In this digital age, photo manipulation and graphic design software are in high demand. However, not everyone has hundreds of dollars to shell out each year on paid programs. For this reason, many people consider turning to free software, such as GIMP.
Overall, GIMP is a high-quality image editing program. You’ll find many of the same tools in GIMP that you’d find in Adobe Photoshop, and it works well with all types of images. However, user support is limited and features are lower-quality than those on high-end products.
Below, we’ll discuss both the high points and downsides of this free software. Keep reading to learn more!
Is GIMP Good Enough?
GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a free, open-source photo editing and graphic design program, and a popular alternative to paid programs like Adobe Photoshop.
GIMP has become one of the top picks for free image manipulation and graphic design software. It offers a full array of professional-quality features, including:
- Customizable brushes
- Automatic enhancement tools
There is a very active community of GIMP contributors, and the program is constantly being updated. Whether you’re a photographer who needs to retouch photos, a graphic designer, or a digital artist, you’ll likely find that GIMP is a great alternative to more expensive image manipulation applications.
Pros and Cons of Using GIMP
Some people love GIMP, while others prefer to use higher-end software. Whether or not GIMP will be good enough for you to use depends heavily on what you’re looking for out of a photo manipulation software.
To make the decision easier for you, we’ll now discuss some of the pros and cons of using GIMP as your primary software.
Pros of Using GIMP
Using GIMP to edit photos, build graphic designs, or create digital art comes with many benefits. Some of the things users love most about this software are:
- Plentiful tools
- The free interface
- Intuitive user controls
Below, we’ll highlight what makes these features so great.
1. Plentiful Tools
GIMP provides users with all the tools they need to create and manipulate images and graphics. Although the software is free, the tools are anything but low quality. GIMP’s brush-based tools are incredibly customizable and work on even the highest-resolution images out there.
You can retouch, crop, and denoise images, even adjust colors and add gradients if you wish. With layer masks, filters, and animation tools available, you can even create your own GIFs with this free software!
2. The Free Interface
The factor that draws people to GIMP in the first place is undoubtedly its free interface. While most photo editing software is purchased on a subscription basis, GIMP is completely free and open-source for all.
There’s no free trial and no freemium-locked features. All you have to do is download the software to your computer, and you can use all it has to offer completely free for life. Whether you’re using it for personal or commercial purposes, you’ll never have to pay a cent for GIMP.
3. Intuitive User Controls
Compared to other software, GIMP is relatively intuitive and easy to learn. You’ll probably have to mess around with the software for a little while before you understand how exactly everything works, but GIMP has always been easy for even beginners to pick up. And, with the single-window mode now set as the default configuration, it’s never been easier to understand.
Cons of Using GIMP
Although GIMP is an excellent choice for some, not everyone chooses it as their go-to program. Some of the things that draw people away from GIMP include:
- No tutorials
- Lack of user support
- Lower-quality features
Below is a more in-depth look at some things to consider before downloading GIMP.
1. No Tutorials
Most photo editing programs give you some kind of welcome screen or tutorial when you first open it. However, GIMP doesn’t offer anything like this. You’ll be thrown immediately into the software and need to rely on yourself and online tutorials to figure out how to use it.
2. Lack of User Support
Professional programs like Photoshop and Affinity have dedicated support teams to answer user questions. However, GIMP does not. They even state on their Contact page that they may not be able to answer all the emails they receive. If you’re having a problem or need a question answered, you’ll typically have to do your own research.
3. Lower-Quality Features
Although GIMP does offer plentiful features that allow you to easily manipulate photos and images, they aren’t as high-quality as those you’ll find with paid software. The layer-based edits in particular are limited, and most professional users find that GIMP doesn’t meet their efficiency needs.
If you’re looking for free photo editing software, GIMP is one of the best choices. Whether you’re looking to retouch photos, create digital art, or do graphic design, it offers most of the features you need to do it well. However, keep in mind that it is more limited than paid software, both functionally and support-wise.