GIMP

GIMP is a freeware image editor available at the following address.

GIMP Home Page

The primary form of download is via torrent link. If you are not familiar with torrents then just click the end of the line that says: "If the torrent download doesn't work, you can also follow this link."

The official english documentation pages for GIMP can be found at the following link...

GIMP Documentation

While GIMP is a fairly robust image editor it is not all encompassing. Keep in mind the following features either will not work the same way as in Adobe Photoshop or are simply missing...

  • GIMP is a raster image editor and vector tools are limited to paths which can be stroked / filled.
  • Likewise raster Masks work much the same way as other programs but Vector masks are not available.
  • There are no adjustment layers. So keep duplicates of layers you may have adjusted the colors of via the "Colors" menu.
  • Brush "hardness" is not an option. You must choose a different brush.
  • GIMP has a basic stamp tool but does not have "Content aware" tools that adapt to blend copied or transformed pixels with the image aorund them.

If at some point you want to transfer your GIMP file to Adobe Photoshop then you can't simply use the "Save As..." command form the file menu. Instead use the "File > Export" option, change to the appropriate ".psd" file type and make sure the file extension matches in the actual file name. After doing it once you can continue to save to that exported file in the file menu by choosing "Export to (your file name)" from the File menu.

Interface

Let's get the first question out of the way. Why are the interface windows disconnected from one another? They just are. I think the idea is to have the canvas take up your entire screen and that individual palettes float over the canvas. If you, like me, don't want to scroll over regularly to show parts of the canvas the palettes might be hiding then simply enact the following command...

"Windows > Single Window Mode"

Then the interface will more closely resemble other image editing programs.

Some more general tips for using GIMP.

  • You can change the width of the tool panes by hovering the mouse over the edge (near the rulers). Just look for the mouse cursor to change to a line with arrows going to the left and right.
  • It has fully functional tool tips. Leave the mouse over a tool for a second to see them appear. They are very helpful.
  • If you accidentally hide / close a dock you can see what you close by selecting "Window > Recently Closed Docks".
  • A "Right-Click" on the canvas brings up a shortcut to the file menu instead of brush options. Brush options such as opacity must be changed in the tool options panel.
  • The Spacebar is still used to pan the canvas around but in GIMP the panning will start as soon as you press the spacebar.
  • Most tools need you to hold "CTRL" instead of "ALT" to activate their alternative mode (look for the change in the mouse cursor image).

Most other options are very similar to the tools as described in the main section for Adobe Photoshop. Rulers and Snapping can be toggled under the "View" menu, image and canvas sizing are changed under the "Image" menu, and so on.

In the above image you can see the interface after "Single Window Mode" has been checked on and the tool bar has been shrunk to just two columns by dragging the right edge of it to the left. The brush tool properties which is on the lower left by default has also been moved to the right tab group by clicking and dragging from the tool panel icon over to the panel icons of the right group.

Now examine the image to the right.

Here we see the options available to us when we expand all of the options in the tools panel (which has been placed next to the brush, pattern, and gradients panels). Notice the support for "lazy mouse" functions at the bottom. The current positions of the "Quality" and "Weight" sliders would help to create smoother strokes when using something like the brush tool.

In these pages we'll be including a few mentions of GIMP when it might be appropriate for various operations. Unfortunately through the rest of the site we will be making heavy use of various Vector tools which are, at this time, more funcitonal in Adobe Photoshop so we can't expect to see it in every section.

If you want to try more of GIMP, quite a few people have made useful tutorial videos which you may find useful, and make for good viewing for newcomers to image editing in general.

Wild Academy has an entire series of videos breaking down the functions and interfaces of GIMP (see the "related videos" section on the youtube page by clicking here).
Kevin Legault's video on layer masking in GIMP 2.8.
Davies Media Design has a 2013 video rundown of the basics of GIMP.
I will say that the one thing GIMP does have that Photoshop does NOT is a snazzy mascot.
(His name is Wilber)