A Guide to GIMP Photo Editing Software: Can This Free GNU Image Manipulation Program Deliver Good Results?

Photo editing software

Commercial photo and image editing programs don’t always come cheap. Although there are many different freeware alternatives that can be used to replicate some of the features of commercial packages, many users find that they just don’t have the same clout as the big names.

GIMP’s photo editing free software package, however, is often favorably compared to Photoshop in terms of its functionality and features.

What is GIMP?

GIMP (the GNU Image Manipulation Program) was first conceived in 1995 and has seen various version releases over the years. The software is designed to allow users to edit, compose, manipulate and retouch photos and images.

As part of the GNU free software program, GIMP is free to download and to use. Users can simply use the base program if they wish or they can extend its functionality to suit specific needs via a wide range of free plug-ins.

What Does GIMP do?

The software can do just about anything in photo and image editing terms. This may, of course, depend on the plug-ins that are downloaded and used on projects. Some users will use it for simple tasks such as retouching occasional photos. Others may use it for more complex projects such as animation production and video editing. Some of the more popular features of the program include:

  • Drawing/paint tools
  • Video editing capabilities
  • Animation tools
  • Photo retouching/enhancement
  • Image/photo editing and manipulation
  • File format conversions

The software works via a series of different tabs or windows that can be hidden or shown as the user wishes. This can be especially useful when working on more complex projects. Initially available for Unix users, GIMP can now be downloaded on to various platforms, including:

  • Microsoft Windows
  • Mac OS X
  • Sun OpenSolaris
  • FreeBSD

It can, of course, still be run on GNU/Linux operating systems as well.

The Advantages of Using GIMP

One of the main advantages of using GIMP is that it can be as simple or as complex as its user wishes. The program is easy to learn how to use yet offers the kinds of features and functions that tend to be otherwise reserved for commercial products. Unlike many another freeware photo/image editing packages this solution probably comes closest in terms of matching overall functionality to the commercial market leaders.

Cost is also a primary factor for many users trying out this kind of package for the first time. The fact that GIMP allows a user to access advanced kinds of photo/image creation, editing and manipulation tools completely free of charge may make it worth a look. Given the high costs of commercial software packages in this sector, many will try out GIMP as an alternative first so this may be worth doing.

Featured image credits

Check out our recent posts

Computer-Aided Design Software: What Are They?

Computer aided design

Every discipline of engineering relies on a variety of software products to assist them with design, evaluation, and management tasks. Computer-aided design (CAD) software is one of the most commonly used engineering program categories and is used in nearly all branches of the engineering profession.

History of Computer-Aided Design Software

At its roots, CAD software was a direct analog of drafting functions: to create two-dimensional design prints. The output prints were essentially identical to those previously created by draftsmen. The proliferation of desktop personal computers in the 1980s allowed companies such as Autodesk to develop CAD software and market directly to engineering companies.

AutoCAD was first released by Autodesk in 1982, and rapidly became the most widely used CAD software package in the world. Even today, AutoCAD is still the primary 2D design program, used by engineers and architects.

Evolution of Computer-Aided Design Software

CAD software has evolved as computing power has increased since the 1980s. The expanding processing power has allowed software developers to include more functionality and performance in their products. The greatest leaps in CAD software evolution can be grouped into two categories:

  • Integration with Other Functions – While the early CAD software packages were basically computerized drafting, today’s CAD programs seamlessly integrate with a variety of other engineering functions, including computer-aided manufacturing (CAM), finite element analysis (FEA), product lifecycle management (PLM), and many other functions. The CAD software is now just the center of a network of design functionality.
  • Migration from 2D to 3D Design – The second significant evolution in CAD software was the development of 3D design software systems, led by Parametric Technology Corporation’s (PTC) release of Pro/ENGINEER in 1988. Pro/ENGINEER was the first parametric feature-based solid modeling software and allowed engineers to more easily design components and complete systems. Today, several 3D CAD programs are available. The 2D CAD software is still widely used in some industries, such as architecture.

In addition to these primary evolutions, the overall system performance and inherent functionality of CAD software have increased as general computer technology has improved. Current CAD software can create mechanism animations and realistic surfacing, among other features.

The cost of individual seats of CAD software has also decreased significantly. In the 1980s and 1990s, CAD software licenses were often so expensive that only larger companies could afford to invest in the seats and the continual upgrades. Software developers have created “light” versions of many of their products that are more affordable to smaller businesses and engineers who don’t need the full functionality of the complete versions or do not have the budget to purchase the full version.

The CAD software is one of the tools that is used by just about all engineers across all disciplines of the engineering profession

Featured image credits

Check out our recent posts