On Mon, Aug 06, 2001 at 12:44:57AM -0400, Tracer Bullet wrote:
> I have a burning question.  I made a comment about how good I thought 
> GIMP was as an art/paint program and got blasted by some folks saying 
> it absolutely could not compete with the likes of Photoshop or 
> Painter?  I still say they are wrong, even though I have had only 
> limited experience with GIMP so far.  I would be curious to know what 
> others have to say about the quality of GIMP and if professionals 
> find it useful in their work and/or for personal use?  Some say GIMP 
> is useless to know & use in the real world as no graphics employer 
> knows GIMP nor would hire someone that only uses GIMP.  Any truth to 
> that?  Thanks for your input.

OK, I am not a professional graphics design person, so I can't give an
impression from that point of view. However, I am a keen amateur user of
the GIMP (since the very early days), so my opinion may be of some

I think one of the real examples of how well the GIMP competes with
Photoshop is when you try to import files saved in Photoshop format. It
can do it quite compfortably. This is impressive when you realise that
PS 4 cannot import PS 5's native format, but the GIMP can. :-)

Second data point: I have purchased quite a number of books that were
written for Photoshop about creating various effects or images. With the
latest version of the GIMP, I have always been able to translate the
tutorial or description into something I can do. This became a lot
easier after things like paths were added. It's almost a one-to-one
translation, so I would guess that somebody trained in Photoshop is not
going to take too long to retrain on the particular GIMP commands
required to do the same things.

I also from time to time read the Photoshop Users magazine. It was
somewhat disappointing to see a letter to the editor in there late last
year which asked what the GIMP was. The response from the editor was
that it was a shareware program that was nowhere near the capabilities
of Photoshop and the reader should not be at all concerned that PS was
suffering from any serious competition. Ironically, the same issue gave
three tutorials that were all really useful to me (using the GIMP). So
some attitude readjustment is necessary. :-)

Having said that, there are a couple of negative points to add (I
haven't used Photoshop much at all, so these may not be as favourable to
PS as I think): there seem to many more filters available for the Adobe
product than the GIMP. Often, the books I referred to above will say
"use filter Foo to create this dazzling effect". The GIMP will, as often
as not, not have that filter and i'll have to create the effect
manually. Almost always I can fake it and so this means that it's just a
matter of writing down the actions and converting them to a filter. This
is something that I think will blossom over time.

Secondly, from all the screenshots and descriptions of Photoshop I have
seen, they seem to have more standard shortcuts than the GIMP. Now, I
realise that I can set any key to any menu item, but it's not clear to
me that this is actually a good idea. For example, I cannot then go and
write a tutorial and say things like "press ctrl-F to bring up the list
of filters", because nobody else will have my shortcuts.

Finally, some known differences between the two:

- GIMP does not and cannot really ever have colour separation. This is
  dues to patent issues.
- My understanding is that GIMP has better scripting capabilities.


Quantum mechanics: the dreams stuff is made of.
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