Gimpshop is a version of the GIMP open source image editing/processing application that features a changed user interface and terminology intended to replicate that of Adobe Photoshop.

It is designed to enable users to transfer their knowledge of Photoshop to GIMP, making it an instantly useable viable free alternative.

GIMP, in case you haven’t heard of it, is the foremost free open source bitmap-editing application for the creation and advanced editing and manipulation of digital images. It is very high on the (small) list of contenders for the title of freeware Photoshop replacement.

GIMP offers a myriad of features including: 150 standard effects and filters such as blur, drop shadow, noise, etc.;support for layers, including transparent or semitransparent layers, channels, transparent or semitransparent images; the ability to create different brushes (in addition to the 48 standard ones); also supports (customizable) gradients; support for a wide range of selection of masking tools, including smart selection “magic wand” for contiguous regions; supports paths which can be named and saved, and auto paths created by an “intelligent scissors” tool. It also supports plugins and scripting (macro creation) either through the built in scheme interpreter or externally using Perl, Python, or Tcl (Ruby is coming soon), and offers file format extension recognition when saving.

Note that with the introduction of the PSPI host plugin, GIMP now has Photoshop plugin support. However, there are a number of features which GIMP does not offer. For example, although there is a GIMP plugin that approximates the functionality of adjustment layers in Photoshop, there is no inbuilt support for these. Also there is no magnetic lasso tool to help find edges, and there are a number of formats which GIMP does not support. Other notable absences (of the too esoteric for me to understand variety) are: no system for Pantone color matching, no extensive gamma support, no support for color models other that RGB(A) and grayscale (although some are partially available via sperate plugins), undo’s do not persist across sessions, and limited color management support.

But how does GIMP really compare to Photoshop? I cannot speak to this having not used Photoshop myself, but of course, there are many advantages that GIMP offers, mainly being 100% free and freely distributable (even for commercial use), that it is cross-platform, and that plug-in development is open to anyone without cost.

Version tested: 2.2.8 for Windows

Compatibility: Windows 98+, Mac OSX, Linux, Solaris.

Go to the Gimpshop home page to download the latest version.