Similarities between Photoshop and Gimp

Professionals designers swear by Photoshop, but some people also compare it to Gimp software. But is it true?
Are you just starting as a Graphic designer? Then you must have heard of Photoshop and Gimp comparisons. And you are also confused if you should purchase Photoshop or try Gimp, which is free? Because in the beginning, nobody wants to put their money into something they are not sure about. Everyone looks for free alternatives, and Gimp is a free softwares similar to Photoshop.

Here we have listed down similarities between these two softwares.

History of Photoshop and Gimp


Photoshop was developed by two American brothers, Thomas and John knoll 1987. Thomas was an engineering student at the University of Michigan doing his Ph.D. in image processing. He purchased apple max plus for his thesis but found that it couldn’t display the grayscale images on the monitor. Dismayed, he decided to make his program. While his brother John who was working in an industrial light and magic employee as an image processor, was impressed with his brother’s work and suggested he make it into an image editing program. They both decided to take a break from their work and started working on this program.
They later sold it to adobe systems in 1988, and this is how Photoshop was born.

GIMP or GNU Image Manipulation Program

GIMP was called General Image Manipulation Program when first released in 1996. Developed as a part of a project in the University of California by Peter Mattis and Spencer Kimball, it is currently run by volunteers.

Similarities between Gimp and Photoshop

1. Editing tools

You can do basic editing stuff in both the software. For example, they both have the option of cropping, rotating, resizing, removing blemishes and unwanted objects in the background.

They both have image masking and cropping path options also. Even the transform tools are similar. They both have distort, align, Warp, perspective, crop spot healing, eraser tool, pattern stamp, and dodge and burn.

2. Patterns

Patterns are used to fill areas of an image by placing many small size patterns. They both have the option to create custom patterns, and both are pretty good at it. 

3. Brushes

Another feature both softwares have in common. Gimp has the upper hand as it has 14 paint tools, out of which 5 are basic, and 9 are modifying brush tools. There are total of 56 brushes in Gimp.

a) Basic paint tools

  • Pencil
  • Paintbrush
  • Airbrush
  • My paintbrush
  • Ink tool

b) Modifying brush tool

  • Bucket fill
  • Gradient
  • Eraser
  • Clone tool
  • Perspective clone
  • Heal tool
  • Convolve tool
  • Smudge tool
  • Dodge/burn tool

 Whereas in Photoshop, there are 8 brush tools.

a) Brush tool

  • General Brushes
  • Dry Media Brushes
  • Wet Media Brushes
  • Special Effect Brushes

b) Gradient tool

  • Gradient tool (There are many gradients in gradient tool)
  • Paint bucket tool

c) History brush tool

  • History brush
  • Art history brush

4. Filters and effects

The next thing common in both of the two is filters which can be adjusted both are equally good in their ways. Special effects are also something that cannot be compared.

5. Styles for text

The styles in the Gimp are pretty average, whereas photoshop has a lot of styles, and you can also create your own,k

6. Selection tools

Gimp has most of the selection tools that Photoshop has like a polygonal, lasso, quick selection magic, rectangular marque, magnetic lasso but it doesn’t have single column and single row and object selection tools. 


Gimp Selection Tools

Rectangle toolFor selecting rectangular shapes
Ellipse toolFor selecting circular shapes
Free select toolFor selecting anything by drawing on it with this tool
Select contagious regionUsed for selecting areas based on color similarity
Select by colourSimilar to select contagious region
Select shapes from an imageUsed when the edges have strong color change
Foreground selectExtracts the foreground from an image.
Path tool  It is not a selection tool but can be used as it.

Photoshop Selection Tools

Rectangular marqueeFor selecting rectangular and square selections.
Illiptitical marquee For selecting elliptical and circular shapes.
Lasso tool It is used for selecting ay area by drawing on it.
Polygonal lasso Helps in drawing as well as editing polygonal shapes.
Magic wandIt selects parts of an image based on color.
Magnetic Lasso Selects edges of an image.

 These were the tools that are similar in Photoshop and Gimp and let us see the key differences between the two.

Difference between Photoshp and Gimp

 1.Paid software.Free software.
 2.Has lots of plugin tools. It has plugins than Photoshop.
 3.Heavy software.Very light software.
 4.A little difficult to navigate.Easy to navigate.
 5.Great for professionals and advanced users.Good for beginners and occasional users.
6.Learning curve – steeper.Learning curve – easier.
7.Photoshop is just available for Windows and OS X.GIMP is available across Windows, OS X, and Linux.
 8.Regular updates and bug fixes.Updates are not regular.
 9.Non-destructive layers.No non-destructive layers option but they are working on it.
10.Supports both RGB as well as CMYK.Supports only RGB.

Gimp Vs. Photoshop for Drawing

You can use Gimp for drawing as it is a digital art software like Photoshop. You can use the options like a paintbrush tool to draw thick or thin lines. You can draw with the help of different shape tools like an elliptical, rectangular tool. Then there is Path tool also, which does the same thing. 

So, yes you can draw in Gimp and can do pretty good stuff in it. Either be it a beginner or even a professional. But Photoshop is a better option, and sadly it will always be better. There’s a reason why it is considered one of the most powerful software in the market. It has years of work, a dedicated professional team behind it. With regular updates and new features and being a paid tool, it has an unfair advantage over Gimp. Gimp is an amazing tool, but it is also free. The people working on the updates are volunteers who take time from their busy lives and jobs to work on the bugs and updates. 

Gimp Vs. Photoshop for Digital Art

The same is the case with digital painting. Gimp can do almost everything Photoshop can, but people prefer Photoshop because it has more features. But it is the best choice for beginners and even experienced digital artists. 


Gimp is best if you need it occasionally for some work or are on a tight budget. But if you are someone who is a professional and needs it regularly then I would suggest purchasing Photoshop. People always upgrade to Photoshop for better customer support and features. The thing is, once you start using Photoshop, you can never go back to working on Gimp if you are a professional. Having said that Gimp is the best free software available in the market. 

Home » Similarities between Photoshop and Gimp

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *