Gimp Filters, Plugins, and Script-fu

Gimp plugins that alter images in some way — although usually just the single active layer — are called filters.

Filters is a broad definition that can also include plugins used for other purposes, that do not alter images.

Filters and plugins are considered separate from the Gimp core, and — in theory — should not affect the core functionality of Gimp itself.

Plugins are found throughout the menus in Gimp, while there is an entire menu devoted to filters, as over 100 filters come installed with Gimp.

New filters and/or plugins can also be added, and although the Filters Menu is the default location for filters to be added, some may appear in other menus.

In fact, many plugins can already be found — by default, with the initial installation — in other menus.

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Image Layers In Gimp Part 1 – All About Layers

Gimp Dialog Box LayersIn previous posts on the subject of Gimp and/or image-editing, I have alluded to layers, but without much detail.

Today is the day when details will be revealed as I peel back the cover, layer by layer… ok, too corny, let me start over.

Image layers can be visualized as transparent images, all stacked one-on-top-of-the-other within a single image.

Layers are incredible tools that can be added, removed, made visible/invisible, re-arranged, and much more, all with just a few clicks of the mouse. The design possibilities are endless. Well, almost endless.

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Gimp’s Image Menu

Gimp’s image menu includes commands that affect the entire image in one way or another, as opposed to only parts/selections/layers/etc.

Gimp’s transform tools — covered briefly in my post about the Gimp Toolbox — are, for the most part, closely related to the tools found on the image menu, but since they are mostly easy to use and self-explanatory, we’ll not cover them in more depth right now.

We will focus instead on breaking down the commands on the image menu, and figuring out what makes each one tick — or tock.

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Gimp’s View Menu

Gimp’s view menu includes commands that affect visibility and appearance of images and the Gimp interface.

New View

The new view command creates a new window, or tab, allowing you to view the same image multiple ways (different zoom sizes, etc.)

Note that each view is still of the same images; changes to one view will be made in the other views, whether or not that part of the image is in focus at the time or not.

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Using Gimp’s Selection Tools and Menu

Gimp Mascot WilberImage selections are “frames”, characterized by animated dotted lines, that can be used as guidelines to create content or edit the content inside the selected area.

Gimp offers a combination of seven different tools that make selection quick, painless, and precise.

You may remember that I already broke down the basic purpose, or description/use, of each tool in a previous lesson, but there is much more to learn about the use of each tool.

Let’s begin with a recap of the available selection tools, along with a few more of their capabilities.

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Using Paths in Gimp

Gimp PathsPaths made via the path tool use Bézier-curves to allow you to make elaborate designs.

Paths can either be “stroked” (have styles applied along the paths) or they can be used as a method of selection (in place of the rectangular/ellipse/free/fuzzy/foreground/color/scissors select options).

Paths are deceptively easy to use, and quite useful, so they are today’s subject of choice. Let’s jump right in!

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Using Gimp’s Paint Tools, With Options

Gimp Paint ToolsGimp’s four basic paint tools — pencil, paintbrush, airbrush and the ink tool — are lumped together in a category that also includes the bucket fill, gradient, eraser, clone, perspective clone, heal, convolve, smudge, and dodge/burn tools.

These all work together in similar ways to draw, paint, and/or similarly modify an image.

You may remember that I already broke down the basic purpose, or description/use, of each tool in a previous lesson Exploring the Gimp Toolbox, so this time we’ll focus on the paint tool options, shortcuts, etc.

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