GIMP vs. Photoshop? Ask a Better Question for a Better Answer

by Ostatic Staff - May. 27, 2011

One of the most successful people that I've ever known cracked the problem of achieving success in an unusual way. He didn't rise to the top of a given corporation, nor did he found a wildly successful startup company. Instead, starting from a young age, he pursued multiple jobs that he could do concurrently. At various times, he worked as many as four separate jobs at the same time, going to work during the day, writing on the side, and much more. It just goes to show you that there isn't necessarily just one yellow brick road leading to success.

That's why it constantly baffles me when people become convinced that they must pick one software application over another, or one operating system over another, instead of taking advantage of the best of many great tools. For example, there are countless arguments online about which graphics and photo application is best: GIMP or Photoshop?  Here's why just one application doesn't have to win.

You can find a complete post from us on getting started with the open source graphics program GIMP here. Among other resources, the post will take you to a free online book on GIMP.

Whenever we've posted about GIMP, commenters have chimed in saying that it is good, but not as good at Photoshop. A better way to state this is that GIMP and Photoshop are different. There are many open source graphics tools that you can use in tandem to achieve a whole-is-more-than-sum-of-parts effect. And, you can use a string of open source graphics and photo-centric applications together to get more than what Photoshop offers.

In this post, we discussed how to get started with Blender, which is mostly a 3D animation tool, but is also widely used to create incredible looking logos and graphics. It offers tons of flexibility with photo-centric media. 

For even more surprising effects with photos, look into Hugin, which does panoramas based on stitched together photos.  We also covered a number of open source photo editing and organizing tools here. And, everyone who is into photos digs Cooliris.

Need more open source muscle when working with photos and graphics?  Check this post for many cool ideas. 

Above all, remember that a patchwork quilt of open source tools can often beat an expensive proprietary software product (and Photoshop is expensive) hands down. The concept that just one product has to beat another is, to quote the Black Eyed Peas, "two thousand and late."