In this article, I’ll be showing you my 9 favorite GIMP Plugins and Addons for 2022. You can watch the video version below, or scroll past it for the full article.
One of the main benefits of the free photo editor GIMP is that it can have additional features added to it by installing third-party plugins. But what plugins are worth the installation in terms of being useful, practical, safe, and user-friendly?
In this article, I’ll be discussing my favorite GIMP plugins and add-ons that take editing and designing in GIMP to the next level. I have personally tested all the plugins and add-ons discussed here, and excluded plugins that I feel haven’t been well-maintained or updated over the years, don’t properly work in newer versions of GIMP, or contain redundant core features that are now included by default in GIMP.
Let’s get started.
Table of Contents
- 1. G’MIC
- 2. Resynthesizer
- 3. BIMP
- 4. Darktable
- 5. RawTherapee
- 6. Simplify
- 7. PhotoGIMP
- 8. GIMPainter
- 9. Luminosity Mask Plugin
The first plugin I’ll cover for this article is the G’MIC plugin. This plugin is by far the most jam-packed plugin you’ll find for GIMP. G’MIC, which stands for “Greys Magic for Image Computing,” is essentially a massive library of effects and filters that allow you to further manipulate or edit your images beyond what comes standard with GIMP. The breadth of this plugin still astounds me to this day, with artistic filters like Bokeh, Sketch, and even one called “Warhol,” just to name some examples from the “Artistic” section of this plugin (there are 20 sections total, each with various filters and effects).
I’ve used G’MIC in a variety of tutorials on my channel, and these tutorials demonstrate the breadth of its available effects. From animating still photos, to color grading images, to turning photos into cartoons, to creating a collage from multiple images (premium), there’s all sorts of practical uses for this plugin. The videos I’ve made thus far showcasing G’MIC’s capabilities have hardly scratched the surface of what this thing can do.
Overall, G’MIC is a great resource for all sorts of random textures, colors, maps, retouching tasks, and renders. You can learn how to install the G’MIC plugin for MAC or install G’MIC for Windows in my dedicated tutorials on my channel. The plugin is updated often, so make sure you check their website at GMIC.eu to grab the latest version.
Another great plugin for GIMP is the Resynthesizer plugin. This plugin is most famous for its extremely accurate ability to seamlessly remove objects from photos using its “Heal Selection” feature. It produces results most similar to Photoshop’s Content Aware Fill feature because it uses existing pixels from your image to redraw the background that was once obstructed by the removed object. In my opinion, this free plugin works better than Photoshop’s Content Aware Fill – as I demonstrate in my “GIMP Resynthesizer is BETTER Than Photoshop’s Content Aware Fill” tutorial.
Resynthesizer is much more than just the single “Heal Selection” feature, though. It also has “Heal Transparency” for intelligently healing any transparent pixel in your image. This feature can be used to expand the boundary of your image, intelligently filling in the transparent pixels with pixels that match the original image.
Additionally, the “Fill with Pattern Seamless” feature is a handy way to blend the edges of a tile-able pattern to make it appear “seamless” and more natural. I cover this feature more extensively in my “Simple Trick for More Realistic Texture Patterns in GIMP” tutorial.
You can check out my “How to Download and Install GIMP’s Resynthesizer Plugin” tutorial for more information on where to get it and for a quick demo on how it works (I just updated this tutorial for 2022). Note that the “Filters>Map>Style” and “Filters>Enhance>Uncrop” features for this plugin do not work in GIMP 2.10.30
The next plugin on my list is BIMP, or the Batch Image Manipulation Plugin. This plugin fills in for GIMP’s lack of a user-friendly way to batch edit or manipulate photos. Once installed on your computer, you can import multiple photos into the plugin, then apply a variety of actions to those images like transformations, image adjustments, or adding a watermark. This is a great plugin for applying some basic editing to a series of similar photos, resizing a group of photos, or adding your logo to the bottom corner of your images, to name a few examples.
I have a video tutorial dedicated to how to install BIMP, plus demonstrate how to use its basic features to batch edit photos. Plus, I have a more advanced version of the tutorial available on DMD Premium.
The next item on this list is a totally separate piece of software that can be seamlessly integrated with GIMP. This software is Darktable, a free and open source RAW image processor that gives you powerful tools for non-destructively developing your RAW images.
With this software installed, you can open a RAW image from GIMP the same way you would a JPEG. Simply go to File>Open, select the RAW image file and click “Open,” and Darktable will automatically open up to begin processing your RAW image. Once you’ve made your desired edits, all you need to do is close down Darktable and the image will open into GIMP. This works very similarly to how Photoshop and Camera RAW work together to process RAW image files.
I discuss how Darktable and GIMP work together in detail in my “How to Open RAW Photos with GIMP & Darktable or RawTherapee” tutorial. I also have an entire course on Udemy dedicated to editing photos in Darktable.
And speaking of RawTherapee, RawTherapee is an alternative to Darktable for processing or editing your RAW images prior to opening them in GIMP. Just like Darktable, RawTherapee can be seamlessly integrated with GIMP so that opening RAW images from GIMP will first open RawTherapee, and you can then import your finished photos into GIMP for further editing, manipulation, or whatever you’d like to do with the image. As I mentioned above, I discuss how RawTherapee and GIMP work together in detail in my “How to Open RAW Photos with GIMP & Darktable or RawTherapee” tutorial on my channel.
Another favorite plugin of mine is one I came across recently – and that is the “Simplify” plugin. This free plugin, which is very simple to install, allows you to simplify your paths by accurately reducing the total number of nodes on a path. This comes in handy, for example, when converting selections or text to a path. This is because GIMP tends to add lots of nodes along your path by default. Having too many nodes can cause curves in your path to look bumpy, so this plugin helps to smooth out those curves while reducing the clutter created by having unnecessary nodes along your path.
Check out my “How to Simplify Paths in GIMP” tutorial for more information on where and how to install this plugin, plus see it’s features in action.
Next up is “PhotoGIMP,” a patch for GIMP created by my good friend DioLinux that essentially makes GIMP as similar to Photoshop as possible. For example, this patch will update your workspace layout and change your keyboard shortcuts to closely mimic Photoshop. On top of that, Dio has included tons of additional fonts and brushes, though keep in mind that you’ll want to check the licenses of fonts you use from this patch as some of them may not be available for commercial use.
Finally, this patch includes several popular plugins like Resynthesizer, Liquid Rescale, Fix-CA for fixing Chromatic Aberration in your photos, Wavelet Denoise, and more.
I have two tutorials on how to download and install PhotoGIMP – one for Windows and one for MAC. This patch is also available for Linux machines, with linux installation instructions on the PhotoGIMP download page.
Next up is the GIMPainter add-on for quickly installing free, pro brushes to use in your GIMP compositions. This awesome brush set comes with 95 different brushes that display in a dockable dialogue, with each brush including its own preset tool options and brush dynamics to maximize the look and feel of the brush. You’ll find a variety of brush types in this free GIMP add-on created by SenlinOS, from chalk and charcoal brushes, to pens, markers, pencils, and more traditional paintbrushes.
These brushes are neatly organized into a dockable dialogue and with each brush coming with its own thumbnail preview. This gives the brushes a much tidier appearance and makes them easier to use and differentiate from GIMP’s default brushes. Plus, the full-color thumbnails, which include an image of the type of tool the brush is emulating and a small preview of the brush strokes, make it easier to find the brush you’re looking for.
GIMPainter uses an MIT license, which permits commercial use, modification, distribution, and private use. In other words, you shouldn’t have any issues using these paintbrushes in a variety of projects.
I have a tutorial dedicated to showing you how to install GIMPainter for GIMP which includes a demo of some of the brushes that come with this add-on.
9. Luminosity Mask Plugin
Luminosity Masks are a useful way to isolate varying degrees of shadows, midtones, and highlights on your image for precise editing or isolating effects. As Pat David puts it, “Luminosity masks are basically layer masks that are built around specific tones in an image.”
Back in 2018 I created a video called “GIMP 2.10 Photography Tutorial: Using Luminosity Masks to Fix Dark Objects” showing you how to manually create Luminosity Masks for your image. Shortly after the video was released, one of my viewers, Kevin Thornton, devised a great plugin for automating this process – thus making it super easy to separate the various tones of an image into layer masks. The plugin creates three layer groups – one for the shadows, one for midtones, and one for highlights. These tones are then divided even further for more precise editing. For example, you’ll have three sets of highlights inside of the “Highlights” group – ranging from the darkest highlights in your image to the brightest highlights. The same applies for the midtones and shadows.
You can check out my tutorial on how to manually create Luminosity Masks for more information on how they work and why they’re useful, or simply check out the article on my website showing you how to install the Luminosity plugin for GIMP.
That’s it for my list of the best GIMP plugins and addons for 2022! If you enjoyed it, you can check out more tutorials from Davies Media Design here.