The Free Open Source Graphics Program Gets an Update
The folks that create the free GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) celebrated the beginning of summer with a new update to the stable version of GIMP. This update features bug fixes and small enhancements to make the GIMP experience a bit smoother – always a good thing. If you already use version 2.8.6, there’s nothing here to blow your socks off, but if you haven’t tried GIMP for a while, it might be time to give it another look. (Many in the community are holding their breath, waiting for Version 3.0 to be announced – possibly late this year.)
The update is currently only in source code, installers should follow soon.
For those who don’t know about GIMP, it is a horribly named but very useful free bit-map graphics program which includes many of the features of the commercial Photoshop program. It’s especially useful for photography enthusiasts. If you are installing it for the first time, be sure to check out the many plug-ins available. In particular, you really should install G’MIC, another oddly named but highly useful collection of over 200 plugins just for GIMP.
Non-geek Windows users will want to check http://gimp-win.sourceforge.net/ to see when the new Windows installer is available for the new version (it wasn’t as of June 23, afternoon). If you don’t already have GIMP as part of you graphic software collection, you can install version 2.8.4 while you’re waiting.
For news, tips, and tutorials, GIMP users should also check out GimpUsers.com. They should also announce when the new installers are ready.
Some alternatives to GIMP
Whether your focus is on photography or painting with pixels, there are several free alternatives to GIMP I’ve run across that are also worth a look:
GIMP Painter – the Windows version – can be downloaded from Softtonic. Basically, it’s an older version of GIMP optimized for painting and illustrating, rather than photography.
Paint.net is another free alternative to GIMP, which has its own enthusiastic community and set of plug-ins. Some of the tools might be more useful for painters and illustrators, or just for creating circles and boxes on screen shots. I also use it for digital photography.
MyPaint is another free painting program (as opposed to a photography program) which looks quite attractive.
See also our recent post on using Photoshop Plugins with Irfanview for more ideas.
Digital Artists – What tools do you use? Tell us in the comments!
Painter’s Pallette photo, “Pittura-Painting3” by Rinina25 is used courtesy the
GNU Free Documentation License.