GIMP vs Photoshop: Which is Better? [Similarities & Differences]

GIMP vs Photoshop, let us help you decide which one to opt for

by Sagar Naresh
Sagar Naresh
Sagar Naresh
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Sagar is a web developer and technology journalist. Currently associated with WindowsReport and SamMobile. When not writing, he is either at the gym sweating it out or playing... read more
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Vlad Turiceanu
Vlad Turiceanu
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Passionate about technology, Windows, and everything that has a power button, he spent most of his time developing new skills and learning more about the tech world. Coming... read more
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  • GIMP is a powerful image editing software that offers an extensive range of features for free.
  • Photoshop is a professional image editing and designing tool, that comes at a subscription cost, but is preferred by professionals across the globe.
  • This guide explains all the differences between GIMP and Photoshop so that you can decide which software to go ahead with.
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Taking good photos is only half of the job done. Post-processing or editing is the other half that photographers rely on to really make the images pop.

With multiple image editing software available on the market, it is really confusing which one to go for. However, professionals opt for only a handful of tools, like Photoshop or GIMP.

Photoshop is arguably the most popular professional photo editing tool. It is so popular that when you want to say someone to edit the photos, you would simply say Photoshop the photo.

GIMP on the other hand is an open-source and free photo editing tool. It is compatible with all operating systems and comes with multiple third-party plugins to enhance its features.

Now if you are a photo editor, or just starting out, there might be some questions related to GIMP vs Photoshop, in your head. Which one should you go for? Which is more beneficial? Which one is simple to understand? etc.

Well, this guide will give you all the answers to your questions, as we will compare GIMP vs Photoshop in this guide. Let us check it out.

GIMP vs Photoshop similarities

Before we check out the similarities between GIMP and Photoshop (yes, there are a few) let us get ourselves an overview of both these image editing software.

GIMP – Overview

GNU Image Manipulation Program, in short GIMP, is a free and open-source photo editing program. It is compatible with all available operating systems, except for smartphones. GIMP is a very light program, making it more portable than Photoshop.

You can open PSD or Photoshop Document format, which is a native of Photoshop in GIMP as well, and continue with your editing. It has super fast batch processing.

GIMP cannot open RAW files by default, you need to install a plugin in order to do so. Beginners would love GIMP because it is available free of cost, and is a nice tool to know about the workarounds of professional editing.

Photoshop – Overview

Adobe Photoshop is the one-stop shop for all of your image editing needs. It is the most popular image editing software.

There are different types of Photoshop programs, such as Photoshop Lightroom, Photoshop Express, etc., but you get everything with the Photoshop program.

Photoshop lets you retouch your images, damage photo restoration, and apply multiple filters. Basically, you can do almost whatever you want to do to an image and get the desired output.

Photoshop support every operating system and even has a mobile or smartphone version of it. Since Photoshop isn’t just for editing, it also facilitates designing, illustrating, and many other disciplines, the learning curve can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you are a beginner.

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Similarities between GIMP and Photoshop

First, both are powerful tools that can be used by professional photographers and graphic designers. Here are some of the similarities between GIMP and Photoshop:

  • Both can open and edit images.
  • GIMP can also open and edit PSD (Photoshop Document) files same as Photoshop.
  • GIMP comes with the same set of brushes and options (sometimes more) as Photoshop.
  • Photoshop support all major operating systems, just like GIMP.

Can GIMP do everything that Photoshop can?

The simple answer to whether GIMP can do everything that Photoshop does is NO. However, there are certain areas where GIMP and Photoshop have similar features, which we have listed above.

There are certain areas where GIMP offers more as compared to Photoshop, and there are times when you will feel limited options when editing an image in GIMP. So, it really depends on what you are looking to do with this software.

If you are deep into professional photography and graphic designing, etc. then you would opt for Photoshop because of its versatility. Otherwise, GIMP is a capable product.

What are the differences between GIMP and Photoshop?

We are not going to do the same old table-style comparison between GIMP and Photoshop, instead will give you an interesting comparison between the two photo editing software, which will help you decide which is the one for you.

1. Selection tools – Photoshop does it in a blink

Manual selection in GIMP and Photoshop offers the same experience. But when it comes to automatic image selection, Photoshop is the clear winner here.

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GIMP takes a tab bit too long to understand what the user is trying to select in the image, especially when the background is not a solid color. On the other hand, Photoshop does it quickly, in fact, as soon as you finish clicking.

Moreover, Photoshop offers a wide variety of selection tools such as feather, expand/shrink, and automatic mask, whereas GIMP has only a limited set of selection tools on offer.

2. Automatic corrections – Photoshop does a clean sweep

Thanks to the addition of the Neural Filter with Photoshop version 22.0, when it comes to automatic adjustments such as brightness, contrasts, and colors, Photoshop is a clear winner

With advanced AI and machine learning, Photoshop better understands and applies the best possible automatic corrections to your images, which GIMP, unfortunately still struggles with.

There are other filters on offer by Photoshop that instantly perfects your skin, changes your facial features, and give you a range of effects that you won’t find in GIMP.

3. Learning curve – GIMP wins it here

If you are a beginner and just starting out in the world of photo editing or graphic designing, and have no prior experience in using a professional editing tool, then GIMP is a good choice.

Since Photoshop serves a wider audience, GIMP is made especially with digital photography in mind. So, you will find GIMP cutting down the chase and offering you the tools that you would need the most.

4. Price – GIMP is FREE

Hands down this section belong to GIMP if you are looking for photo editing software that is available for free.

Photoshop is available from Adobe monthly subscription cost of $9.99. It used to be available for a staggering $700 price where once you paid the fee, Photoshop was yours forever, but the deal is now long gone.

For $9.99 not only do you get Photoshop, but you also get Adobe Lightroom CC, Adobe Lightroom Classic CC, Photoshop for iPad, and 20GB of cloud storage space. Overall, GIMP is the best choice if you want to try your hands at editing and don’t want to spend a million to do that.

5. Editing on the go – Photoshop wins

GIMP does not have a smartphone app that you could easily open on your phone and carry on with your editing.

On the other hand, Photoshop has a smartphone app, that brings Lightroom presets to your phone, Photoshop Fix and Photoshop Mix feature, and access to Adobe Cloud, making it the best on-the-go tool to edit photos.

What are the main features of GIMP?

Here are the main standout features of GIMP:

  • GIMP comes with a full suite of painting tools including a brush, pencil, airbrush, etc.
  • It supports sub-pixel sampling
  • You can create your own custom brushes and patterns
  • It is very lightweight, making it super portable
  • Comes with superior batch processing
  • Offers advanced manipulation tools
  • Third-party plugins to enhance its functionalities
  • Supports multiple file formats including bmp, gif, jpeg, mng, pcx, pdf, png, ps, psd, svg, tiff, tga, xpm, and many others
  • It is available for free

What are the main features of Photoshop?

Here are the main standout features of Photoshop:

  • Photoshop is available for both Android and iOS
  • It has a wide range of tools compared to GIMP
  • Offers support for more color profiles than GIMP
  • Natively supports RAW and other complex formats
  • The interface and functions feel polished
  • Advanced selection tools
  • Filters are pinpoint and accurate
  • Overlays and warp features are absolutely spot on

What are the advantages of GIMP?

Check out the advantages of GIMP software:

  • It is best for beginners since it is available for free
  • GIMP is light in weight. So, it does not eat a lot of your storage space
  • The interface is not overwhelming and can be understood easily
  • The interface is also very customizable
  • You can re-assign keyboard shortcuts
  • Gets support from an active community giving you access to new plugins
  • Comes with superior batch processing

What are the advantages of Photoshop?

Check out the advantages of Adobe Photoshop software:

  • You can edit your images on the go with the mobile app
  • You can redeem the subscription cost as a business expense
  • Not only Photoshop is suitable for image editing but it also serves as a powerful tool for graphics design, illustrations, and other disciplines
  • It has superior compatibility with other Adobe programs such as Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Cloud, etc.
  • Photoshop supports CMYK mode for high-quality prints
  • Receives critical updates very often

Conclusion

In our conclusion, we will keep it short. If you are a professional and very deep into your profession, then there is no doubt that you should opt for Adobe Photoshop. Because of its professional set of tools, regular feature updates, and a suite of curated plugins, make Photoshop the best choice for you.

However, if you are on a budget, then there is no better alternative to Photoshop than GIMP. With GIMP, you will be sorted to accomplish all of your tasks. Though there will be some limitations, remember that you get GIMP absolutely for free.

You can check out our guide on the best photo-editing software for Windows 10/11. Also, we have a guide that lists some of the best advanced photo editing software for Windows 10/11.

GIMP vs Photoshop vs Krita

GIMP Photoshop Krita
It is available for free. It comes at a subscription cost. It is available for free.
GIMP is best for image editing, adding filters, and animation. Photoshop serves a wider purpose including design, illustrations, and other professional disciplines. Krita can be used for illustrations and comic books.
GIMP offers a basic set of brushes, which can be expanded by downloading third-party brushes. Photoshop offers an extensive range of brushes. Krita offers a basic set of brushes, which can be expanded by downloading third-party brushes.
GIMP isn’t available for smartphones. Photoshop is available on smartphones, both Android and iOS. Krita isn’t available for smartphones.
GIMP is also available on Linux, alongside Windows and Mac. Photoshop is available for Windows and Mac. Krita is available for Linux, Windows, and Mac.
GIMP is small in size. Photoshop, being a professional tool, is bigger in size. Krita is small in size.

That is it from us in this guide. We hope that this guide made everything clear in terms of GIMS vs Photoshop and gave you a clear idea of which software you should go for.

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