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Use gimp instead of Photoshop

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Hey guys,

 

I'm new to this forum. I'm a programmer and want to learn how to do visual arts - I need to use the other side of my brain a little bit more because it's dying :)

 

Question is... I can't afford Photoshop right now, and I was wondering if I could use gimp for now. What are the main features I'll be missing from Photoshop if I use gimp?

 

Thanks

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I'm not a professional artist, but I make almost all the art for my own game (2D objects), and I use MSPaint and PaintShopPro (costs, but less than PhotoShop).

 

Certainly you can use Gimp. You can also try out Paint.Net which is also free. You don't have to start out with high-end tools when your skills are still low level; you can start with the tools you do have available, and purchase better tools when you outgrow your existing ones.

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Gimp's main weakness, IMO, is that it has a crappy user interface. Other than that, I've found it to be an immensely useful and powerful tool and haven't had a need to seek out any alternative image editor. I say stick with Gimp for it's features if you can tolerate it's cumbersome UI. You may find that later when you can afford Photoshop, you're already accustomed to Gimp and won't need or want to switch.

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Thanks for all the replies, guys. I'm glad gimp can do most of what Photoshop does. So basically if I'm watching a Photoshop tutorial, I can try to mimic it using gimp and get the same results, right?

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Absolutely - you'll need to figure out where to find the relevant tools and settings, as the layout and naming of many items is different - but if it can be done with Photoshop then you should just about always be able to replicate it with gimp.

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Maybe check out Krita and Kritasketch as well. It's free and open-source, and available on windows, linux, and mac. It's not a replacement for Gimp (I use it alongside gimp, personally). But, it has some fancy bells and whistles, such as being able to create seamless textures, a clean and intuitive UI, a nice brush set, etc. etc. I find it fills in any gaps of Gimp, and is a little simpler to work with, and between the two, not much is missing from photoshop (you can still use photoshop brushes in krita).

 

I find it a little more relaxing to use for basic sketching, and then for the final polishing, with Gimp doing most of the legwork in between.

 

Make sure to download kritasketch along with the desktop version, as it includes a brush set.

Edited by Misantes

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Gimp can do everything you need it do to make game art.  It used to have a crappy interface but in the preferences you can enable single document mode and Photoshop shortcuts so that it is very close to the Photoshop interface.  I also find Inkscape useful too.



One thing you need to watch out for is Gimpshop.  Do NOT under any circumstances download this.  It used to be a good product but nowadays it is just malware.

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I used Gimp for some time before taking the plunge in Photoshop.

 

The reason was that I couldn't get nice gradients with airbrushing in Gimp on my cintiq tablet, there were always visible steps in the gradient. I had to use quite a lot of dither to get rid of it. It could have been a problem with system performance of course, but I highly doubt that (6core CPU, Highend GPU, 24G RAM).

Photoshop gave me clean nice gradients on airbrushing without further tweaking. That was the original reason to take the plunge.

Of course there are other reasons to switch... plugins for example. There are tousands of good plugins for PS... some of them not cheap, but sometimes quite helpful. Like DDO / NDO for Texture painting.

 

In the meantime I found further art applications for specialized use. For drawing I started to use Manga Studio / Clip Studio Paint. Its awesome because of the Brush stabilization options. Makes it much easier to get clean strokes on crappy machines or with crappy digitizers. And all the options specialized to comic drawing are also quite nice, if you can use them. Not bad for 50$

 

Sketchbook Pro is actually another awesome drawing program for a cheap price... I instantly liked it more for drawing than both PS or Gimp. Must be the brushing engine combineed with the simplicity of the UI.

 

 

I still use Gimp regularly though. In some aspects it is much better than PS. For example, you often have to swap a color to transparency (For example for AO Maps). In PS you have to work with Masks.... easy enough, but thats like 3-5 klicks. In Gimp there is a simple function to swap a color for transparency!

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