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Things that I personally look for:
* ability to create advanced selections, adding and removing selected areas, moving the selected area, inverting the selection, ability to save a selection for later re-use
* layer masks, layer grouping, layer effects that can be hidden if needed
* text transformation such as rotating and skewing while keeping text editable and crisp, ability to edit the text at any time
* miscellaneous features: rulers; the ability to move layer contents without creating a selction, thus allowing for out-of-canvas areas to come into play again; advanced features for color matching, hue changes, color balance etc.
Paint.net has none of the above. Photoshop has it all. Not sure about Gimp.
It makes sense to me that a very specialized and complex program like Photoshop would contain proprietary tricks that aren't available (yet) in the OSS world.
It would be fairly easy to build a faster version of my old Windows 98 PC just to keep my copy of Photoshop 6.0 alive. The cost of making a move seems too high for what benefits I might gain from a new version or a different product.
The cost of hardware is so low these days that they're almost giving it away. I just picked up a new 100 gig hard drive for $28 (after mail in rebate) and copied my current hard drive onto it using a utility that came with it. I've ready got it backed up on another hard drive, and also on a set of CDs. Having my own Windows 98 Photoshop machine for the rest of my working life...how bad can that be?
Main difference: I think Gimp is still missing color management and greater than 16-bit per chanel.
If you take digital photos in RAW and would like to do some extensive editing, 8-bit per channel Gimp is less than ideal.
However, if you shoot JPEGs out of camera, and just want to manipulate JPEGs moderately (which are already 8-bit), Gimp really seems to work fine.
I wonder if people even read this thread, or just add to it?
I can answer that question for me.
I read it, and the original question was:
Is open source software an option yet for doing serious graphics, especially digital photography (including extensive retouching)?
I've been writing digital imaging software for more than 15 years, and a lot of that is directly for pro digital photography workflow. Most of what I've written has not been "sold separately" software, so I don't have much of an axe to grind. I don't have a thing against OSS, but I do believe that staggering amounts of it are pure garbage, with scattered gems like Apache, PHP and MySQL. Caveat emptor.
Just my $0.02.
$650 or $FREE
"Free" is in the eye of the beholder.
Time is money. Sometimes, significant amounts of money. My engineering team costs my company hundreds of dollars an hour. If we have a fifteen minute delay that ties up three of my engineers (like compiling an OSS package), then it can easily cost the company as much as a shrink-wrapped Photoshop package. I would bet on a lot more than fifteen minutes, though.
If it takes two hours to learn the new package, then look out Nellie. Especially if the new package doesn't even have decent color management, a keystone of pro photography workflow, and one of the most heavily patented areas of digital technology.
$650 or $FREE
For me time is money, and $650 does not represent a huge amount of my time. I really do appreciate all of the posts on this thread! For me, the cost of learning GIMP is far more than $650 and the benefits are not very powerful. If there were something in GIMP that was a compelling feature that Photoshop lacked, then that would be another story.
I did not fully realize or consider, when I started this thread, how much the cost of learning GIMP might be, and also how much time I have already invested in become proficient with my current version of Photoshop.
I work on a team and the guy that handles the font end graphics uses the latest photoshop. For the graphic professional Im sure some of the more adv techniques are used.
So basically Im saying that if you are an all around web developer then full blown latest photoshop may not be neccessary, however if your main focus is graphics and front end then you may find some advantages.
Again if your doing this full time and working with a team then id say get the best tools you can, actually knowing all the tools would be the best!
If the only real advantage that open source graphics software can offer is the price, then it's still got a way to go, in my opinion.
But I'll just add my 20 years of professional graphics experience into the pot and say that for CMYK commercial print ready artwork, you gets what you pays for. Corel also produce a professional package - PhotoPaint I think - that separates into CMYK and probably works OK, but I've yet to try it out.
Phtoshop is the corect tool for print design. Any other image editing application needs to find a reason for it's existence and the GIMP's only answer so far is its initial cost. Which for professional use, is next to irrelevent.
Regarding open source - some software has reached the stage where it is more of a commodity than new, cutting edge development. I think that's where open source can do well. Vendors, who need to make a profit by selling commodity-type software will try anything to slip in something that will lock you into their proprietary solution, whereas open source won't do that. Operating systems, and more recently databases come to mind as examples of commodity-type software where open source is offering more benefits than just price - namely, interplatform support, wide acceptance, large user base, ...