The screenshot illustrates the Gradients dialog
The Gradients dialog offers a gradient palette which is used to select
a gradient -- a set of colors arranged in a linear scale -- for use
with the Blend tool and numerous
other operations. It also gives you access to several functions for
manipulating gradients. You can select a gradient by clicking on it in
the list: it will then be shown in the Brush/Pattern/Gradient area of
the Toolbox. A few dozen nice gradients come pre-installed with GIMP.
You can create more using the Gradient Editor. General
information about gradients and how they are used in GIMP can be found
in the Gradients
The first four gradients are particular: they reproduce the gradient
between Foreground and background colors of toolbox in different ways.
FG to BG (RGB): default gradient, between the
Foreground and the background colors of the Toolbox, in the RGB mode.
FG to BG (HSV clock-wise/counter-clockwise Hue):
all hues in the color circle between the Foreground and the
background color, clockwise or counter-clockwise.
FG to Transparent: only uses one color (the
Foreground color) from complete opacity to complete transparency.
This gradient is very useful when you work with softly blended
collages or fog effects.
Activating the Dialog
The “Gradients” dialog is a dockable dialog; see the
section Section 2.3, “Dialogs and Docking”
for help on manipulating it.
You can access it:
from an image menu:
→ → ;
from the Tab menu in any dockable dialog by clicking on
from the Toolbox, by clicking on the current gradient in the
From the image by using the Ctrl+G shortcut.
In the menu, there is a list of
detached windows which exists
only if at least one dialog remains open. In this case, you can raise
the “Gradients” dialog from the image-menu:
Using the Gradients dialog
The most basic, and most commonly used, operation with the dialog is
simply to click on one of the gradients in the scrollable list, in order
to make it GIMP's current gradient, which will then be used by any
operation that involves a gradient.
If you double-click
on a gradient, you open the Gradient Editor where you will be able to
edit its name. Note, however, that you are only allowed to change the
names of gradients that you have created yourself, not the ones that
come pre-installed with GIMP. If you try to rename a pre-installed
gradient, you will be able to edit the name, but as soon as you hit
return or click somewhere else, the name will revert to its original
value. It is a general rule that you cannot alter the resources that
GIMP pre-installs for you: brushes, patterns, gradients, etc; only ones
that you create yourself.
In the Tab menu, you can choose between and .
In Grid mode, the gradients are laid out in a rectangular
array. They look quite dazzling when viewed this way, but it is
not very easy to pick the one you want, because of visual
interference from the neighboring ones. In List mode, the
more usable default, the gradients are lined up vertically, with
each row showing its name.
In the Tab menu, the option Preview Size
allows you to adapt the size of gradient previews to your
The buttons at the bottom of the dialog allow you to operate on
gradients in several ways:
This button activates the
This creates a new gradient, initialized as a simple grayscale,
and activates the Gradient Editor so that you can alter it.
Gradients that you create are automatically saved in the
folder of your personal GIMP directory, from which they are
automatically loaded when GIMP starts. (You can change this
folder, or add new ones, using the Preferences dialog.)
This creates a copy of the currently selected gradient. You will
be able to edit the copy even if you cannot edit the original.
This removes all traces of the gradient, if you have permission to
do so. It asks for confirmation before doing anything.
If you add gradients to your personal
folder by some means other than this dialog, this button causes
the list to be reloaded, so that the new entries will be
The functions performed by these buttons can also be accessed from the
dialog pop-up menu, activated by right-clicking anywhere in the
gradient list, or via in the
The Gradients Menu
The gradient menu also gives you some additional functions:
Save as POV-Ray...
This allows you to save the gradient in the format used by
the POV-Ray 3D ray-tracing
Copy Gradient Location
This command allows you to copy the gradient file location to
the clipboard. You can then use it in a text editor.
This command creates a sample image filled with the selected
gradient. You can select width and height of the image as well as
the gradient direction in the dialog window.
3.4.3. The Gradient Editor
Figure 14.41. The gradient editor
The Gradient Editor allows you to edit the colors in a gradient. It can
only be used on gradients you have created yourself (or on a copy of a
system gradient), not on system gradients that come pre-installed with
GIMP. This is a sophisticated tool that may take a bit of effort to
understand. The concept behind it is that a gradient can be decomposed
into a series of adjoining segments,
with each segment consisting of a smooth transition from the color on
the left edge to the color on the right edge. The Gradient Editor allows
you to pack together any number of segments, with any colors you want for
the left and right edges of each segment, and with several options for the
shape of the transition from left to right.
220.127.116.11. How to Activate the Gradient Editor
You can activate the Gradient Editor in several ways:
by double-clicking on the gradient stripe in the Gradient dialog,
from the context menu you get by right clicking on the selected
by clicking on the Edit gradient
button in the Gradient Dialog,
from the Gradient Menu you get by clicking on
in the Gradient Dialog.
In the name area, you have the tab menu button (the small
The Gradient Preview Window
Below the name, you see the current result of your work if the
Instant update option is checked; else,
changes will appear only when you release the mouse button.
If you simply move the mouse pointer on this display, it works
somewhat as a color-picker. Values of the pointed pixel are
displayed in a rather odd way. Position
is a number given to 3 decimal places, from 0.000 on the left to
1.000 on the right of the whole gradient.
RGB, HSV, Intensity and Opacity
are also a ratio...
If you click-n-drag on display, then only position and RGB data
are displayed. But they are passed on to the Foreground color in
the Toolbox and to the four first gradients of the list (by
pressing the Ctrl key, the Color is sent to the
Background color of the Toolbox).
Range Selection/Control Sliders
Below the gradient display, you see a set of black and white
triangles lined up in row which allow you to adjust endpoints
and midpoints in the gradient preview. A
segment is the space between two consecutive
black triangles. Inside each segment is a
white triangle, which is used to “warp” the colors
in the segment, in the same way that the middle slider
in the Levels tool warps the colors there. You can select a
segment by clicking between the two black triangles that define
it. It turns from white to blue. You can select a range of
segments by shift-clicking on them.
The selected range always consists of a set of
segments, so if you skip over any when shift-clicking, they will
be included automatically. If “Instant update”
is checked, the display is updated immediately after any slider
movement; if it is unchecked, updates only occur when you release
the mouse button.
You can move sliders, segments and selections. If you simply
click-n-drag a slider,
you only move the corresponding transition. By
click-n-drag on a segment
you can move this segment up to the next triangle. By
Shift+click-n-drag on a segment/selection,
you can move this segment/selection and compress/ dilate next
Below the sliders is a scrollbar. This only comes into play if you
zoom in using the buttons at the bottom.
Below, a color swatch shows the color pointed by the mouse
cursor. Informations about this color and helpful hints or
feedback messages may appear here.
At the bottom of the dialog appear five buttons:
Clicking this button causes the gradient, in its current
state, to be saved in your personal
folder, so that it will automatically be loaded the next
time you start GIMP.
Clicking this button undoes all of your editing. (However,
at the time this is being written, this function is not yet
Clicking this button shrinks the gradient display
Clicking this button expands the gradient display
horizontally. You can then use the scrollbar to pan the
display left or right.
Clicking this button resizes the display horizontally so
that it fits precisely into the window.
18.104.22.168. The Gradient Editor pop-up Menu
Figure 14.42. The Gradient Editor pop-up menu
You can access the Gradient Editor menu either by right-clicking on the
gradient display, or by choosing the top item in the dialog's tab menu.
The menu allows you to edit endpoint's color (set the left and right
edge colors for each segment), blend colors, select a color model and
edit segments. This editor works only with custom gradients or a copy
of a system gradient.
The following commands can be found in the menu:
Editing endpoint's color
Left/Right color type
This command opens a submenu:
The Left/Right color type sub-menu
This submenu allows you to select the endpoint color from the
toolbox foreground and background colors.
Whenever you change the foreground or background color, this
endpoint color may be changed as well. The alternative is to
select a endpoint color.
Left [Right] Endpoint's Color
These options allow you to choose a color for the respective
endpoint using a Color Editor.
This command is related to the previous one and becomes
inactive if you have selected any other value than
for the corresponding Left [Right]
Load Left [Right] Color From
The "Load Color From" submenu
These options give you a number of alternative ways of assigning
colors to the endpoints. From the submenu you can choose (assuming
we're dealing with the left endpoint):
Left Neighbor's Right Endpoint
This choice will cause the color of the right endpoint of
the segment neighboring on the left to be assigned to the
left endpoint of the selected range.
This choice will cause the color of the right endpoint of
the selected range to be assigned to the left endpoint.
This choice causes GIMP's current foreground or background
color, as shown in the Toolbox, to be assigned to the
endpoint. Note that changing foreground or background color
later will not change the endpoint's color.
At the bottom of the menu are
10 “memory slots”. You can assign colors to
them using the “Save” menu option described
below. If you choose one of the slots, the color in it will
be assigned to the endpoint.
Save Left [Right] Color To
These options cause the color of the endpoint in question to be
assigned to the “memory slot” selected from the
Blending and coloring functions for segment
Blending Function for Segment
Figure 14.45. The Blending Function submenu
This option determines the course of the transition from one
endpoint of the range (segment or selection) to the other, by
fitting the specified type of function to the endpoints and
midpoint of the range:
Default option. Color varies linearly from one endpoint of
the range to the other.
Gradient varies more quickly on ends of the range than on
The opposite of the curved type. Gradients varies more
quickly on center of the range than on its ends.
Gradient varies more quickly on the left of the range than
on its right.
Gradient varies more quickly on the right than on the left.
Coloring Type for Segment
Figure 14.46. The Coloring Type submenu
This option gives you additional control of the type of transition
from one endpoint to the other: as a line either in RGB space or
in HSV space.
This option does a right-to-left flip of the selected range
(segment or selection), flipping all colors and endpoint
This option splits the selected range (segment or selection) into
two parts, each of which is a perfect compressed copy of the
Split Segment at Midpoint
This option splits each segment in the selected range in into two
segments, splitting at the location of the white triangle.
Split Segment Uniformly
This option is similar to the previous one, but it splits each
segment halfway between the endpoints, instead of at the white
This option deletes all segments in the selected range, (segment
or selection) replacing them with a single black triangle at the
center, and enlarging the segments on both sides to fill the void.
Re-center Segment's midpoint
This option moves the white triangle for each segment in the
selected range to a point halfway between the neighboring black
Re-distribute Handles in Segment
This option causes the black and white triangles in the selected
range to be shifted so that the distances from one to the next are
These options are available only if more than one segment are
Blend Endpoints' Colors
This option causes the colors at interior endpoints in the range
to be averaged, so that the transition from each segment to the
next is smooth.
Blend Endpoints' Opacity
This option does the same thing as the previous option, but with
opacity instead of color.
There is no "undo" available within the Gradient Editor, so be
22.214.171.124. Using example for the Gradient Editor
All these options can seem somewhat boring. Here is an example to clear
Open the Gradient Dialog. Click the
New Gradient. The Gradient Editor is opened
and shows a gradient from black to white.
Right click in this new gradient and click the
Split Segment Uniformly. Fix the number of
segments you want.
Figure 14.48. Gradient with three segments
In the context menu you get by right-clicking in the gradient, set
Left Endpoint Color and
Right Endpoint Color for the selected segment
or segment group.
Figure 14.49. First segment colored
Go on the same way for other segments. Then use the
Blending functions for segment to achieve