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Tutorial: GIMP 2.4: The new features

Written by · Created on Jul 29, 2007, last updated over 13 years ago CC BY-NC License
A newer version of this article is available: What's new in GIMP 2.6?


Updated on Oct. 24th. GIMP 2.4 is done and now officially announced! After a pretty long development cycle and after hundreds and hundreds of hours of coding, the developers of the GNU Image Manipulation Program have announced the next stable release. GIMP 2.4 comes with brand new tools, a better user interface and lots of cool other stuff. This list shows you most of the new things you will find in GIMP 2.4. Enjoy!

Tutorial details

  • Category: Basics
  • Time to reproduce: ≈30.0 minutes Skill_0
  • Tested with GIMP 2.4
  1. 1

    Brand new selection tools

    The old selection tools have been thrown overboard and are replaced by ones that are totally rewritten for your selection pleasure.

    After a selection is made, rectangular and elliptical selections can be adjusted and moved easily without using the transform tool.

    This is an interactive process now: Just change the selections size at the edges. Also, if a selection is already active and you worked with it, you can click inside the selection and you can then resize it and work further.

    Additionally you can get rounded corners on rectangular selections by selecting it in the tool preferences.

  2. 2

    Desktop color picker

    In the dialog where you choose your colors you can now use the pipette to pick a color from everywhere on your screen (not just from your images).

  3. 3

    Redesigned menus

    The user interface has been redesigned, especially the top and context menus. There is now a seperate menu for colors, and the ScriptFu and PythonFu menu are no longer available. All filters and plugins can now be found in the Filters menu. For instance: Script-Fu → Shadows → Drop Shadow is now located at Filters → Light and Shadow → Drop Shadow. This is much more intuitive.

  4. 4

    New tango style icons

    The new tango style has more colors and is much more visually pleasing! The new icons have been designed to comply with the Tango Style Guidelines. All operating systems are supported by this new polished look.

  5. 5

    Brightness & Contrast behaviour

    When using the Brightness & Contrast color plugin you can now simply click inside the image, hold the mouse button down and move the mouse to the left, right, up or down while the image’s brightness and contrast will be adjusted.

  6. 6

    Copying SVG files

    Information in the SVG format (scalable vector graphics) can now be easily exchanged between applications (e.g. paths in GIMP and Inkscape).

  7. 7

    Enhanced text plugin

    You can now see the actual font you are using — not just on the canvas as usual, but also inside the text editor.

  8. 8

    Dynamic brushes

    All brushes that are marked by a small blue triangle in the bottom right corner are so-called dynamic brushes now. Their brush size can be changed dynamically by pressing Alt Gr+[ to scale down or Alt Gr+] to enlarge the brush. You don’t have to readjust the brush in the brushes editor any longer.

  9. 9

    Merge Layers dialog has a new option

    When pressing Ctrl+M or go to Image / Merge Layers, the dialog now has a new option where you can discard invisible layers automatically.

  10. 10


    There have been done lots of performance enhancements to the new GIMP 2.4:

    - Launching GIMP is now faster
    - The often-used Gaussian blur filter is working faster
    - Even so does the selective Gaussian blur
    - Inverting values has been optimized and works faster now

  11. 11

    New plugin: Red Eye Removal

    A new plugin takes care for red eyes effect that often occurs when using cameras that have no pre-flash to avoid this. Make a elliptical selection around the eyes, the use the threshold option of the plugin to remove the redness of the eyes.

  12. 12

    Text on a path

    Although GIMP is no vector graphics editor, it has some nice basic functions. The new text-to-path option allows you to write/align text along a specified path. The aligned text is created as a new path that can then be used as a selection and be filled with a certain color.

  13. 13

    Strong undo/redo

    By pressing Shift+Ctrl+Z / Shift+Ctrl+Y it is now possible to undo a bunch of actions at one time. This is good for experimenting on something!

  14. 14

    The fractal explorer is now also working on grayscale pictures.

  15. 15

    Preview windows found in various filters or plugins have a better navigation now. Just use the cross to get a certain part of the image in the preview and use the zoom functions to navigate on the picture fast.

  16. 16

    New channels feature

    In the channels dialog there is a new very useful function to initialize the channel automatically from the active selection.

  17. 17

    New alignment tool

    For all those who had the pain to manually align a layer very exactly: GIMP 2.4 comes with a new tool that allows you to easily position layers exactly by entering values and/or align a layer relative to the picture or to another specified layer.

    For example, you can now align a layer exactly into the middle of the canvas by just clicking 2 buttons!

  18. 18

    New tool: Foreground extraction

    By using this tool, you can extract objects of a picture intuitionally. It uses the SIOX algorithm. Just select the tool, then tell it which object you want to mask by making a rough selection around it.

    Then you paint in the object approximately. After that, the algorithm tries to to detect edges and brightness to select the object by itself. You can redo the painting step until the object is masked perfectly from the background.

    By pressing Enter you get the final selection.

  19. 19

    Color management

    This is the first time you can use color profiles (.icc or .icm) in the GIMP. GIMP can now read color profiles and convert/adjust it on your wish!

  20. 20

    Use Del to remove

    No more Ctrl+K to remove certain parts in the image. You can use Del from now on to delete or remove parts of the picture.

  21. 21

    Fullscreen edititing

    Use the Tab key to toggle visibility of all dialogs. So you can use the whole screen (the maximized full picture window) for your image editing without having to move around dialogs that disturb you from viewing some parts of the image.

  22. 22

    Crop tool redesigned

    The crop tool gains all advantages of the new selection tools (live resizing… etc.)!

  23. 23

    New: Perspective cloning

    This brand new tool allows the well known cloning tool to be used in perspectives. Specify a perspective in the picture. The cloned parts are the automatically drawn in the correct perspective! Very cool feature!

  24. 24

    Heal image irregularities

    The new heal tool lets you easily remove unwanted parts on an image, for example pimples on a person’s face. It clones a given part by readjusting the neighbour pixels so the cloning is not so obvious.

  25. 25

    New filter: Lens distortion

    There is also a very cool new plugin in the Filter / Distorts menu that is very useful for photographers. Lens distortion allows you to correct lens distortions or to apply some changes only to the 4 corners of an image, e.g. if your corners are a little darker then the rest of the picture.

  26. 26

    Adobe Photoshop V2 brushes (.abr) are supported now. You can use and import them to GIMP 2.4.

  27. 27

    Miscellaneous enhancements

    - .bmp files now have support for 16/32 bits and alpha channel support.
    - better status displays for plugins, filters
    - 24 bit Vista icons can be opened and saved
    - layer masks can be saved to psd files
    - very long layer names in psd files are now supported
    - enhanced EXIF support for JPEG files
    - new speed control for the animation plugin

    … and many more small but useful improvements ;)

  28. 28

    Last but not least, the Website has been redesigned and comes with a fresh cool orange/black look! Great work.


Post your own comments, questions or hints here. The author and other users will see your posting and can reply to it.

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Bru Meade
over 12 years ago

How do I institute the cool orange colour GIMP interface that I see on the GIMP tutorial windows? Please and thank you.

almost 15 years ago

For the error "Plug-In 'xxxx' left image undo in inconsistent state, closing open undo groups." in Gimp 2.4.6 just replace the instructions "(gimp-undo-push-group-start inImage)" and "(gimp-undo-push-group-end inImage)" with "(gimp-undo-push-group-start inImage)" and "(gimp-undo-push-group-end inImage)".

devvv member for over 17 years devvv 1475 comments
almost 16 years ago

thats the Alt-key to the very right of the space-key

George Gerhold
almost 16 years ago

Adjustable brushes are changed by
"Alt Gr+[" . What does the Gr represent?

devvv member for over 17 years devvv 1475 comments
about 16 years ago

linux users can have all versions, they can compile it on their own - currently the latest stable is 2.4.5 - the link to the sourcecode is found in our downloads section

anjana member for about 16 years anjana 1 comment
about 16 years ago

what GIMP versions r available to download for Linux users

about 16 years ago

best thing ever

devvv member for over 17 years devvv 1475 comments
over 16 years ago

there have been really big changes as i know, so likely no 2.2-script will run in 2.4. they need to be adjusted by the developers of the scripts...

bilbo member for over 16 years bilbo 3 comments
over 16 years ago

I get the following error whenever I run any script:

"Plug-In 'xxxx' left image undo in inconsistent state, closing open undo groups."

This is happening with almost all the scripts. Only my 2 EG ones are working.

I am using 2.4. Just downloaded it. The version includes GTK. Clean install!

Are the v2.2 scripts suppose to be compatible with the new version? also, it is being run on WinXP

BarnArt member for over 16 years BarnArt 1 comment
over 16 years ago

Downloaded 2.4 today, and now script-fu's don't work.
For instance, water paint effect brings up an error message saying WPE left image in inconsistent state, closing open undo groups.
WPE Message: Error while exeucuting.
Error set!: unbound variables: current selection.

Any ideas about what could be causing this?

saulgoode member for over 16 years saulgoode 1 comment
over 16 years ago

From: chris (today 03:48 PM)

any idea where the Selection Script-Fu's distress? we have been looking all over the menus for it.

The Script-fu menu commands have been relocated to more appropriate locations in the menu tree. This was done because the programming language of a script or plug-in really doesn't matter to a user.

The Distress Selection has been moved to "Select->Distort" along with the commnand for rounding corners.

The old Selection To Pattern/Brush/Image have been superceded by "Edit->Paste As..." commands. (You can also use the contents of clipboard as a pattern or brush directly.)

over 16 years ago

any idea where the Selection Script-Fu's distress? we have been looking all over the menus for it.


over 16 years ago

Thank you very much for review!

Trevor Andrews
over 16 years ago

Wow! I cannot wait for the 2.4 release! It is because of GIMP that I decided to make my future in graphic design, thanks GIMP!

over 16 years ago

what about for mac? will 2.4 be realesed on the mac os, will it be univeral app? will it run as a native program? will it have native GUI? OR Vista style??

over 16 years ago

It may seem odd but faster startup is the biggest thing I'm looking forward to. Viva la GIMP!

devvv member for over 17 years devvv 1475 comments
over 16 years ago

very good! i added it to the details to the right and also added a link with the flag in the menu!

thank you!

over 16 years ago

good. I finished.
my work is here,
(violet text is my opinion)

and thank so much devvv,
for your tutorial and the permission :-)

devvv member for over 17 years devvv 1475 comments
over 16 years ago

hey mr. dust. would be cool if you translate this into korean! when you're done send me an email (the one in my profile that looks like an email is my jabber id ;)) to devvv(at)devvv(dot)de. i will link to your version then from this site!

over 16 years ago

to Devvv // hey, your email is not correct.
BTW I want to translate this to my language, korean. would you permit?

the korean version will be published on

devvv member for over 17 years devvv 1475 comments
over 16 years ago

pretty soon ;) the developers are only fixing bugs atm. when this is done gimp2.4 will be released

melissa member for over 16 years melissa 1 comment
over 16 years ago

wow..when is it coming out??

devvv member for over 17 years devvv 1475 comments
over 16 years ago

Much preperation has been done for the upcoming implementation of GEGL into GIMP which will open a new dimension for the next releases (2.6 etc...). GEGL will offer 32bit support for example.

The problem of the summer of code is that if some implementations are not good enough done by the SoC-peoples they will not be implemented since it costs lots of time to change code from other developers. Thats what my opinion is of this. you couls maybe ask this in the official #gimp channels (you can get into the chatroom by using the chat link on our top menu)

over 16 years ago

Well, for such a long development cycle, it doesn't seem like that much has really been added. What about 32bit support and incorporating the jpeg 2000 from last years summer of code?

over 16 years ago

have you informations about the langage used for plugins named tiny fu in place of script-fu ?

my blog:

henriquemaia member for over 16 years henriquemaia 11 comments
over 16 years ago

Nice explanation of Gimp’s new features. Thanks.

over 16 years ago

Thanks, for new GIMP 2.4

xtudiux member for almost 17 years xtudiux 19 comments
over 16 years ago

It also means a new shortcut will be along the way replacing the ones in this site???

Very Good

xtudiux member for almost 17 years xtudiux 19 comments
over 16 years ago

This is time when i am in the process of adapting GIMP a new version comes up...

Life is good...Praise be God...