That's right, GIMP 2.8 has finally been released as stable!
GIMP is a powerful image editor available on Windows, OS X, and Linux that closely resembles Adobe Photoshop in its features and functionality. For years now, it has stood as the go-to image editing application for users seeking a free alternative to the expensive flagship product from Adobe.
This week, a stable version of GIMP 2.8 has been made available for Linux users, with release candidates featuring the latest updates available for Windows and OS X. This latest version features a number of new UI and tool options that extend customization and answer some of the more common complaints about the application.
Perhaps the most obvious change is the ability for the user to operate within a single-window mode rather than having multiple windows open to edit a single image. This has always been my one big complaint about the application as a critical toolbar can easily become lost should you have other applications open within the same space. Where this may be a welcome feature for some, it always made the application seem a bit more scattered to me.
Additional changes in GIMP 2.8 (stable) include:
Multi-column Dock Windows
More Screen Real Estate For Dockable Dialogs
Save And Export
Tools Drawn With Cairo
On-Canvas Text Editing
Simple Math In Size Entries
Keyboard shortcuts have also been adjusted a bit. These changes include:
Ctrl+J – Shrink Wrap
Ctrl+Shift+J – Fit in Window
Ctrl+E – Export to
Ctrl+Shift+E – Export…
Layer Groups may be the most welcome feature among Photoshop users seeking a cheaper alternative. Like Photoshop, layers can finally be grouped together and changed as such.
Text editing, which was a kluge of pop-up windows before can now be done directly on the canvas. To me, this is one of the more important changes as text editing was often confusing, especially when switching between GIMP and other image editors. I never understood why GIMP chose to go the route they had, but I’m grateful the project has finally adopted this approach.
Switching between open images is also somewhat improved, allowing you to do so without having to go through the menu.
Exporting your images is the new save, while saving an image allows you to save it in a native GIMP format. In order to save a file as a PNG, JPG, or otherwise, you’ll need to export it. I found this neither better nor worse, but it does fall in line with other professional media editors. Perhaps this will help ease the learning curve from Photoshop?
Brush management is also refined to be a little easier when switching between brush types. This is especially useful for a user with many added third-party brushes.
Speaking of brushes, you can actually rotate a brush now. Huzzah!
Where Can I Get it?
DOWNLOAD GIMP 2.8 HERE
GIMP 2.8, as running on my system: