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Will Gimp ever be a professional image editor?

GIMP 2.4New version  of open source image editing software GIMP 2.4 recently came out with new goodies and long-awaited improvements. Most valuable new features are scaling for all kinds of brushes, intuitive selection and crop tools, improved printing and color management, red eye removal, a new object alignment guide and advanced tools like perspective cloning and lens distortion filters.

The main advantage of GIMP is that it is best FREE image editing software and it works on Linux, Windows and Mac. Without doubt it lacks some substantial features in comparison with Photoshop which are crucial in a commercial printing environment and has many drawbacks. In GIMP there is NO support for CMYK colorspace, support for digital camera’s RAW format, support for 16-bit, 32-bit, adjustment layers, the history brush tool, folders in the layer window, a free transform tool to rotate, scale and move in one tool and an interpolation code to draw smooth brush strokes using a tablet.

The GIMP also requires basic Script-Fu programming knowledge for automation upon it, while Photoshop can record your actions and repeat them with a “Play” button. Though, there are many plugins to improve GIMP, there’s no way to make it right out of the box.

Since there are really no any innovative features which are superior to Photoshop or makes the image editing easier, I don’t understand why the GIMP developers should invent new bicycle i.e. “different product vision” since they anyway follows the graphic design industry leader Photoshop.

Even novice who doesn’t ever see Photoshop User Interface feels lost and disappointed with GIMP UI. Certainly there is GIMPshop available which makes the GIMP accessible to the many Photoshop users applying renamed and reorganized GIMP’s tools, options, windows, and menus to closely resemble Adobe Photoshop’s menu structure and naming conventions.

When someone say that most users don’t need all that Photoshop features, there is less complicated software than GIMP itself to handle simple photo processing such as XnView.

The development of GIMP 2.4 took about 3 years, so we could expect GIMP 3.0 in next 3 years with huge improvements such as higher bitdepths, more colorspaces, layer grouping, adjustment layers, filter layers and shape tools.

To sum up, GIMP has a long way ahead in development to be not just a toy for geeks i.e. “experienced users” but real competitor to Photoshop and other commercial image editing software as it happened with Mozilla Firefox. Most of all, it needs to be more user friendly, intuitive, implement all industry standards and gain some exclusive new features which other tools don’t provide to users.

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