The GIMP Free Open-source Alternative To Adobe Photoshop goes Mac OS X-native with Version 2.8.3

Macworld UK’s Mark Hattersley notes that the Open Source GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) no longer needs Apple’s geeky X11 environment, and now runs as a native Mac OS X app., with installation as simple as downloading the application, and double clicking.

He also says the GIMP has come a long way toward narrowing the edge between the two programs, but there’s no denying that GIMP lacks the slickness of Photoshop. Surprisingly, however, the GIMP imposes less overhead on system resources than does Photoshop CS6, making it more efficient on low RAM machines, although Photoshop CS6 launches faster.

The GIMP now has layer groups, but still doesn’t support CMYK out of the box. However, being free it’s a LOT cheaper. However, Hattersley suggests that you check out Pixelmator as an inexpensive alternative to Photoshop CS with a “vastly nicer interface,” but gives teh GIMP team full credit for managng to re-create most of Adobe Photoshop for free and get it working inside the Mac OS X interface natively.

Why does Photoshop Elements so rarely get mentioned in these value comparisons? At $99.95 PSE offers more Photoshop power than most non graphics professionals would ever use, and is an extremely nice program to use – my favorite image editing/organizer app.

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