Enhancing GIMP's Power with Brushes and Gradients



GIMP is the best graphics design software for Linux according to many reviewers on the Internet. GIMP is a very powerful, open-source freeware graphics program that allows users to make and edit images of nearly every format. Thankfully, GIMP's great power and abilities can be enhanced. This allows users to perform more graphic abilities. For instance, if a user needs a brush of a particular shape, the user can add the needed brush. This article will show readers how to enhance their GIMP studio.


Many users may want more brushes. Thankfully, brushes are easy to download or make and then import into the program.


To download brushes for GIMP, go to a website that offers GIMP brushes. One of the best one on the Internet is http://www.texturemate.com. If you go there, click the brushes button around the top of the page. Then, select a desired brush pack. Next, press the "Download" button. All of these brushes are free and legal to download and use.


To start using the new brushes in GIMP, extract the downloaded files. You should see a GBR file. A GBR file is a Gimp BRush. Copy the GBR files into ~/.gimp-2.8/brushes. Since these brushes are in your home folder, only you will be able to use and see the brushes. Other Linux users on different accounts will not be able to access your brushes. If you want all user accounts to access these brushes, then put the brushes in /usr/share/gimp/2.0/brushes. You will need root privileges to perform this action.


To make a GIMP brush, open GIMP. Next, click "File > New". This will cause a screen to appear. In the template menu, select "640x480". Then, under "Advanced Options", choose grayscale for the color space. It would be best to set the fill to transparent, unless you have a specific reason to select one of the other options. The resolution is fine except if you need this brush for very high-quality projects. Once you have set up the blank image, you can make your brush. Use the GIMP tools as if you were making any other image. The brush may be as simple or elaborate as you wish; your imagination is the only limit. After the brush has been designed, click "File > Export". Pick the save location and choose to save the image as a GIMP Brush (GBR). Now the brush can be imported into GIMP by following the directions above under "Import". However, you will not need to uncompress the file because the saved file is the GBR file while most downloaded files are compressed.



To delete a brush, go into your home folder and go to ~/.gimp-2.8/brushes. Find the undesired brush and delete it. If the brush is not seen in this folder, then it is likely in /usr/share/gimp/2.0/brushes. If the brush is in there, you will need root privileges to delete it.


Gradients are installed and downloaded in the same fashion as brushes, but there are some minute differences.


Gradients can be downloaded from many websites on the Internet, but one of the best webpages is http://nevit.deviantart.com/art/900gradients-for-GIMP-Inkscape-103771340. Once the page has loaded, click the download button. After the download is complete, uncompress the downloaded file. If you want more gradients, then http://gimp-tutorials.net/130-UltimateWeb20-Gradients-for-Gimp is another great site.


Inside the new folder, you will see GGR files; these are Gimp GRadient files. Copy these files into ~/.gimp-2.8/gradients. As with the brushes, only your user account can access the gradients. To permit others to use the gradients, place them in /usr/share/gimp/2.0/gradients using root privileges.


One of the most important facts to remember about importing brushes is to not import too many. The brush files are several megabytes in size. When GIMP executes, all of the brushes in your home folder and the system folder are loaded into RAM. This means that if you have a lot of brushes, your RAM space will be taken up. This can cause your system and/or GIMP to run slowly or crash. If you have a very fast computer with a large quantity of RAM, then you can support more brushes. This issue does not affect gradients much because of their small size. The gradient pack that this article uses as an example contains nine-hundred gradients. Importing this large set of gradients will not affect your system.

The name of a GBR or GGR file will be the name of the brush or gradient. To rename a brush or gradient, rename the file, but keep the file extension.

For GIMP version 2.8, your home location for tools is ~/.gimp-2.8/. For the next version, it will become ~/.gimp-2.9/.

Even for GIMP versions 2.0-2.8, the system location for GIMP's tools is /usr/share/gimp/2.0/. This may change to /usr/share/gimp/3.0/ when GIMPv3.0 is released.


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