GIMP is a free and open source graphics editing program for Linux, Mac, and Windows computers. Its been around for more than two decades, and it’s a powerful tool that’s often compared to Adobe Photoshop… although Photoshop users tend to complain that GIMP’s menus and tools are unintuitive. But it’s hard to complain about the price: GIMP is free for anyone to use.
I’ve barely ever scratched the surface of what the program can do, but it’s the utility I turn to whenever I need to do more than crop and resize an image (which I usually do with the much simpler Irfanview, which is a free, but closed-source, Windows-only program).
But one thing about GIMP has bugged me for years: it didn’t perform well on pixel-dense displays like the 13.3 inch, 3200 x 1800 pixel display on the Razer Blade Stealth laptop I reviewed recently.
But that was last week. This week GIMP 2.10 was released. And among other things, it brings basic support for HiDPI displays.
Earlier versions of GIMP used icons that used the same number of pixels on pretty much any screen. So items that looked fine on a computer 1920 x 1080 pixel display might look incredibly tiny on screen that’s the same physical size, but which has a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels. And that could make it hard to click the right tool or even see what you’re doing.
GIMP 2.10 addresses this by letting you set your icon theme to small, medium, large, or huge. Or you can just let GIMP decide for you by choosing “Guess icon size from resolution” in the Icon Theme preferences.
Speaking of themes, GIMP now comes with four different theme presets: dark, gray, light, and system. And there are four icon themes to choose from: symbolic, symbolic inverted. color, and legacy.
While the new theme settings and HiDPI support are the features I’m most excited about, there are a number of other changes in GIMP 2.10 including:
- Image processing is handled by the GEGL processing library, for high bit depth processing, multi-threaded and hardware-accelerated pixel processing, among other things
- Color management is a core feature with most widgets and preview ares color-managed
- Improved digital painting with canvas rotation and flipping, symmetry painting, and more
- Support for new image formats including WebP, OpenEXR, RGBE, and HGT
- Improved PSD importing
- Metadata viewing and editing for Exif, XMP, IPTC, and DICOM
- Some new tools and improvements to existing tools including a Unified Transform tool that can do mulitple things (such as scaling, rotating, an perspective correction) at once
You can find a more detailed run-down of new features in the GIMP 2.10 release notes.
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