I've been using Photoshop to retouch photos on windows and would like to try Ubuntu. That's why I'm wondering if I switch to Gimp what features will I lose or gain.


10 Answers 10



  • Less buttons than photoshop


  • Less buttons than photoshop
  • Free

If you're used to photoshop, or some kind of professional GIMP probably isn't enough for you. If not, you'll probably be perfectly happy with GIMP


I'm wondering if I switch to Gimp what features will I lose or gain.

Try it. Find out.

Answers here wont really tell you what you'll miss, because only you can know that.

Potentially, answers could tell you of new features you'll gain, but if you already have PS then - other than the glow of using GNU Free Software rather than proprietary Adobe software - I'm not sure GIMP has anything to offer feature-wise.

And don't forget that you don't necessary need to switch, as dual-booting and/or virtualisation are potentially both options that allow you to primarily use Ubuntu but still use Photoshop.

  • 1
    A lot of people have Photoshop running in WINE - and there are tons of step-by-step guides on how to do the same.
    – AnonJr
    Oct 23, 2009 at 0:39
  • Could we maybe, just for the sake of argument, assume that this individual uses every feature of photoshop, and attempt to provide a summary of those which are not implemented in gimp?
    – intuited
    Jul 8, 2010 at 3:43
  • You can, if you want to. I have better things to do with my time than manually compile a list which will be out-dated each time either one changes. Jul 11, 2010 at 22:28

First of all Gimp is much cheaper than Photoshop;-)

The user interface is another thing:
GIMP's GUI, well I think you either love it or you hate it...
The Photoshop GUI on the other hand has set the standard for most other image editing software.

And finally GIMP has no CMYK support.

  • There's a reason for that ;)
    – Sampson
    Jul 15, 2009 at 23:00
  • 2
    From wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/CMYK_support_in_The_GIMP : CMYK color model (or CMYK mode) is used mostly by DTP professionals that need to output images intended for printing on a commercial press. For an average home user or even professional photographers, support for separating images using CMYK color is not necessary. Most ink-jet and color laser printers print color images using sRGB color, so you do not need CMYK support.
    – Ehtyar
    Jul 15, 2009 at 23:13
  • Does it support Lab colour? That's far more useful.
    – U62
    Jul 16, 2009 at 22:38
  • @U62: No, not really, it is possible to decompose to Lab (or CMYK), but otherwise there is no support.
    – user1863
    Jul 17, 2009 at 7:02

GIMP is based primarily for Web / Screen editing. There's no CMYK support in GIMP because it's not intended for print use. For the most part, you can find a bulk of the essential Photoshop features in Gimp - however, if you're a PS power user like myself, you'll find that different keyboard shortcuts and different tools to do the same task as PS are extremely frustrating.


From what my wife tells me, Gimp doesn't allow for color correction/calibration. Until this makes it in I'm on the shelling out $$$$ to Adobe program. Otherwise I find it really useful but Paint.Net gets Kudos too.

And my wife was wrong... see comment below.


This isn't directly answering the question, but you can run Photoshop quite nicely in Ubuntu using Wine. See the WineHQ entry for more details.


It's free, it's got versions for various OS's, and it does lots of stuff. I haven't used it for retouching photos, but we have it here on a WinXP computer and it interfaced flawlessly with a scanner.


Photoshop is industry standard so there is much more support for it of course. Also more tools such as brushes and the lot, but with all this comes a price. GIMP is 100% free on the other hand, but you will not have all the same features at hand.

I can't complain... there's an old saying "you get what you pay for".... and you get more than your money's worth with GIMP.


Try GIMPshop

Coming from Photoshop, I found GIMP bewildering and gave up. The whole arrangement of the UI was alien to me.

There is a flavor called GIMPshop that's supposed to be more like Photoshop. I haven't tried it, but it might make things easier on you.

  • 1
    From my limited experience, I'd say it's not really stable. Mine kept crushing and was somehow more confusing than the GIMP interface is at first.
    – surfmadpig
    Oct 23, 2009 at 3:36
  • It hasn't been updated in a long time and I couldn't even tell the difference in the UI.
    – mk12
    Dec 15, 2009 at 2:44

The feature I missed the most when viewing PS tutorials was the brush engine. In PS it is very powerful and you can create all kinds of greatness with it.

Of course, if you are going from PS to Gimp you'll probably hate it but if you are starting out new then Gimp will be an awesome tool ... to a paint. Then you can decide whether to get PS if that's the case.

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