Looking for powerful image manipulation software but don’t want to spend a bundle? Check out the GIMP – the GNU Image Manipulation Program – a free, open source, raster-based graphics editor.

The GIMP provides many of the same professional-grade tools that expensive commercial graphics editors offer but at a cost everyone can afford. The interface takes some getting used to but once you’ve figured out where everything is editing your images and photos is fun and easy. Plus, because it’s open source there is a large community of developers coming up with new plug-ins and add-ons all the time. But editing photos isn’t the only thing the GIMP is good for. With advanced painting and drawing tools, pressure tablet compatibility, layers, transparency, channels and paths the GIMP is capable of handling almost anything you can throw at it. There are a few things the GIMP is missing. It does not support any color models other than RGB(A) and grayscale and it lacks sophisticated transform tools. These limitations, particular the lack of support for the CMYK color model, mean that the GIMP might not be for ready for high-end professional use just yet but for the home user it’s a terrific alternative to the more expensive editors. The GIMP was originally built for UNIX based operating systems (like Linux) but versions are available for Windows and MacOSX.