How To Make GIMP Look and Feel Like Photoshop

GIMP Look and Feel Like Photoshop
(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Adobe Photoshop is the de facto standard for image editing, but it doesn’t come cheap. The basic consumer version, Photoshop Elements, costs around $100 and a subscription that runs professional-grade Photoshop starts at $19.99 a month. Unless you really need the features of genuine Photoshop, there’s a powerful, free alternative in GIMP (The GNU Image Manipulation Program), which is available for Windows, Linux and macOS.

The first hurdle when moving from Photoshop to GIMP is the user interface. GIMP is very different from Photoshop and that can slow your workflow to a crawl. Keyboard shortcuts and menu layout changes can infuriate users. If you have the time and the patience, learning the GIMP user interface isn’t too difficult, but for some folks, it just isn’t as user-friendly as Photoshop’s. 

The GIMP community comes to the rescue and Diolinux’s PhotoGIMP is a complete user interface replacement for GIMP which uses Photoshop as a template. Not only does it replace the UI, but it adds Photoshop shortcuts, icons and Python image filters.

In this how to, we will learn how to install PhotoGIMP on top of the latest version of GIMP.

1. Download the source code zip file and extract the contents to a folder.

2. Open the folder and navigate to the \PhotoGIMP-1.1\.var\app\org.gimp.GIMP\config\GIMP folder. You will see a folder, 2.10 that contains the PhotoGIMP configuration files that will turn GIMP into a Photoshop facsimile.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

3. Open a new File Manager window and navigate to C:\Users\YourUserName\AppData\Roaming\GIMP\ a hidden folder where GIMP stores its configuration files. Make sure to change YourUserName to your own.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

4. Copy the folder and store it safely in another folder on your drive. This folder contains the configuration files for stock GIMP. We can use a backup of this folder to restore GIMP to stock.

5. Copy the folder, 2.10 from the downloaded archive folder, into your GIMP configuration folder. When prompted to replace files select yes.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

6. Open GIMP. The new configuration files will be loaded, and you will see a new PhotoGIMP splash screen.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The PhotoGIMP Layout

The GIMP layout is now replaced with a facsimile of Adobe Photoshop. 

The layout is broken down into four main sections.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

1. Document tab: Here is where compositions are created.

2. Palettes: These palettes alter as we use tools.

3. Tools: The toolbox contains all of the tools an artist may need. Some icons, with a small triangle in the bottom right corner have extra tools hidden within. Right click on the icon to open the menu.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

4. Layers and Channels: Here we can see all of the layers that make up a composition.

Les Pounder is an associate editor at Tom's Hardware. He is a creative technologist and for seven years has created projects to educate and inspire minds both young and old. He has worked with the Raspberry Pi Foundation to write and deliver their teacher training program "Picademy".

  • Luneder
    You can get Photoshop for $9 a month in the Photography plan, it is just hidden real well on their site. I am using this plan right now and it comes with 20GB of cloud which I use to work on documents between my PC and tablet. The Photography plan comes with Photoshop, Photoshop on the iPad, Premier Rush, Photoshop Express, UXP Developer Tools, Lightroom, Lightroom Classic, and Bridge
    Reply
  • 4freedomssake
    Luneder said:
    You can get Photoshop for $9 a month in the Photography plan, it is just hidden real well on their site.

    How'd you discover this & where? PM me please.

    Mods: If against forum rules, please let me know and this will be deleted.
    Reply
  • wifiburger
    There's no GIMP folder here,
    C:\Users\YourUserName\AppData\Roaming\GIMP\
    *oops, need to open the program once
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    Luneder said:
    You can get Photoshop for $9 a month in the Photography plan, it is just hidden real well on their site. I am using this plan right now and it comes with 20GB of cloud which I use to work on documents between my PC and tablet. The Photography plan comes with Photoshop, Photoshop on the iPad, Premier Rush, Photoshop Express, UXP Developer Tools, Lightroom, Lightroom Classic, and Bridge
    Link, please.
    Reply
  • AtrociKitty
    USAFRet said:
    Link, please.
    https://www.adobe.com/creativecloud/photography.html
    The "trick" is to toggle the storage radio button from 1TB to 20GB, which drops the price from $19.99/mo to $9.99/mo.
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    AtrociKitty said:
    https://www.adobe.com/creativecloud/photography.html
    The "trick" is to toggle the storage radio button from 1TB to 20GB, which drops the price from $19.99/mo to $9.99/mo.
    So reduce your cloud space from 1TB to 20GB, for a reduction of half the price.

    Which is STILL much more expensive than other similar tools.

    PaintShop Pro, for instance....A one time price of $50-$75.
    And does 99% of what PS does. Even to include compatible plugins.

    Unless someone is in a paid gig and their employer is paying for it, there is little reason to use actual Photoshop.
    And yes,I use the whole CC suite at work.

    I have Lightroom v5 at home, only because it was a one time purchase of around $80, several years ago.
    Reply
  • Luneder
    USAFRet said:
    So reduce your cloud space from 1TB to 20GB, for a reduction of half the price.

    Which is STILL much more expensive than other similar tools.

    PaintShop Pro, for instance....A one time price of $50-$75.
    And does 99% of what PS does. Even to include compatible plugins.

    Unless someone is in a paid gig and their employer is paying for it, there is little reason to use actual Photoshop.
    And yes,I use the whole CC suite at work.

    I have Lightroom v5 at home, only because it was a one time purchase of around $80, several years ago.
    20GB is all you need, I've only used 2% of mine and I constantly use my cloud storage, a super big psd files you won't be using the cloud for since that would be real annoying to sync. Photoshop still is the go to for professionals while Paintshop is a good tool for new people.
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    Luneder said:
    20GB is all you need, I've only used 2% of mine and I constantly use my cloud storage, a super big psd files you won't be using the cloud for since that would be real annoying to sync. Photoshop still is the go to for professionals while Paintshop is a good tool for new people.
    Having used PS for years at work, and PSP at home for years....

    Photoshop and all of its add ons is absolutely great. The entire tool chain can't be ignored.
    In a work environment. Where the employer pays for it.

    A perpetual $10/$20 a month to use at home?
    Not a chance.
    PSP, GIMP, paint.net, many others....
    Reply
  • Luneder
    4freedomssake said:
    How'd you discover this & where? PM me please.

    Mods: If against forum rules, please let me know and this will be deleted.
    if you have an adobe account login and go to all plans on the adobe main page and on the left panel click photo and it should bring up all photo related plans including the $9.99 plan. Someone did link the plan page but that doesn't show the price of the plan but the full plan list shows all the plan prices.
    Reply
  • sadsteve
    USAFRet said:
    So reduce your cloud space from 1TB to 20GB, for a reduction of half the price.

    Which is STILL much more expensive than other similar tools.

    PaintShop Pro, for instance....A one time price of $50-$75.
    And does 99% of what PS does. Even to include compatible plugins.

    Unless someone is in a paid gig and their employer is paying for it, there is little reason to use actual Photoshop.
    And yes,I use the whole CC suite at work.

    I have Lightroom v5 at home, only because it was a one time purchase of around $80, several years ago.

    I use to use PhotoShop and PaintShop Pro but have switched to Affinity Photo. Got it on sale a few years ago during a sale (half off the $49 price ). I've been getting free updates for it since 2017.

    Once PhotoShop went subscription I was done with them.
    Reply