With all of the hubbub I’ve seen online this week about the upcoming CS5 and how “amazing” and “unbelievable” the new “content aware” tool is going to be, I just couldn’t resist posting about it.
Photoshop is obviously a very useful program for just about anyone and there are several specific uses for churches including editing photos of church events and graphic design for your church’s website, flyers or bulletins. However, Photoshop is amazingly expensive despite having nonprofit pricing and very proprietary (so you’re locked into Adobe forever). While there are several free, open-source alternatives to Photoshop, Gimp (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is the most accessible as it’s cross-platform and very mature. Gimp has become extremely full featured especially in the past couple of years. While I’m not a Photoshop guru, I’ve never seen anything that Photoshop can do that Gimp can’t and “content aware” is yet another example.
While content aware does seem like a really cool tool, the funny part is that Gimp has had this functionality since at least as far back as 2004 using the “Resynthesizer” plugin. Seems like Photoshop is a little late to the party. Here’s one blogger that did the same things in the CS5 promo video with Gimp instead of Photoshop.
If you’re interested in trying Gimp Resynth out, here’s a more detailed tutorial on how to install it and how it works.
It will be interesting to see if the quality of the algorithm is different between the two implementations of Gimp Resynth and Photoshop Content Aware, but I doubt they are too different. Now that content-aware is in Photoshop, maybe in the near future Gimp will add this directly into the standard application instead of having to rely on a separately maintained plugin (which admittedly doesn’t always seem to be very well maintained). Adobe’s is based on an August 2009 SIGGRAPH paper so making it at least very close to the same implementation would probably be pretty straightforward.
Realistically, I don’t expect people to be shedding their Adobe shackles in droves because for some reason it seems to be the most treasured of any software application I know by its users (it took several years for me to convince my wife to make the switch). For those that do try out Gimp, I’d be interested to hear from the newbies how easy of a time it is getting Resynth installed. Let me know if I need to do a more detailed or simple installation tutorial.