GIMP (Which stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program) is an image editor built to give you maximum flexibility when you want to create or edit images. You can start from scratch or you can use something as a starting point if you wish, either way it gives you many different features designed so that you can design whatever you want. Best of all, the entire package is free of charge unlike others in the market such as Adobe Photoshop. We see this as a valid replacement for such products.
It supports most of the industry standard image formats that you'll have to work with, varying from the common JPG or PNG formats traditionally used due to the high compression rates which can be achieved, making them great for web usage. You can also work with raw imagery if you wanted to, these are much larger files but the quality you can get from them is significantly higher. You can use millions of different colors in your images too, plus of course there are a lot of tools built in to make everything easier for you.
Required Operating System
Application TypeImage Editor
May 3rd, 2012
Installation rights & storage capacity
"The image editor we're providing is definitely the best free alternative you're going to find. It's definitely better than ones such as the default Microsoft Paint, but you aren't going to get the same functionality that a tool like Photoshop offers to you. Having said that, it still has a huge amount to offer."
Rating: 3.9/5 by Jeannie M
"MS Paint definitely isn't very useful at creating professional-looking images so I decided to give this a try. From what I've seen of it so far, it seems to offer everything I need in a tool like this. I can create flyers for my business easily."
Rating: 4.4/5 by Matthew K
"I attempted to use Photoshop but for an amateur like me it was just too confusing to use. This program offers all of the features I could ask for and gives them in a very simplistic way that anyone can use. I'd recommend using this to all of my friends."
So you've come to our page and are now ready to download GIMP onto your computer. There are just a few simple steps that you need to follow if you want to go about this and you don't even need to have any technical knowledge either. The first part involves getting hold of the installation file which will handle the whole process for you, which you can find on our website.
Press the download button that you find below which will redirect you to our storage server. When you've waited a few seconds you should find a pop-up being displayed asking you whether you want to save it to your hard drive or to open it up directly. Your best option is probably to save it, that way you know it'll have all of the necessary permissions required to install and you'll also be able to refer to it later if you need to.
Whenever you're downloading software onto your computer you should be careful to avoid viruses and other malicious tools. This is why you should only download from trusted websites like ours, where all programs are scanned before they're placed on here. Having a good antivirus software really is important sometimes, so look into that.
When you have the installation file, the next thing you need to do is actually install it. You're going to need to be aware of the technical requirements that you must satisfy if you want it to work correctly. These are actually quite small, a computer with an average 512MB of RAM should have no problems rendering the graphics, you're also going to need some storage space available on your hard drive so that you can store the images digitally for later usage. The normal computer these days will be just fine for this purpose, although of course a better machine is always preferred.
After you've checked this, you can then locate the file you saved earlier and then open it up. Wait a few seconds for the installer to begin and then navigate through the different options that are presented to you. You'll want to look at them very carefully to make sure you know exactly what's going on.
You'll be asked where you want the program to be installed to (just keeping the default is absolutely fine), plus other options about the program such as extra tools you may need. If you wanted you could just keep pressing the Continue button, it depends on how much time you have available.
When you've selected the options we've just talked about, you should then be presented with a loading bar. This is where the magic happens, all you need to do is sit back and wait. You'll be told when it has finished, it usually only takes a minute or two depending on the computer that you're using. You may also be told to reboot your computer as well which is something we always recommend whenever you're installing any piece of software. It's just to make sure that all of the files are in place before you try using it.
So you've installed it on your computer, what's the next thing to do? The most obvious answer to this question is to actually use it. You should find a shortcut on your desktop which makes accessing it very easy, or alternatively you could press the Start button and go into "All Programs" to find it listed there.
You may find it challenging to use GIMP at first because of the vast number of features that are all bundled together but this will not last long. You just need to make sure you practice a lot and also read some of the tutorials that we have on our website. By doing this, things will start to become clearer and you'll be able to create fantastic looking images without any trouble at all.
One thing you'll be glad to know is that the software includes support for a huge amount of different file formats. No matter what you need to import or export, you should find support for it within this application. If you want to work with the common image formats, such as JPG or PNG you won't really need to worry about it. These are often used because of the high compression rates that can be achieved, helpful if you're going to be distributing it either on portable media or over the internet.
You'll also be able to work with formats that are built for other tools such as Adobe Photoshop. You won't find complete compatibility as some features will be unavailable for obvious reasons but you'll still be able to open them and work on them if you want to do so. This is a good little feature although you may need to look at getting the original programs to do so.
There's some cooler formats that you can save to, too. For example, ASCII art is something that has become more popular in recent years because of how nice it looks. Previously this would have been difficult to do, but you can export directly to this using this image editor without any other extensions being required. You'll find an option to do it in the navigation menu at the top of the screen.
Some of the most common things you're going to need to do in an application like this are easily accessible in the toolbox. This is where all of the basic tools are located, all in a sidebar. You can simply select one and then use it on your canvas straight away. We'll talk about a few of the common ones here so that you know what is available.
Drawing - In terms of drawing, you'll be able to use the pencil which has been created to use hard edge painting on a desktop computer. The lines are thin, so for those you needing thicker lines you may instead decide to use the paintbrush tool which allows you to change the color as well as the thickness. Even default shapes can be added to save you having to create them yourself.
Selection - You also have various different ways of selecting parts of your image. There's the basic rectangle select or ellipse select which allows you to select an area of the image so you can perform actions just on there. Alternatively, you can use either free-hand selection which gives you much more flexibility or even the Fuzzy Selection tool which is fairly similar to the magic wand in Photoshop if you know of this already, which allows you to choose a certain shape or area based on the colors around it.
Whenever you're creating an image, color is something that you'll probably be using a lot. It can add a great deal to it if you get it right, otherwise it may not look very professional at all. Testing is definitely required before you distribute anything. The GIMP download gives you multiple ways of selecting which ones you want to use and then allows you to add them to your canvas straight away. We'll discuss this briefly.
If you're a basic user who doesn't have much technical knowledge then you'll probably want to select a color from the color wheel. This is where you can decide on the basic color you're looking for and then move your cursor until you find the right shade that you're looking for. It may take some time before you find the correct one but it's very easy to do and that's why most people use it.
If you're looking for a precise color then you may decide to define it either using HTML notation or just by specifying the RGB values. The majority of people probably won't know what this means and there's no problem with that. It's mainly for web developers and those needing exact colors. Don't worry about it if you aren't sure, though. The color wheel definitely does the job. You can also save colors to a palette so that you can easily access them again later, saving you time in the future.
Whenever you're drawing or creating an image you may want to use multiple different input methods. Using your mouse or trackpad isn't the best way in most cases because you aren't able to draw what you'd like to, it's much harder. This is why external devices have been built to do the job for you, you are going to need to do some customizing to get these working though.
The types of devices that you're able to use include the traditional mouse and keyboard that everyone is familiar with. You're also able to use drawing tablets which gives you the ability to draw naturally on the tablet to get the desired result on the screen. It makes it much more accurate if you're better at using free-hand, although they aren't cheap unfortunately.
If you want to get a device such as a drawing tablet working in the application, you need to go into Edit --> Preferences and select "Input Devices". You'll see a list of the different ones available for you, plus the ability to add one. You'll need to plug the device into your computer and install any relevant drivers that you may need to use it. When everything has been done you should see it on the list and can use it straight away.
The user interface is something that you're also going to need to get used to if you're going to use the program often. Not everyone likes the default though, although our research has found that it is usually fine for the majority of people. Some people would like to be able to change it to something that works for them and luckily this is also possible. If you want to do that, you're going to have to change the theme that GIMP uses.
By default there are two different themes installed to you, these are called "Default" and "Small". You probably have already seen the original one so we won't talk about that, but the Small template tries to minimize windows so that you can focus on the canvas rather than the surrounding tools and options. It might not be for everyone but you can change it very easily, so give it a try.
If you want to change the theme you shouldn't find it too difficult either. Just go into Edit --> Preferences and then into "Theme". You'll find a list of ones that are already installed, you just need to select the one you want from the list. If you download one from the internet, simply drag the new folder into the GIMP program files, in the themes folder. This should make it accessible in the application itself.
There is a lot of functionality already included in this piece of software, including many ways of customizing it too. However, sometimes you might just want something more that it can't offer usually. There's nothing wrong with this, with most applications you wouldn't be able to but you may be happy to know about a special feature included. Plug-ins can be downloaded from the internet and then inserted into GIMP to add additional functionality into it.
You may need to search on the internet to find these, but you'll find some of them on our website. To give you an example of one of the most popular, MathMap can be used to work with math even in this image editing program. It won't be needed by everyone but it can be worth a try if you're interested. There's bound to be quite a few plug-ins that you need, you just need to have a browse through them.
To install a plug-in, you're going to need to download one onto your hard drive from any compatible site. You'll then need to extract the archive to get the raw files and move them into the program files directory. This can be located at C:\gimp\ usually. You should find a folder called "plugins". Simply move the files into there and you should find the extra functions being available as soon as you reboot your computer.