If GIMP is so good, why does everyone use Photoshop? It’s a fair question, given the fact that GIMP is so often heralded by open source enthusiasts. GIMP is a free photo editing software often cited as the best open source image editing software on the planet. An offshoot, Gimpshop, features a user interface that mimics the appearance and terminology of Photoshop – and it’s also free. Why doesn’t everyone use it instead?
First, I make no argument against GIMP as a world-class image editor. What’s more, I have no problem whatsoever with open source – I’m also an enthusiast and have promoted GIMP in dozens of posts. What I do wonder is, when the free GIMP is arguably every bit as powerful as the $700 Photoshop, why doesn’t everyone just use GIMP?
This is why:
Marketing - Adobe undoubtedly has a large marketing budget, which they put to good use.
You learned on Photoshop - Most design classes use Photoshop; once out of school, why learn a lesser-known software that does the same thing?
Advanced features - GIMP can do more than most hobbyists would ever need, but Photoshop can still do more.
Photoshop is the industry standard - Photoshop is the most established photo editing software in the professional world. It’s what’s expected of professional firms.
Photoshop integrates with other Adobe products - From Acrobat to Illustrator, InDesign to Dreamweaver, Photoshop integrates seamlessly with other Adobe Creative Suite products.
Lack of GIMP support and tutorials - There are tutorials and excellent forums for GIMP users, yes, but not near the volume you’ll find for Photoshop users, including professional Adobe support.
Mistrust of open source - Perception that open source is always distributed with spyware or susceptible to crashes and data loss can turn some users off, whether the perception is valid or not.
Minimal investment - For the startup or hobbyist, the price of Photoshop might be a barrier to entry. But for established professional design firms, the price of Photoshop and the entire Creative Suite represents an investment with an expected return. Spending a few thousand dollars on software every few years is anticipated, and minimal given the fact that a single job might pay for the purchase.
What other reasons do designers cite for using Photoshop instead of GIMP? Or are you a designer who uses GIMP instead? Why? Let me know in the comments!
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