Gimp vs Photoshop Elements: Complete Comparison 2024

gimp vs photoshop elements cover

When looking for free image editors, you might have come across GIMP, one of the most popular free tools on the market. If you can afford cheap software for beginners, you might consider Photoshop Elements, a limited version of Adobe Photoshop.

In general, these programs have similar functionality, however, there are some differences between them. Let’s compare GIMP vs Photoshop Elements and pick the best choice for you.

About GIMP

gimp interface
What we like
  • Completely free, without hidden fees
  • You don’t have to provide an email or sign up for a newsletter
  • Works smoothly on any OS
  • Earlier versions are available for earlier OS
  • GIMP community provides updates
What we don’t like
  • No mobile versions
  • Slow updates

GIMP stands for GNU Image Management Program. GNU is software with open-source code. GIMP was started as a students’ project, and now it’s a huge free program developed and supported solely by volunteers.

Today, GIMP is a free image editor that supports more than 30 formats. It smoothly works with layers, masks, filters, and blending modes. The program offers a wide range of tools for color correction and photo editing.

Files available in the Subscription Library and in the Single Purchase library are completely different. However, keep in mind that you can’t purchase media assets in the Subscription library separately.

About Photoshop Elements

adobe photoshop elements interface
What we like
  • Powerful AI engine
  • Supports various file formats
  • Automated creation of collages and slideshows
  • Photo organizing features
What we don’t like
  • Requires subscription
  • Requires Adobe ID to sign in

Adobe Photoshop Elements is photo editing software that comes with many features available in Adobe Photoshop, like fast photo editing, effects, etc.

Adobe Photoshop Elements allows you to remove all unnecessary elements, edit images in a consistent style, combine several photos into a panorama, and perform other manipulations with digital shots. A user-friendly help system makes it easier to learn how to use all the features.

Interface Possibilities

The main GIMP window is very unusual; it is divided into 3 parts: tools, the working area, and an additional panel. The interface looks a bit cluttered. The latest GIMP version allows using only one window.

In Photoshop Elements, the workspace is divided into three sections ‒ Quick, Guided, and Expert. It is very convenient for beginners who want to quickly edit photos.

In the Quick section, you will find the Adjustments panel with Exposure, Color and Sharpen tools. You can also adjust the settings by using a slider.

The Guided workspace offers tools for applying creative changes. Step by step, beginner retouchers can master creative techniques and learn how to add motion to stills by utilizing the new Animated Overlays Guided Edit. Once you practice in the Guided section, you can proceed to the Expert workspace and work with professional compositing tools, like layer masks.

Who is better: Photoshop Elements

Editing Tools

GIMP has basic and advanced photo retouching options. The software allows retouching photos, optimizing images, and editing multiple documents in a blink of an eye.

gimp editing tools

When working with GIMP, you can edit an image onto using many layers. This way you can apply various image editing manipulations with minimum time and effort. The Open As Layer command enables you to transform any graphic file into another layer.

adobe photoshop elements editing tools

Photoshop Elements has many professional editing options. The program comes with a wide array of templates, effects and filters. Thanks to keyboard shortcuts, you can perform various manipulations fast. Plus, brightness and contrast are automatically corrected.

You can save your projects in convenient folders for further viewing and printing. Thanks to advanced features, a professional interface with color modes and smooth touch-based menus, and creative tools, Photoshop Elements may be called one of the best editing apps today.

Who is better: both

AI Features

adobe photoshop elements ai features

The Sensei AI technology, implemented in Adobe Photoshop Elements 2022, allows performing advanced manipulations. You can move overlays, add artistic photo effects, select and remove objects, etc. With the help of a slider, users can adjust the intensity of the AI filters and limit the filter effect to the main subject or the background.

Unfortunately, GIMP doesn’t have similar features. Yet, it has an odd plugin with similar functionality. Of course, GIMP does its best to improve its software, but it’s difficult to compete with such a powerful company as Adobe.

Who is better: Photoshop Elements.

Plugins Support

Plugins are extra tools that expand the functionality of other software, like Nik Efex and Topaz Labs plugin packs. When comparing GIMP vs Photoshop Elements, you will see that both programs support plugins. Yet, most companies concentrate on Adobe and develop plugins for its products.

GIMP can easily compete with Photoshop Elements when it comes to plugins. It is an open-source program compatible with extensions created with the help of the Python scripting language. It’s not a big deal for an average user, but it’s a great advantage for an experienced professional.

Who is better: both


Of course, when it comes to pricing, GIMP is definitely a winner, as it is a completely free program with an open-source code. Users don’t have to subscribe or buy any licenses. You get a functional image editing program developed by professionals.

Photoshop Elements, in turn, costs $99.99. Users can update a previous version for $79.99. You can use it for free for 1 month. It is a trial period that provides access to great features, so that you could test out the product and decide whether you are ready to pay for it.

Who is better: GIMP.

Users Community

The Photoshop Elements community includes more users. Most photographers prefer using this program. Thus, you can find many learning materials to master Photoshop Elements.

It’s not that easy to find any video tutorials for learning how to use GIMP because it has appeared not long ago. Yet, it’s still possible to get some materials about GIMP.

Who is better: Photoshop Elements


When it comes to compatibility, GIMP is a better solution. It works smoothly with Windows, macOS, and various versions of Linux. What’s more, GIMP is a default software for Linux.

Photoshop Elements is compatible with Windows and macOS, so if you are a Linux owner, forget about it. Of course, you can run it via a virtual machine or emulation program, there might be some errors.

Who is better: GIMP


Although GIMP is quite a popular program, it has several bugs. For example, if you save a photo, the software might freeze for a while. Even if you have an expensive laptop for photo editing, you might face this issue. Then, the program offers to save the photo again because there was an error. In most cases, your photo will be saved after the second try.

Plus, sometimes you might notice some delays when you click your mouse or create an additional layer. Perhaps, these issues are the result of overheating.

Adobe Photoshop Elements uses the PC’s graphics processor for the Adjust Facial Features and Liquify tools. All other operations are performed by the CPU. Almost all modern processors are powerful enough to process pics taken with the latest digital cameras. So, if you want to work with Photoshop Elements, you need a computer (PC or Mac) with plenty of RAM and fast SSD storage.

Adobe’s developers tried to make Photoshop Elements maximally responsive. Users can apply Artistic Effects with one click. The only slowdown was experienced when we were using Moving Overlays. We enlarged an image to fill a 4K screen and snowflakes in the background began to fall more slowly.

Who is better: Photoshop Elements

Final Verdict – Photoshop Elements

Having compared GIMP vs Photoshop Elements, we can claim that the latter is a better option for almost all ordinary users who can spend $99.99 on it. It has many photo editing tools and an intuitive interface. This software supports advanced auto adjustments. You can find a wide array of learning materials to master its features.

Yet, if you can’t afford to invest in image editing software, GIMP is a perfect solution for you. However, you will have to spend some time if you want to master it on your own.

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