After six years’ worth of work, open source Photoshop alternative “GIMP” (short for GNU Image Manipulation Programme) has released its latest version bundled with various new features.
The free photo editor offers photo retouching, image composition, image construction along with an online batch processing system, a mass production image renderer and many other powerful tools.
Of the many notable new features, GIMP 2.10 has ported most of its image processing capabilities to GEGL, a data flow based image processing framework that is free software (its source code is in GNOME git).
GEGL provides floating point processing and non-destructive image processing capabilities, “allowing high bit depth processing, multi-threaded and hardware accelerated pixel processing, and more”.
GIMP’s lack of multi-core processing has historically caused performance issues, which is a true deterrent in the graphics processing world.
Moreover, the program can now utilise parallel processing, which is a big deal for various reasons, namely, more efficient processor usage through use of multiple cores.
In addition to this, new tools are giving designers more flexibility and choice, which is likely to be well received by the GIMP community. See the short list of the most notable new tools below:
– Unified Transform
– Warp Transform (replacing the old iWarp plugin)
– Handle Transform
Catching up with Photoshop?
GIMP has been primarily known as the open source alternative to Photoshop, allowing designers to have both a free and genuinely capable alternative to the Adobe’s flagship graphics product. As the program has evolved over the years, comparisons and desires for Photoshop-like capabilities are commonplace in GIMP releases.
With this in mind, the new dark theme, closely resembling Photoshop is in keeping with this trend of perpetually chasing a more Photoshop-like experience and is likely to please users who have historically been stuck with less native theme choices.
However, although the GIMP community continues to push the boundaries of open source graphics software, perhaps it’s still too early to compare it to Photoshop which still dominates the market. However, the release does seem like a step in the right direction, being both significantly more powerful and easy to use.
Web-based Graphics Software
Web-based interface design tools such as the recent Figma may be a prescient indication of what the future of holds for this market. Perhaps GIMP’s future releases will gravitate towards this model, which allows designers to work collaboratively in a real-time manner.
Finally, whatever the future holds, it is clear that GIMP continues to impress with its improved interface, new tools and optimised processing, all, crucially, for free. With vendor lock-in and software subscription challenges a perennial talking point among Computer Business Review’s readers, open source options are always worth a look.
This article is from the CBROnline archive: some formatting and images may not be present.
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