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Developed By : The GIMP Team
Type : Raster image editor
Compatibility : Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux (bundled with Ubuntu)
Popularity : Probably the most popular tool with comic makers

GIMP, formerly The GIMP, which stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program, is a free raster image editing program extremely popular with comic makers due to its wide range of features and powerful editing capabilities which even rival those of Adobe Photoshop.

Due to this, there has been constant rivalry between Photoshop and GIMP comic makers (see also the Photoshop talk page on this wiki). Another fact is that GIMP supports Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. Photoshop does not support Linux.

GIMP is arguably the most popular tool with comic makers, second only to Paint. However, most comic artists are incapable of doing much with the program beyond the use of the Supernova plugin and the Smudge tool.



GIMP 2.6.6

The GIMP interface is simple and effective. The main interface composes of the layout and scroll menus (File, Edit, Filters, etc.), while the toolbox and new or opened images are in separate windows. This layout has been criticized for hogging taskbar space, or just looking ugly.

GIMP has a main window and several dialogue windows used for tools, color palettes and so forth; as such GIMP uses a (controlled) single document interface. In a single document interface the responsibility of managing additional windows is left to the operating system. Because GIMP uses multiple windows a given user must place each window in a functional location, other user concerns for windowing include a situation where the toolbox and layer windows end up hidden behind unrelated application windows. This occurs less often in recent versions, where GIMP tells desktop environments how to handle its windows.

In order to construct its interface GIMP uses the GIMP tool kit (GTK+). GTK+ was designed to replace Motif, a proprietary toolkit upon which GIMP depended. Originally GTK+ was a part of the GIMP source tree, but has since been made into a standalone library. While originally being designed to run on Unix-like operating systems, GIMP and GTK+ have been ported to Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and other operating systems.


Although GIMP has a wide range of features, the main toolbox features these:

Selection tools

  • Rectangle Select Tool
  • Elipse Select Tool
  • Free Select Tool
  • Fuzzy Select Tool
  • Select by Color Tool
  • Scissors Select Tool
  • Foreground Select Tool

The Rest

  • Paths Tool
  • Color Picker Tool
  • Zoom Tool
  • Measure Tool
  • Move Tool
  • Alignment Tool
  • Crop Tool

The GIMP toolbox with the 33 listed tools and foreground/background colors.

  • Rotate Tool
  • Scale Tool
  • Shear Tool
  • Perspective Tool
  • Flip Tool
  • Text Tool
  • Bucket Fill Tool
  • Blend Tool
  • Pencil Tool
  • Paintbrush Tool
  • Eraser Tool
  • Airbrush Tool
  • Ink Tool
  • Clone Tool
  • Healing Tool
  • Perspective Clone Tool
  • Blur/Sharpen Tool
  • Smudge Tool
  • Dodge/Burn Tool


All the filter effects on GIMP are performed by Script-Fu, a script engine which loads the programmed effects and adds them to an image. GIMP also includes the Script-Fu Procedure Browser which allows you to browse the coding procedures that run the effects.

Script-Fu may load slowly or otherwise be laggy on older and slower systems, thus proving to be somewhat of an annoyance.


Although The GIMP Team has stated they do not aim to replace Photoshop, there have been two user interface modifications aiming to replicate the Photoshop one and make it easier for people used to the Photoshop interface to work with GIMP. These include GIMPshop, which however hasn't been updated since May 2006 and GimPhoto, a similar program which supports newer versions of GIMP.

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