First GIMP stands for "G
It is a freely distributed piece of software for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition
and image authoring. It works on many operating systems, in many languages. That can read and
write all popular image file formats even .psd's (despite a few bugs and incompatibilities.) GIMP
can also be used to create basic animated images in GIF format. The project's mascot is named
GIMP is often used as a free software replacement for Adobe Photoshop, the most widely used bitmap
editor in the printing and graphics industries; however, it is not designed to be a Photoshop
clone. Read more >>
And we'll be using GIMP version 2.6.2 for this review, this review doesn't only cover the
new features in GIMP 2.6.2, but the main features of this powerful GNU/Linux program (although
it is also available for Windows and Mac) starting with the newest and the most noticeable
new feature; the freehand select tool.
The "Free Select" tool now gives you the ability to stop and continue, in example if you were
to make a half circle, stop, in 2.4.x it would automatically close the selection off, now you can
continue making your selection, you can also make freehand segments and polygonal selections
at once without changing tools, making it powerful and easy-to-use.
Another new feature is "Brush Dynamics", such as size, opacity, pressure, velocity and random, if
you use a pen and a tablet, the results of the Brush tool can now be influenced by such settings,
though you can also get such effects just using your mouse too. So if you have velocity set, moving
your brush faster will make the opacity lower and if you move your brush slower the opacity will
become higher, same type of thing happens with size, opacity, pressure and random, here is a
few examples of the settings and their effects.
Also you can now move "Beyond Image Border" which allows you to see the corners of your images
easier, this behavior is much like Inkscape.
You now have a bounding box for text that can also now be resized when typing and the text can
also automatically be wrapped within that bounding box.
Now one of the most powerful things in GIMP is the feature "Color to Alpha" this is not a
new feature in 2.6.2, but has been improved. What this feature does is, you select a color
in the image and it changes the color to transparent, normally just using the "Fuzzy Select"
tool can leave color around a foreground object when using it to remove a background color
that blends in with the foreground object, but when using the "Color to Alpha" feature you don't
get this nearly as much (it's different with different kinds of images) because the "Color
to Alpha" feature changes the color you select to transparent and all relative pixels
nearby to semi-transparent versions on the color you selected.
Another powerful tool is the "Quick Mask" what this feature does is allow you apply effects to
your selections, i.e. make a selection, toggle the "Quick Mask", go to Filter > Distorts > Waves...
to apply waves to your selection or Filter > Blur > Blur to apply Blur to your selection, toggle
"Quick Mask" and use the selection the way you normally would like fill, delete, move, copy,
paste, and it will have the effects you applied, this is a very useful feature.
GIMP 2.6.2 is not in one window as many people have said; it has a place holder for dragging
and dropping images in for editing, it also contains the only toolbar menus, similar to Photoshop,
but in Photoshop it holds all the other windows, moving it also moves the Tools and Layers, and
minimizing it minimizes the Tools and Layers, which GIMP 2.6.2 doesn't do.
GIMP's "Select by Color" tool is also more powerful then Photoshop's, in GIMP the tool selects
the color and relative colors (set by Threshold) as you click, where in Photoshop it just opens
a window with a solid black and white thumbnail of your image and from there you can select your
color, Photoshop's "Select by Color" is much more difficult to use and understand, and GIMP's
is more user-friendly, which it needs to be as this is a simple tool that beginners will
want to use.
Almost all of GIMP's selection tools are click-resize-able, where in Photoshop they are not. Also GIMP
has the option to round the corners on a square selection, another thing Photoshop doesn't seem
to have. Feather looks to do it, but actually gives you a rounded faded selection.
GIMP has an "Ink" tool which makes the size of the brush change as you move it, i.e. moving the
brush faster makes it smaller, moving it slower makes it bigger, this tool was the only one that
could do this before GIMP 2.6.2, and still looks better if you're looking for a
realistic paint brush or Ink pen look.
GIMP also allows you to use a custom brush right on the spot, just place or make an image in GIMP, select
it, copy it, and select the first brush, and it will be what you copied. Also a very useful feature.
GIMP vs. Photoshop:
For the average Photoshop user, we would say GIMP's better, GIMP 2.6.2 is
very easy to get a hang of, and will definitely meet all you're editing needs, is entirely free, runs on
many operating systems, not just Windows and Mac, in many languages, but if you're looking to make more
complex perfectly realistic looking images (which will take some learning),
Photoshop's the way to go.
There are so many more features in GIMP I don't have enough time and space to list here, the only
way to see all the great features GIMP has to offer is to get it yourself, please visit
, if you're using GNU/Linux you'll more then
likely already have a version of GIMP on your computer, but it might be out of date.