Computer software and Operating Systems


Graeme Harvey

I'm not particularly experienced in using many different programs. The two photo enhancement programs I've used are:

Serif PhotoPlus (in various forms over the years) check

GIMP (pronounced "Jimp" and stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program)

Up until my previous computer broke down, I always used PhotoPlus and it's a very good piece of kit, feature-rich and at a fraction of the cost of its competitors. I would recommend it to anyone.

However, since I had the new machine (c/w Vista), I couldn't cope with all the hassle with the Vista Operating System and so began to use the Ubuntu Linux OS instead. This proved to be a much better option for me, although it wouldn't run any of my windows software (a bit like Vista, really!)

However, the advantage is that Linux has a great deal of free software that you can use, and the GIMP is one of those programs. (I think there are Windows and Mac versions as well which are also available as free downloads). Again, this is a feature-rich program which has now all-but replaced Photoplus for me when I do any manipulation work. However, I do fire up windows and Photoplus very occasionally when I need to do something that's either not available or more complicated to do with GIMP.

In summary, I'd recommend either of these programs. If you're on a tight budget, both can be obtained legally for free. Serif do a full-featured download of Photoplus SE (which I think is the old Photoplus 6) here:

And the GIMP is available for free on the above link.

Either way, you don't have to bankrupt yourself getting full-price copies of Photoshop, and you can still get excellent results using either of these programs. If you ever need any help or advice using either of them, I'm happy to help. Just leave a note on this thread or send me a private message.
A friend - former IT manager who can dream in Linux who segued into being a working photographer - was asked by a fanboi why he did not use the GIMP. He said he could not afford to. I stood amused as the fanboi exploded "BUT GIMP IS FREE". Sean deadpanned in return, "Yeah, but my time isn't."

TBH I find the GIMP more easy to use and I can find my round it a lot easier than quite a lot of recent Microsoft software. At the end of the day, I suppose it's whatever floats your boat. By the time I've finished booting up windows, downloading updates for anti-spyware, anti-virus and firewall software, been nagged umpteen times to reboot because my computer has been downloading updates that it can't do without, I could have trimmed, rotated, normalised, scaled and added borders to an album full of photographs in the GIMP!

I only have Linux on my NAS. My windows machines are all custom purpose-built and cause few problems that are not of my making. Each machine runs a limited number of applications - those for which it was built. They are only re-booted when software is updated, so the loss of time is negligible. I can time these for when I am working on another machine, so only seconds are spent. IN fact, I am writing this message on my A/V machine which is otherwise idle at the moment and the graphics machine is being updated as I write.

Photoshop CS3 was so powerful, that I never got around to updating it to CS4. However, CS5 Extended adds such immense functionality that directly applies to my workflow that I very quickly upgraded. Thinking back to the amount of time spent in CS3, it was like renting it for pennies an hour. Of course, it helps to be completely fluent in it. Not necessarily the best choice for a newbie. I started image processing on an Amiga in the late 1980s and have turned down to offers from publishers to do yet another Photoshop book.

If you are content with the GIMP by all means stay there. "If it works, don't fix it".
If you are content with the GIMP by all means stay there. "If it works, don't fix it".

Couldn't agree more.

However, it's always informative to know what the pros use, how they use it and why. That's what the forum's all about, after all.
I visualize the result I want as I am about to trip the shutter. I don't want either the camera or software getting in my way and delaying me. The more attention I have to pay to overcome the weaknesses of the process, the less attention I have to pay to content. Content rules.
For me it's Adobe CS5...I started with an early version of Elements, then into Light-room, finally moved into Photoshop two years ago. A friend of mine uses GIMP and loves it! Use what works for you! As Ansel Adams said: "A photograph is looked at, seldom looked into." If you are content with the GIMP by all means stay there. "If it works, don't fix it".