If you’re looking for a free vector graphics editor, or somewhere you can quickly edit photos, then you might want to check out Inkscape and GIMP.

Both are open source software and can be used on Linux, Windows or Mac OS X.

The main difference between the two is that Inkscape is designed specifically for creating vector graphics while GIMP is more of an image editing program.

In this article we shall look at them both to determine which is the best one for your artistic needs.

What Is GIMP?

GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a powerful tool for photo manipulation. It has many features such as layers, selection tools, color adjustment etc.

You can also use it to edit images in various formats like JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, TIFF, PSD, EPS, PDF, SVG, PICT, PCX, CGM, RAS, WMF, EMF, XCF, Targa, AI, AVI, MPEG, MOV, MP4, MNG, SWF, WEBM, FLI, and so on.

It supports all major graphic file types including raster, vector, animation, video, audio, and any other type of media.

It is available for most operating systems including Linux, Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and others.

What Would You Use GIMP For?

GIMP is mainly used by people who want to edit their photos, such as cropping and resizing – perhaps adding some text – but there is more to GIMP than that.

Whilst it is great as a free photo editing platform, you can also use it for freehand sketching, painting and many more artistic tasks.

If you like to draw, it has great software that allows for well drawn strokes and textures, compared to other open-source platforms.

You can also change the brightness on photos, as well as the saturation and color – among other things.

However, whilst GIMP can be used for graphic design, it isn’t based on bitmap so it lacks here, where Inkscape is better. 

What Is Inkscape?

Inkscape is a free and open-source vector graphics editor. It was originally developed by the GNOME project but now is maintained independently.

It is very similar to Adobe Illustrator, CorelDRAW, Freehand, and Skencil. You can create vector graphics from scratch using its built-in drawing tools or import existing files.

It can export your work into various formats including SVG, EPS, PDF, PNG, JPG, GIF, TIF, PSD, and others. This application is cross platform compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.

What Would You Use Inkscape For?

Just like GIMP, Inkscape is open-source. It is a vector-based graphics tool that makes editing a doddle. So, with that in mind, it is better to use Inkscape for graphics work, compared to GIMP.

There are many built-in tools that allow for creating a number of things such as logos, cartoons, drawings, etc. It supports vector graphics making it scalable unlike GIMP’s Raster-based graphics. 

So, if you’re looking for something to help you make your own artwork, then Inkscape will suit your needs perfectly.

What Are Raster Images?

Raster images are made up of pixels. These pixels are arranged in a grid pattern and each pixel represents a single dot on the screen.

A raster image is not only limited to computer screens; they can also be printed out onto paper.

A raster image is basically an array of dots, which means that it doesn’t have any depth. However, this does not mean that it cannot be manipulated.

When you manipulate a raster image, you are actually manipulating the individual pixels. Therefore, when you resize a raster image, the pixels move around accordingly, resulting in a distorted image.

What Are The Positives Of A Raster Image?

The positives of a raster image include:

  • They are easy to manipulate
  • They can be scaled without losing quality
  • They can be rotated, flipped, and moved
  • They can be saved as different file types
  • They can be printed out
  • They can be edited easily

What Are The Negatives Of A Raster Image?

The negatives of a raster image includes:

  • They don’t look good when viewed at small sizes
  • They aren’t very flexible
  • They lack transparency
  • They can’t be resized without losing quality
  • The colors are fixed

What Are Vector Graphics?

What Are Vector Graphics?-2

Vector graphics are created using mathematical equations. Vector graphics are usually much more detailed than their raster counterparts.

They are also easier to scale because there is no loss of quality when scaling them down. Moreover, they are infinitely scalable, meaning that they can be stretched to any size without losing quality.

They can be rotated, flipped horizontally, and even mirrored. There is no limit to what you can do with these graphics.

Also, vector graphics can be converted to raster format. This allows you to print them out and save them as other file types.

What Are the Positives of Using Vector Graphics?

The positives of using vector graphics include:

  • They can be enlarged without losing quality
  • They can be resized without losing detail
  • They can be transformed
  • They can be modified
  • They can be exported to other programs
  • They can be used for printing

What Are the Negatives of Using Vector Graphics?​

The negatives of using vector graphics include :

  • They take longer to create
  • You need to learn how to draw vectors
  • They are not compatible with all programs
  • They may not be able to be imported into some programs

Who Should Use Which Tool?

As mentioned earlier, both applications have their uses. However, depending on what you need to do, you may find that one is better suited to your needs.

For example, if you want to simply crop an image, then GIMP would be perfect for that. If you want to add some text, then Inkscape would be ideal.

The same goes for other functions too. If you want to resize an image, then GIMP would be best. But if you want to create a logo, then Inkscape is the way to go.

When choosing between these two programs, remember that they are both free to download and use. Both are powerful and versatile.

Final Thoughts

Both Inkscape and GIMP are fantastic pieces of open-source software that are equally useful. They each have their strengths and weaknesses.

As we’ve already said, though, Inkscape is better suited for graphic design whereas GIMP is better suited for photo editing.

We hope this article helped you decide which program you should use.

If you enjoyed this article, you might enjoy our post on ‘Illustrator Vs Photoshop‘.