GIMP is an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed program for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. It has many capabilities. It can be used as a simple paint program, an expert quality photo retouching program, an online batch processing system, a mass production image renderer, an image format converter, etc.
GIMP is expandable and extensible. It is designed to be augmented with plug-ins and extensions to do just about anything. The advanced scripting interface allows everything from the simplest task to the most complex image manipulation procedures to be easily scripted.
GIMP is written and developed under X11 on UNIX platforms. But basically the same code also runs on MS Windows and Mac OS X.
Gimp is reputed to have a steep learning curve, but anyone experienced with Photoshop should have no trouble getting up to speed with it very quickly. It took me about twenty minutes to get functional with it. There are some nice little touches such as seeing a sample of the font choices and the ability to create rounded corners on rectangular marquee selections. To be sure, Photoshop has a wider range of possibilities, but Gimp comes close, and would satisfy the needs of most designers. Best of all, it’s free. Is it worth $400 to spend a bit of time learning a slightly different approach to image editing?