The GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is an application with feature comparable to Adobe’s Photoshop and able to both read and write its PSD file format. It allows you to create original professional digital artwork, process digital photographs and convert and fix many types of bitmap images. The GIMP supports layers, works well with digitizers like WACOM’s popular pen tablets and offers an enormous number of tools and filters.
Unlike Photoshop, the GIMP offers a powerful scripting environment that allows you to automate many tasks and even write your own filters and tools. Photoshop on the other hand supports 32-bit color depth images and standard printing color models, which the GIMP does not (yet). Another possible shortcoming of the GIMP is the lack of an ‘action’ recording function, like Photoshop offers. Many users of the GIMP consider the scripting environment a more than fair replacement, but this depends on your background.
The GIMP is good for many users, even professionals, but if you’re not sufficiently technical, or really need professional color depth in your images, nothing beats Photoshop CS for the time being. Nothing can beat the price of the GIMP though.
pro: free, open, compatibility, customization, same on all platforms.
con: color support lacking, no action recording, even steeper learning curve than Photoshop.
verdict: [rate 4]