As a long time Photoshop junkie and Gimp fan, this week has been a joyous overload. Gimp 2.6 released today and Photoshop CS4 has been announced (they need some time to hype before release). And again the all important question is being asked by some overenthusiastic Gimp lover whether we have finally come close to having a free, open-source Photoshop alternative.
The short answer is no. For most average image editing needs, Gimp is more than enough, but for developers and professional designers Photoshop is more than just a powerful, insanely over-priced, image editor; Photoshop is a brand name which is synonymous to “image editing”. But Gimp is the closest thing to having a free (legal) photoshop.
What changed in Gimp 2.6?
The latest Gimp is not just an incremental release, but a major one in terms of development. Apart from major changes in user interface and tool sets, under the hood Gimp has a new powerful graph based image processing framework called GEGL. One of the many advantage of CEGL is the ability to do “on the fly” image processing (like Gaussian Blur) with preview.
Lookout for GimPhoto.
GimPhoto is a modified Gimp release (not yet updated with Gimp 2.6 goodies), that mimics the look and feel of Photoshop. Apart from changes in user interface it also adds more brush-sets, gradients and patterns. Take a look and judge it yourself if this will replace Photoshop in the near future for you.