GIMP Book of Layers

Everything You Need to Know About Important Layer Concepts & Features | By Michael Davies

Digital version of the book available for $5.99 on Amazon

About The Book

The GIMP Book of Layers is an E-Book covering everything you need to know about important layer concepts and layer features to take you from a beginner to a pro. By understanding layers, you’ll be able to create more complex graphic design and photo editing/manipulation projects in GIMP. The easy-to-follow chapters all include full-color images, along with free image downloads to help you follow along as you read.

You’ll learn the proper definitions and terminology used when working within the latest version of GIMP and with layers. Plus, you’ll gain a deep understanding of the Layer’s panel, the Layer Context Menu, and more advanced features such as the Layer Mask. I go into detail for each menu option in the various dialogue boxes to help you understand all of the options when working with a particular feature. 

Plus, I show you practical examples for putting your knowledge to work, allowing you to understand common applications of certain features. In the end, you’ll be able to use your newly acquired understanding of layers to make more advanced photo manipulations and/or graphic design compositions!

Explained pretty much everything you’d need to know about using layers in GIMP. I would definitely recommend this to anyone wanting to get into photo editing through the [GIMP] program.”


-Ozie via

What’s Inside


Chapter 1

Creating a New Layer


Chapter 2

The Layer Stacking Order


Chapter 3

Creating New Layers From Images


Chapter 4

Layer Transparency 


Chapter 5

Layer Masks


Chapter 6

Layer Groups


Chapter 7

Resize a Layer

Chapter 1: Creating a New Layer in GIMP

Layers are essentially the backbone of GIMP – with every edit or design happening on some kind of layer. There are image layers, text layers, and layers that contain a background color or just transparency (i.e. don’t contain anything and therefor are totally see-through or transparent). In this GIMP Layers how-to article, which is the first part of a multi-article series, I’ll be showing you how to create a new layer using the “Create a New Layer” dialogue box, and explaining all of the features found in this box.

Creating a New Composition With a Background Layer

Start with File New to Create a New Layer in GIMP
For starters, you have to either open an image or create a new composition to be able to do anything with layers. For this example, I’ll simply open a new composition by going to File>New. This will give me the option to create a new image.

New Document Window GIMP New Layer TutorialUnder Image Size (denoted by the red arrow in the phototo above), I’ll set the width to 1920 pixels, and my height to 1080 pixels (these are the dimensions for HD). If I click the “Advanced Options” dropdown (denoted by the blue arrow), this will give me even more options.

To keep this tutorial simple, I will keep all of the settings the same. However, I will point out one setting in particular, the “Fill With” setting towards the bottom (denoted by the green arrow in the image). This setting allows you to determine what type of background layer, which will be the first layer in your composition, you will create when the new image is created. The background layer will always be the same size as the composition size you set up in this step.

If I click the dropdown box for the “Fill With” setting (denoted by the green arrow in the image), I get a few options. I can have my background layer color be the same as the current Foreground or Background color I have active (which you can see via the Foreground and Background previews over in the Tool Box), or I can choose pure white, transparency (no background color – just a blank layer), or a pattern (the pattern used will be whatever pattern you currently have active in your patterns dialogue). I’ll choose White as my “Fill With” option and click OK.



This book contains 7 chapters, with each chapter covering a specific topic or task relevant to the subject of layers. Within each chapter is multiple sub-sections that delve deeper into the various features, menu options, or dialogue options to ensure you have a well-rounded understanding of how to use GIMP. Additionally, some chapters contain multiple methods for performing a certain task (i.e. resizing a layer). The book is 96 pages cover-to-cover.

"This is a great introduction to getting the most out of layers in GIMP. I was already familiar with the basics of using layers before reading this, but now realize I was not taking advantage of all of their benefits."

-M. Boucher on


"This is the book I’ve needed for years."

-DaveFilmsUS on 


About the Author

Michael Davies is the Owner and Founder of Davies Media Design, an online education company specializing in Open Source programs like GIMP, Inkscape, WordPress and Darktable. In 2011, he created the Davies Media Design YouTube channel – which today is one of the largest FOSS dedicated channels on the planet. He is also the creator of the GIMP 2.10 Masterclass: From Beginner to Pro Photo Editing, which is a best-selling course on Udemy.

Mike holds a B.S.B.A, Marketing from the University of Central Florida.

Michael Davies

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