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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10 replies on “GIMP 2.10 open source image editor released, finally supports HiDPI displays”

  1. I started with GiMP nearly 11 years ago, before ever using Photoshop. To be honest, every now and then I tell myself, everyone else uses Photoshop, so I give it a try. When I try and use Photoshop, everything is so damn backwards and overcomplicated that I scrap it and open up my tried and true GIMP. If it weren’t for work paying for Creative Cloud, I would never use Photoshop.

    1. Yep. People who complain about GIMP being intuitive invariably just have PS burnt into their head. Sure, it doesn’t have the all-around polish of PS, but it’s not bad. It’s different.

  2. I agree with @bolomkxxviii I tried GIMP and I don’t know if its but I could not get used to it.

  3. There is a learning curve for GIMP if you’re coming from Photoshop. I can’t justify the price of Photoshop for the amount I use it though. There is good documentation for GIMP when you need it.

    1. I have been able to transition from closed source to open source on everything except InDesign and Photoshop. Scribus will not replace InDesign any time in the foreseeable future and I have been using photoshop since version 4 (not CS4). GIMP is just too different from the habits built over many years.

  4. I have tried to really learn GIMP several times as I am a fan of open source software. Somehow I always end up using Photoshop again. Maybe because I have been using Photoshop for well over a decade. Old habits die hard I guess.

    1. GIMP’s UI is really not bad. People who learn GIMP first find PS’s UI weird. Really a matter of what you’re accustomed to.

      Boy, GIMP looks *way* better now. Folks should check it out again if they haven’t in some time. It’s fantastic for being free.

  5. Looks like Gimp is definitely better than Photoshop in at least one area then.

    Photoshop is useless on quite a lot of screens.

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