Photoshop is the king of Photo Editing software and perhaps a must tool for a professional photographer but it is also very expensive. So, if you don’t have much money and you are against piracy then you should consider GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program). GIMP is not only free but also very competitive open source alternative to Photoshop. Being an open source product, the support is not good and the documentation is not up to date. This makes the learning curve very steep but once you start using it and learn to use the various tools, you are surely going to fall in love with it. It is surely the most powerful image editing software available for free. If you have not used GIMP 2.7 yet then here are a few reasons why you should be using it. GIMP 2.8 is also round the corner with April 27 as the scheduled release date. These features are going to be refined in 2.8 making your experience better.
1) On canvas Rich text editing
You can do rich text edit on canvas, which is very useful at times.
You have the option of choosing the font, font-size. In font size, you also have an option of choosing the unit of size and not just keeping to px. You can format and change the baseline and kerning of the selected text.
2) Cage Transform Tool
Cage transform is an interesting tool and can be used in various ways based on your image. The tool allows free transformation of objects using a polygonal cage. You may select a part of the image and only transform that part of the image. It can be very handy tool if you are creating an animated film out of a single image. An object might seem like moving if put on a slide show of the same image transformed. A good use of the tool is shown in the video that I found in YouTube while trying to learn new features of GIMP.
3) Optional Single Window Interface
Get a browser like multi-tab view by switching to the optional single window interface. It is very handy while working on multiple images at the same time.
There is a wonderful set of brushes provided with GIMP by default and some new brushes are proposed to be added in GIMP 2.8. You can also add your own brush to the set.
5) Layer Groups
An interesting and a much needed feature while working on complex projects is layer groups. You can also lock the layers to avoid making accidental changes. The button for new layer group is right next to the new layer button. After creating a new layer group, you can either drag layers that you created earlier to the group or simply add a new layer after selecting the layer group.
The power of GIMP increases with the plugins you install. (These plugins were also available in earlier versions.)Some important plugins are:
- RAW support: UFRaw is a utility plug-in to read and manipulate RAW images from various digital cameras.
- Photoshop filters: GIMP is compatible with PSD files. There are some filters in Photoshop that can really save your time and create amazing results. You can install those filters with GIMP once you install the PSPI plug-in.
- G’MIC: GIMP provides you with a good number of filters. This plugin simply adds the power with more filters.
- Batch Process: This plugin allows you to do similar process to multiple images in a batch. This is particularly important if you have to edit many images. A good use can be scaling multiple images to a standard size provided by your client.
So hopefully, I was able to create a slight curiosity in your minds , if not excitement , about GIMP which in my opinion changed my outlook and also the look of my images.
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