A free and open-source raster graphics editing tool, GIMP is one of the best out there. The biggest open source competitor to Adobe Photoshop, you can make GIMP even better with the help of plug-ins. These plug-ins add new features and improves your workflow, but the issue is there are way too many out there, that’s where I come in. In this article, I’ll present you with a list of the best GIMP plug-ins.
- For Filters: G’MIC (GREYC’s Magic for Image Computing)
- To Remove Unwanted Objects: Resynthesizer
- To Edit RAW Images: Darktable
- To Make Your Life Easier: Duplicate to Another Image
- To Work With Layers: Layer via Copy/Cut
- To Stitch Images Together: Hugin
- To Retouch Skin: Wavelet Decompose
- For DDS Users: GIMP DDS Plug-in
- For Everything Else You Might Need: Bundled Scripts
Let’s explore each one of them in detail.
Well, there are times when all you need is a quick filter, and this most popular GIMP plug-in offer hundreds of them, plus additional effects and presets to add into your GIMP toolkit. And since its open-source, the community is continuously working on adding new filters to the collection.
Its large collection of filters is divided into different categories, such as Artistic, Black & white, Colors, Contours, Deformations, and so forth. So, whether you want to just enhance the colors of an image, or make a photo look like a painting, G’MIC has got you covered.
One of the oldest and also one of the most useful GIMP plug-ins, Resynthesizer should be installed by every serious GIMP user.
This exceptional plug-in essentially takes Content-Aware Fill (Photoshop’s most popular feature) and adds it to GIMP. It can sample texture from a photo and easily create more of that texture for better tiling or seamless image healing.
I can list a number of uses of this GIMP plug-in, but it’s most often used to remove unwanted objects from photos—say, that Apple Watch on your wrist from your photo of a medieval knight—without any hint it was ever there.
Do you like to work with RAW images or images that haven’t been compressed at all? If the answer is yes then you need to add a GIMP RAW editor first as these makes editing RAW images in GIMP easy. The reason you need a GIMP RAW editor is because RAW images have big file sizes and brings with it a whole new set of challenges.
There are different options for you out there; DarkTable is the best among them. Primarily, due to its more intuitive and accessible interface, shallower learning curve, and some advanced features including masking tools.
The Duplicate to Another Image GIMP plug-in allows you to duplicate layer, layer with mask, or layer group from one image to another. Simply put, you can create a new image from any selection right in the GIMP editor. By using this plug-in you can save a lot of your time from getting wasted on having to edit images and open new files just to get the selection you need.
To be honest, it’s not something new or extraordinary, as this is something you could technically already do, but with this particular plug-in it gets much easier and better.
With this plug-in you can add another popular feature of Photoshop into GIMP: copy, move and cut selected areas from one layer or a group of layers, and create new layers from selected areas. When you have to figure out how you’re going to stack every layer just the right way, Layer via Copy/Cut provides you with a very practical and easy solution.
Well, there are times when you can’t get it all in one shot, and that’s where this GIMP plug-in comes in. It enables you to stitch together multiple images to either create a mosaic or a complete immersive panorama image. You will be able to get panorama images pixel perfect, right within GIMP.
Skin retouching is an integral part of portrait photography. While the built-in toolset of GIMP offers some options, Wavelet Decompose is by far the most powerful retouching tool you’ll come across.
It uses an advanced form of frequency separation. It splits the image into multiple layers of fine details, giving you very fine tuned control over which details you want to smooth, and which to keep. The plug-in can also be useful for tweaking colors or removing other unwanted oddities from your images.
The details I mentioned above may sound a little complicated, but trust me it isn’t in practical, just install the plug-in and use the blur and smooth tools to make your skin shine.
Here is another one; you should know that this plug-in is not supported by the newest version of GIMP, as it supports DDS files out of the box. But that does not mean it isn’t useful anymore or you won’t need it. Despite not being updated since 2013, this plug-in will be enough for those who prefer an older GIMP version.
It’s not a plug-in that is used very often but, but it is still essential to ensure you’re able to access and create every file type you may end up editing in GIMP.
If you take a look at any list of the GIMP plug-ins, you’ll find that they come in all sorts of sizes and complexities, but in many instances it’s the single-function ones that you end up using most.
This collection of hundred plus scripts provides you with a host of shortcuts for common image editing and graphic design tasks. You get a GIMP sketch plug-in, a watermark plug-in using which you can create a watermark that you can add to any image whenever you need it, a few scripts for sharpening photos, removing red-eye or adding frames, and some for generating effects or emulating film stock.
Downloading this script bundle will help you to fill in the gaps left due to the stoppage of your old GIMP plug-ins.