I own a copy of Photoshop CS3 purchased a while back. At the time Photoshop was the only real credible software, and GIMP was kind of a joke.
Things have changed, and GIMP since 2.8 has a robust single window mode, a pretty impressive set of filters, and even allows me to run my favorite Photoshop plugins inside Gimp.
So I decided to give the software a chance, evaluated it with the real kind of work I would do in Photoshop, as well as simpler fast random daily tasks. I have been impressed enough to adopt the software, and to put my copy of Photoshop on sale.
I recommend evaluating it, and making your own mind. If you do here is what I recommend trying.
- Download and install GIMP 2.8.1 from Partha’s website: http://www.partha.com/downloads/Gimp-2.8.1-32bit.exe
- Download and install the useful plugins from the same site: http://www.partha.com/downloads/Gimp-2.8.1-Plugins-32bit.exe
- Try HQ Rescale to get high quality upsized images
- Try LayerFX to emulate the photoshop layer effects
- Try Liquid Rescale to get smarter resizing respecting image details
- Try Upsize as another option to HQ Rescale
- Try Refocus to get the best out of blurry shots
- Try Save for Web to optimize images as you can in Photoshop
- Try all the others included in the default install: Gmic, Refocus it, Resynthesizer, Saturation Equalizer, Wavelet Denoise
- Try some Photoshop plugins with PSPI. For example I recommend the awesome and free XiDenoiser and XiQuantizer