This old conversation starter (equivalent to singing a HSV (Hamburg’s football club) song in a Bremen pub – you are lucky if you leave the hospital without staying some nights) was brought up here. I found it at fsdaily.com.
Well, is it? I don’t think so. There are some things in Photoshop that I really miss in GIMP when I look at John Arnold’s photowalkthrough. Great ressource BTW, also translatable for GIMP. John goes deep into his stuff, much more than I do or could.
What do I miss: Adjustment layers and layer groups (or how they are called). To be able to change the curve of layer 2 when you find out at layer 16 that you have overdone it – great! And putting all the layers for one part of the image into a box and close the lid – how organized! GEGL promises the possibility for adjustment layers – I don’t hold my breath but keep my fingers crossed.
CYMK – I don’t miss that – I’ll leave that to the printers.
And is Photoshop better? The big question how you define “better” and who you are.
For a lot of professionals Photoshop and family is the tool of choice. The workflow is streamlined for them, they can rely on skills in this program in new employees, they can buy professional support and a lot of customers expect PSD files.
For other professionals GIMP is better. I know of the photographer of Autozine (NL, FR, DE), who uses GIMP for processing his images, because he uses GIMP also for mangling the images by scripts in the back of the website. Try to get a Wallpaper from there – it’s resized by GIMP according to your wishes. ( I hope to get an interview with him soon. )
An amateur photographer with ambitions is well off with GIMP – or Photoshop. With GIMP the budget allows an other lens, with Photoshop he (in this case no she….) can feel near to the Pros. There are other reasons for using Photoshop – all the friends use it, it’s better integrated into Windows, there are more books and all the magazines are full with tutorials.
Oh, and there are a lot of people who are really better off with neither: If you just want to brush up some snapshots from time to time, there are lots of programs around that are in this case better than Photoshop or GIMP.
For me GIMP is better. It is fully integrated into my OS, with Photoshop I would have to tackle Windows or Wine. GIMP can do all the stuff I want to do – something could be easier, but I can do it. For 16 Bit I can switch to Cinepaint. I have saved a lot of money (can someone please calculate 10 years worth of Photoshop updates?) and got a program where I can tinker as much as I want. I can even read the source or talk with the developers on their mailing list. I have a program that is constantly updated and has a very friendly community. Finally, I believe in the advantages of sharing ideas and stuff.
But one thing I can’t stand – people who loudly bash GIMP for being inferior than PS to absolutely unusable and use a pirated copy of Photoshop instead. I don’t buy the Software Industrie’s argument about “stealing” their stuff. It is no harm for them if someone uses their program who would never have bought it. It’s more harmful for the Open Source community. Imagine half of the pirated Photoshop versions replaced by GIMP. That would create a demand for well written (and paid for) magazine articles, would get more people interested in development and perhaps get some company sponsors on board. In two words: Increased Visibility.