The GNU Image Manipulation Program, or GIMP, is a downloadable program that is designed for photo alteration and digital painting. This program's features are comparable to those of other, similar programs such as Photoshop or Corel Painter. While there are many disadvantages to the program, GIMP has many advantages as well.
Many of GIMP's features and tools are comparable to those of commercial photo editing programs, including supporting layers and layer masks, multiple brushes, and tools needed specifically for photo enhancement, such as the clone tool or filters that eliminate barrel distortion. GIMP supports pen tablets and multiple types of image files, such as JPEG, GIF, PNG and TIFF formats. GIMP is not considered a suitable substitute for commercial editing software for a professional, but each new release, with new features and fewer bugs, makes it closer to a replacementof
GIMP's most notable advantage is its price. GIMP is free to download. The download is not a free trial or a partial version; the entire program is free for anyone to download, and its use is not restricted. That is, it is can be used for any purpose, profit or non-profit, and there are no legal ramifications for altering the program. Since other photo editing programs cost hundreds of dollars, this is a major advantage of using GIMP.
One of the unusual features of GIMP is that it is easy to program and add new scripts and plug-ins to the program. Unlike most end user license agreements, which forbid the user from altering the programming, the GIMP end user license agreement encourages it. Users are free to add to or alter the programming, and many users who are able to program new features put them online for other users to download for free. For anyone who is interested in programming, this is a major advantage, as the programming for GIMP is available to examine and alter for any purpose.
GIMP is a very flexible program that can be altered to suit the user. The multiple scripts and plug-ins available for this program for free means that the user can find a download that will enable him to do many different tasks and select which features are most suited to his needs. For a user who doesn't know how to program plug-ins or scripts, this is an advantage. While free downloads for other programs are available online, often this is limited to brushes or palettes, since making actual changes to the program is illegal.
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- GIMP: The GNU Image Manipulation Program
- GIMPhelp.org: Intro to GIMP (FAQ)
- Wired: A Thrifty Photoshop Built for the Web; Michael Stutz; March 1998
- ARS Technica: Suite Freedom: A Review of GIMP 2.6.4; Dave Girard
- GIMP: Feature Overview
- ARS Technica: GIMP 2.6 Released, One Step Closer to Taking on Photoshop; Ryan Paul