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The GNU Image Manipulation Program or just GIMP is a Free Software bitmap graphics editor, a program for creating and processing raster graphics. It also has some support for vector graphics. The project was started in 1995 by Spencer Kimball and Peter Mattis and is now maintained by a group of volunteers; it is licensed under the GNU General Public License.



Image:Gimp 2.2.8 Mac.png GIMP originally stood for General Image Manipulation Program. Its creators, Spencer Kimball and Petter Mattis, initially started GIMP as a semester-long project for a class at UC Berkeley. Both were integral members of eXperimental Computing Facility, a student club at Berkeley (the GIMP's file extension, XCF, is taken from the initials of this club). In 1997, after both Kimball and Mattis had graduated from Berkeley, the name was changed to GNU Image Manipulation Program when it became an official GNU project.

GIMP can be used to process digital graphics and photographs. Typical uses include creating graphics and logos, resizing and cropping photos, changing colors, combining images using a layer paradigm, removing unwanted image features, and converting between different image formats. GIMP can also be used to create simple animated images.

GIMP is also notable to some as the first major free software end-user application. Previous free software projects, such as GCC and the Linux kernel, were mainly tools created by programmers for programmers. GIMP is considered by some to be proof that the free software development process can create things non-geeks can use productively, and as such psychologically paved the way for such efforts as KDE, GNOME, Mozilla Firefox,, and various other applications that followed.


Image:Padlock2.png Image:Padlock3.png

Brushes, colors, and painting tools

  • 48 standard brushes, plus facilities to create new ones
  • Brushes can be used in hard-edged, soft-edged, or eraser modes, be applied at different opacities, or used to apply various effects
  • Palette with RGB, HSV, colour wheel, CMYK, and mixing modes, plus tools to pick colours from the image with various averaging options. Support for hexadecimal colour codes (as used in HTML).

Selection and masking tools

  • Selection of rectangles, circles, similar colors, or freehand selection
  • Smart Selection tool, known as the "Magic Wand", used to select contiguous regions

Layers, transparency

  • Support for layers, including transparent layers, which can be shown, hidden, or made semitransparent
  • Transparent and semitransparent images
  • Channels available to add different types of opacity and color effects to images


  • Support for paths containing line segments or bezier curves. Paths can be named, saved, and painted with brushes, patterns, or various line styles

Effects, scripts, and filters

  • Approximately 150 standard effects and filters


As well as interactive use, GIMP can be automated with macro programs. The built-in Scheme can be used for this, or alternatively Perl, Python, Tcl and (experimentally) Ruby can also be used. This allows the writing of scripts and plugins for GIMP which can then be used interactively; it is also possible to produce images in completely non-interactive ways (for example generating images for a webpage on the fly using CGI scripts) and for batch color correction and conversion of images. For simple automatable tasks, a package such as ImageMagick is likely to be quicker, but GIMP has much more powerful features.



GIMP was intended as a free software replacement for Adobe Photoshop, which is the dominant bitmap editor in the printing and graphics industries.

GIMP uses [[GTK+]] as for building its user interface. GTK+ was initially part of GIMP, intended as a replacement for the proprietary Motif toolkit, which GIMP originally depended upon. GIMP and GTK+ were originally designed for the X Window System running on Unix-like operating systems, but have since been ported to Microsoft Windows, OS/2, and SkyOS.

The current stable version of GIMP is Template:Latest stable release/GIMP. Major changes compared to version 1.2 include a more polished user interface and further separation of the user interface and back-end.

Also, an unstable 2.3.x version is being updated by GIMP developers, with new versions being available every few months.

For the future it is planned to base GIMP on a more generic graphical library called GEGL, thereby addressing some fundamental design limitations that prevent many enhancements such as native CMYK support. However, implementation of this plan has been continually put off since 2000.

Comparisons with other graphics editors

Missing features, which many graphics artists require, include:

  • Support for the Pantone color matching system, or spot color. (This can be circumvented by importing Pantone palettes supplied by printer manufacturers, which has lower usage restrictions than Pantone Inc. has suggested.)
  • Support for Adobe Photoshop plugins and other add-ons<ref>There is a plugin called PSPI for Windows and Linux versions of the GIMP, which allows the use of the 8bf Adobe Photoshop filters in the GIMP. It however requires the Adobe Photoshop SDK to compile, the use of which must be requested from Adobe, but pre-compiled versions are freely distributable.</ref>.
  • Support for anything but 8-bit per-channel images e.g 16-bit, 32-bit, floating point.
  • Support for colour models other than RGB(A) and greyscale e.g CIE XYZ. (Partial CMYK support is available with the Separate plug-in.)
  • Extensive gamma support.
  • Support for Color management (GIMP has limited support through LCMS<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>)
  • Native support for Adjustment layers, i.e. layers which act like filters. (A plugin is available which adds some support for these.)
  • Undo history "snapshots" that persist between sessions.

Benefits of GIMP system include:

  • Zero licensing costs, even for installations on many computers
  • Available for many types of computing system
  • Not dependent on any single company for updates or support
  • Freely redistributable, so can be shared on an intranet or given to friends and family
  • Plug-in development is not limited by developers (Access to Adobe Photoshop's SDK requires authorization [1])

File Types

GIMP can open and save the following file formats:

GIMP can open but not save the following formats:

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

Availability, versions, and forks

Linux distributions

GIMP is included as the standard image editor on most consumer Linux distributions, including Ubuntu, Mandriva, and SUSE.

GIMP for Windows

GIMP (along with the GTK+ toolkit) has been ported to the Microsoft Windows platform by Finnish programmer Tor "tml" Lillqvist<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> who started that project in 1997.

Currently, the Windows port is practically identical to the original version in terms of features and stability. The installation has been tremendously eased with the introduction of the binary installers<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>compiled by Jernej Simoncic<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

The number of windows used by GIMP's interface can cause desktop clutter, which is especially apparent on systems like Microsoft Windows which are not equipped to deal with it. This is because the GIMP uses a Single document interface (SDI, more specifically a Controlled SDI as the toolbox is the main control window), unlike many competing graphics programs, which use a Multiple document interface.

Portable GIMP

PortableGIMP is a re-packaged version of GIMP for Windows, which can be run directly from media without installation. It is intended to be carried on a USB flash drive, or similar portable storage device e.g USB hard drive or digital audio player. It does not require administrator privileges and thus can be used in restricted (e.g work) environments without troubling a network administrator. for Mac OS X provides a self contained application bundle of GIMP for OS X. requires Apple's is packaged by Aaron Voisine.

Seashore for Mac OS X

Seashore is a program based on GIMP for Mac that uses the native Cocoa interface in OS X. The program is currently still in beta (0.1.8).


GIMPshop is a modification to GIMP, rearranging its user interface to mimic that of Adobe Photoshop


CinePaint formerly known as Film Gimp, is a modification (forked from v. 1.0.4), adding 16-bit color depth and other improvements and is used within the film industry.

See also


External links




GIMP Manual & Tricks

GIMP articles and tutorials

GIMP Community


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