Best Image Editor – Gimp vs. Photoshop vs. Krita: A Quick Comparison

Photo editing technology has developed through leaps and bounds in the past few years.

Today, there are so many apps and software for seamless and easy photo editing from Lightroom to mobile-based apps.

If you are a serious photographer or someone who likes to do extensive photo editing as part of your workflow, you may be familiar with tools like Gimp, Photoshop, and Krita.

These photo editing softwares come with features that make photo editing easy even when you are on-the-go. But what if you want to stick with just one photo editing tool for all-around photo editing?

Read on to know which of the three best fits your needs and photo-editing style.

Best Image Editor

Open Source vs. Paid

Gimp and Krita are both free, open-source software that gives them a leg-up over paid software like Photoshop.

You can download Gimp and Krita straight from their websites without paying a cent. Software updates for either application are also free.

Photoshop, on the other hand, is a paid application.

In the past, you had to buy the software before you can start using it. Now, users can pay a yearly subscription fee to open an account with Adobe Photoshop which allows them to use the app. Granted, the subscription fee is cheaper but it can add up if you know you’ll be using Photoshop for years to come.


Another difference lies in how these applications are used. Gimp is ideal for image manipulation, including adding filters and animation. Many users who make .gif files use the Gimp software to create these files or edit existing .gif files and animation. It also comes with the basic photo editing tools that you are bound to use on any given day, such as sliders for sharpness, brightness, and contrast, making this one of the best free image editor software out there.

Krita users, on the other hand, are often illustrators and comic book artists. Krita is also known for its interface that has a paperlike texture, unlike Gimp and Photoshop which have basic digital textures. This feature is another advantage especially for illustrators who are particular about the look and feel of the digital medium that they are using. The simple interface of Gimp and Krita also makes them ideal for new users especially those who are easily intimidated by the ultra-professional Photoshop interface.

Photoshop is built using industry specifications, with plug-ins designed by big industry brands like Phase One and Kodak. This is one of the reasons why it is used by professional photographers, photo editors, and designers who need a certain level of professional consistency in their workflow.


When it comes to brushes, both Gimp and Krita have basic brush tools and both allow users to download different brushes from third-party creators to expand their collection of brushes. This feature is particularly advantageous for Gimp users since the basic version of the program comes with a limited collection of brushes.

Photoshop has a more extensive list of features, making it the ideal software if you want a software that covers almost any and all editing tasks you can think of. One distinct feature is real pixel manipulation which is stronger in Photoshop than in any other photo editing software. Gimp and Krita don’t have the extensive list of tools that Photoshop has. For one, Gimp lacks graphic design features like the CMYK, a standard feature on even the older Photoshop versions.

Mobile or Laptop

Photoshop comes with mobile versions which makes it handy for on-the-go editing. Gimp and Krita currently have working applications for desktop but none for mobile, although Krita recently released a beta mobile version. The lack of a mobile version is a definite disadvantage for Gimp and Krita users.

Operating Systems

Gimp and Krita are open-source software which means you can run them in Linux, Windows, and Mac. Photoshop, on the other hand, supports Windows and Mac.

Memory Space

Photoshop is a notorious memory hog. The application alone takes up a lot of space and it also needs a large buffer space for speedy editing. That means you need a large memory when working with Photoshop on your laptop. Gimp and Krita are lightweight applications. Gimp is 20x smaller than Photoshop which means you can download and set it up with ease without using up too much of your computer’s memory.


Gimp, Krita, and Photoshop offer different advantages for different kinds of users. Photoshop is the industry standard and if you want to work as a professional you will most likely need to learn the adobe suite in the end. However as mentioned there are some situations where the other image editors have a leg up and in some cases you will also find that modern design tools like Canva do the job faster and better (Like when you want to make a quick and simple social media post from a template).

Get to know each application deeper so you know what features you need, what you can do without, and what interface works best with your drawing and photo-editing style.