GIMP ( /ɡɪmp/ GHIMP) (
GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a free and
open-source raster graphics editor used for image retouching and
editing, free-form drawing, converting between different image
formats, and more specialized tasks.
GIMP is released under GPLv3+ licenses and is available for Linux,
macOS, and Microsoft Windows.
2.1 User interface
2.2 Libre Graphics Meetings
3.1 Sourceforge controversy
4 Professional reviews
7 Forks and derivatives
7.1 Notable extensions
8 See also
10 Further reading
11 External links
GIMP version history
GIMP was originally released as the General Image Manipulation
Program. In 1995 Spencer Kimball and
Peter Mattis began developing
GIMP as a semester-long project at the University of California,
Berkeley for the eXperimental Computing Facility. In 1996
was released as the first publicly available release. In the
Richard Stallman visited UC Berkeley where Spencer
Peter Mattis asked if they could change General to GNU
(the name given to the operating system created by Stallman).
Richard Stallman approved and the definition of the acronym
changed to be the
GNU Image Manipulation Program. This reflected its
new existence as being developed as Free Software as a part of the GNU
The number of computer architectures and operating systems supported
has expanded significantly since its first release. The first release
supported UNIX systems, such as Linux, SGI
IRIX and HP-UX.
Since the initial release,
GIMP has been ported to many operating
Microsoft Windows and macOS; the original port to
the Windows 32-bit platform was started by Finnish programmer Tor M.
Lillqvist (tml) in 1997 and was supported in the
GIMP 1.1 release.
Following the first release
GIMP was quickly adopted and a community
of contributors formed. The community began developing tutorials,
artwork and shared better work-flows and techniques.
A GUI toolkit called GTK (
GIMP tool kit) was developed to facilitate
the development of GIMP. GTK was replaced by its successor
being redesigned using object-oriented programming techniques. The
GTK+ has been attributed to
Peter Mattis becoming
disenchanted with the Motif toolkit
GIMP originally used; Motif was
used up until
GIMP is primarily developed by volunteers as a free software project
associated to both the
GNOME Projects. Development takes place
in a public git source code repository, on public mailing lists
and in public chat channels on the GIMPNET IRC network.
New features are held in public separate source code branches and
merged into the main (or development) branch when the
GIMP team is
sure they won't damage existing functions. Sometimes this means
that features that appear complete do not get merged or take months or
years before they become available in GIMP.
GIMP itself is released as source code. After a source code release
installers and packages are made for different operating systems by
parties who might not be in contact with the maintainers of GIMP.
The version number used in
GIMP is expressed in a major-minor-micro
format, with each number carrying a specific meaning: the first
(major) number is incremented only for major developments (and is
currently 2). The second (minor) number is incremented with each
release of new features, with odd numbers reserved for in-progress
development versions and even numbers assigned to stable releases; the
third (micro) number is incremented before and after each release
(resulting in even numbers for releases, and odd numbers for
development snapshots) with any bug fixes subsequently applied and
released for a stable version.
GIMP applies for several positions in the
Google Summer of
Code (GSoC); to date
GIMP has participated in all years except
2007. From 2006 to 2009 there have been nine GSoC projects that
have been listed as successful, although not all successful
projects have been merged into
GIMP immediately. The healing brush and
perspective clone tools and Ruby bindings were created as part of the
2006 GSoC and can be used in version 2.8.0 of GIMP, although there
were three other projects that were completed and are later available
in a stable version of GIMP; those projects being Vector Layers (end
2008 in 2.8 and master), and a
JPEG 2000 plug-in (mid 2009 in 2.8
and master). Several of the GSoC projects were completed in 2008,
but have been merged into a stable
GIMP release later in 2009 to 2014
for Version 2.8.xx and 2.9.x. Some of them needed some more code work
for the master tree.
Second public Development 2.9-Version was 2.9.4 with many deep
improvements after initial Public Version 2.9.2  Third Public
2.9-Development version is Version 2.9.6. One of the new features
is removing the 4GB size limit of XCF file. Increase of
possible threads to 64 is also an important point for modern parallel
execution in actual AMD Ryzen and Intel Xeon processors. Actual
Version is 2.9.8 with many bugfixes and improvements in gradients and
Next stable versions in roadmap are 2.10 with full
GEGL and 3.0 with
The user interface of
GIMP is designed by a dedicated design and
usability team. This team was formed after the developers of GIMP
signed up to join the
OpenUsability project. A user interface
brainstorming group has since been created for GIMP, where
GIMP can send in their suggestions as to how they think the
GIMP user interface could be improved.
GIMP is presented in two forms, single and multiple window mode;
GIMP 2.8 defaults to the multiple window mode. In multiple window mode
a set of windows contain all GIMPs functionality. By default, tools
and tool settings are on the left and other dialogues are on the
right. A layers tab is often to the right of the tools tab, and
allows a user to work individually on separate image layers. Layers
can be edited by right-clicking on a particular layer to bring up edit
options for that layer. The tools tab and layers tab are the most
common dockable tabs.
Libre Graphics Meetings
Main article: Libre Graphics Meeting
Libre Graphics Meeting
Libre Graphics Meeting (LGM) is a yearly event where developers of
GIMP and other projects meet up to discuss issues related to free and
open source graphics software. The
GIMP developers hold birds of a
feather (BOF) sessions at this event.
The current version of
GIMP works with numerous operating systems,
including Linux, macOS and Microsoft Windows. Many
GIMP as a part of their desktop operating systems, including
Fedora and Debian.
GIMP website links to binary installers compiled by Jernej
Simončič for the platform.
MacPorts was listed as the
recommended provider of Mac builds of GIMP, but this is no longer
needed as version 2.8.2 and later run natively on macOS.
originally designed to run on an X11 server. Because macOS can
optionally use an X11 server, porting
GIMP to macOS is simpler
compared to creating a Windows port.
GIMP is also available as part of
the Ubuntu noroot package from the
Google Play Store on Android.
In November 2013,
GIMP removed its download from SourceForge, citing
misleading download buttons that potentially confuse customers, as
well as SourceForge's own Windows installer, which bundles potentially
unwanted programs. In a statement,
SourceForge a once
"useful and trustworthy place to develop and host
that now faces "a problem with the ads they allow on their
SourceForge § Project hijackings and bundled
GIMP, who discontinued their use of
SourceForge as a download mirror
in November 2013, reported in May 2015 that
hosting infected versions of their Windows binaries on their Open
Source Mirror directory.
GIMP's fitness for use in professional environments is regularly
reviewed; it is often compared to and suggested as a possible
replacement for Adobe Photoshop.
GIMP has similar
functionality to Photoshop, but has a different user interface.
GIMP 2.6 was used to create nearly all of the art in Lucas the Game,
an independent video game by developer Timothy Courtney. Courtney
started development of Lucas the Game in early 2014, and the video
game was published in July 2015 for PC and Mac. Courtney explains GIMP
is a powerful tool, fully capable of large professional projects, such
as video games. This is the first case of
GIMP having played a major
role in the production of a published video game.
The single-window mode introduced in
GIMP 2.8 was reviewed in 2012 by
Ryan Paul of Ars Technica, who noted that it made the user experience
feel "more streamlined and less cluttered." Michael Burns, writing
Macworld in 2014, described the single-window interface of GIMP
2.8.10 as a "big improvement".
In his review of
ExtremeTech in October 2013, David Cardinal
noted that GIMP's reputation of being hard to use and lacking features
has "changed dramatically over the last couple years", and that it was
"no longer a crippled alternative to Photoshop". He described GIMP's
scripting as one of its strengths, but also remarked that some of
Photoshop's features - such as Text, 3D commands, Adjustment Layers
and History - are either less powerful or missing in GIMP. Cardinal
favorably described the
UFRaw converter for raw images used with GIMP,
noting that it still "requires some patience to figure out how to use
those more advanced capabilities". Cardinal stated that
GIMP is "easy
enough to try" despite not having as well developed documentation and
help system as those for Photoshop, concluding that it "has become a
worthy alternative to Photoshop for anyone on a budget who doesn’t
need all of Photoshop’s vast feature set".
Wilber is the official
GIMP mascot. Wilber has relevance outside of
GIMP as a racer in
SuperTuxKart and was displayed on the Bibliothèque
nationale de France (National Library of France) as part of Project
Wilber was created at some time before 25 September 1997 by Tuomas
Kuosmanen (tigert) and has since received additional accessories and a
construction kit to ease the process.
Further information: Comparison of raster graphics editors
Animation Showing Brushes, Patterns, Gradients Created in GIMP
Tools used to perform image editing can be accessed via the toolbox,
through menus and dialogue windows. They include filters and brushes,
as well as transformation, selection, layer and masking tools.
There are several ways of selecting colors, including palettes, color
choosers and using an eyedropper tool to select a colour on the
canvas. The built-in color choosers include RGB/HSV selector or
scales, water-color selector, CMYK selector and a color-wheel
selector. Colors can also be selected using hexadecimal color codes as
HTML color selection.
GIMP has native support for indexed
colour and RGB color spaces; other color spaces are supported using
decomposition where each channel of the new color space becomes a
black-and-white image. CMYK, LAB and HSV (hue, saturation, value) are
supported this way. Color blending can be achieved using the
Blend tool, by applying a gradient to the surface of an image and
using GIMP's color modes. Gradients are also integrated into tools
such as the brush tool, when the user paints this way the output color
slowly changes. There are a number of default gradients included with
GIMP; a user can also create custom gradients with tools provided.
Gradient plug-ins are also available.
Selections and paths
GIMP selection tools include a rectangular and circular selection
tool, free select tool, and fuzzy select tool (also known as magic
wand). More advanced selection tools include the select by color tool
for selecting contiguous regions of color—and the scissors select
tool, which creates selections semi-automatically between areas of
highly contrasting colors.
GIMP also supports a quick mask mode where
a user can use a brush to paint the area of a selection. Visibly this
looks like a red colored overlay being added or removed. The
foreground select tool is an implementation of Simple Interactive
Object Extraction (SIOX) a method used to perform the extraction of
foreground elements, such as a person or a tree in focus. The Paths
Tool allows a user to create vectors (also known as Bézier curves).
Users can use paths to create complex selections, including around
natural curves. They can paint (or "stroke") the paths with brushes,
patterns, or various line styles. Users can name and save paths for
There are many tools that can be used for editing images in GIMP. The
more common tools include a paint brush, pencil, airbrush, eraser and
ink tools used to create new or blended pixels. The Bucket Fill tool
can be used to fill a selection with a color or pattern. The Blend
tool can be used to fill a selection with a color gradient. These
color transitions can be applied to large regions or smaller custom
GIMP also provides "smart" tools that use a more complex algorithm to
do things that otherwise would be time consuming or impossible. These
Clone tool, which copies pixels using a brush
Healing brush, which copies pixels from an area and corrects tone and
Perspective clone tool, which works like the clone tool but corrects
for distance changes
Blur and sharpen tool blurs and sharpens using a brush
The Smudge tool can be used to subtly smear a selection where it
Dodge and burn tool is a brush that makes target pixels lighter
(dodges) or darker (burns)
Animation showing three docked and tabbed dialogs: layers, channels,
Layers, layer masks and channels
An image being edited in
GIMP can consist of many layers in a stack.
The user manual suggests that "A good way to visualize a
GIMP image is
as a stack of transparencies," where in
GIMP terminology, each
transparency is a layer. Each layer in an image is made up of
several channels. In an RGB image, there are normally 3 or 4 channels,
each consisting of a red, green and blue channel. Color sublayers look
like slightly different gray images, but when put together they make a
complete image. The fourth channel that may be part of a layer is the
alpha channel (or layer mask). This channel measures opacity where a
whole or part of an image can be completely visible, partially visible
or invisible. Each layer has a layer mode that can be set to change
the colors in the image.
Text layers can be created using the text tool, allowing a user to
write on an image. Text layers can be transformed in several ways,
such as converting them to a path or selection.
Droste effect using Mathmap plug-in
Automation, scripts and plug-ins
GIMP has approximately 150 standard effects and filters, including
Drop Shadow, Blur, Motion Blur and Noise.
GIMP operations can be automated with scripting languages. The
Script-Fu is a Scheme-based language implemented using a TinyScheme
interpreter built into GIMP.
GIMP can also be scripted in
Perl, Python (Python-Fu), or Tcl, using interpreters
external to GIMP. New features can be added to
GIMP not only by
changing program code (
GIMP core), but also by creating plug-ins.
These are external programs that are executed and controlled by the
GIMP program. MathMap is an example of a plug-in written
There is support for several methods of sharpening and blurring
images, including the blur and sharpen tool. The unsharp mask tool is
used to sharpen an image selectively — it only sharpens areas
of an image that are sufficiently detailed. The Unsharp Mask tool is
considered to give more targeted results for photographs than a normal
sharpening filter. The Selective Gaussian Blur tool works in a
similar way, except it blurs areas of an image with little detail.
The Generic Graphics Library (GEGL) was first introduced as part of
GIMP on the 2.6 release of GIMP. This initial introduction does not
yet exploit all of the capabilities of GEGL; as of the 2.6 release,
GIMP can use
GEGL to perform high bit-depth color operations; because
of this less information is lost when performing color operations.
GEGL is fully integrated,
GIMP will have a higher color bit depth
and better non-destructive work-flow. Current distribution versions of
GIMP only support 8-bit of color, which is much less than what e.g.
digital cameras produce (12-bit or more). Full support for high bit
depth is included with actual Gimp 2.9 Development version. For
accelerations OpenCL is available for some operations.
GIMP supports importing and exporting with a large number of different
file formats, GIMP's native format XCF is designed to store all
GIMP can contain about an image; XCF is named after the
eXperimental Computing Facility where
GIMP was authored. Import and
export capability can be extended to additional file formats by means
Import and export
GIMP has import and export support for image formats such as BMP,
GIF and TIFF, along with the file formats of several other
applications such as
Autodesk flic animations, Corel PaintShop Pro
Adobe Photoshop documents. Other formats with read/write
PostScript documents, X bitmap image, xwd, and Zsoft
GIMP can also read and write path information from SVG files and
read/write ICO Windows icon files.
GIMP can import Adobe PDF documents and the raw image formats used by
many digital cameras, but cannot save to these formats. An open source
plug-in, UFRaw, adds full raw compatibility, and has been noted
several times for being updated for new camera models quicker than
GIMP can export to MNG layered image files (
Linux version only) and
HTML (as a table with colored cells), C source code files (as an
array) and ASCII Art (using a plug-in to represent images with
characters and punctuation making up images), though it cannot read
Forks and derivatives
Because of the free and open-source nature of GIMP, several forks,
variants and derivatives of the computer program have been created to
fit the needs of their creators. While
GIMP is available for popular
operating systems, variants of
GIMP may be OS-specific. These variants
are neither hosted nor linked on the
GIMP site. The
GIMP site does not
GIMP builds for Windows or Unix-like operating systems either,
although it does include a link to a Windows build.
Well-known variants include:
CinePaint: Formerly Film Gimp, it is a fork of
GIMP version 1.0.4,
used for frame-by-frame retouching of feature film.
up to 32-bit IEEE-floating point color depth per channel, as well as
color management and HDR.
CinePaint is used primarily within the film
industry due mainly to its support of high-fidelity image formats. It
is available for BSD, Linux, and macOS.
GIMP classic: A patch against
GIMP v2.6.8 source code created to
undo changes made to the user interface in
GIMP v2.4 through v2.6. A
GIMP classic for Ubuntu is available. As of March 2011, a
new patch could be downloaded that patches against the experimental
GIMP Portable: A portable version of
Microsoft Windows XP or
later that preserves brushes and presets between computers
GIMPshop: Derivative that aim to replicate the
Adobe Photoshop in some
form. Development of
GIMPshop was halted in 2006 and
the project disavowed by the developer, Scott Moschella, after an
unrelated party registered "GIMPshop" as part of an Internet domain
name and passed off the website as belonging to Moschella while
accepting donations and making revenue from advertising but passing on
none of the income to Moschella
GimPhoto: In Tradition of
GIMPshop stands GimPhoto, which is also
with GUI like Photoshop. With tool GimPad some more modifications are
possible. Actual Version of
GimPhoto is 24.1 with installer for
Windows 8.1 and also included for Windows 7 and 10. It is based on
previous Version 1.4.3 by Old
GIMP 2.4.3. in 2008. LinuxVersion is
also based on Gimp 2.4.3 and have Files for Ubuntu 14, Fedora and a
universal Source for other
Unix and Linux. For Mac OS X 10.6+ is
Version 26.1 available based by Gimp-Version 2.6.8. Only one
Developer is on work in this project actual, so fast updates and new
versions based on Gimp 2.8.2x or 2.9.x are not in pipe.
GIMP (ingimp): Created at the
University of Waterloo
University of Waterloo to
track and report user interaction with the program to generate
statistics about how
GIMP is used, first released on 5 May 2007.
Statistics collected by ingimp were publicly available freely of
charge on the project's site after being anonymized. The ingimp
site is no longer functioning as of 2014.
GIF generated by GAP plugin
GIMP Animation Package (GAP) A
GIMP plug-in for creating animations.
GAP can save animations in several formats, including
GIF and AVI.
The animation function relies on GIMP's layering and image file name
numbering capability. Animations are created either by placing each
frame on its own layer (in other words, treating each layer as an
animation cel), or by manipulating each numbered file as if it were a
frame in the video: moving, rotating, flipping, changing colors,
applying filters, etc. to the layers by taking advantage of
interpolation within function calls(plug-in usage), within a specified
frame range. The resulting project can be saved as an animated
encoded video file. GAP also provides programmed layer transitions,
frame rate change, and move paths, allowing the creation of
GIMP Paint Studio (GPS) A collection of brushes and accompanying tool
presets, aimed at artists and graphic designers. It speeds up
repetitive tasks and can save tool settings between sessions.
Resynthesizer A set of plugins originally developed as part of Paul
Harrison's PhD thesis providing "context-aware fill" features,
including heal selection, heal transparency, uncrop and general
resynthesize (the other plugins are user-friendly specialisations of
this plugin). The plugin is now maintained by Lloyd Konneker.
Some uses for the plugin are creating more of a texture, including
creation of tileable textures, removing objects from images for
touching up photos, and creating themed images.
Computer science portal
Free software portal
GIMP version history
Libre Graphics Meeting
List of computing mascots
Comparison of raster graphics editors
List of raster graphics editors
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GPL linking exception
GNU Privacy Guard
Guix System Distribution
Benjamin Mako Hill
Bradley M. Kuhn
Georg C. F. Greve
Robert J. Chassell
Linux naming controversy
Free Software Foundation
Free Software Foundation anti-Windows campaigns
Defective by Design
Free and open-source software
Alternative terms for free software
Comparison of open-source and closed-source software
Comparison of source code hosting facilities
Free software project directories
Gratis versus libre
Open-source software development
Content management systems
Free software movement
Open-source software movement
Free Software Foundation
Python Software Foundation License
Comparison of free and open-source software licenses
Contributor License Agreement
Debian Free Software Guidelines
Definition of Free Cultural Works
The Free Software Definition
The Open Source Definition
Permissive software licence
Digital rights management
Mozilla software rebranding
The Cathedral and the Bazaar
Microsoft Open Specification Promise
Burning Ship fractal
Iterated function system