Times are tough, and the economy has been in a years long slump that isn’t showing signs of improving in the immediate future. Many independent, freelance graphic artists are struggling to find work, and with Adobe’s award winning CS5 with Photoshop costing so much money, even professionals are looking for a viable alternative to the software that has become the industry standard in graphic design and photo editing. Photoshop, when purchased alone, can easily set you back $699 USD. When purchased with the entire creative suite, that’s going to cost about $1,299. If you are a freelancing graphics professional and in need of software since you don’t have access to Photoshop through a corporation or other workplace, you still have to possess the right tools if you do want to attract clients and crank up your income. Have you considered trying GIMP?
Meet The GIMP
Recently, my graphics designer friend “Todd” left the security of his full time job as a graphic designer for a corporation. He left a company that he loved working for, and that provided him with a working area complete with a top of the line Mac Pro, three Apple monitors, and unlimited use of the entire CS5 suite, including Adobe Photoshop. When he migrated to his new town, he found work with a local newspaper, but was dismayed to learn that they used GIMP instead of Adobe Photoshop. GIMP (the GNU Image Manipulation Program) is an open source, free program that can be used without limitations and is compatible with Photoshop plugins, but Todd didn’t know that. All he knew was there was no Photoshop, and he believed there would be a sharp learning curve for this other program.
He isn’t alone. A lot of people are completely unaware of the GIMP and its capabilities as a professional image editing program. Downloading GIMP on a Windows, Mac, Unix, or Linux system is easy. The thing that throws most people off at first is the way it looks: the GUI just isn’t that beautiful. But beauty is more than skin deep, especially when it comes to GIMP. The real beauty here, besides the price, is that all of the power tools you are used to using with Photoshop and the Adobe Creative suite are all right there for you. Any tools you can’t immediately find can be downloaded as add-ons and plug-ins. There are many tutorials available on YouTube that can assist anyone in making an easy transition from the familiar (and expensive) Photoshop to GIMP. The open source community is strong and thriving, and GIMP continues to evolve.
For more information, visit http://www.gimp.org/. You’ll find a helpful community of developers and artists who are ready to help you out. And if specific tutorials are what you’re after, visit Alex’s Gimped! Gimp Tutorials blog.