5 Useful and Fun GIMP Plug-ins

For those of you who use GIMP, you know it is a really great alternative to Photoshop. Like any program, free or not, there is always room for improvement. Plugins are a an easy way to add functionality.

GIMP has two different types of plugins, Script-fu and Python-fu. Right out of the box, you can add Script-fu plugins. To add Python based plugins, there is some additional steps and add-ons needed.

Get Some Plugins

To find more plugins than you can shake a tick at, go to the GIMP Plugin Registry. The different plug-in scripts are tagged pretty well so you can type in the keywords for what you are looking for in the search bar to the right side of the page.

When you find something that catches your eye, download it by clicking on the link usually at the bottom of the page. The file should end in [.scm].

How to Install

Installation is super simple. Locate the downloaded file and drag it to this folder C:\Program Files\GIMP-2.0\share\gimp\2.0\scripts. If you have GIMP open, simply refresh the scripts by going to Filters then Script-fu and click on refresh scripts.

1. Pencil Draw

Pencil Draw is a a pretty cool effect. It is fun for the occasional profile picture. In a nutshell, the pencil draw plug-in traces the outline of the main shapes and fills in the open areas with a gray shading.

To use this effect, select the area you’d like to change then select Pencil Draw from the filters menu.





2. Auto Rotate

Auto Rotate is a handy plug-in to fix your photographic faux pas. If you need to straighten a picture quickly this is is what you have been looking for.

All you need to do is trace a  line in the picture using the paths tool. Go to the tools tab and scroll to and click on Auto Rotate.

The middle picture shows the line.







3. Motivational Poster Maker

I know you have all seen these online, funny pictures with an even funnier caption underneath. This plug-in gives you an easy way to create them.

Load a picture into GIMP. Click on Filter then Moti-Maker. In the pop-up, you can fill in the caption, then add something clever to go in the second line.





4. Phoca Save Icons

Whether you make icons for your website or your desktop, or you simply need to resize a picture to multiple sizes; this is you will love this plug-in. With one click, you can save your final product to the 8 different sizes listed below at the same time.

– 512 x 512px
– 256 x 256px
– 128 x 128px
– 64 x 64px
– 48 x 48px
– 32 x 32px
– 22 x 22px
– 16 x 16px


5. Draw Arrow

This may seem like a really simple tool. However, if you do not have it in your arsenal of tools, it will be missed.

Using the Path Tool, make a line. The first point will be the head of the arrow, the second is the end of the tail.

When you click the Arrow option in Tools, you will see all kinds of settings to tweak the size and shape of the arrow.


What plugins have you added to GIMP?

Intro image: alternatePhotography
Image credit: missbossy, Dan Dickinson


  1. Gimp is it’s own full-featured product and doesn’t need to be constantly referred with the “other proprietary product from Adobe”.

    1. @The Dobbs I totally get where you are coming from.

      However, Photoshop is a the industry assimilation for a image editing programs like Google is to searching or Kleenex is to tissues.

      It is what it is.

  2. For CMYK processing, Separate+ is essential. That and a bunch of other useful plugins are easily installed on an Ubuntu system by obtaining the gimp-plugin-registry from the repos using Synaptic. Here’s what it contains:

    * Add Film Grain (2.4):
    Helps adding realistic film grain to BW images.
    * btn4ws (
    Generates a series of buttons in three states (passive, active, pressed)
    with various selectable effects on them, as well as XHTML, CSS and
    JavaScript code for using the buttons.
    * Black and White Film Simulation (1.1):
    Converts the selected layer into Black and White using
    the channel mixer. Tries to produce results resembling
    tonal qualities of film
    * CMYK Tiff 2 PDF for Gimp (20090321):
    This plugin completes the prepress workflow of using Seperate+ to generate
    CMYK Tiff images by allowing you to convert the saved CMYK Tiff image into
    a PDF file.
    * Contact Sheet:
    Generates a contact sheet(s) for a directory of images.
    * David’s Batch Processor (1.1.9):
    A simple batch processing plugin for The Gimp – it allows
    the user to automatically perform operations (such as resize)
    on a collection of image files.
    * Diana-Holga2 (c):
    Diana/Holga Toys Cameras effect simulator.
    * Dustcleaner (r7):
    Plugin to detect and remove dust spots in digital images.
    * Fix-CA (3.0.2):
    Corrects chromatic aberration in photos
    * Focus-Blur (3.2.4):
    This plugin tries to simulate an out-of-focus blur
    * GREYCstoration (2.9):
    A tool to denoise, inpaint and resize images
    * Layer-Effects (2.4):
    This is a series of scripts that implement various layer effects:
    Drop Shadow, Inner Shadow, Outer Glow, Inner Glow, Bevel and Emboss,
    Satin, Color Overlay, Gradient Overlay, Pattern Overlay, Stroke
    * Liquid Rescale (0.6.1):
    Content-aware rescaling. Keeps the features of the image while
    rescaling along a single direction.
    * Normalmap (1.2.2):
    Allows you to convert images into RGB normal maps for use in
    per-pixel lighting applications.
    * Planet Render (1-2):
    Creates a planet. Color, size and sun orientation
    can be set.
    * Refocus (0.9.1):
    The GIMP plugin to refocus images using FIR Wiener filtering.
    During image processing operations such as scanning and scaling, images
    tend to get blurry. The blurred impression of these images is due to the
    fact that image pixels are averaged with their neighbors. Blurred images
    don’t have sharp boundaries and look as though they have been taken with
    an unfocussed camera.
    * Save for Web (0.28.5):
    Allows to experiment with various popular web format options. It shows
    an automatically updated preview and file size statistics.
    * Separate+ (0.5.3):
    Separate+ is a plug-in that generates color separations from an RGB
    image, proofs CMYK colors on the monitor and exports the CMYK TIFF file.
    * Smart Sharpen (redux) (2.4):
    This script implements the redux version of smart sharpening. It utilizes
    the Unsharp Mask or Refocus plugin to sharpen the image.
    * Sprocket Hole Script (0.2):
    This script simulates complete exposed 35mm film strips with frame
    numbers, lettering, overexposed sprocketholes and DX film edge barcodes.
    * Streak-Camera simulation (0.6):
    A streak camera images an object through a slit –
    thus getting a “one dimensional image”. This image is
    propagated along the second dimension of the image plane
    at a constant speed. The result is a picture of the time
    dependency of the object.
    * Wavelet Decompose (0.1.2):
    The wavelet decompose plugin decomposes a layer of an image into layers
    of wavelet scales. This means that you can edit the image on different
    detail scales (frequencies). The trivial recomposition of the image can
    be done by GIMP’s layer modes so you can see the results of your
    modifications instantly. Among the applications are retouching, noise
    reduction, and enhancing global contrast.
    * Wavelet Denoise (0.3.1):
    The wavelet denoise plugin is a tool to selectively reduce noise in
    individual channels of an image with optional RGBYCbCr conversion.
    It has a user inteface to adjust the amount of denoising applied. The
    wavelet nature of the algorithm makes the processing quite fast.

    1. @Rich_Roast Thanks a lot for the additions! With all of the possibilities, it is great to have a helping hand.

      1. Kudos really goes to those who have worked so hard to develop these plug-ins and those package managers who have volunteered their time and effort to make them so easily part of the GIMP on Ubuntu systems; I suspect that the other major Linux distros (Fedora, Slack) have similarly convenient workflows, and that packages (“.exe installers”) for Windows might be available.

        As someone who dabbles in graphic design I love the sheer pixel-precise power of the GIMP and would never think of anything else for my graphic manipulation needs. I hope that the list I provided here will help fulfil any gaps that users of the standard distribution of GIMP might have felt empty.

  3. My favorite is the kaleidoscope plugin in the GIMP registry. It’s so much fun, and the preview manipulates the image in real time so you can watch it changing.

    1. @reddit4evarr I will give the kaleidoscope plugin a go. It is never bad to have too many options.

      Thanks for the suggestion!

  4. @reddit4evarr I will give the kaleidoscope plugin a go. It is never bad to have too many options.

    Thanks for the suggestion!

  5. @Rich_Roast Thanks a lot for the additions! With all of the possibilities, it is great to have a helping hand.

  6. @The Dobbs I totally get where you are coming from.

    However, Photoshop is a the industry assimilation for a image editing programs like Google is to searching or Kleenex is to tissues.

    It is what it is.

  7. Moti-maker is nice one but he should give more options. The fonts should be set as different for title and description, which isn’t case.

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