Photoshop Versus Free Graphic Software

Although Gnu has been around for many years, providing free software for many distributions, it is wrong to think of the Gnu program as only providing software for Unix and Linux systems. A variety of Gnu programs have become available for Windows that can compete well with commercial offerings. The Gnu Image Manipulation program, called the Gimp, offers much of the same functionality as does Adobe’s Photoshop. Each one has specific advantages and drawbacks. Which one a person uses will depend on his needs and his chosen operating system. Photoshop is not available for many platforms.

Adobe’s Photoshop is one of the most popular commercial programs for manipulating images. It works well and many people will download it illegally via Bit torrent and Warez sites, despite the viruses that such pirated software often contains. Linux and Unix users have long had to use the free program available to them, known as the Gnu Image Manipulation Project, or the Gimp for short. Photoshop is available only for Windows and the Macintosh OS, although this may change as the popularity of Linux increases.

Both Photoshop and the Gimp are powerful programs that allow those who know their inner workings to do amazing photographic edits, but the serious person who does photo editing, an investment in Photoshop is recommended. Adobe’s program is considerably easier to learn, but at the moment is only available for Windows and Macintosh environments.

True to the ideals of the Gnu project, the Gimp is available for free. A version exists for nearly every operating system imaginable. Many Linux distributions, including the popular Ubuntu, install the Gimp as part of the operating system’s software package. Manuals and tutorials for using this complex program can be found online. Far fewer books have been written for this software, although that is changing as it gains popularity.

Some things Photoshop can do faster as it does not rely on the routines implemented in the GTK toolkit, but because the Gimp is open source a variety of add-ons and features can be downloaded and installed. Not only that, unlike the commercial Adobe Photoshop, users can modify the source code to meet their particular needs if they are good at programming and interpreting the code others have written. Most users do not care about a programs source code, provided the program is not difficult to learn to use and can perform the tasks for which the user requires the software.

According to this web site, there are special features that Photoshop supports professionals require that cannot be found in the Gimp. This may or may not have been true at the time the author wrote the web site. Many plug ins add increased functionality to the Gimp, but people who work with graphics for a living probably do not want to waste time finding modules to make a program function the way they need it to.

A professional graphic artist that uses Windows or the Mac OS and wants to avoid a learning procedure that may include countless frustrating Internet searches looking for how to do something in the GIMP, Photoshop should be their choice. Photoshop may be pricey, but it allows a user who knows how to use the software to its full capabilities to put forth a professional image with the minimum amount of effort. Professional that work on Linux or Unix platforms must learn to do the same things with the Gimp.

The average user who uses such programs to make signatures on an Internet forum, or just needs to crop, resize, or cut out parts of pictures taken with digital camera can do all these tasks with either, but need not worry about long downloads of illegal software if they decide to use the Gimp instead.

Adobe Photoshop should be purchased, but the GIMP may be downloaded or ordered on CD. Both are full-featured graphics programs, but which one a person uses will depend on the image they want to convey, the functionality they need (Photoshop is still ahead slightly out of the package), and how much time a person is willing to invest in learning to use the software. A person who wishes to try out the Gnu Image Manipulation project for the first time can go to [http://www.thegimp.org] and find the download link appropriate to their operating system. Windows users may also have to download the GTK to get many other pieces of GNU software working on their computer.

Learning Photoshop 7 Using Online Tutorials

Photoshop 7 is not the granddaddy of Adobe’s image editing programs, but it’s considered as a jump-off point by many. In fact, if you learned Photoshop through version 7, you probably have all the skills you need to master higher versions such as the CS series.

Since much of the attention these days is focused on CS2 and CS3, you might find some Photoshop 7 tutorials a little hard to come by. But don’t worry, there are still sites that have kept Photoshop 7 tutorials available. Here are some you might want to check for reference:

http://www.idigitalemotion.com

This site does not only feature Photoshop 7 tutorials but also includes tips on using Image Ready and higher versions like Photoshop CS. While Photoshop 7 is a great program to start learning image editing with, this site also includes helpful tips for advanced users.

For beginners, there are a lot of tutorials you’ll find very helpful. You just need to search for the tutorials that are marked Photoshop v.7 or ‘Beginner’ if you wish to start at that level. This site features tutorials on the basics of Photoshop 7 including using texts and buttons, image manipulation and composition, using texture and backgrounds, digital creation and coloring. It also includes video tutorials if you want more than textual tips.

Learn about overflow blending, embossing and using studio backdrops to improve the look of your photographs. The lessons are easy to read and learning Photoshop 7 is painless.

http://www.computer-training-software.com

If you like learning Photoshop 7 at your own pace (and get a free certificate as well), this is a site you might want to check out. Provided of course, that you don’t mind paying for lessons. But at only $30 for unlimited online access, you probably have nothing to complain about. Get more than 35,000 tutorials anytime you like. If you’re unsure, you can sign up for a free demo of the lessons to see for yourself.

[http://www.arraich.com]

This site is quite helpful if you want to learn Photoshop 7 as an inexperienced user. You’ll be guided by online tutorials every step of the way, although it’s recommended you try to learn the basics first before anything else. The tips can be deceptively tempting to jump to and you might miss out on certain key points. You’ll find it a lot easier to advance your Photoshop learning if you went slowly, starting with the basic techniques first.

Tutorials are quite easy to find because they are grouped into general topics. Learn about Photoshop 7 tools, palettes, filters and effects. Find out how important layers are and how color management works. If you’re a little confused, go to the Tips Index to find a more organized listing of tutorials.

On the homepage, you’ll find a Photoshop 7 window showing you an overview of the main features and some menus. The textual tips will walk you through a sample Photoshop 7 window so you’ll get to know which tool goes where, what it’s called and how it’s used.

http://www.yellowpipe.com

Photoshop 7 tricks and techniques work as well on the CS series and the tutorials featured on this site are free, so you have nothing to lose. Many of the tutorials are straightforward techniques so you might want to brush up on your Photoshop 7 basics before going in.

You can check the site from time to time for updates or subscribe to their newsletter if you want the newest info on Photoshop 7. If you have questions about a tutorial, you can send them an e-mail through a link on their site.

Learn Photoshop Tutorials

If you don’t want to spend much money but want to learn Photoshop, then head online and you will find a variety of tutorials – both paid for and free that will help you out.

But a word of advice – don’t just jump in and start watching and trying to learn without a plan. Why? Because Photoshop is a beast and it is very likely you will learn out of sequence and only get frustrated.

You need to start with the basics. Sorry – before you can tweak images to make fat girls look thin or make your puny body look buff you need to know your way around.

So a structured plan is definitely recommended.

First thing is first. Do you know the difference between working and exported files?

The Photoshop image file you work with is good for nothing except for just that – working with Photoshop. You need to export images into print and/or web friendly formats. You also need to have an understanding of image size and resolution. Very important!

There are three main file types you will be exporting. GIFs, JPEGs, and PNGs. GIFs are a great format for the web. It is a simple file type limited to 256 colours but can support transparency and animation. JPEGs are a more versatile image, with greater colour support but by nature are compressed files and do not support transparency. PNGs are the perfect file type taking on the best of both GIF and JPEG but if you are using for the web, beware that stupid Internet Explorer – especially the older versions which unfortunately so many people around the world is still using – do not support this file type.

After understanding the basics of file types, it is onto the layout of Photoshop and setting up your workspace. You need to seek out tutorials covering Photoshop’s “workspace and interface”. Do a search especially on YouTube and this will yield exercises to learn about the menu bar, the options bar and the toolbox.

Your first search for free Photoshop tutorials should focus on the following subjects: Introduction to the User Interface, Creating opening and saving files – Bringing in files into Photoshop, Saving files and file organisation, Managing multiple files, Workspaces, Selections, Refining and modifying selections and Creating illusions.

Next you want to learn about the Toolbox. The toolbox in Photoshop is split up into 4 sections which are the Selection, Crop & Slice Tools (VERY useful for the Photoshop beginner), Retouch & Paint Tools, Drawing & Type Tools (Vector Tools) and the Annotations & Measurement Tools.

When you first look at the toolbox, some of the icons have a small arrow in the lower right corner. If the button has this arrow, it means this tool has a variety of other options under it. For example if you have Photoshop open right now, hover over the Marquee told for a good example of this.

Seek to learn Photoshop tutorials on each of the sections of the Toolbox listed above. Do NOT jump ahead because as previously warned you will be doing the tutorials ahead of your time and get completely lost and frustrated.

So once you are familiar with the layout, then look for tutorials centred on the Tools.

Maybe in this suggested order: Healing and Retouching, the Pen tool (this is a very important tool to master – simple but effective and not enough people spend the time learning this one properly), painting tools, colour replacement, layer masks, layer styling, blending modes, filters, custom shapes and smart objects.

Following this order one after the other will give you a good basis to learn Photoshop via tutorials.

But another little piece of advice before wrapping up this short article. Consider investing in Photoshop courses – of the paid variety – not free. There are many available to you on the Internet and most follow a detailed and recommended structure. You don’t need to spend much – if you budget for $100, this is a good investment in making your Photoshop discovery process a little less frustrating!