Linux: Making the jump from Photoshop to GIMP

In today's open source roundup: A redditor switches from Photoshop to GIMP. Plus: Tails 1.6 released. And GNOME 3.18 Gothenburg is out

Switching from Photoshop to GIMP

Photoshop is one of the most used image editing applications around. But how easy is it for a user to switch from Photoshop to the GIMP when they move from a Mac to Linux? A redditor is doing just that and wanted some feedback from his fellow Linux users.

M2zero asked his question:

I'm looking at getting a new home computer. my Mac died a few months ago and I'm looking at going full linux for a desktop workstation. So my question is has anyone one switch fully over from photoshop to Gimp and inkscape? How was the transition, do you feel limited, any other comments or thoughts. Now I have used gimp a few times, I've edited photos fixed things up, I just havent spent a massive amount of time on it and used it in production.

Bit of a background, I'm a 3D artist. I'm fine with the rest of the software stack on linux for my needs, the only issue is Photoshop, I'll be using gimp for texture editing and general graphic design stuff.

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His fellow Linux redditors responded with their thoughts:

Bull500: ”Well if you're into painting, i would recommend Krita.There is no limits to what its capable of now and into the future.

If you're into vectors - inkscape is all you need. I've used it a lot and its pretty awesome as well.

Now that leaves us with GIMP - Is it good? Yes. But like any other software, empty your head and explore it first. It can be quite intimidating, but once your know your way around it. So just practice around and let the flow work itself way out.”

Uoou: ”It's a mixed bag really. I never particularly liked Photoshop, I don't think it has a particularly good UI, same for Illustrator. But I knew them, so there's a lot of familiarity to get over and muscle memory to unlearn and relearn. I actually think The Gimp has a better UI than PS but it's frustrating having to learn a new tool to do stuff you can already do.

While the Gimp's UI might be alright, it's definitely lacking in features for advanced use. Particularly the non-destructive editing stuff. If what you're doing is more along the lines of image creation than photo manipulation then you might be better off with Krita[1] . It's pretty promising already and seems to see far more rapid development than The Gimp.

Inkscape is kinda the opposite of The Gimp in that it's incredibly powerful - it can do anything - but it has a pretty bad UI, everything is just kinda dumped on the screen on the same level. To be fair, again, Illustrator has a pretty awful UI as well, I think with programs of this complexity it's just hard to do good UIs (although Freehand was lovely to use. Until Adobe killed it). The more time I spend in Inkscape the more I like it though, once you learn the key combos and stuff the UI is largely irrelevant anyway. It's rough around the edges, without a doubt, but it's a good piece of software.

I assume you're using Blender for 3D modelling? Blender is great. In fact I think it's the best piece of FOSS creativity software produced to date and I actually much prefer it over its proprietary rivals. Again, it takes some learning as it does things differently and it lags behind in terms of the very most advanced features but for 99.9% of what anyone would want to do with it, it's there.

So yeah, switching is honestly hard work. I did it largely for ideological reasons (I just think free software is a better way to live) and would probably otherwise have given up. But now I'm settled in I'd find it hard to go back, no doubt as hard as switching was. The FOSS creativity apps may be rough around the edges but they're more flexible, far more stable (PS used to crash a lot, I've literally never experienced a crash in Gimp, Krita, Inkscape or Blender) and perform better. ”

Raghukamath: ”For 3d texturing I would suggest a combination of Krita and gimp. Krita has awesome tools to create seamless tiles and textures. Gimp can be used for post processing and manipulation. For graphic design stuff Inkscape and gimp would be fit. If you need to design for print, such as book Scribus does the job.

The fact is Linux has various apps targeting small workflows like digital painting, graphic design etc. Photoshop is jack of all trades. You need to adjust your workflow by combining two or three apps on Linux to achieve what you want.

You'll succeed if you are not afraid of find things and learning new UI, the basic are the same it's just that options and menu are different.”

LeStr4berry: ”If you are into texture editing and graphic design, check out Krita. Krita's wrap-around mode is a God-send for texture makers, and its robust set of features (great brush engines, transform tools, perspective assistants, clone layers, symmetry modes, multi-brushes, bezier selections, layer styles, G'MIC plugin support, and so on and so forth) made me say goodbye to Photoshop some time ago.

The way the brushes work might be a bit confusing at first, but once you learn how to create your own, the sky is the limit (oddly enough, what I initially missed the most were the basic Photoshop brushes - I ended up re-creating them in Krita). Until then, there are some nice brush packs available for download (David Revoy, AKA Deevad has some great ones available on his Deviantart and website).”

Sssam: ”Gimp has some very powerful plug-ins, Resynthesizer and liquid rescale. They are probably in you linux distributions package manager.”

Asekcilw: ”I learned gimp and later tried to transition to photoshop and made many of the same complains photoshop users had for gimp. Everything will be in the wrong place and some of your workflows will need slight adjustments, but otherwise you should be fine.”

Veritasserum: ”I have been a silver photographer for many decades. I use digital only for very small pieces of my work. That said, the only thing GIMP still does not have is 16 bit processing. Then again, I haven't got a camera that can do 16 bit RAW anyway.

If you are really diligent, you might be able to stress GIMP beyond your needs 1% of the time, but I doubt it. For almost all of the usual applications, the limitation will be you, not the tool.”

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