Photoshop. Probably one of the best applications for professionally manipulating photos. If you've ever tried the full version of Photoshop you know that it's a powerful, feature rich application. Because of this, it tends to range in price from $400.00-$800.00 depending on what and where you buy.
Photoshop is powerful, it has layering capabilities, filters, and a whole host of other professional features, but would you pay that much just to find out that you really don't know how to use it? Would you pay that much to learn how to use it? There are certainly alternatives but they don't have near the amount of features that photoshop does and don't do as good a job either. So what to do? You want a decent photo editor and at the same time don't feel like plunking down $400.00!? Well, that's where The GIMP steps in.
No, The GIMP has nothing to do with Pulp Fiction and is certainly not handicapped in any way. The GIMP stands for The Gnu Image Manipulation Program. I won't go into GNU licensing as there isn't enough room to do that here and there is plenty of information out on the web as is. What you need to take away from this article is that The GIMP is basically exactly what you've been looking for in a professinal photo editor. It's powerful, it has many of the same features as PhotoShop and the best part of it all, IT'S FREE!.
Originally The GIMP gained popularity in various flavors of Linux and has been enjoyed by Linux users all over the world for years. But never fear Windows users, there is also a version for Windows. Since I'm not able to provide links to outside websites in this guide all you need to do is a search on GIMP and in the top 10 results you will certainly find a link to The GIMP website.
Once there you will want to look for a link to the windows automated installer. This will redirect you to another site that has created an automated installer for windows. Unless you are an advanced user in which case you can download the .zip file from The GIMPs main site. If you decide to go this route make sure to read exactly what you need to download as there are many versions and there are some additional requirements to install. Such as the GTK package.I'm an advanced user myself but I still used the automated installer and installation was a snap.
There was a warning when I installed saying that I had hyperthreading enabled on my machine and that there may be issues with running The GIMP with it enabled, but I haven't run into any so far. Your mileage may vary.
I would also recommend that you either download the help files to go along with it, or if you used the automated installer, there is a link on that site to yet another website that has a nice web formatted user manual that you can refer to.
So go ahead, give it a shot, it's powerful, free and fun to use once you've gotten the hang of it!
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