Thursday, June 25, 2009


Have you ever wondered how they make all those amazing graphics on some websites? Seems one of the most popular applications for working with pictures is Adobe Photoshop, and to give credit where it's due, Photoshop is loaded with quality features. But the price... Yikes! Enter your free and equally capable alternative: The GIMP.

The GIMP (or just GIMP) is the GNU Image Manipulation Program, and over the years it has grown to be a very high quality graphics editor. They've even got an 'Adobe-compatible' version called GIMPshop that has the same menus and keystrokes as its commercial counterpart.

Ahead By A Century
GIMP is good, but as I alluded, it's not quite Photoshop. With persistence, you can achieve the same quality outputs as with Photoshop, but Adobe has put a lot of extras in that make the work that much easier. That aside, there are loads of free tutorials on the web to help you get the most out of this fantastic graphics tool. YouTube is your friend! You can find tutorials on using layers, working with special effects, retouching photos, or pretty much anything else you'd want to do with a bitmap editor.

Grace, Too
One feature that really makes the GIMP shine is its built-in support for almost any graphics format available. File formats supported include bmp, gif, jpeg, mng, pcx, png, ps, psd, svg, tiff, tga, xpm, and many others. It can even import PDF files in a graphic format so you can edit those, too. Just work in the GIMP's native format while you're composing your masterpiece, then save it in whatever format you need it. Add transparency, resize, crop and then easily convert between formats, too.

As with many other free and open source programs, the GIMP comes in a portable version, so no matter where you are, you have access. Simply download the program and install it once to a USB thumb drive and you're ready to go anywhere. Even better, you take your settings and preferences with you, no matter what computer you're on. And no matter whether you're running Windows, Linux or Mac OS X, there's a GIMP for you!

New Orleans Is Sinking
Now you've got your web browsing, word processing and graphic editing needs taken care of, what else do you need? Don't worry, there's still more to come in the cavalcade of open source applications!