Thanks for the extensive reply and tips. I may try again in a week or two when
I've 'recovered' from the initial setback and frustration, and who knows I may
find that I've been totally wrong in my impression of usefulness.
Regards, Tony

>I feel that perhaps you may be a bit misguided in your interpretation
>There are plenty of us who use it daily for high end photographic
>retouching and editing.  Like most things worth using, it may take a
>time to become accustomed to the methods and interface.  Being
>confusing to you doesn't necessarily make it any less of a program in
>of capability or performance.
>GIMP is aimed at raster image manipulation.  It is more than capable
>the just about any photo editing you may want to do (with few
>I personally am willing to guess that it will do anything you
>need to do in Ps.
>GIMP will not read RAW files directly, but neither will Ps, just FYI. 
>uses Adobe Camera RAW to first 'develop' the image, then passes it to
>for editing.  In the same way, GIMP can use a RAW processor to first
>develop the image, then open it (of course, you have a nice choice of
>processors to choose from in the F/OSS world).
>btw, if you are not actually developing your RAW files in ACR first,
>already losing a huge chunk of control right out of the gate. 
>For instance, my own workflow has me opening/editing RAW files in
>RawTherapee, which I then pass directly (and easily) into my GIMP
>If it helps, I personally write tutorials specifically targeted at
>GIMP for
>photographic retouching/editing.  Perhaps walking through a couple of
>tutorials may help you wrap your head around the concepts that are
>different than what you might be used to?
>Also, I might suggest looking into a different location for
>your version of GIMP.  Partha has builds that include many useful
>photographic plugins/scripts that may help your workflow out as well:

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