Open source image editor gets even better
- Powerful image editing tools
- Lots of interface tweaks to make it newbie friendly
- Single-window mode
- Powerful free image editing program
- Can't view multiple items in single-window mode
- Not many included automated features
GIMP is a free, open source tool that lets you create and edit images.
GIMP has been around for over two decades and development has been stable over the years. The newest update for GIMP gives a slew of new features and a glimpse into the future for this incredible open source image editor.
All the features of GIMP are still present. You can create your own images with tools for airbrushing, penciling, cloning, and creating gradients. Power users can create their own brushes and patterns to use later. GIMP also allows users to manipulate images imported into the program. You can crop, add text, resize, and create nested layers. There is even a way to animate your creations.
GIMP has now been updated with many user interface tweaks to make the application accessible to newbies. The biggest interface addition is the ability to edit in a single-window. GIMP versions of the past drew criticism for their confusing interfaces, but the developers are addressing many of these issues in this newest version. While single-window mode is great, it is also disappointing that there is no way to view multiple projects side by side.
Other updated features include easier text editing, nested layer groups, and a shift to using the Generic Graphics Library (GEGL), which is a more sophisticated image processing framework. GEGL was introduced a couple of years back in a developer version and has now made its way into the sable, consumer version. GIMP developers hope to move entirely to GEGL by version 2.10. One of the major advantages of GIMP using GEGL is the ability for non-destructive editing and high bit-depth images.
GIMP now only saves to its own XCF format to retain layers and other file manipulation information. Users can still choose to save in formats like JPEG and PNG but will have to "export" the project instead of saving. This follows in the footsteps of Adobe Photoshop.
The latest GIMP is better than ever. Its developers are taking the user experience into serious consideration and are speeding up development for this already great photo editor.
- For a full list of changes, please see here.