What you need: Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8/8.1 or 10 (64-bit only)
This popular open-source image-editing program has a reputation for being complicated – let’s just say it’s more Adobe Photoshop than Microsoft Paint. But, while Gimp offers many professional-level features, such as layer-based editing and support for plug-ins, it’s also well designed and straightforward enough for anyone to use.
Version 2.10 represents Gimp’s first major update in more than five years, and it introduces a raft of improvements and additions, including a whole fresh look. The new default dark theme looks smart but also helps draw your eye to your subject – the photos themselves. The program now supports high bit-depth images and advanced GEGL (General Graphics Library) filters, which let you preview and compare your changes with the original image. An enhanced Transform tool, meanwhile, makes it possible to carry out several different actions – resizing, rotating or correcting perspective, for example – at the same time. These are just a few of the many new tools and improvements. For a full list, visit www.snipca.com/27772.
There are a couple of things to bear in mind when downloading Gimp. The first is that version 2.10 only supports 64 bit versions of Windows. If you’re running a 32 bit system (check under Settings, System, About), then you’ll have to stick with an older version of the program.
Also, when we downloaded Gimp on to one of our test PCS, our antivirus falsely identified the installer as malware and quarantined it. The installer is safe, though. If you can’t download the installer by clicking the ‘Download GIMP 2.10.0 directly’ button on the page we’ve linked to above, then click the ‘direct download here’ link below the download buttons, then click the ‘gimp-2.10.0-x64-setup.exe’ file in the list.
1 Gone are Gimp’s colourful tool icons – almost every element of the new interface is monochrome. You can switch back to colour tools by clicking Edit, Preferences, Icon Theme, Color and clicking OK.
2 To access the new Transform tool, click Tools, Transform Tools, Unified Transform. Several differently shaped handles will appear around the edges of your image along with a Unified Transform box, top right.
3 Move your mouse over or around the handles to see a message below the image explaining what actions are available. Clicking and dragging a handle will distort, shear, rotate or scale the image.
4 To apply a GEGL filter, click Tools, then GEGL Operation and select a tool from the dropdown menu. You can tweak the settings in the box that opens. Select “Split view” to compare with the original.