The Battle of Image Editing Titans – GIMP vs Photoshop

Oct 21, 2023Graphic, Software0 comments

Some time ago, one of my articles was used in a pod here in Spain about graphic design. In the same article, I had a FREE download for a 13-page digital magazine called “The 7 Essentials Points You Should Take into Account Before Delivering a Job as a Professional Graphic Designer” and a whopping 9500+ downloads for this.

Download the English version HERE
Download the Spanish version HERE 

After that, I have many questions, and one repeatedly question is, how good is GIMP compared with Adobe Photoshop. For you that don’t have heard about GIMP, it is a free software that can compete with Photoshop. I always recommend Adobe Photoshop, but it is not free or cheap.

In this article, I will try to get you a better understanding of the only software on the market that actually can give Adobe Photoshop a match on who is the king in

GIMP vs Photoshop

Regarding image editing software, two names dominate the field: GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) and Photoshop (Adobe Photoshop). These two powerful tools have been the go-to choices for designers, photographers, and image enthusiasts for years. In this article, we’ll delve into the comparison of GIMP and Photoshop, exploring their strengths, weaknesses, and which might be the better choice for your specific needs.

Accessibility and Cost

One of the most noticeable differences between these two giants is cost. GIMP is open-source and entirely free to use, making it an excellent choice for budget-conscious users and those who don’t need the extensive features of Photoshop. On the other hand, Photoshop comes with a price tag, which can be pretty deterrence. Adobe offers subscription-based plans, including Adobe Creative Cloud, making it a recurring expense for users.

User Interface

GIMP and Photoshop have different user interfaces that cater to various user preferences. GIMP has a more straightforward interface that may appeal to beginners or those who prefer a minimalist design. However, Photoshop has a more complex and feature-rich interface, which can be overwhelming initially but provides extensive customization options and efficiency for professionals.

Features and Capabilities

Both GIMP and Photoshop offer a wide range of features for image editing, but Photoshop has a more extensive feature set. Photoshop excels in advanced tasks like 3D rendering, content-aware fill, and intricate masking. It’s the industry standard for professional graphic designers and photographers due to its unparalleled capabilities.

GIMP, while powerful, may not have the same breadth of features as Photoshop. However, it covers most essential image editing needs, including layers, filters, and various tools for retouching and enhancing photos. Moreover, GIMP’s open-source nature allows for developing plugins and extensions, expanding its capabilities.

Compatibility and File Formats

Adobe Photoshop enjoys widespread adoption, which has led to its native PSD file format becoming an industry standard. This means that Photoshop files can seamlessly be shared and edited among professionals. GIMP primarily uses its native XCF format but also supports various other formats, including PSD, making it somewhat compatible with Photoshop files.

Learning Curve

GIMP tends to have a lower learning curve compared to Photoshop. Its simpler interface and straightforward tools make it accessible to beginners. With its vast feature set, Photoshop can be intimidating to newcomers and may require more time and effort to master.

Community and Support

Both GIMP and Photoshop have active communities and extensive online resources. GIMP benefits from being open-source, fostering a dedicated community of developers and users who create tutorials, plugins, and extensions. With its large user base, Adobe Photoshop also has a wealth of tutorials, forums, and third-party resources.

GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program):


  1. Cost: GIMP is free and open-source, making it a budget-friendly option for individuals and organizations.
  2. Cross-Platform Compatibility: GIMP is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux, ensuring accessibility on various operating systems.
  3. Community and Plugins: GIMP has a vibrant community that continually develops plugins, extensions, and scripts to enhance its functionality and features.
  4. Customization: GIMP allows users to customize the interface and workspaces to match their preferences, which can improve workflow efficiency.
  5. Learning Curve: GIMP’s user-friendly interface and simplicity make it accessible to beginners and those new to image editing.
  6. File Format Compatibility: GIMP supports various file formats, including PSD (Adobe Photoshop’s structure), enhancing its compatibility with other software.


  1. Advanced Features: While GIMP is powerful, it may lack some of Photoshop’s more advanced features and capabilities, making it less suitable for professional designers or complex projects.
  2. Industry Standard: Photoshop is the industry standard, and compatibility with Photoshop files can sometimes be an issue when collaborating with others in a professional setting.
  3. Less Polished Interface: Some users find GIMP’s interface less polished or aesthetically pleasing than Photoshop’s.

Adobe Photoshop:


  1. Extensive Feature Set: Photoshop offers a comprehensive range of advanced features and tools, including 3D rendering, content-aware fill, and complex masking, making it the go-to choice for professional designers and photographers.
  2. Industry Standard: Photoshop is widely used, ensuring compatibility and seamless collaboration with others.
  3. Integration: Adobe Creative Cloud allows easy integration with other Adobe software like Illustrator, InDesign, and After Effects, streamlining your workflow.
  4. Professional Support: Adobe offers extensive official support, including tutorials, forums, and documentation, making it easier to learn and troubleshoot.
  5. Advanced Editing: Photoshop excels in intricate and specialized editing tasks, such as retouching, compositing, and photo manipulation.


  1. Cost: Photoshop comes with a significant price tag, as it’s subscription-based, which can be expensive for individual users or small businesses.
  2. Learning Curve: The extensive feature set and complex interface can be intimidating for beginners, requiring more time and effort to master.
  3. Operating System: Photoshop is primarily available for Windows and macOS, potentially limiting accessibility for Linux users.
  4. Proprietary Software: Adobe’s proprietary nature means you’ll be locked into their ecosystem, which may not be ideal if you prefer open-source solutions.

In summary, the choice between GIMP and Adobe Photoshop depends on your specific needs, budget, and level of expertise. GIMP is a cost-effective and accessible option for beginners and those with basic image editing needs. With its extensive capabilities and industry-standard status, Adobe Photoshop is the top choice for professionals and individuals working on complex and demanding projects despite the subscription cost and learning curve. Ultimately, your choice should align with your goals and the nature of your work. Whichever software you choose, both GIMP and Photoshop offer powerful tools and features to help bring your creative vision to life. So, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons of each and determine which suits your needs best. 

Try out Adobe Photoshop
Try out GIMP

Happy editing!