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I know Adobe's solutions are more advanced, but, as professionals, do you think you would survive (against competition) using GIMP and/or Inkscape instead of Photoshop and/or Illustrator for your actual work? Would it be worth it or would it actually complicate your work?

I am specially interested to see if there is anyone that actually made the switch to the open source solutions and know why you did it.

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Closely related, but more specific: graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/171/… –  e100 Feb 9 '11 at 10:19
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My question is with regards to the possibility of fully divorcing from Adobe's solutions and still being able to function as a graphic design studio. –  dukeofgaming Feb 11 '11 at 1:34
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7 Answers 7

up vote 13 down vote accepted

I am not a graphic designer but I do some small graphics work occasionally and I use GIMP and Inkscape.

GIMP and Inkscape are both very nice and quite powerful - but if you compare GIMP to photoshop its obvious GIMP is not on the same level (I've never user Illustrator so I can't compare it with Inkscape)

Photoshop has more features, produces better results, has more plugins and virtually all graphic designers know how to use it - it's also very expensive.

For the same amount of work you will have better results in Photoshop - that means that if you use GIMP you will either produce lower quality work or need more time.

So that all boils down to how much money quality and your time worth - if you only do simple work GIMP can do well or you are an hobbyist and your time is essentially free than you can't compete with GIMP's price - but if you need a powerful tool and your time is expensive (and if you have any success as a professional graphic designer than your time should be expensive) GIMP doesn't look so free anymore.

And that is without taking into account you might someday need some plugin that is only available for photoshop, need to exchange PSD files with other designers or hire employees and have to train them to use GIMP.

If my main job was graphic design I would definitely get Photoshop as soon as I can (maybe do a few small projects with GIMP so I can afford it).

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Good point on the sharing files. Indeed, if you are wanting to work professionally in the GD industry, whether you like it or not, you're going to need the Adobe Suite of products as both clients and colleagues will be wanting and sending files in that format. –  DA01 Feb 9 '11 at 14:35
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Keep in mind that GIMP understands PSD files, and you can export to that format. Additionally, they have a Photoshop plugin adaptor. It only works in Windows, but it is an option. Your other points are all very good, and I can only second them. –  Berin Loritsch Feb 9 '11 at 15:58
    
I'm not sure that the GIMP understands all of the layer features such as fx and blending. If it does, that's good to know. –  DA01 Feb 9 '11 at 23:12
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Photoshop and Illustrator - because whole adobe product family work great together. You can prepare illustration in AI then copy-paste it to PS as smart object which gives you ability of easy modification it in future work. Also AI works grate with Flash and InDesign. Learning solutions as GIMP or even Corel are waste of time for me.

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Sad to say, Adobe's options are the best for pure professional compatibility issues. They are the 10,000 lb. gorilla, for better or worse and until a viable professional option comes along (that doesn't get purchased by Adobe), you're going to have a much smoother time (relatively) using their products.

The wealth of knowledge that is out there for Adobe products, coupled with compatibility and cross-operability make them the best route for now. But by all means, if you can find a program that has a better workflow for you, totally use it. If you can work in something to replace an Adobe program that you don't need interoperability with (i.e. Dreamweaver), do it. Ultimately it is about what is going to work for YOU and YOUR clients and workflow -- but I believe that you will undoubtedly have to turn to Adobe at some point.

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I'm an art director of more than five years, a graphic designer of more than twelve years and have been using both Illustrator and Photoshop for longer. They are both the industry standard , have been for many years and I don't see anything changing that right now.

As a freelancer (where I'm not tied to contracts my company makes) I have tried the switch to Inkscape and while I like everything the software and community stand for it just does not compare well with even the last several versions of Adobe Illustrator. Aside from file compatibility issues mentioned already, there are more productivity tools available making it easier to get work done faster. I have asked around (I work in/for the New York market) and I am the only person I know of that has even attempted the switch.

Use Inkscape or Gimp for your own personal work but I would not recommend it for professional use. Maybe, in time that will change.

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Have you tried providing feedback to the GIMP & Inkscape communities?, I think that, with your experience, it would be invaluable. –  dukeofgaming Nov 4 '11 at 22:48
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For simple image editing GIMP and PS are fairly equivalent. The way you do something may be slightly different, but you can accomplish the same tasks. The problem comes with more advanced needs like color space management/professional printing, and 16bit/channel color spaces.

Inkscape has come a long way since I first tried it out, but Adobe Illustrator is still leaps and bounds ahead. That said, Xara Xtreme is more capable than Inkscape, but not as capable as Illustrator. It is fast, not free, but a lot less expensive than Illustrator. I'm sure that Inkscape has the same limitations as GIMP regarding color space issues and professional printing.

The Adobe products support managed color spaces, so if you have a calibrated pipeline (scanner, monitor, printer) you are going to be pretty close to WYSIWYG. I don't know enough about Xara Xtreme to say anything about support for calibrated work spaces (I just started evaluating it).

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Last time I looked into it, the way people in the open source design community dealt with colour spaces and colour management was by importing graphics into Scribus - "the open source inkscape" - which does support colour profile management. I don't think it's a straightforward workflow yet but I know it's an area they're working on improving. –  user568458 Jul 9 '13 at 22:09
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The GIMP is great for the price and is certainly usable on a professional level for screen graphics. It's not equipped to handle professional print color spaces or file formats, however. For that, you'll still need PhotoShop.

Inkscape is what I use instead of AI since Freehand was given up for dead. Maybe that's a stubborn political statement more than being practical, but I do find Inkscape more than capable.

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GIMP's Texturize plug-in, when it doesn't error, produces amazing results. I'm not aware of Photoshop being able to automatically convert images into tileable ones very well without doing it manually.

It seems to me that GIMP is more powerful here, so I think both GIMP and Photoshop have their uses.

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Actually, you can. You just import them using the textures palette. –  lawndartcatcher Nov 2 '11 at 19:52
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protected by PearsonArtPhoto Nov 22 '11 at 3:58

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