Adobe Photoshop vs. gimp

Posted on June 18, 2011


I am a CG artist, I do part time work on some game projects (when I am not working) and mostly specialize in ‘enironmental’ art, i do Scenery such as trees, plants, furniture, building facades, debris, and pretty much everything that players interact with in a virtual world. (I also do monsters and carriables, but I am still working on my animation skills with those.)
I work for Independent game developers, which usually means one guy sitting in his den with a computer making a game. I sell ‘custom’ artwork and reserve the right to resell it on places like turbosquid or as part of a ‘game pack’. With that business model, I can (sometimes) afford to make far higher quality artwork and charge WAY below what an employed artist or custom artwork company would charge, and even well below what you could usually purchase as part of a 3d art ‘theme pack’

Unfortunately, this also means that I work with the cheapest (or free) tools available. Every once in a while I can get a new or commercial tool, I am usually rock-bottom in the software department.

Which is how I met Paint shop Pro.

I picked up my first copy DECADES ago as a demo, and then went out and bought the ‘official’ version from best buy for like 50 bucks. For it’s time period it was the cheapest, most useful piece of software I had ever owned for creating artwork.

Then along came Gimp. I tried it because it was free and supposedly ‘near the same quality’ as the oft-acclaimed photoshop. For the first time, I finally decided to buy a cheap tablet and try my hand at ‘professional’ digital painting instead of scanned sketches, masses of nudges, computer coloring with a mouse or sheer flat-out paint brush and acrylic on waterboard with a scanner.

Gimp had a bit of a learning curve after the ease of PSP, but I soon came to understand and use it well.

The advantages of gimp were clear. I was still using paint shop pro 7 (the newer versions after corel bought jasc were sheer nightmares of useless crapware, with such ‘fine art’ tools as ‘red eye removal’ and ‘blemish brushing’ instead of the USEFUL stuff I trusted) but since I STILL have never figured out how to get a tablet to work with the damned thing it has since become relegated to ‘quicky’ and ‘logo’ graphics that take little more than a few clicks and some adjustment to use.

So, along comes a friend raving to me about photoshop 7.0.1. so i install it to give it a try (the price tag is initmidating, but if it’s all that great…)

after 6 months I still haven’t used it for anything beyond baking normal maps. Not only is it horribly overcomplicated (having an interface similar to PSP was a big fat lie) but all the useful bits appear to be submerged under layer after layer of ‘photographic’ tools, built-in animation toys, proprietary filters, photomanipulation and photowarping tools, and fifteen million other tools that I will never, ever need in a million years.

Once I finally figured out how to draw a line, a two-step process in psp and a 1 step process in gimp… that is approximately 15 steps in photoshop) I realized something even more important. The nice smooth inked lines I could achieve with gimp were virtually impossible in photoshop. I even got better performance out of Sai, a free black and white sketcher program that could fit on a floppy disk.

So, with great trepidation, and sadness, I am closing the box on photoshop. It neither meets my needs nor is easy to learn or use. The only thing I ever used it for, normalmaps, is better and cleaner using shadermap pro (another cheap utility).

So, like acrobat, I am done with this piece of sh…shortly deleted software. So far, I am incredibly unimpressed with anything Adobe has put out and have resolved to never, ever, give them any money. And I am sure glad I got the chance to realize this before plunking down thousands of dollars on the worst piece of crapware since windows ME!

Posted in: 2d, Art