GIMP or not, there is one critical difference between image editors and rest of software. Usually choosing software but what it can do is right way. However with graphics programs you have to choose by what you need to do.
When talking about image editing Photoshop instantly comes up. Extremely functional, extremely known. With piracy rate through the roof – rather famous poll puts it at 58% pirated among photographers. I suspect that if you add wannabe designers it would be even higher.
GIMP gained ground under talks about being “like Photoshop but free”.
So is there life beyond Photoshop?
Having awesome and expensive editor doesn’t make you good at using it. It is not magic. I had seen some designers (more like claiming to be such) produce absolutely horrible images – that sadly burned in my mind forever.
I think for professionals choice of image editor is about industry standard. They won’t simply default to most expensive solution, by the time they are at professional level choice would be obvious:
- by nature of their work;
- needs of their customers;
- preferences of their colleagues.
Sometimes you just need to get something done with image. Without skill and experience this can easily become frustrating. This shaped class of image editors that don’t provide super fancy functions but are very solid at basic ones:
- easy to use interface;
- history of actions with good rollback;
- polished user experience for most basic tasks.
Taking screenshots is rather specific task that is often discarded. In reality good experience for taking and processing screenshots cannot be provided without some dedication on software part:
- multiply screenshot modes;
- correct interaction with operating system;
- extensive cropping and highlighting functions.
It is easy to snap full screen, but it’s hard to get exactly what is needed and present it in easy to grasp way. There are numerous screenshot utilities (and quite different at their logic as well). Personally I recommend old free version of FSCapture – it is quite powerful, while easy to use and portable.
Not much personal experience here, I hadn’t owned camera in years (lazy to buy one). But I know that ease of digital photography created niche for software for organizing and tweaking photo collections. Without being image editor by definition such software can help to:
- compose, publish and share albums;
- do basic color correction;
- fix usual photo defects (red eyes, etc).
There are many solutions here but basically some lean towards image viewing (I use IrfanView) and some towards collection managing (I use none but Picasa comes up especially often in requests from users).
You can’t choose image editor by quantifying price and number of functions.
Clear evaluation of tasks you are going to perform is first and most important step to choosing one you will be content with.
Do you work with images often? What are your tasks and your choice of software?