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HDR Image Manipulation for Free With GIMP 2.9

Lately I've been playing around with HDRI maps and creating my own 360 HDR panos to use for image-based lighting with Redshift.

Bumpercars in the evening pano

I quickly realized that some of those maps would need to be tweaked a bit for a better result. For that you need some piece of software... like Photoshop for example. Unfortunately Photoshop costs money and even with subscription may not be the best choice for a hobbyist on a budget. Besides, Photoshop isn't the only tool on the market that can do this, right?

GIMP logo

I then turned to GIMP only to find out that current stable version didn't support floating point image manipulation of any kind. What I didn't know was that GIMP team have been long working on the new color management implementation which would support HDR workflows and more!

Turns out a week ago they actually released the 2.9.4 version of GIMP with numerous improvements over the 2.8.x branch. At the moment it's only available in the form of a development snapshot in git, but if you wish to give it a go right away without compiling it yourself, you can try out the experimental GIMP builds from partha.com.