Published Date
01 - May - 2008
| Last Updated
01 - May - 2008

Although GIMP has been popularly known as a free, open source replacement for Photoshop meant for Linux, its workflow has never exactly resembled Photoshop. GIMP has been ported to Windows and so has GIMPshop—its software that developers got to finally work under one big window and make it a lot like Photoshop. The features of GIMP are all still there, they are just a little easier to access for people who’ve been using Photoshop so far.

Keyboard Shortcuts

One of the biggest differences with Photoshop and any other image editing software for that matter is the use of keyboard shortcuts. Most advanced users will not run around searching for features in menus, they remember them by shortcuts.

Photoshop shortcuts can be enabled by running a shortcut in the Windows Start menu

You can have Photoshop shortcuts set for GIMPshop by clicking on Start > All Programs > GIMPshop > Enable Photoshop Shortcuts. Restart GIMPshop. If that doesn’t work for you, you can still go to File > Preferences. Click on Interface on the left, and then Configure Keyboard Shortcuts. Here, all the shortcuts can be customised as per your choice. Some other configuration changes to the behaviour of the mouse and keyboard can also be done by clicking on File > Preferences > Input Devices > Input Controllers.

Making Docks

GIMPshop allows the menus on the interface to be undocked, which allows quick access to the tools within them. Say you want to use the Xtns menu and some of the scripts in it. Click the Xtns menu and click the dotted line on top of the menu. The menu will then undock from the menu. You can move it to the side and access all the features directly from there. If you right click on the image you’re working on, a separate menu with all the items in the standard menu on top will be displayed, which can also be undocked.

Customising GIMPshop

One of the significant changes with GIMPShop is the big window, which holds all the GIMP tools together.

Photoshop plugins can be used under GIMP using the 3rd party plugin—PSPI

The background colour for this window can be to be a little pleasing on the eyes. Click on Edit > Background Color. Choose a colour and click OK. You can also have all the toolbars and windows snap to the edges if you click on Edit > Snap GIMP Windows.

Using Photoshop Plugins

Even though GIMP can do a lot of what Photoshop can do, there are some plugins that add additional features to Photoshop. Photoshop plugins can be used in GIMP as well but for that an additional plugin for GIMP or GIMPshop needs to be downloaded. It’s called PSPI and is available for download for different operating systems at Unzip the file into the GIMPshop folder. Now start GIMPshop, and click on Xtns and then on Photoshop Plug-in Settings. Click the New button and then the … button to browse for the plugins. Click OK when done.

Use Script-Fu To Generate Designs And Patterns

Performance tweaks can be necessary if large images are opened in GIMP

Scripting is a way to have complex designs and patterns made by GIMPshop. Scripting support is something that is standard in most of today’s well-known image editing and 3D-modelling software. Readymade Script-Fu scripts are available in GIMPshop, under the Xtns menu or by right-clicking on the workspace. You can also create your new Script-Fu to create your scripts by clicking on the Xtns > Script-Fu > Script-Fu Console. You can search commands and keywords that can be referred to, by pressing the Browse button.

GIMP Optimisations

Image editing software need to handle large images and they can get really heavy. With many steps involved, the history can really over-utilise system resources. Some amount of tweaking is possible from Preferences in the File menu. Click on the Environment item on the left. You can set memory limits on the history and thumbnails generated.

Adding Custom Tabs To The Toolbar

The toolbars of GIMPshop are modular, which means you can add or detach features from it. Tabs can be added to the toolbar by clicking on the arrow pointing to the left, then click on Add Tab. Choose from the tabs you want to add. Similarly, Tabs can be detached into separate toolbars by clicking on Detach.

Panning The Image

Panning of the image is required when you zoom into one or you’re working with an image of really high resolutions. Using the space bar will move the image around itself.  An easy way to keep track of the image while moving through it is to use the move icon on the right button of the window. Hold the left mouse click down and move the mouse arrow to pan through the image.


This is no Easter bug, but GIMPshop has a few little fun features called Toys. First, create a new image or open an existing one with decent amount of detail. Now click on Filter > Toys.

Play around with GIMP’s toys

There is one called GEE-Slime, which uses a water-like effect rendered in real-time on the image you have open. The other toy—GEE-Zoom gives a 3D illusion. Use the mouse to move in and out of the image.

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