At this step you can design a skeleton of wished form; this skeleton
will be modified later by various ways. To do this you can go to
A short example will be useful to understand the creating process.
Your pointer changes into a pen feature with a curve beginning; if you
left-click in the image you print a point (white inner circle with a
black border); moving mouse and left-clicking again you create
automatically a second point linked to previous one. You can carry on as
often as you wish it to design a polyline, but to learn you need two
points only. Now if you approach pointer close to segment ranging
between the two points, the little “+”
close to pointer changes into a cross (for moving). Now press down left
button moving pointer to any side.
Then two events occur. One is a bending of the segment to the moving
direction and this bending is proportional to displacement. The
second reveals two segments ended with squares (named handles) at the
two curve ends . If you place the mouse pointer on these squares it
changes into a pointing finger. Now, if you click-and-drag you can see
the consequence on the curve feature. By this mean you can change the
starting curve orientation as well as its “lengthening”
on modified side.
Appearance of a path while it is being manipulated using the Path
Paths can be created and manipulated using the
Paths, like layers and channels, are components of an image. When an
image is saved in GIMP's native XCF file format, any paths it has are
saved along with it. The list of paths in an image can be viewed and
operated on using the
If you want to move a path from one image to another, you can do so by
copying and pasting using the pop-up menu in the Paths dialog, or by
dragging an icon from the Paths dialog into the destination image's
GIMP paths belong to a mathematical type called
“Bezier paths”. What this means in practical terms is that
they are defined by anchors and
handles. “Anchors” are points the path
goes through. “Handles” define the direction of a path when
it enters or leaves an anchor point: each anchor point has two handles
attached to it.
Paths can be very complex. If you create them by hand using the Path
tool, unless you are obsessive they probably won't contain more than a
few dozen anchor points (often many fewer); but if you create them by
transforming a selection into a path, or by transforming text into a
path, the result can easily contain hundreds of anchor points, or even
A path may contain multiple components. A
is a part of a path whose anchor points are all connected to each other
by path segments. The ability to have multiple components in paths
allows you to convert them into selections having multiple disconnected
Each component of a path can be either open or
means that the last anchor point is connected to the first anchor point.
If you transform a path into a selection, any open components are
automatically converted into closed components by connecting the last
anchor point to the first anchor point with a straight line.
Path segments can be either straight or curved. A path all of whose
segments are straight is called “polygonal”.
When you create a path segment, it starts out straight, because the
handles for the anchor points are initially placed directly on top of
the anchor points, yielding handles of zero length, which produce
straight-line segments. You can make a segment curved by dragging a
handle away from one of the anchor points.
One nice thing about paths is that they are very light in terms of
resource consumption, especially in comparison with images. Representing
a path in RAM only requires storing the coordinates of its anchors and
handles: 1K of memory is enough to hold quite a complex path, but not
enough to hold even a 20x20 pixel RGB layer. Therefore, it is quite
possible to have literally hundreds of paths in an image without putting
any significant stress of your system. (How much stress managing them
would put on you
is, of course, another question.) Even a path with thousands of segments
consumes minimal resources in comparison to a typical layer or channel.