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I am a web designer.

I do not use/own any adobe products... except for watching flash videos online of course.

I currently use gimp 2.6 for my graphic needs. It's free and I know how to use it. The thing is, it seems that there are 10 times as many resources for Photoshop as there are for gimp.

Even though I have a good knowledge of gimp my graphical design talents aren't that great.

Do you think I should purchase adobe Photoshop? What about their other products? Do you recommend any books, blogs websites, etc. to help me acquire better graphic/web design skills?

Please speak from experience, and thanks in advance!

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If you want something a little less complex you could give Adobe Fireworks a try. I switched to it around Photoshop 5 and still continue to use it. Love it. Opinions: It's easier, better for beginners, more intuitive, has what you need. –  Ryan Doom Oct 8 '11 at 12:43
    
@Ryan Doom Fireworks was originaly created for web design so it should work even better than photoshop but the thing is, just like any other adobe product, you have to learn fireworks and most ppl cba and find it useless as they already know ps and can archive the same results –  Mr D May 12 '13 at 13:26

11 Answers 11

Its really depends on can you afford it or not. Photoshop is a great software and I've been using it for years. The way i see it every professional should have that software. If you have money i will recommend you to buy it :)

And also for training checkout http://lynda.com for that my favorite instructor is Deke http://www.lynda.com/Deke-McClelland/98-1.html He is the best!

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As Sisir already said if you can afford adobe product you should go for them.there is no comparison of adobe products in this industry...

To acquire better graphic/web design skills see these question from this site surely they gonna help you alot :

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That "13 reasons" link is very poorly written. Many of the points are duplicates and others are just bizarre. For example, "You can run Gimp on an Xbox", "you can make your Gimp interface look like Photoshop", "Photoshop has lots of features but you don't need them", "even if Photoshop has features that Gimp doesn't have, Gimp will probably have them in the next version." (paraphrased for brevity) –  Farray Oct 10 '11 at 19:20
    
lol the xbox thing was example of portability –  Jack Oct 11 '11 at 4:46

It might also be worthwhile to checkout Paint.net.

It's free and I find it to be sufficient for many of my simple graphics design needs.

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Thanks for the suggestion, but Paint.net is just about as uncommon as Gimp. The main reason why I would switch to adobe's software is because it is more widely used, it has more tutorials/resources, and many clients prefer that file type. –  Web_Designer Oct 10 '11 at 23:57

First you're asking about Web Design and Graphic Design.... these are two entirely different things so I'm answering strictly in regards to graphic design.

I've used both Gimp and Photoshop. Photoshop is without a doubt the better platform. The interface is far more intuitive and the general workflow with the layers and transparency is all superior. Inkscape is a wonderful program that is just as good as Illustrator so that you can get covered but I'd definitely try to get Photoshop. Look up what the oldest version you can purchase is that is upgradeable to CS5 and then buy that old one off ebay and then you can upgrade it and still come away cheaper.

As far as learning is concerned the best way to get good is through consistent experimentation in what works and what doesn't work. Tutorials can give you some pointers on how to create a specific effect but ultimately you have to develop your own aesthetic ideas and no book or course will be able to teach you that aspect.

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The "TL;DR" version:

  • If you have extra room in your budget, it never hurts to learn another tool.
  • In the absence of an immediate need that Gimp isn't meeting, there is no inherent "learn Photoshop" rule that you must adhere to.
  • If your Gimp workflow is efficient and produces good art, what does it matter if there are a bunch of Photoshop tutorials or downloadable brushes available?
  • Don't ever give more prominence to the tools used than to your own abilities.

The verbose thoughts:

It all comes down to your needs and your particular skillset. As a many-year use of The Gimp, no doubt you are familiar with its peculiarities and interface. This is typically the largest barrier to using it - users who have been conditioned to the Photoshop-style interface - and you are already over the hump. Don't forget that most of the people who say Photoshop is "easier" or "more intuitive" likely started with Photoshop and are conditioned to work that way. Much like switching from Windows to Mac or vice-versa, your mind has been trained a certain way and there is a cost to re-training.

There are 4 main things that Photoshop offers:

  1. Tutorials

    Since you're experienced with the Gimp and design work, this might be a wash. Many more tutorials exist for Photoshop, but I would imagine you may be able to translate them to a Gimp workflow without much effort. This really depends on whether you can read through a PS tutorial and say "ok, instead of X layer-style, I need to add a gradient and some blur and a blending layer to achieve the same effect".

  2. Brushes/Shapes Libraries

    There are a bunch of freely available libraries for the Adobe suite, but I personally almost never use them in Photoshop. Illustrator, yes - but Photoshop, not really.

  3. Plugins/Filters

    I can't speak with authority on this since I've never downloaded/bought/used any custom plugins or filters for Photoshop. Most of them seem to be glorified Layer Styles or Actions that come with a price-tag. If you can discern the effects being used, you may be able to create comparable scripts in Gimp that do the same thing.

  4. Teamwork

    This isn't a direct offering from Adobe, but a side-effect of the ecosystem. It's worth considering whether or not you'll ever work as part of a team. If you work in Gimp and everyone else works in Adobe, you undoubtedly will have trouble passing files around and sharing hints & tips.

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A primary reason to use Photoshop over the gimp, quite apart from its greater capabilities as an imaging tool, is the enormous community that you instantly plug into. Photoshop isn't just a graphics product, it's a vast infrastructure of users, forums, blogs, 3rd-party developers and free and commercial training resources. It also comes with additional utilities (Bridge, Camera Raw, the Extendscript toolkit for javascript, Pixel Bender, etc.) that enhance and speed up your workflow.

The sheer quantity of available tutorial material out there, whether video or written, is amazing. The free tv.adobe.com site is packed with video tutorials on individual products and ways to leverage the integration provided by different suites. Lynda.com has everything, of course, but honestly the resources are endless and most of them are free.

Dreamweaver's code editor, if you go that route, is strong, going well beyond just HTML and CSS. (Some love it, some don't -- it's a matter of taste as much as anything else.) Having a built-in webkit engine, easy AMP stack integration, automated round-tripping between DW and PS/FW for image updates, and automatic housekeeping, automatic relinking, etc., takes care of a lot of routine site management chores. The multi-screen capabilities in DW CS5.5 help when building sites targeted at mobile devices, and Device Central gives you a boatload of mobile device mockups for testing ideas.

The initial investment in a Web Standard or Web Premium suite is substantial, but it IS an investment, not just an expense (although it does come off your earnings as a business expense for tax purposes). Once you have a suite the upgrades are quite inexpensive.

Adobe's focus is always on speed of production in a commercial workflow, and my experience over the years has been that a typical upgrade pays for itself in saved production time within a very few weeks.

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I do use Adobe products, but before I purchased CS3-CS5, I downloaded a free/trail copy on the web, so I could evaluate it. I'm not condoning downloading hacked versions, but if you really like the product then you will buy it, like i did. Nothing is worse then updating your computer and the hacked version crashes leaving all your files useless.

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Adobe offers free trials themselves (I don't know how long they've been doing so) yet there's no need to get a pirated version to evaluate it. –  DumbNic Oct 24 '13 at 17:27

Adobe, for better or worse, like it or not, is the standard for the ad and graphic design worlds.

So as you commented, the reason to go with Adobe products is typically to just be compatible with co-workers and other agencies/vendors/clients/freelancers.

But if you are more independent and working solo, then it really doesn't matter. Go with what you like.

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The most important thing is your skill with the tool, not the tool itself, as many have said.

But which tool do you want to invest your time becoming skilled with?

My experience has been that Photoshop is more full featured, better supported, and easier to use than GIMP. Since buying photoshop, I've never been tempted to open GIMP again, even once. And I'd never have paid the hundreds of dollars for Photoshop if GIMP had been meeting my needs.

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If you're a student, you can buy Adobe products at discounted rates http://www.studica.com

If you're employed, see if your employer can purchase the software for your use.

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I don't know about you guys but I HATE with a passion Photoshop for web design. It is not intuitive; it's not great for rapid prototyping but it is great for photo manipulation.

Fireworks is by far the best tool I have used for rapid prototyping of websites but unfortunately they will be discontinuing it!

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Lol why thank you John.. ;-) –  Steve Church Oct 29 '13 at 12:36

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