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Which one? GIMP vs Elements vs Corel Paint Shop Pro

Scott Mills , Aug 05, 2008; 09:42 p.m.

Long story, but I don't have CS2 anymore and don't have $. So, which of the following would be my best alternative ->Which one? GIMP vs Elements vs Corel Paint Shop Pro. In CS2 I mostly used levels, USM, shadow/highlight, layers with mask for skin softening using the mask and paintbrush to reveal eyes and teeth and anything else I didn't want to soften. I also enjoyed channel mixer for B&W and the use of the clone tool and dodge and burn tools, as well as the magnetic wand and a few other features. I tried GIMP and maybe I just have to get the hang of it but nothing seems subtle - USM seems strange, and I tried to dodge an area using 25% exposure and it resulted in an obvious light circle of light. So, what do you think my best option is? I have a 30 day trial of Corel and really like it but don't have time to fully learn it before trial is up. Any thoughts? Thanks


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Larry Cooper , Aug 05, 2008; 09:58 p.m.

I think Paint Shop Pro is the best deal, but that may be because I too tried GIMP and just didn't like it. GIMP's big advantage is that it is free. PSP is not free, but very reasonable, and does everything a photographer could want except handle 16 bit images for everything.

If you want to get really confused, have a look at Picture Window Pro. It is a VERY complete package for photographers with complete 16 bit capabilities. It is very under appreciated in my opinion. It is the editor I turn to first.

Both PSP and PWP are more capable of real photo editing than is Elements.

Dave Redmann , Aug 05, 2008; 11:48 p.m.

Basically, my view is that the only important (to me) thing that GIMP won't yet do (fully handle 16-bit images), Paint Shop Pro and, last I checked, Photoshop Elements won't do either. Also, last I knew / IIRC, Photoshop Elements didn't have curves. Under the circumstances, I couldn't see paying $60 - $100 for a program when a free one was basically as good. I've used GIMP for a few years now, and it has its quirks, but it's pretty powerful.

Andrew Gale , Aug 06, 2008; 12:33 a.m.

Gimp, you didnt ask for 16 bit, and it will do everything else, except maybe not B&W channels almost as easily as CS2. I have it and CS3 and rarely use CS3 since its a bit slower and also slows the computer and because gimp is so simple and does everything I need 90% of the time.

Its free too. Try gimpshop for the look and feel of PS without spending a cent.

Ilia Farniev , Aug 06, 2008; 01:47 a.m.

Corel PSP does it all right as long as you don't want full blown 16 bit editing or CMYK editing and work on files no larger then 200MB or so.

P C Headland , Aug 06, 2008; 06:38 a.m.

Have you considered Lightroom or LightZone - neither are free, but they may fit in the budget.

Elements 6 will do some functions in 16bit.

Walt Flanagan , Aug 06, 2008; 08:12 a.m.

I use GIMP for some editing things but personally I like Bibble for RAW workflow. It's similar to Lightroom and Aperture but the Lite version is only $70.

LJ Kirk , Aug 06, 2008; 11:04 a.m.

In order of capability, I would go with Paint Shop Pro, PS Elements, and GimpShop. PSP has some nice correction features that I think are missing in Elements (purple fringing/CA) and better 16-bit image support; you can do some limited editing in 16-bit in Elements, but not things like burn/dodge, clone, etc. You can add a free plug-in to Elements to get Curves (at least it worked in versions up to 5).

I have Elements 5, PSP X1, and CaptureNX 1.1, and there isn't much I can't do that I really need to ....

Steven Clark , Aug 06, 2008; 01:07 p.m.

Paint Shop Pro is probably what you're looking for. I mostly use Picture Window Pro myself, but it's not a layers-based editor so fancier stuff is trickier.

Pete Millis , Aug 06, 2008; 01:58 p.m.

GIMP2 is a piece of cake to use and is very very capable....and as per previous comments above, it's free.

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