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I have been moving toward Ubuntu from a long time Windows development background. The one program I cannot seem to do without is a graphic editor. I have seen recommendations for programs, but they turn out to be directed at children or tailored to working with personal photographs.

I am looking for something more for programming tasks like analysing colors, resizing, creating web graphics, etc. I have used Photoshop in the past and more recently have mostly used for Windows.

Is there a program for Ubuntu that covers this area?

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You'll be hard-pressed to find a solid alternative other than Gimp :S – SirCharlo Jun 15 '12 at 15:53
After using GIMP for a while, I started finding Photoshop to be annoying to use. You might want to try some GIMP tutorials to see if you can do things differently. Photoshop did a few things automatically that were nice, and probably has some specialized plugins that I never used that aren't available in GIMP, but GIMP has its own nice features, in my opinion. – Marty Fried Jun 15 '12 at 16:55

13 Answers 13

up vote 22 down vote accepted

gimp install gimp should do the job.

Many people I know complained that gimp has an awkward and unintuitive user interface, but hopefully you can get used to it and get the job done.

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Other aspects that GIMP noticeably lacks are some convenience features like adjustment layers and layer folders. I have used both, though, and GIMP is fine for 90% of what I need to do--which seems similar to the OPs requirements. – Tim Yates Sep 5 '10 at 22:22
Thanks. I downloaded and messed around with it and thius is what I wanted. I wasn;t really an expert with Photoshop, so I don't have any UI bias to get over. – Jim Blake Sep 5 '10 at 22:53
I actually have experienced the reverse of the UI effect mentioned - I use GIMP so much that when I had to work with Photoshop once, it was terribly unintuitive ;-) So I think it is in fact just a familiarity bias, not something inherently better about one program's UI as opposed to the other. – David Z Sep 6 '10 at 0:23
I have an issue with Gimp, something about the resolution. Sometimes you just can see the color change steps in gradients for instance. Something similar affects anti-aliasing. – Gonzalo Feb 20 '11 at 7:03
Be sure to put GIMP in Single-Window Mode if you're coming from Photoshop. You can find that under the Windows menu. – smhg Sep 21 at 18:22

As others have said GIMP is an excellent graphics program. I personally have not had any problems with the interface - I find it pretty intuitive. It is one of the featured applications in the Ubuntu Software Centre.

For creating web graphics, Inkscape (also a featured app) may be a better tool. It creates files in SVG format and can export to the usual .png, .jpg, .bmp etc. SVGs are good because they are scalable, so don't deform when resized. They also have the ability to be interactive using Javascript. SVG is a web standard.

Specifically for the 'programming' side of things you could use ImageMagick. It has a command line interface and also has bindings to many popular languages (including C, C++, perl, python, ruby, java). The ImageMagick program and its various language bindings are available from the software repositories.

To automate simple processes such as resizing, you can use Phatch. It is available from the software repositories.

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+1 for Inkscape, it's a great idea for diagrams and the like – David Z Sep 6 '10 at 0:24

As GIMP does (several) things differently than the other software, may I suggest the following resources, which might help you get things done:

I hope they are useful to you.

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Thanks. I think my best option is to try to learn how to use the gimp a little better. However, at least for now, I am obliged to use .psd files for work and that's a hard limitation. – reyquito Jun 15 '12 at 19:55

The only real issue interface wise is GIMP is not PhotoShop. So if you learned where things are in PS then GIMP will be a bit frustrating at first. Of course there are some folks who do there best to make GIMP like PS, like GimpShop (

Here is a good rundown of Linux based graphics programs:

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It's not only that it's not photoshop. Many people don't find comfortable with the multiple window interface. I personally don't have this problem and beside that gimp is getting better over time, but this issue cannot be minimized as it affects a lot of people. +1 for the link to gimpshop – ithkuil Sep 5 '10 at 22:20

For a Paint.NET alternative look here:

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Specifically Pinta: – TheLQ Sep 8 '10 at 1:29

For paint.NET? Definitely Pinta. And if you don't mind installing KDE dependencies be sure to try Krita as well.

Personally I barely use anything other than Inkscape, but that's because I do more creating than modifying.

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Inkscape and Pinta are pretty much everything I ever need to use for anything I may have to. – Abhay Rana Jun 5 '11 at 17:09

I'm using GIMP most of the time for adjusting photos (f.i. color-balance, gamma-correction), retouching (removing unwanted objects) and even changing the background.

Picasa3 is a useful photo-management-program with some basic features (clipping, red-eye-removal, changing color-ratio, ...). Most of the people I know are happy with Picasa. I primarily use Gimp and use Picasa afterwards to upload the photos (sharing, printing, saving)

Sometimes I use Xara Xtreme to create some extra effects.

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You can also try proprietary Pixel

Its interface is very similar to Photoshop.

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Have a look at Bibble. This commercial photographic workflow program works fine, very fine, on my Ubuntu 64 bit machine. The look and feel are much like Photoshop.

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Disagree, Bibble has not that much to do with photoshop, is not an image editor but more like a photography workflow tool, it compares to Lightroom and not Photoshop – t3mujin Dec 11 '10 at 1:09

As far as I know, GIMP would be your best free alternative to Photoshop. By far. If you are unhappy with GIMP consider using Photoshop through WINE. To see how, Click here

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Or, you could just go on line to and use it for free without any download or installation. It will open your psd with layers, and has most of the same effects. Deal-breakers for me are no rulers or guides, and canvas size in pixels only, no option in inches, so not good for printing exact sizes.

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GIMP should be the answer for both and Adobe Photoshop. I have been using GNU/Linux since 2002 and i am a professional photographer and graphic designer and i know the importance of Adobe Photoshop. I should say that more than 95% of what you can do in photoshop can be done in GIMP. This is your best alternative. Don't worry about the user interface, once you get used to it, you will become super-productive.

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Maybe you want to add how to install GIMP. – the_Seppi Sep 26 '14 at 17:30

WINE is an option but to tell the truth WINE dos not work very well.

The problem with Linux is there are not many good alternatives and many users will tell you to use GIMP, but they are not professionals so they do not understand that its not really an alternative.

Linux needs marketing, companies such as Canonical should take to companies such as Adobe and try to reach an agreement in order to improve each other.

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You may want to edit your post to explain concretely why you believe GIMP is not suitable for professional use, or to add citations to places where this is explained or argued. (I'm not saying you should turn this into a persuasive essay on the topic, but rather than slight expansion, and links, may serve to better illustrate your point.) – Eliah Kagan Jun 16 '12 at 0:49
As a professional, that uses both GIMP and Photoshop, GIMP is a great alternative to Photoshop. What you don't understand is the difference between "alternative" and "Interoperability" or "compatibility". Even using .psd files between different versions of Photoshop is problematic. That being said you should always use the same version and program in a workflow. Telling others that it is not an option because you don't know how to properly use it is not professional. – Mateo Jun 17 '12 at 17:38

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