GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP)
GIMP is a free alternative to using Photoshop or other more expensive photo editing tools. It’s a quick 200+ MB download that’s easy to install. My review is specific to the Mac version. When I first started the program I was not impressed. Photoshop takes about 20 seconds to start on my machine but displays a loading screen while I wait, GIMP did not provide a loading screen and I was left to wonder if the program was going to work. GIMP opens two programs: the branded GIMP program and X11 which is the program that GIMP was built on.
GIMP User Interface
Three windows are opened: One for the layers, another for the file, and another for tools.
This creates issues. For example, when I go to shut off a layer after choosing a tool I have to click twice, once to activate the layers window and again to turn off the layer.
I’m a huge fan of shortcuts, so I found out pretty quick that undo isn’t the standard command+z as it is in other programs for mac, it’s control+z. Kind of a pain, same goes for “save as” and I’m sure loads of other shortcuts. Another good example of where this program fails is when I added some text and then wanted to move the text. As I hovered over the text, it gives me the move icon. Clicking then brings up the box to edit the text. If you ignore the edit screen you can move the text around but it’s a simple bug that should be fixed.
The key to a good program is that it doesn’t make me think. GIMP has failed that test. If you just want a program that can get the job done for free then it will pass for a lot of projects. One essential element that I found to be missing was having transparent layers. It’s possible that the program does support transparent layers, but I could not find the option and decided that the software wasn’t worth the time. I can’t recommend this software as I believe you’ll loose much more money in time trying to get it to work normally than you would just paying the flat rate (around $100) for software that works properly and is much more powerful.