Photoshop Alternatives?

So this weekend I was playing with my new MacBook Air, getting it all set up with MAMP and whatnot, and one app I debated was Photoshop.  I’ve never owned a copy of Photoshop – in college I “acquired” a copy, and since then whoever my employer was at the time has always purchased a license for me to use.  I’ve never owned a personal copy.  I’ve almost bought it at one time or another, but it’s just so staggeringly expensive it’s always given me pause.

So there I was this weekend, trying to decide, do I install the copy from work on my laptop? (quite legal, I asked the Adobe reps last time they were at work, and they said it was fine, as long as it was only running on one machine at a time, I could install it both places)

On the other hand Photoshop is a beast of an application, massive and bloated, with other unused applications (Bridge?  Adobe Updater? WTF?)  dangling off it like engorged ticks.  Did I really want all that on my fresh new laptop?

Yes, I know, GIMP.  The GNU Image Manipulation Program, open source and fully functional, without the bloat.  But not quite the same.  Obvious in places, ineffable in others, it just isn’t as good.

I was excited about GIMPshop, GIMP modified to look and feel more like Photoshop, but unfortunately from what I can tell, that project is dead, and hasn’t been updated in a while.  It wouldn’t run under Snow Leopard – even after upgrading and downgrading the appropriate libraries that were supposed to coax it into running.

Seashore is nice, a simplified GIMP compiled in Cocoa to be more Mac-like… that might be good enough, but lacks some things and I believe is also based on an old version of GIMP.

Pixelmator I had from a bundle deal, it’s pretty good but lacks the layer blending options I use a lot…

I dunno… is Photoshop a necessity?  What do you think?

One thought on “Photoshop Alternatives?”

  1. My wife and I get a lot of millage out of Photoshop Elements. It’s not without its flaws, but it’s under $100 and still has the tools and interface we’re familiar with from its big brother. The latest few versions have been OSX compatible as well. I’m also a big fan of, but it’s Windows only.

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