Mike Angelo's Digital Darkroom
The GIMP 2.0 for Microsoft Windows - First Look
Use GIMP rather than Photoshop and save money
Mike Angelo -- 28 March 2004 (C) -- Page 2
GIMP looks and feels much like Adobe Photoshop (GIMP = GNU Image Manipulation Program). Unlike Photoshop, the GIMP is free (as in free beer) and does not need to be registered or activated.
Moreover, GIMP is Free as in Open Source Software (FOSS). That means that you can customize the GIMP to your heart's content and the full extent of your coding abilities.
There are desktop and user interface (UI) differences between GIMP and Photoshop that take some getting use to if you already are familiar with Photoshop. Traditionally, Photoshop has had an easier to use desktop and user interface. However, the GIMP 2.0 desktop and UI changes all that. GIMP now is as easy to use as is Photoshop -- perhaps even easier.
GIMP does not have all the advanced, commercial, pre-press features that Photoshop does have. However, it comes pretty close to Photoshop with actual photo editing and image manipulation. Moreover, GIMP has some features that Photoshop does not have.
In short, unless you are a professional photographer or image editor who needs Photoshop's prepress features, you likely can do just about everything that you need or want to do with GIMP instead of Adobe Photoshop. Moreover at Photoshop's $649 price tag ($169 for upgrade from a licensed copy of Photoshop 7 or earlier) there are 649 more good reasons to use GIMP instead of Photoshop.
Photoshop has a greedy and consumer-unfriendly end-user license agreement (EULA). GIMP is free and has a very consumer-friendly license known as the General Public License (GPL). Please see the Adobe Photoshop & GIMP Licensing Note in the right-hand sidebar further down on this page.
Additionally, Photoshop has a horrible and very anti-consumer Product Activation requirement. GIMP has no such crap! Please see the Adobe Product Activation Note in the sidebar further down on this page.
A very nice thing about GIMP is that you can try it without paying a cent. Moreover, if you try the GIMP and like it, you do not have to pay a cent to keep on using it. If you are a Linux user, chances are that you already have GIMP installed on your Linux-based computer. Download links are in the Resources section at the end of this article.
More About GIMP 2.0
For more about the GIMP 2.0, please see our GIMP 2.0 source-code release article, our overview of the GIMP article, and the three GIMP tutorials listed below. These GIMP tutorial articles are based upon the pre-2.0 GIMP developer version, GIMP 1.3. In effect GIMP 1.3 is a preview of GIMP 2.0 -- so, these articles should give you a pretty good, hands-on feel of GIMP 2.0. There are lots of screen shots in these articles that nicely show the new GIMP 2.0 user interface and how easy it is to use GIMP 2.0.
How to Use GIMP for Photo and Image Editing:
Figure 4. Screen shot of GIMP version 2.0 for Windows showing the image-canvas panel. Note the menu bar over the horizontal ruler. Please see text for an explanation. (Cat and Seek photo by Mike Angelo)
About the Cat and Seek Photo
The Cat and Seek photograph in Figure 4, above, was shot with a Microtek, Take-It S1 Digital Camera ($99) at f/2.8 and 1/120 second. The original image size is 2048 pixels x 1536 pixels (interpolated). The lens aperture was f/2.8 and the White Balance setting was Daylight. JPEG compression was set to Best.
The GIMP's own screen-shot utility (Files > Acquire > Screen Shot) was used to make the Figure 4 image of the GIMP image canvas with the Cat and Seek digital photo opened in it.
Adobe Photoshop & GIMP Licensing Note
The applicable Adobe greedy, end-user agreement (EULA) taken together with Adobe's horrible Product Activation system mean that with Adobe Photoshop CS, you are restricted to installing Photoshop CS on only one primary computer and one secondary computer for each copy or license for Adobe Photoshop CS that you buy from Adobe.
The GIMP is Open Source, Free Software and thus not only free, but you may install it on as many machines as you like. Moreover, unlike Photoshop, there are no restrictions that limit how many people can use your copy of the GIMP.
Adobe Product Activation Note
The GIMP does not require any product activation nonsense nor does it require product registration.
If there were no other reason to chose the GIMP over Adobe Photoshop CS, not having to put up with the Adobe product activation mechanism would be more than reason enough to chose the GIMP!
There are many reasons why Adobe product activation is a bad thing. Discussion of all the bad and obnoxious things about Adobe product activation is beyond the scope of today's article. However, a word of caution to anyone who is considering installing Adobe Photoshop CS on a computer system.
The Adobe product activation mechanism that Photoshop places on your system can shut down Photoshop until such time as Adobe decides to let you use your own software that you bought and paid for. In other words, Adobe, not you, ultimately is in control of your Photoshop application.
There is something that you can do to counter the Adobe product activation mechanism if it does shut down your Photoshop application. Install GIMP on your computer before Adobe can shut you down. Then you can access all your Photoshop files on the computer even though the Adobe product activation mechanism has shut down your Photoshop software
The product activation mechanism in Adobe Photoshop CS is not likely to shut down your entire computer. However, it effectively can shut down Photoshop. The Adobe Photoshop product activation mechanism puts Adobe, and not you, in control of your imaging software.
Fortunately, the GIMP has MS Windows versions. So, when Adobe's product activation scheme shuts you down, just open your Photoshop documents in the GIMP.
Note: An e-mail was sent to Adobe Systems' Senior PR Manager Cari Gushiken and its PR firm, A&R Partners, on 22 December providing Adobe an opportunity to respond to the facts and conclusions reached in these Licensing and Product Activation Notes.
On 8 January 2004, after a delay of some 17 days and a resend of the original e-mail, Adobe responded via its PR firm's Ryan Luckin. The thrust of Adobe's response is that its Product Activation mechanism cannot shut Photoshop down on a machine where Photoshop has been installed in compliance with the Photoshop EULA.
However, that is not what Adobe says on its Web site description of the Photoshop Product Activation mechanism. In other words it appears that Adobe and its spokesperson Ryan Luckin are not telling the truth about the Photoshop Product Activation mechanism. Or, to put it another way, is Adobe lying on its Web site or is Adobe lying now?
Ryan Luckin and Cari Gushiken failed to explain or to deny the above-stated discrepancies.
Adobe's Ryan Luckin: Existing Photoshop CS installations aren't shut down ever due to activation. Only if you attempt to install the software on more computers than allowed by the Product License agreement, the installation process will point this out. In other words, existing installed software is never deemed shut down. Of course, Adobe is never in control of the software.
MozillaQuest Magazine: That is not what the product activation page says.
"The process allows minor hardware configuration changes without requiring reactivation and is tailored to customers' usage and habits."
[No direct response from Ryan Luckin or Cari Gushiken.]
MozillaQuest Magazine: To me, that reads that the product activation mechanism monitors hardware changes and user habits (whatever the heck that includes) and depending on the hardware configuration and use habits monitored will shut Photoshop down unless it is re-activated and therefore approved by Adobe. And that puts Adobe in control of the software.
[No direct response from Ryan Luckin or Cari Gushiken ]
Adobe's Ryan Luckin: Adobe respectfully disagrees with the conclusions of your article.
Please notice that Adobe does not disagree with any factual matters of our articles about the GIMP and Photoshop just the conclusions. Moreover, Adobe does not specifically state with which conclusions it disagrees nor does Adobe say specifically with what it disagrees. Thus, Adobe has failed to meaningfully or responsibly dispute any of the conclusions of our GIMP v Photoshop comparisons in our GIMP articles series.
Additionally, Adobe appears to be fully prepared to lie about its Product Activation mechanism and what it does and how it does it.
Thus, Adobe does not appear to dispute that unless one needs Photoshop's pre-press or advanced professional features, one should use the GIMP rather than buy Photoshop.
Two of today's book recommendations are not about the GIMP but rather about photo editing and digital photography. However, much of the material in these books also is applicable to the GIMP.
Unfortunately, the GIMP books are somewhat old and outdated version-wise. Therefore, the publication dates and GIMP versions have been noted for these books.
Nevertheless, these books can be very helpful. The main point of this versions discussion is to let you know that GIMP has lots more features and many user-interface improvements since these books were published. The basics are the same.
Usually, I would not recommend outdated books. However, I do not see any newer GIMP books scheduled for publication -- and these GIMP books listed here are very good books.
If you click their links here, you will find links to tables of contents for these books. That should help you to get an idea if you would like to acquire any of them.
I am working on several book projects now. Perhaps I will add an up-to-date GIMP book to that list.
A problem with GIMP and many Open Source and Free Software programs is that the book publishers just are not very enthusiastic about publishing books about them. If I cannot find a publisher interested in doing an up-to-date GIMP book we might publish it ourselves as a MozillaQuest project. If we do that here at MozillaQuest, it likely will either be a low cost CD or a free online book.
The page 1 headline photo, Tree Cat, also was shot at the S1's interpolated 2048 pixels x 1536 pixels resolution. Then the GIMP was used to crop it down to 1687 pixels x 1536 pixels. The GIMP brightness adjustment tool was used to make a +30 brightness adjustment and then the image was scaled down to the 300-pixel x 273-pixel size in the Tree Cat photo at the top of page 1.
The shutter speed for the Tree Cat photo was 1/1208 second and the lens aperture was f/2.8. The White Balance setting was Daylight. JPEG compression was set to Best.
Even though there was so much cropping and scaling, the colors and color variations are well preserved and true. So is the detail. For example, take a look at the white fur under the cat's chin. And you can see the reticulations of the tree bark too. That's a credit to the quality of the Microtek S1 and also to the quality of the GIMP.
By the way, the Microtek S1 is a very nice 2.1 MegaPixel camera that is compatible with the GNU-Linux operating system, although Microtek lists it as only a Mac and Microsoft Windows compatible camera. More about that in our review of the Microtek S1.
The GIMP is an excellent image, graphic, and photo-editing program for the GNU-Linux, Unix, Apple Macintosh and Microsoft Windows platforms. It also can be used to create graphics and drawings from scratch. If you are looking for a first class image, graphic, and photo editing program, give the GIMP a spin. Considering that the GIMP is a free download, that should be a very easy thing for you to do.
GIMP often is referred to as an Adobe Photoshop clone because it has pretty much the same collection of features and functions that Photoshop has. However, it appears that rather than thinking of GIMP as a Photoshop clone, it would be more appropriate to think of the GIMP and Photoshop as similar software products of comparable quality.
On the other hand when it comes to pricing and licensing, Photoshop falls woefully-far short of the GIMP. GIMP is free compared to the $649 list price for Photoshop.
Moreover, GIMP's licensing is very consumer/user friendly. Adobe is very deficient in this arena, too. Adobe Photoshop licensing is extremely consumer/user unfriendly. Even worse, Photoshop licensing imposes Adobe's horrible Product Activation mechanism.
Unless you are a professional photographer or image editor who needs Photoshop's prepress features, you likely ought to use the GIMP rather than Adobe Photoshop. Considering that the GIMP is a free download, that should be a very easy thing for you to do.
The GIMP has a nice learning curve bonus. It's available for all the major computer platforms -- Apple Macintosh, GNU-Linux, Microsoft Windows, and UNIX. Once you learn how to use the GIMP running on any one of these platforms you know how to use it on all the other platforms.
Thus, if you have a Mac at school, a Windows or UNIX box at the office, and a Linux PC at home, you can use GIMP for your photo and image editing wherever you are -- but you only have to learn how to use one photo-editing and image-editing program.
The entire GIMP Team has done a great job with GIMP 2.0 and a great service to computer users everywhere. However, this article is about GIMP 2.0 for Windows.
Thus, MozillaQuest Magazine extends a special pat on the back for a job well done to Tor Lillqvist and Jernej Simoncic for their roles in making the GIMP available to so many Microsoft Windows users.
Thanks to the fine and extensive work of the entire GIMP Team plus the work of Jernej Simoncic and Tor Lillqvist, Microsoft Windows users have a great choice when it comes to digital photograph and image editing.
The Business and Economics of Linux and Open Source, Martin Fink, Prentice Hall, ISBN: 0-13-047677-3. $27
Digital Photography All-in-One Desk Reference For Dummies, David D. Busch, Wiley, ISBN: 0-7645-1800-3. $30
GIMP for Linux Bible, Stephanie Cottrell Bryant, Tillman Hodgson, Bryan Livingston, Wiley, ISBN: 0-7645-3398-3, (March 2000 -- GIMP v 1.1.x). $40
Gimp User's Manual, Karin and Olof S Kylander
Download Gimp User's Manual
Grokking the GIMP, Carey Bunks, SAMS, ISBN: 0735709246. (FEB 15, 2000 -- GIMP v 1.0.x). $41.
Grokking the GIMP - Online Edition
Chapter 2. Review of Layers, Grokking the GIMP
Photo Retouching & Restoration For Dummies, Julie Adair King, Wiley, ISBN: 0-7645-1662-0. $30
The GIMP 2.0 Released - a free photograph and digital-image editing program
Overview of The GIMP - a free photograph and digital-image editing program
How to Use GIMP for Photo and Image Editing:
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