GIMP vs. The World - page 2
The State of GIMP
CinePaint is a niche tool not mentioned in the previous article specifically targeted at building graphics for a movie. It has a number of features for creating High Dynamic Range (HDR) images and for manipulating high fidelity image file types including DPX, OpenEXR and 16-bit TIFF that GIMP can't handle. The list of Holywood movies that have used CinePaint is pretty impressive. On the down side, it does appear to have been neglected for a while, so take that for what it's worth.
Speaking of HDR images, there are a few tools specifically targeted at this area. Luminance HDR (formerly known as Qtpfsgui) focuses on the creation and manipulation of HDR images. It has multiple features related to tonemapping. Radiance is a tool that's been around for a while and has not been recently updated. It does have quite a pedigree and could offer some help if you're into creating HDR images. Hugin is a tool for creating panoramic shots by stitching together multiple pictures. It appears to be an actively supported project.
Inkscape is to the vector graphics world what GIMP is to raster graphics. As a project, Inkscape has been around since 2003 but has its roots in the Sodipodi project. It uses GTK+ for its windowing interface and, hence, is tied somewhat to the GNOME desktop. Inkscape has a large and active community and gets a lift from the Google Summer of Code project.
Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) is a W3C standard file format for vector graphics images. Inkscape supports many of the advanced SVG features, making it the open source tool of choice for creating and editing SVG images. The latest stable version available for download is 0.47. Versions for Linux, Mac OS-X and Linux are available.
Picking the right graphics tool is as much about understanding the task at hand as it is about choosing a specific application. GIMP is, without question, the most powerful open source raster graphics application, but with that power comes complexity. You might want to consider one of the tools from the previous article if you aren't in need of the GIMP's heavy duty firepower.
The world of vector graphics is definitely the territory of Inkscape. It, too, has many features and capabilities but doesn't have quite as big of a learning curve as GIMP. Once again, the good news is that all of these programs are freely available along with a wealth of tutorials and training materials.