Who Needs Photoshop? Free GIMP Is Here

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Shooting is fun. Of course not with a gun, but with a camera. Today, most of us become trigger happy at the mere sight of a fine spectacle. The popularity of Flickr and Picasa takes this hobby further. But you do need a software to help you edit the pictures you have taken; students need software to create and manipulate images for their projects; businessmen need photo editing software to create images for their presentations; graphic artists ... Well, this is the breed which breathes with photo editing software. Most of the time, we use Photoshop which is quite expensive. Those who live in a better world of GNU/Linux are already aware of the powerful alternative of Photoshop -- it's called GIMP.
GIMP has almost everything that you need for basic and advanced image editing. And the best thing is it is not only free in terms of philosophy of freedom (check this), but also comes for free of cost. The GIMP team has recently announced the release of a new version of the popular image editing software -- version 2.6.

Those who are already aware of GIMP may make sense of some of the features I am going to talk about, those who have not tried the GIMP, yet, are missing a lot. Below are the technical details of the GIMP. For ordinary users, the best thing would be to skip the technical details and simply go to the download option to download and install GIMP on their machine, whether it be Windows or GNU/Linux.

In the new version, the toolbox menu bar has been removed and merged with the image window menu bar. To be able to do this, a window called the empty image window has been introduced. It hosts the menu bar and keeps the application instance alive when no images are opened. It also acts as a drag and drop target. When opening the first image, the empty image window is transformed into a normal image window, and when closing the last image, that window becomes the empty image window.

Important progress towards high bit-depth and non-destructive editing in GIMP has been made. Most colour operations in GIMP are now ported to the powerful graph based image processing framework GEGL, meaning that the internal processing is being done in 32 bit floating point linear light RGBA. By default, the legacy 8 bit code paths are still used, but a curious user can turn on the use of GEGL for the colour operations with Colours/Use GEGL.

In addition to porting colour operations to GEGL, an experimental GEGL Operation tool has been added, found in the Tools menu. It enables applying GEGL operations to an image and gives on-canvas previews of the results.

It is now possible to pan beyond the image border, making image window navigation much less constrained. It is no longer a problem to use the edge of a brush on the edge of an image while being zoomed in, and one can adapt the canvas to any utility windows covering parts of the image window.

However, if you have used the version 2.4, you will find some minor changes, which you need to get used to. But it is not good for GIMP team to change menu positions because it takes a lot of time to figure them out.

So, it's time for you to move on and download GIMP.

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