GraphicConverter and GIMP: Two Low-Cost Graphics Editors for Mac OS X

Everyone who has a web presence needs to do a little image editing from time-to-time. Check out these great, low cost image editors for the Mac.


GraphicConverter (Lemke Software – $45 shareware) must be included in any discussion of graphics editors. Don’t let the name fool you: while it can import about 200 file types and export 80, it is so much more than “just” a graphic conversion utility. It is a basic image editing tool, a paint program, a slide show viewer, even a simple animation maker. Many PC users have lamented GraphicConverter’s absence on Windows.

Although it has some basic painting tools, it is not a photo retouching program, and you will not want to do your image editing here. GraphicConverter is great, though, when you want to do some basic edits to an image without firing up a larger, more ponderous program.


If totally free is your thing, then GIMP (open-source – donations accepted) is the choice for you.

Just as the world of HTML editing and office productivity offer open-source alternatives, so does the world of image manipulation. GIMP is a freely distributed program for photo retouching, image composition and image editing (GIMP is an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program). For advanced editing it offers full alpha channel support, layers, including editable text layers, transformation tools including rotate, scale, shear and flip, selection tools including bezier and polygonal selections, quick masks, and transformable paths.

Which should you choose?

So should you go with paid or free? As in the other software categories, it’s a balance between ease of use and smoothness and cost. While you can do most of the things in GIMP that you can do in Photoshop Elements, you will probably find the Photoshop interface and workflow to be far smoother than that of the free alternatives. GraphicConverter is great for basic tasks like opening and conversion.

An Internet marketer has to be a bit of a jack of all trades, but even if you consider yourself completely devoid of artistic talent you can still do some basic edits and even perhaps unleash some hidden creativity with one of the above-mentioned tools.

My recommendations: GraphicConverter is weak in image creation but great in opening, management, conversion and renaming of images. GIMP tries to be more like Photoshop and is great if you’re just starting out, or if cost is your primary consideration.