in hoping RP's idea of Adobe reducing Photoshop's cost comes true; I mean, it is one amazingly expensive program!! Yes it is top of the line, but Adobe is bent on targeting the corporate world (or, at least, with the full version), cutting out the lay user. Ridiculous--especially in light of their name recognition; if they dropped the price they would make up more in volume than they'd lose in per unit pricing. Let's hope their current tactic goes the way of the $19.99 CD, the $250 VHS player, and the dodo. If not, lets hope the creative, ingenious GIMP contributers keep advancing quickly!

04-27-2007, 04:31 PM
It appears they are trying a slightly different tactic. They are beginning to bundle in several other applications into their Creative Suite and then creating different 'bundles'/'packages'. In so doing it looks like they'll be keeping the cost the same or even going higher for some of the larger Suites.

This is a double edged sword. This means that they are in fact aware of the freeware programs such as GIMP that are going to give them a run for their money, but at the same time their 'fix' is a huge mistake.

I agree with pyrandon. If they would lower their price it would take off like wild fire and burn up the competition not to mention reduce the amount of pirating that is already going on since the average Joe would be able to afford it and the support that comes with a licensed copy. However, this may also be a reason they don't make it widely available. Software support can be an expensive business if it isn't done right. They may not have an adequate infrastructure to handle the amount of calls they could potentially face.

04-27-2007, 08:31 PM
I am not a graphics professional, I am an engineer.

I use the Gimp as I can't afford Photoshop for my "hobbies", and I can't justify it for work.

While I have contributed to a number of open source projects, I will probably never be able to contribute to Gimp development. I do, however preach it as free and legal alternative to people I know who use pirated copies of Photoshop.

-Rob A>

05-27-2007, 02:18 PM
I don't know if ya'll have heard, but Photoshop announced awhile back that they were in the process of creating a free, hosted online version of Photoshop, similar to the Google Docs office programs.

Here's an article on it from a couple of months ago; if they're proceeding as planned, I imagine it'll be available by fall.


Personally, I've got a very pragmatic reason to stick with Photoshop. I've been using it since around version 2.0, and I'm not really keen on changing my workflow at this point.

05-28-2007, 04:00 AM
Personally, I've got a very pragmatic reason to stick with Photoshop. I've been using it since around version 2.0, and I'm not really keen on changing my workflow at this point.This nails the reason I use PhotoShop, Adobe Illustrator, and the Macintosh in general.

Software inertia is a powerful force.

06-12-2007, 07:26 PM
What makes Photoshop a great program IMO is that it's a part of the Adobe Design Suite. It's great to be able to move between applications that share a common interface, palette system, file format, et cetera. This includes being able to go the Adobe forum and get help on any of the products in the suite in one place. There's also something to be said about being a part of such a large community of users; you never have to look very far for great examples and tutorials on how to do something.

On the flipside, GIMP is perfect for anyone who needs an awesome raster application but doesn't need everything else that comes along with a company/product like Adobe. FM

06-12-2007, 07:48 PM
In all honesty, I would be using the GIMP today if there existed any form of video training that was on par with what Total Training (and now Linda.com) offered for Photoshop. Honestly, there was too much information that I learned from Deke McClelland, but from that I gathered what I know today about Photoshop.

That was 5 years ago, and my use goes strong today. Sure, the price tag is a little steep, but as a company, I am able to write off the cost as an expense, so it all works out.

Probably the worst point of GIMP is the lack of clear, layman's tutorials. I do not know if it is true today, but it certainly was back in the day when I made my first choice. The GIMP can improve the heck out of the backend of the program, but if I do not have an intuitive clue as to how it would work, then what is the point?


06-12-2007, 10:34 PM
Could you post some of this tutorial links in the How To topic. I believe there is already a PhotoShop thread there. I would love to find some useful tutorials that would help me strengthen my foundational skills and then build on that.

06-13-2007, 05:35 AM
I'm not sure if it is all doom and gloom for open source. Development in the IT industry - particularly as it relates to graphics (as far as I can see), is exploding and I believe that there are many more developers than there are jobs available at flag-ship companies like Adobe. In a market like this, people who want to showcase their development talents presumably write stuff for open source products (no entry fee required) and then sell their mods on the net for what they think they may be worth or give them away free. With the huge numbers of IT professionals now coming into the market from places like India, who knows? We might even see comparable competing products to Photoshop, although PS will always have that huge, huge advantage of people not wanting to learn new software. Ah well, that's the dream anyway.

Sadly for me, I started life using Paintshop Pro (the cheaper alternative) and wish I'd just started with PS. Virtually every book and magazine on graphic art is written for PS. It just frustrates me going through a PS tutorial and having to 'translate' it for PSP. I'm really going to have to get my finger out and start using PS so I get used to it, but the thought of having to relearn basic commands which I know automatically for PSP just fills me with dread.