« Adobe Photoshop Creative Cloud, Part I: The Bad | Main | What You Like and Don't Like About TOP »

Thursday, 06 June 2013


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Using that beloved internet phrase, I LOLed at the caption regarding your graphic. Literally! Not ROTFLMAO, but a good hearty laugh. Thanks for that!!


Umm. That would be Linus with the blankie, not Linux. I tried GIMP several years ago and it was really geeky software. I don't know if the interface has improved since. I'm resigned to my Photoshop addiction.

What makes the agitators Luddites? Is it because the S/T ex-photographers are outside picketing with home made signs? I'm not at all trying to be critical or facetious here, just interested in what you consider a Luddite!

Not that the Sun Times doesn't seem to have their collective heads up their ****'* with this brilliant move. I hope they see the error in their ways once the "iPhone illustrated" stories start printing...

[The Luddites objected to the wanton disordering of their well-ordered society just because the industry on which their social structure was built no longer made economic sense. They had a very valid point as well as a hopeless cause. Seems to me there's a direct parallel with newspapers. Or, at least, to photojournalists as being useful contributors within newspapers. --Mike]

First of all,  first off is pretty common in informal english English, usually as a fairly aggressive emphasis ("First off mate ... !"). I believe that it's a contraction of 'First of all' although without any evidence to support my belief.
Second of all, if you are looking for common phrases how about 'Second of all'? It adds nothing but makes me cringe every time I hear it.

Question: does GIMP work in 16 bits or only in 8 bits?

I actually have the TOP Amazon link in my bookmarks bar, and use that for most of my Amazon purchases. A little way of saying thanks for years and years of advice and stories.

Gimp's OK. First you do your work in a real raw-converter while it's still 16-bit and then do the final stage finishing and manipulations where you don't care about it being 8-bit any more.

*Latest pet peeve: "win out". Speak English! Just leave the "out" OUT! (And don't finish a sentence with a preposition either...)

I only use GIMP, as I run Ubuntu on the desktop. Thanks for the book recommendation.

Mike, I have a Favorite set for your links to Amazon and B&H, and I use them...and I bought LOTS more Blu-rays than just 'Jaws' yesterday. :-)

"Luddite agitators continue to militate pointlessly in Chicago." Actually, the Sun-Times announcement remided me of Monty Python's "The Meaning of Life." "I'm afraid I have no choice but to sell you all for scientific experiments." And so the photographers filed slowly out the door, not realizing they could have taken a page from "The Crimson Permanent Assurance," and made the editors walk the plank.

"Resistance is futile!" yelled the Sun-Times Vogon editor. His own hands could not work the iPhone, as it was too small for him. That didn't matter, though, as he knew that all pictures are the same, and you can subtitute anything for anything, just like News.com.au did.

I used GIMP some for doing web-site graphics prep, including resizing, cropping, and sharpening professional head-shot photos, at a previous job. They were too cheap to provide Photoshop (making the web site was pretty much a side-issue to the main job), and I was interested in the challenge.

Gimp was entirely adequate for this. In terms of raw capabilities, it's hard to say it "doesn't do" something. However, there are areas where it doesn't support particular working styles. Also the UI isn't as polished or deep, by a lot.

I personally have become emotionally attached to the "lossless editing" style (which also fits very well with products such as Bibble Pro, Corel Aftershot Pro, DarkTable, and Lightroom). I use Photoshop for preparing my top-quality renderings of photos, not for big batches; plus sometimes for restorations if necessary. And I'm heavily invested in using adjustment layers, with layer masks. On 16-bit images (you don't need 16-bit final results; but you quite often need 16-bit initial inputs, so that by the time you're done shoving tones around you've got a solid 8 bits left). And Gimp doesn't offer adjustment layers at all, or I believe 16-bit images (been over a year since I used Gimp for anything now).

I don't know if my fondness for "lossless editing" is because I'm indecisive, or because I'm picky, or just a matter of personal taste, or what. For me, it's very valuable to be able to do an approximate fix for one aspect of a photo and go on to other things, and get a pretty good idea how the parts all fit together -- before spending to time to do a top-quality job on any one bit. With lossless editing I can then go back and refine each of the masks and curves layers and whatever to be more perfect, without having to do anything over from scratch. I think this both saves me immense amounts of time, and produces better results (because I don't get committed to things because they're terribly hard to do differently later on). I also find it beneficial to let work cool off, and go back and evaluate it a few days or weeks later, and possible tweak things; this is easy to do in the style I work in, and potentially very hard in others.

(I use "lossless editing" to refer to a workflow where as much as possible, ideally everything, is maintained in a state where it can be independently changed without having to repeat other work done later in the original process, and where the original bits are maintained unaltered at the bottom of the stack.)

Morning Mike,

That is Linus not Linux and you are a pillock not a Pollock :-).


And he is not in any way related to this Linus:


Linux = Linus + Unix....= Linux....


Ubuntu is philosophy from sub-saharan Africa based on cooperation and mutual respect. And one of the more advanced (usable by Pillocks and Pollocks alike).

And some really, really great drawing and art programs are in Linux for FREE or a nice FEE (thank you indeed).

Programs are:

The beatiful creativity suite Krita (Chalk) that is great for creating al kinds of drawings and computer art. And Mypaint (also a drawing program). And of course Gimp (with G'Mic and GPS (Gimp Paint Studio) extensions).

So in the words of the legendary:

Are you experienced?

Greets, Ed.

I use and recommend Gimp running on Linux. I remember when the 2.0 Linux kernel was released in 1996, which makes me really old in computer years.

Long term (10 years + and counting) Linux user here. I use The Gimp occasionally when I have to perform some layering stuff. But the majority is done in 16 bit RawTherapee, or - much less often - in Corel AfterShot Pro, which was formerly known as Bibble Pro.

Not much Adobe software for Linux around, but I'd really try some others if they did support it - like C1, DxO, and the like.

I believe if you dig way down deep in your Mac OS, you'll discover Unix/Linux in the basement.

[When it comes to software, I am definitely a shallow person. --Mike]

"(Sorry; we recently fired our entire graphics staff in a Pyrrhic cost-cutting move.)"

How in the world do you imagine that you'll be able to visually communicate in a graphics-drenched world? Just because writing instruments have become more advanced does not mean they can draw by themselves. A guy with a new Sharpie and a paper pad is no substitute for a trained draftsperson.

Shame on you, Mike.

GIMP has the linux user interface problem ... I last used it a long time ago, but the interface then was pretty random and weird.

MacOS is indeed Unix at the bottom (for the pedantic, it's a BSD-based system but with Mach in the very center). But it's not Linux and it critically has its own systems for graphics, user interface, typography, etc.

This Photoshop business will probably result in some fairly inexpensive bitmap editors making a run for Adobe's lost users. It's certainly not clear to me what I really need from the tool that Lightroom doesn't do for me. But I was never a heavy user anyway.

I'm sorry that I can't support you via Amazon sales. When I remember I do it through our schools PTO (they also need lots of help, especially now here in Wisconsin). Hope you understand. However if it's from B&H I support you.

Just a point of clarification: GIMP is available for OSX and Windows (for free). It's not just for Linux.

Gimp doesn't support 16 bit or CMYK . Been looking at photoline http://www.pl32.com/. Interesting product.

I've dabbled with GIMP for about 10 years, the last time maybe 2 years ago. For photograph post-processing, it basically has two flaws, both major: 1) 8 bit processing, 16 bit processing never seems to happen 2) the user interface is horrible, it typically takes many more commands to perform common operations as it takes in Photoshop and some data visualizations are poor. Since I've seen no improvement on either point during the years, I've in practice given up on GIMP.


I think you covered this before, but many (photo) items are priced identically on Amazon and B&H; in those cases, which vendor gives more benefits to TOP?

GIMP is getting 16 and 32 bit colour depth; they've had to rebuild pretty much all of the gubbins. It's likely that 2.10 will appear this year, and will have full GEGL ("GEneric Graphics Library") support.

In the meantime, there's always CinePaint; this was the GIMP a long time ago, and then various Hollywood studios turned it into what is primarily a video retouching tool. It does lots of colour depth, and is available for Mac.

I've used Gimp on and off for quite a few years (been using Linux since '96 or so). I'm not very good using it, but I'm way better with Gimp than with PS. Gimp has been slowly moving towards floating 32 bit depth with GEGL which is supposed to be fully implemented on Gimp 2.10:


For my "serious" work I use Bibble 5 and Cinepaint. I'm most familiar with Cinepaint, but it's a bit of a pain to get the most current version since it's only available in cvs, and you need to compile an install it yourself. The developers are working on making it more readily available in more Linux distributions.

(And don't finish a sentence with a preposition either...)

"That is one rule up with which I will not put."

- Winston Churchill


"Anyway, I think you get how this works. By the bye..."

No, I think that should be "Buy the buy."

sorry, I have been in the woods in the rain for a week.

Good Evening Mike,

Does that guy know he's funny? He certainly hopes so.
Steven Colbert is a parody of conservative talk shows. He goes over the top, which given the state of some conservative shows he has to climb pretty high. He stays in character anytime he is on camera or in public. I have forgotten what his real personality is like. He is a graduate of Jon Stewart's The Daily Show, which I hope you watch.


There is actually a PWP build that runs on Mac available at their website. There's a 30-day trial licence so you might want to check it out.

First off, I think you need to make a distinction between the newspaper industry that makes the paper things they throw on your lawn and the News-industry that investigates, reports, collects, informs, humors, illustrates and inspires the facts, figures, people, places, events, issues, and happenings of a town, city or country.

Just because it make no economic sense to put that reporting on paper does not mean it makes no sense to collect that information and distribute it in another medium.

That the Sun-Times cannot figure out a way to monetize that function does not make its photojournalists luddites any more than it makes their writing and editing staff luddites for not getting fired. Unless they get fired next and the whole paper goes down.

Maybe you should try blogging about photography and only use your iphone for a while to see how effective that is....

[...And next off? --Mike]

The high bit dept version of gimp is
32 floating point bits per color
If only my printer weren't so dependent on photoshop
And of only Linux would get color management working.
(Please tell me I am wrong, I'd so much like to be wrong)

In the meantime, what software can handle images with dimensions greater than 80,000 pixels with 100 layers gracefully, or do I have to buy a computer with 72gb of ram

Just as an addendum to Andreas' comment about bit depth in GIMP, the development branch of the program already has support for 16 (and 32) bits per channel. If you're feeling adventurous, you can download a development version (2.9 series) and try it out.

Dear Mike,

Rocky Nook sent me a copy of that book to review. I really need to kick that up in the queue...

pax / Ctein

I haven't tried it in a couple of years, but I found GIMP to be be representative of a lot of open source materials.
There is so much high level thinking going into it that it is incredible in it's technical capabilities, but unless you think like an engineer or a programer (or even if you do), it is devoid of elegance, and completely without soul-kinda like kissing your sister.

Somehow, I suspect that you did not really confuse Linus of Charlie Brown and Linux. You were just funnin' I bet.

[I was trying. Give me that, I try. --Mike]

My printer (Epson K Chrome beast) is thouroughly 8 bit (using AdobeRGB) as is a .jpg output for screen (using sRGB). Color and contrast manipulation is handled by RAWTHERAPEE 4.x (version update regularly) and Olympus Photo Viewer 3.0 and DxO. Then GIMP takes over....al that on Windows based i5 computer. Output has never given me troubles.....have to stop now, to hand a picture to a client.

By the way in 2.10 due to appear in early 2014 GEGL should have taken over all operations on 32 bit level. GIMP will then be 16 bit.....not that I would need that, but it sure is conveinient.

Greets, Ed.

I use GIMP, gThumb and Rawtherapee. Have use Photoshop once. Hated it. Was so different and complicated.

I sympathise with your current pet peeve. Mine is the phrase "going forward". David Mitchell (UK comedian) sums it it more than I ever could in his short video.



Jim Witkowski writes: "I believe if you dig way down deep in your Mac OS, you'll discover Unix/Linux in the basement."

Unix, definitely. Mac OS X is a certified BSD Unix.

Linux, not much, despite the common ancestry.

A geeky but nice Unix family tree can be found here.

GIMP is capable, but if your brain is used to (and likes) the Photoshop way of doing things, GIMP's interface can be really, Really REALLY hard to get used to. I have to make use of it once or twice a year at work, and I always have a lot of trouble figuring out how to do some simple operations.

Interesting to see from the other comments that some people find GIMP's interface superior. To me it seems really badly designed, but to each his own.

Nathan: So MathMap got you into photography? That makes me happy. I'm the author of MathMap :-)

Have you ever seen Gimpshop? http://www.gimpshop.com/ I tried it when it was just an add-on to make GIMP look and behave like Photoshop by using a similar tool palette and shortcuts. I personally saw no point because I had Photoshop but it certainly made GIMP much more manageable.

Yay! Confirmation that my TOP bookmark for Amazon continues to work after all these years!

(I'm assuming that no one else here ordered a bottle of Contradiction for Women by Calvin Klein. ^_^ )

The comments to this entry are closed.



Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 06/2007