Any love for GIMP ?

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
NAwlins Contrarian Veteran Member • Posts: 6,473
Re: Missing the point--what GIMP cannot do

Suppose I have an image to which I want to make 6 adjustments. Suppose I use GIMP and make the adjustments, call them #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, and #6. If I decide at the end that I did not really want #2 after all, there is no way I can undo #2 without first undoing #6, #5, #4, and #3, and thereby losing all that work. At best I have to guess at a corresponding adjustment and risk some lossy operations.

It is often possible to avoid this with proper use of layers, masks and blending modes. For example, if your step #1 is to adjust tonality, make those adjustments on a duplicate layer of the original image, set to "luminosity" blending mode.

If step #2 is color balance, make those edits on a layer in "color" mode.

If step #3 is dodging/burning, do that on transparent layers in "overlay" or "soft light" mode.

If step #4 is local contrast, apply the highpass filter to a layer in "soft light" or "grain merge."

And so on -- make each step its own layer. If you have to go back and re-do something, the worst that can happen is you delete and re-create that one layer. The edits you made on other layers are intact. Yes, that's a lot of layers. But you'd have a lot of adjustment layers in PS, too.

I'd never argue that GIMP is as convenient to use as PS. You can't work non-destructively in GIMP, but you can certainly work less-destructively. It's part of the learning curve. Learn how the blending modes work and save destructive steps for the end of the workflow. Experienced GIMP users rarely have to undo work except the parts they want to undo.

I agree that "You can't work non-destructively in GIMP, but you can certainly work less-destructively." But also, as your post shows, it's an exercise in careful planning and generally a chore. So basically, using GIMP means spending a lot more effort but getting a somewhat less-flexible result.

I still use GIMP some, and like it for some purposes, but my overarching take is that other developments are passing GIMP by and making less and less the tool of choice:

* Increased raw converter flexibility, like the DxO control point local adjustments, mean there are fewer and fewer circumstances where I need a post-raw-converter pixel editor

* Frustrations with the non-destructive nature of most GIMP edits in a couple of projects where I was trying to make iterative adjustments led me to start looking elsewhere.

* Right around that time, Affinity Photo was getting a lot of praise, and then became available for Windows, and at a bargain price.

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