Alright, I know this has been discussed millions of times before, but after searching the posts here and doing google searches I'm still lost. I am currently using GIMP. But I've had someone offer to help me buy a photoshop. I'm debating. I have a student discount at my university computer store, so I could get Elements 8 for $59 and CS4 Extended for $288. I doubt that any of you are familiar with my photos since I havent been here that long and mine are no different from any other noobs. Basically, I am very much a hobbyist. My pictures are mostly for my enjoyment, but obviously I like showing them off to get critiques so I can improve them (otherwise I wouldnt be here! ). I had almost decided on Elements, but then I realized what the regular price of CS4 was and backtracked a little. I love good deals. What I'm wondering now is whether the extra features are worth the extra money for someone like me, no matter what the discount is. Or if I should just stick with GIMP. Also, I'm wondering how obsolete each of these programs will be in 5 years. I hate upgrades. Like I said, I've been reading a lot about both programs, plus GIMP, but I still cant decide. So I'm hoping some opinions here on my personal situation will give me better ideas. Please share!