GIMP: Free, Open Source Photo Editing Software for Mac, Windows, Linux

GIMP: Free, Open Source Photo Editing Software for Mac, Windows, Linux

Versatile image editing program, considered an open source competitor to Adobe Photoshop, features detailed image retouching, photo enhancement, free-form drawing, and advanced features like desktop icon creation and animated images; countless user submitted plugins make it even more powerful.

GNU Image Manipulation Program, otherwise known as GIMP, is a free, powerful open source photo editing program for Mac, Windows, and Linux that is considered an excellent alternative to expensive image editing programs like Adobe Photoshop. GIMP can perform basic image editing tasks such as resizing, editing, cropping photos, and format conversion. It has a number of built-in advanced features like layering, masking, and the ability to create animated images and desktop icon in addition to countless user submitted plugins that help to ensure an ongoing feature-rich experience.

Windows Version

Photo Enhancement

“Numerous digital photo imperfections can be easily compensated for using GIMP. Fix perspective distortion caused by lens tilt simply choosing the corrective mode in the transform tools,” note developers. “Eliminate lens’ barrel distortion and vignetting with a powerful filter but a simple interface.”

Channel mixer, barrel distortion, perspective transform and colorize are but a few of the many ways GIMP allows you to enhance your images and affords you the flexibility and power to turn ordinary photos into great photos.

Digital Retouching

GIMP has a number of advanced retouching features gives users the ability to remove unwanted details via the clone tool or to touch up details with the healing tool. Clone images that take perspective in consideration with the help of the perspective clone tool.

Layers, Layer Masks and Channels

This is something usually only seen in expensive image editing programs like Adobe Photoshop, and definitely not with the likes of MS Paint. This feature, for the unfamiliar, allows users to stack images atop one another and hide or show portions of them to create a unified image.


GIMP can be used to create animated images that can be saved in several formats including .GIF and .AVI. GIMP uses the layering feature to make this possible, treating each layer as though it were a single animation cell and then placing and rotating through the layers based on the time constraints you create. The GIMP Animation Package (GAP) can be found here.

Icon Creation

GIMP enables you to create your own customized icons to spice up your file and folder views.

Advanced Brushes and Tool Presets

These are geared towards artists and graphic designers that are looking for additional tools and ways to speed up repetitive tasks. The GIMP Paint Studio (GPS) can be found here.

Linux Version

User Submitted Plugins

This is what really makes GIMP a great open source photo editing program. Rather than having to rely on the software developer to roll out new features and functions the community creates them to satisfy their own demand, and shares them with other GIMP users in the GIMP Plugin Registry.

One example of a GIMP Plugin that users ought to take a look at is the National Geographic Script. The script simulates a high quality photo like the ones found in National Geographic.

Another is a compilation of photo effetcs that include: Cartoon, Color pencil, Conte crayon, Cutout, Drawing, Inkpen, Note Paper, Paint dot image, Palette knife, Pastel, Stamp, Water paint effect, (plastic) Wrap effect. Angled strokes, Crosshatched, Chrome image, Cross light, Funky color, Soft focus, Solarisation, Brick wall, Patchwork, Stained glass, Texturizer, High pass, and more.

Mac Version

So taken altogether GIMP is an amazing free, open source photo editing program that is a compelling alternative to the high-priced likes of Adobe Photoshop and others.

Stay tuned.

[email protected] | @jared moya


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Alex Botten
Alex Botten

Agreed! I started using it when I couldn't find a 'back-up' version of Photoshop for my MacBook, 6 years later I prefer it to PS

Boomer The Dog
Boomer The Dog

Thanks Mountain, I'll check it out, and if I can get it for Ubuntu that could get me on Linux for image editing, and it would be cool to have that option. I make heavy use of the cloning and painting tools, all of the stuff used for photo manipulation, and I'd like to see how those really work woof in Gimp. Boomer


Boomer try Gimpshop, its the gimp without the weird window layout. Hated Gimp until I tried gimpshop. Although my main editor right now for most simple tasks is, very easy to use and does 90% of what I need to do to photos.

Boomer The Dog
Boomer The Dog

It's a worthy program. I just never got used to the 'windowing', separate windows peppering the screen, taking up space and moving around, different layout on other computers. I'd rather the unified window, big workspace in the middle, with the tools around the outside. That keeps me on Windows for image editing (P.I.), and making my morphic Dog artwork. In Ubuntu Linux they advanced from X-Sane windowed scanner program to SimpleScan, which to me is so much better of an interface, solid and simple.


gimpshop is based on the code from GIMP 2.2. Since that, we've had GIMP 2.4, 2.6, 2.8 and soon 2.10 is coming. Each of those GIMP versions has had more and more features that make it "photoshop compatible" (reading brushes and psd's, introducing single-window mode, layer groups and other tools). What do you really want, a program that has the superficial look of photoshop, or a great image editor? If you only want something that looks like photoshop, I suggest you download a screenshot of photoshop, use it as your desktop wallpaper and then you can stare at that while your photo stays unedited. It'll come out much better than if you use gimpshop. Or you can download the real GIMP and do some real editing.