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The GIMP, the GNU Image Manipulation Program, can be used for image composition, photo retouching, and image authoring. It can be distributed freely and supports many platforms. The GIMP is open source and distributed in many GNU/Linux distributions.

One of the most noticeable aspects of the GIMP is its multi-window interface. Starting the GIMP shows the core window and the different tools and their options, as well as a file menu to open images and access the help file. From there, images opened or created are put in new windows. Dialogs can be opened up at any time and offer more options for layers, paths, palettes, etc.

The file menu can be accessed either at the top of each image window or by right-clicking on the image. Most of the tools have shortcuts assigned to them, making it easy to change tools without taking your eye off of your work. The GIMP features a plugin system where people can write scripts called "Script-Fu" / "python-fu" (for python scripts) that carry out a sequence of modifications to produce interesting results.


Features Edit

  • 48 different brushes with the ability to create your own
  • Brushes can be set to hard-edge, soft-edge or eraser modes, be applied at different opacities and effects
  • Colour Palette with RGB, HSV, colour wheel, CMYK, and mixing modes, tools to pick colours from an image and support for HTML colour codes (Hexadecimal codes).
  • Selection tools capable of rectangular, circular, similar colour or freehand selection.
  • Smart selection tool known as the Magic Wand used to select contiguous regions.
  • Support for layers, including transparent, semi-transparent, visible and hidden settings
  • Transparent and semi-transparent image support
  • Channels available to add different type of colour effects and opacity to an image.
  • Support for paths containing line segments or bezier curves. Paths can be named, saved, and painted with brushes, patterns, or various line styles
  • Approximately 150 standards filters and effects
  • The GIMP can also be programmed with Macro Scripts. The built in programming scheme can be used or alternatively Perl, Python, Tcl and (experimentally) Ruby can be used.


File Types Edit

The GIMP can handle a large variaty of file types:

  • GIMP XCF, the native format (.xcf, or compressed as .xcf.gz or .xcf.bz2)
  • Autodesk flic animations (.fli)
  • Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine | DICOM (.dcm or .dicom)
  • PostScript documents (.ps, .ps.gz and .eps)
  • FITS astronomical images (.fits, or .fit)
  • SVG | Scalable vector graphics for exporting paths (.svg)
  • Microsoft Windows ICO (.ico)
  • Microsoft Uncompressed AVI Video (.avi)
  • Windows bitmap (.bmp)
  • Paintshop Pro image (.psp or .tub)
  • Adobe Photoshop PSD (.psd)
  • Portable pixmap | PNM image (.pnm, .ppm, .pgm, and .pbm)
  • Compuserve GIF images and animations (.gif)
  • JPEG photos (.jpeg, .jpg, or .jpe)
  • PNG (.png)
  • Tagged Image File Format (.tiff or .tif)
  • Truevision TGA|TARGA (.tga)
  • X Window system | X bitmap image (.xbm, .icon, or .bitmap)
  • X pixmap image (.xpm)
  • X window dump (.xwd)
  • Zsoft PCX (.pcx)


GIMP can open but not save the following formats:

  • PDF document (.pdf)
  • Raw image formats (many extensions)


GIMP can also save to the following formats which it cannot open:

  • HTML as a table with coloured cells (.html)
  • C programming language|C source files as an array (.c or .h)
  • MNG animations (.mng)
  • ASCII Art or HTML, with characters and punctuation making up images

GIMP Tips Edit

Pixel-Art: Make sure Antialiasing and Feather Edges are turned off for the selection tools if you are using colorkeying for transparency. Otherwise you might see bits of magenta on the edges of your sprite.

Availabilty and clones Edit

Linux/*nix Edit

The GIMP is available in precompiled packages or automated build-and-install for:

or available to compile from Source

Windows Edit

GIMP (along with the GTK+ Toolkit) has been ported to Microsoft's Windows OS. Currently it is practically identical to the original in terms of stability and features. The GIMP for Windows is available as a Binary Installer

Macintosh Edit

The GIMP for MacOS X is available using one of many ports available/listed on The GIMP official site

Related Weblinks Edit