[Note: This is an old post and I can now say that I have made a full transition to GIMP. Install of the newest version went smooth as silk but I will let all the information be on the page, as a history lesson I guess. I still like the interface of Paint.NET better and it's easier to use, but for serious photo editing you need GIMP. Thank you for your interest.]
Desperately trying to win a Sony DSC-H10 or a Sony Alpha 900 in the VAIO Photo Elite contest, I've decided that I cannot win this unless I unleash my Photoshop abilities. Unfortunately I haven't got Photoshop. But thankfully there are free alternatives which are just as competent, and less bulky, than Adobes award winning, extremely expensive photo editing software. Those of you who read my last post know that I placed Paint.NET as number four on my easiest to use software/OS top ten (unfortunately Blogger decided to transform my countdown list to small yellow blobs). And I also said that GIMP was slightly harder to use. And here is why.
While waiting for Paint.NET 4.0 (which probably won't be released anytime soon) and long awaited features (like: RGB Channels, masks, native customizable brushes, a skewing tool, a smudge tool etc.) I decided to try GIMP… again. My most recent experience was when my hard drive decided to fail and I played around with Ubuntu on a live DVD. GIMP is competent and fun, but it feels… a bit GNU-like. So what's wrong with that you probably wonder (especially you who don't know what GNU means)? Well, GNU assumes you like starting programs from command lines, and editing bin files to make things run smoothly. When toying around in Linux this seemed fun, but for everyday use it's a bit tedious.
So installing the newest GIMP 2.6.2 on my Vista system proved no different. The language was in Swedish and since 99% of Photoshop/Paint.NET/GIMP tutorials out there are in English I wanted to switch to an English interface. That was easier said than done. After realizing that you could not change the language in the program I consulted the GIMP forum. I was not the only one with the problem, and it had been "resolved"… on XP. The mental vision in my head was of a bunch of GIMP developers grinning at my "incompetence". By accident I stumbled upon a Flickr forum where François Collard had solved it by creating a batch file.
- Open notepad and write the following lines:
- set lang=en
- start GIMP-x.y.exe
- Where x.y is the version number of GIMP (check the folder Program Files/GIMP x.y/bin)
- Save as GIMP_en.bat and make a shortcut on your desktop (you can change the icon using Properties>Change Icon and browse the GIMP x.y/bin folder and select the original exe file.
When you start GIMP with this batch file everything will be in English. Hooray. To be fair The GIMP is an excellent choice for broke amateur photo editors with the will to fiddle around a bit. It is more powerful than Paint.NET. If you are a broke amateur photo editor with less or no programming skills Paint.NET is for you.
A GNU program you shouldn't even bother with is Jahshaka (video editor) which is truly incomprehensible, even in English. See you next time when I'll discuss "How to spot a desperate salesman".
Since many of my readers visit this page I thought I would extend with some further details.
Features in GIMP you would like to use in Paint.NET:
- Customizable docks
- Brushes with variable softness (feather)
- Eraser with transparency setting
- Perspective tools
Features in Paint.NET you would like to use in GIMP:
- Opening multiple pictures in tabs
- Setting English as your default language
- A simple interface that is easy on the eye
- The fantastic Curves+ tool
It seems that GIMP has won, at least on paper. And that is where I am torn; I like all the features in GIMP, probably like them more than similar features in Paint.NET, but Paint.NET is just so easy to use. It really is an upgraded version of MS Paint. Simple, sleek, but with quite advanced features, which makes Paint.NET my first choice. Paint.NET 4.0 is exciting news, and some of the features I miss will probably be implemented then. I should give GIMP another try someday, but not now: I am having too much fun in Paint.NET!