What would a student generally do if he / she had some nice pictures, which need just a bit of touch up? Maybe you are a budding photographer who needs to tweak around with the lighting in some of your photos, or a web-designer who wants to make some cool looking banners and buttons for the school website (or a ThinkQuest website). Maybe you are artistically inclined and want to create some cool digital art. On normal days, you would have had to put up with software with less-than-stellar capabilities like Microsoft Paint; or maybe your educational institution would have to cough up exorbitant amounts to get proprietary image editing software. The open sources community's answer to this dilemma comes in the form of a nifty and powerful image editor – called The GIMP (which stands for The GNU Image Manipulation Program).
Why 'The GIMP'?
The basic reason is that anything else would cost you a lot of money, and The GIMP is free! Indeed, for most of the purposes we mentioned earlier, and for a lot more of daily-life image editing, GIMP is more than up to the task. On the other hand, licenses for proprietary software like Photoshop cost a bomb – more than the price of most mid-range PCs in fact. However, we refrain from comparing the two – GIMP most certainly is NOT a Photoshop-replacement for professional people into image editing, professional being the keyword here. For rest of us mere mortals though, GIMP is a more than capable image editor. We will now quickly run through the main advantages of GIMP:
GIMP is loaded with almost all those features that one might expect in a professional image editing suite namely Adobe and Corel offerings. Technically, you have all the power that professionals have in their arsenal in your own little PC...for free!
GIMP works on all leading operating system platforms – Windows, Mac OS, Linux – even Solaris and BSD. That means if some day you decide to switch over from using Windows to Mac or Linux, all your plugins, brushes, scripts, etc for this software can be used after switching over too.
Light On System Resources
Compared to other image editing tools with comparable feature sets, GIMP is one of the lightest in terms of resource consumption – whether it be the disk space occupied, memory consumed, or processing power required. With low system requirements and dependencies, GIMP is one of the zippiest image editors out there. Think about it – for around a 25 MB download, GIMP offers almost as many features as proprietary image editing software, which are 400+ MB in size.
Strong Community Support
GIMP has a punctual development cycle to release new updates; and you can find hundreds of third party plugins created for GIMP created by the open source community.