# 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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There are plenty of gimp tutorials though, why not watch those?

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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.

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.

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I eventually bought a PhotoShop license, but prior to doing so, I found a free online editor called Pixlr that provided a very familiar interface. Like many of the others posting to this thread, I gave up on Gimp after the first use all because of the interface.

Edited by Quantastical

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I've never set foot in photoshop and am entirely a gimp user for all my programmer art. I rarely need anything else but yes as others have said it's GUI is atrocious.

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It also lacks somewhat in optimization, and I don't think its able to utilize GPGPU acceleration as much as photoshop (maybe even not at all?).
That's a general problem unrelated to using the GPU though, not only with Gimp, but also Paintshop Pro and Krita.

My in the mean time very old version of Photoshop (and no, I'm not going to support Adobe's current SaaS customer scam) doesn't do GPU acceleration. Still, it is about 2-3 times faster than Gimp or Paintshop Pro on pretty much every "normal" standard operation (such as color/saturation adjustments, gaussian blur, etc) and roughly 100 times faster than Krita.

Of course that is not very much noticeable if you play with a 256x256 image, since everything is instantaneous with every kind of software anyway. But it's very noticeable at 5k x 3k resolution with a dozen layers where one is noticeable as "little delay", and the other is "not responding for 30-45 seconds".

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I use Gimp like a big dog. I installed Photoshop once and it annoyed me. I also watched several Photoshop tutorials and they annoyed me too, but I was able to translate the lesson into Gimp for my own use.

Now I am able to watch Photoshop tutorials all day and my brainmeat automatically translates for me.

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Gimp is probably just fine if you're just starting out.

It also lacks somewhat in optimization, and I don't think its able to utilize GPGPU acceleration as much as photoshop (maybe even not at all?).

My in the mean time very old version of Photoshop (and no, I'm not going to support Adobe's current SaaS customer scam)

This really is a misconception. It really isn't a bad thing if you do the math.

Of course how worthwhile it is will be dependent on what type of user you are. If you're a casual user, Adobe is pretty much forcing you to pay like a heavy user. But if you are a moderate to heavy user, chances are the new pricing is actually cheaper than before.

• In the past: the complete Adobe Suite cost about $2500 (and if you were anything like me, Adobe's shitty package options meant that the Complete Suite was the only one that had everything you wanted) • Today: The whole suite is$50 a month, which is $600 bucks a year (or$10/month; \$120/year if you only want Photoshop).

In other words, the old model only becomes economically preferable if you hold onto your software for, say, 5 years. Which of course you can do, but that comes with a bagload of disadvantages: you miss out on the new features, you don't get all the bugfixes, and when you do eventually upgrade, it's a major hassle. Also (and this one is significant for indies or young people just starting out), you have to fork out the full price upfront.

I've used every version of Photoshop since version 7 (2002), and I can definitely say that I wouldn't want to use a 5-year old version of Photoshop. For me, the greatly improved vector tools in CC alone were worth the price of entry.

By the way, I'm no raving Adobe fanboy. There are things about the company that annoy me, and I've left more than one angry post on their support forums. But in terms of economics and convenience, I've found the CC model to be pretty fantastic actually.

Edited by Volnaiskra

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Gimp has pretty much all the features Photoshop does.  The challenge is becoming comfortable with using Gimp, especially if you are already used to Photoshop.

Couldnt have said it better, if you have used photoshop at all you will be lost when you first load up gimp. For the most part if you are doing programmer style art you wont see any HUGE difference. So... I say go for it.