Open Source & Photography

I am taking on photography as a hobby so I am really glad to see TWIT and Ant Pruitt focusing on beginners. One of the things I have always been curious about is the fact that in photography people only talk about the Adobe products - particularly Photoshop.

Could I get some help to understand what is not so right with GIMP?


Don’t know the answer to your question but thanks to you I’m going try it out. :fist_right:


I tried GIMP once or twice, but did not care for it. However - I do have Photoshop. Granted, it is a very old version - 5.5. But, it does everything I need. And, I already spent time figuring out how to use it.

Now, with Chrome - I used the Pixlr extension. It works almost like Photoshop, and it is free. So, no learning curve really

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Its hard to use and that is no one source on how to use it…


As someone who has only used Photoshop 1 a great many years ago, I recall that Photoshop is not that easy for someone without training or experience to master either. I suspect that any sufficiently powerful tool is hard to use at first. Never tried Gimp though, because all the editing I ever do is crop and resize and most of that can be handled with Paint.NET for me. Get Paint.NET

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Lot of good answers here. Yes, GIMP is totally fine and usable, but like with any app, there is a learning curve. I tried GIMP a few years ago and struggled because a lot of it “looks” like Photoshop, yet none of my keyboard shortcuts would work. There are plugins to help me with that, but I didn’t have time to fight with configuration. Wasn’t worth it for me. I agree regarding Pixlr. It’s quite nice. When I started, I used Pixlr, Snapseed and Picasa quite a bit. But when I decided to add video, motion graphics and audio to my toolbox, Adobe was the way for me to go. And it has worked FOR ME because I can seamlessly hop between those apps while working. Not to mention, the organization and integration of Lightroom and Photoshop. Thanks again for your support. Hope this has answered your question…

As my previous experience with image editing came from using Amiga software I always found Photoshop and GIMP equally painful to use.
The last time I was comfortable in a PC image editing package I was using the original Paint Shop Pro.
Corel bought it and turned it into a weird fake version of PS thereby making it useless to anyone that needed something that worked in a more intuitive way.

There are other aspects to Open Source and photography such as EXIFTOOL.
This humble little program powers many media tools, free and commercial.
Perhaps a roundup of tools that make use of it ?

One notable contribution to the Open Source photography world has to be Open Camera.
It gives me features in my phone I would really love to have in my real cameras.
The artificial horizon is incredibly useful when holding your phone at arms length or at a weird angle because you are reaching around something, or when you are in an area where the horizon confuses things by refusing to be level.

My suggestion for Open Camera in the context of the shows, is that comparing to built-in phone apps in android devices gives a way to present a level field.

How do these devices deal with the same scene and the same software ?
(This should show up differences in only the hardware.)

What advantages/disadvantages comes with using the built-in camera app ?
Some hardware may come with functions than mean you are locked into using their software. It is handy to find this out before choosing a droid for phone features if the camera software is not reliable or something you can live with.

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The GIMP was really hard to use and lacked a lot of features, but the re-did the interface a couple of years ago and it is supposed to be easier, quicker and more professional now.

I worked at a photo studio that thought they would save money and go all open source. It used Open Office for general work and it started using The GIMP for image processing. They quickly backtracked and went back to using Photoshop for the main editing.

I have Photoshop Elements, Affinity Photo and Paint.NET on my machine and I used Photoshop in the past. They all have their strong and weak points. Paint.NET is very basic, but it allows for very quick and dirty image resizing. On one project I worked on, I’d use Photoshop for retouching images, but a lot of work was simple cropping and resizing of existing JPEG images, Paint.NET was a lot quicker and easier for this simple task, even when I couldn’t use it for touching up the images. I could have done all the work in Photoshop, but for a couple of specific tasks, Paint.NET loaded quicker and its interface allowed me to do what I wanted with a couple of clicks, whereas Photoshop took an age to load and the “simple” features were buried on Photoshop - if I had been a Photoshop expert, I might have been able to do the job just as quickly (excluding loading time) in Photoshop.

At the end of the day, it is what you are used to and what exactly you want to accomplish. The GIMP (and other open source, freeware or cheap packages) have their strengths and weaknesses, as does Photoshop. If you are starting out, learning either The GIMP or Photoshop (or any of the other packages) is going to be a steep learning curve, so it probably doesn’t matter which one you choose. If you are going to try and work in the industry (in a studio with others, not as an independent), then Photoshop is probably the better investment in your time.