GIMP – Introduction


GIMP is a photo-editing and bitmap graphics creation tool that was first released in 1995. It is available for almost every operating system. The tools, features, and user interface it provides users with are similar to those of Photoshop, but it runs on more operating systems and it can be used without charge.

The first release was developed by a couple of computer science students at University of California – Berkeley. They wanted to have a program that others could build plug-ins for.

GIMP is currently maintained by volunteers for the GNOME and GNU Projects. This is one reason why the application works on almost every Linux distro.

Operating systems and installing

Like many free applications, it is a cross-platform one. It is designed to run natively on many different operating systems.

Here are a few of operating systems it runs on:

Windows Mac Ubuntu Fedora Mint Linux FreeBSD
  • Windows and Mac users can download the application directly or download the BitTorrent from its Website.
  • There is also a version for Windows that can be download to a USB drive or another type of external drive. This is referred to as a portable app. It can be downloaded from here.

User interface

Single window interface
The single-window interface for GIMP puts the main window, toolbox, layers, and other panes in the same frame. In this mode these elements can move together.

GIMP has a unique interface that, in many ways, is not like PhotoShop. However, it does have a similar look and feel as the famous raster graphics application.

There are two modes for users to choose from: single-window mode and the separated view.

Single-window mode

The single-window mode puts all the tools and pieces into a single window. This allows the tools, open images or artwork to be kept together.

If multiple images or artwork are open in this mode, they will be thumbnails above the active image or artwork.

Separated view

Separate window interface
This view puts the artwork or images, the toolbox, and layers and hardness dialogs in separate windows. They can be moved independently from each other.

In this view, the image or artwork, the toolbox, layers and the hardness items are in separate windows, floating over the desktop. They can be move independently from each other.

If there are more than one image or artwork open at the same time, they will appear full-size in separate windows, floating over the desktop.

The toolbox and layers and hardness items are not the only way users can edit images and create raster graphics.

GIMP has 10 menus with items for users to choose from. There is also a Help menu and, if you are a Mac user, a GIMP menu.

File Edit Select View Image Layer Colors Tools Filters Windows