Photoshop Elements vs Gimp

The other day, I wrote a small rant about Adobe Photoshop Elements. Once you get it installed, it’s everything that a modern-day developer needs. You can create logos, little graphics, etc. I mentioned that I’d love to find an alternative. Phil Wolf suggested I look at Gimp.

Gimp has been around for a zillion years. I’ve seen it on X-Windows in old versions of Linux, but I haven’t looked it seriously in probably like 10+ years maybe? I wonder if it’s changed?

What is Gimp?
Gimp stands for General Image Manipulation Program. It’s an open source, graphical image editor – like Photoshop. There are just a couple of differences, but I am mostly shocked at how almost-identical this is to Photoshop Elements – even the menu items and names are the same! The window and toolbars are kind of awkward because they aren’t attached to the main window:


it’s pretty cool that the same version is available on Mac too:


Oh – and I also needed to install a separate plug-in to have “layer effects” like Photoshop, but aside from that – this is a completely reasonable alternative to Adobe Photoshop Elements!

So not only is this a very impressive app, there is also a vibrant community around plug-ins for it too. To install a plug-in, you just download the file(s) to a specific directory. You can find what directory by going into Edit –> Preferences:


and the same on Mac:


and you can find all available extensions and plug-ins from:

Where to find it?
Gimp is free and open source, it’s available from:

You can find extensions and plug-ins from:

What does it run on?
Here’s another amazing part of this: it’s runs on everything! OK, well not everything – but it runs on Windows, Mac, and every major distribution of Linux:

Bottom line:
The bottom line for me is that going forward, this is a totally reasonable replacement for Photoshop Elements – plus you don’t even need your date of birth to use it!! I already have a modern version of Photoshop Elements, but as it ages – or if I have any issues with it, I think I will definitely switch over to using Gimp.

Posted in Computers and Internet, Development Tools, General, Professional Development, Uncategorized

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