Photoshop CS4 vs. The Gimp v2.6

Photoshop CS4

Photoshop CS4

Newsrooms are full of weird coincidences. For example, we just learned that  two products often presented as direct competition were launched this Fall. To my right, here is Adobe with its boxing champion, Photoshop, loaded up to version CS4. To my left, Linux and its community of free developpers pushing the challenger on the ring, version 2.6 of The Gimp.

I am still convinced that this is not an even fight (and Photoshop is favored by bookmakers, for those still doubting it) but both announces are interesting and should be reviewed shortly.

Photoshop CS4 is a new step forward based on the award-winning user interface that made it a best seller and on top-level performance. To this market reference product, Adobe adds the following image-edition-oriented features:

  • Accelerated computation using the modern graphic cards coprocessor and the Windows 64 features (when available, of course), and many tools needed to support a 3rd dimension in graphics design (painting on top of 3Dmodels, 3D compositing, etc.)
  • Several new tools
  • Adobe Camera Raw v5 is improved again to include complementary tools applicabel to RAW photo files (local editing, gradual correction filters, etc.)
  • Bridge CS4 is notably accelerated
The Gimp 2.6

The Gimp 2.6

On the other side, The Gimp is now available as version 2.6. Here again, improvements are notable, even if a little smaller:

  • A number of improvements to the user interface (but I still thing that this is the weak point of this software program; Recommendation: Look into GimpShop which is a hack to The Gimp in order to make it appear similar to Photoshop)
  • Improvements to the selection tool
  • Improvements to the drawing brush
  • 32-bit GEGL data management (perfectly adapted to keep maximum quality in 12- and 14-bit RAW files)

All this will probably start again comment wars supporting one or the other solution. But remember that The Gimp is simply free. On the contrary, Photoshop CS4 (even if getting the upgrade license and despite the many available options) will still be very expensive (Master Collection at $2,499).

8 comments for “Photoshop CS4 vs. The Gimp v2.6

  1. April 18, 2009 at 20:53

    Nice article. GIMP is one heck of a program for being Open Source. I really hope developers keep taking it to new levels because I would love to see become the standard. Adobe will probably always be favored by most because of the workflow benefits (ability to work with CS4 seamlessly)

  2. June 30, 2009 at 08:49

    need photoshop

  3. July 2, 2009 at 15:07

    I would suggest that you check the post I wrote on YLovePhoto just about that.

    Download Photoshop for free

  4. Jerry Atrik
    March 8, 2010 at 13:42

    Love Gimp… its affordable and if you have the imangination you can literally do everything cs4 can do but it might take you a little longer… cs4 takes away alot of the “work” in “artwork” completly out… you think it.. it’ll do it… gimp to me is for the true artist… no shortcuts… the cowboys of the west…

  5. pocketemo
    March 14, 2010 at 02:08

    Gimp was great being free and all, But does not compare to cs4. image quality for one cs4 images look way better then if you duplicated the same in gimp.

    honestly the only people who would choose gimp over cs4 are those who can’t afford cs4 (or know how to get it free).

    I haved used both and gimp has been good to me so has corel PaintShop Pro.
    But since getting cs4 I find myself only using the others if I have not learned how to use the the cs4 equivalent of an effect I want. and as I learn gimp is becoming less needed as corel is even better then gimp and gimp was just kept for thr the same reason I keep corel with cs4 (Till I learn to use the new 1)

    gimp is good because its free, some parts of its development were innovating but thats it. and besides you can not compare gimp to cs4 because most of gimps features only get added after photoshop like layering. and popular add’ons make gimp look like photoshop.

    gimp users want cs4 so bad they make gimp look like it yet they try saying its better.
    and to the guy above yes you are a cowboy because like a cowboy you must be poor & not able to get cs4 to be such a gimp fanboy.

    we all used gimp in the past if spence & peter would have kept at it and organised thing then gimp might have been a true competitor.

    but gimp has gotten stupid and a lot of add ons and crap actually need to be purchased. I watched gimp go from a great idea to a joke and only diehards refuse to move on.

    adobe cs4 is the best program photoshop after effects and sony vegas pro 9 make me happy artist.

  6. thinktwice
    May 24, 2010 at 02:26

    >>honestly the only people who would choose gimp over cs4 are those who can’t afford cs4 (or know how to get it free).<>gimp users want cs4 so bad they make gimp look like it yet they try saying its better.<<

    No, that UI is for making it easier for photoshop users to switch to GIMP. GIMP users need no Photoshop UI emulation because they are not used to work with a photoshop UI at all.

    I am using GIMP because it worked on nearly every machine and operating system I came across in the last 12 years. I have no problems running it from an USB Stick on every PC I came across and it does the same like PS only with less clicks. That saves time.
    There are some things I miss in GIMP (like non destructive editing and CMYK support) but there are also abilities of GIMP I miss in Photoshop CS4 additional to that abilities I told you above.

    And then there is something else I do not like: I do not like programs phoning home to their developers without asking me and putting/hiding proprietary information on my computer and in my image files. That is something an open source program could never do in secret, because everybody can look into the source code. Last but not least there are the license problems: since 2005 I try to get rid of any Program that requires an online activation because only one of my PCs is connected to the WWW. The PC I mainly work with has never had and will never get any connection to the internet because I rate every operating system as "infected" if it has had a connection to the WWW. So I cannot install a program that needs to be activated on my trusted machine. Therefor I do not buy such programs anymore no matter what.

    Have a nice day

    thinkwice

  7. massasa
    October 5, 2010 at 11:58

    This argument has become trivial..

    PS users are always “Dishing” Gimp but no comparison jibes at other good IMP’s… could it be that Adobe Inc encourages this bourgeois attitude? Could it be that Adobe Inc foresee’s a credible community evolving? Could the Adobe community be realising this… hence the jibes..

    Remember Adobe strength really took off when they acquired Macromedia and promptly suffocated FreeHand (RIP) but kept Flash..

    FreeHand was always superior to Adobe Illustrator.. and Flash…well no creation of Adobe Inc.

    As for CMYK…. most PS users don’t publish to magazine publications…do they?

    And as for the missing “Bells & Whistles” that GIMP hasn’t served up… well its about Patents and BIG money and as GIMP are a team of volunteers…it will take a while longer to have the comparative “Bells & Whistles”..but they are in the making.

    Lastly, GIMP is not out to be a clone of Photoshop…but its own unique working environment. Its an evolution and maturing all the time. It does not seek to upstage PS but to offer an “alternative” of its own..

    Open source is here… if its so bad…why then are big companies like Google, Amazon, Yahoo,Motorola, Samsung & Nokia to name some are embracing it?

    To all those PS users… its better to have an alternative too as this century belongs to the emerging world market and opensource…. which the Western nations, particulary America, are finding hard to contain.

  8. jovaic
    July 27, 2011 at 21:23

    gimp is a bit difficult compare to cs4..
    Many thing that can be done in cs4 but in gimp you need lot to do for the work done,

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