The Brushes dialog is used to select a brush, for use with painting tools:
see the Brushes
section for basic information on brushes and how they are used in GIMP.
The dialog also gives you access to several functions for manipulating
brushes. You can select a brush by clicking on it in the list: it will
then be shown in the Brush/Pattern/Gradient area of the Toolbox. A few
dozen basic brushes come pre-installed with GIMP, along with a few
assorted bizarre ones that mainly serve to show you the range of
possibilities. You can also create custom brushes using the Brush Editor,
or by saving images in a special brush file format.
The Brushes dialog is a dockable dialog; see the section on
Dialogs and Docking
for help on manipulating it. It can be activated in several ways:
From the Toolbox menu:
From the Toolbox menu:
File->Dialogs->Create New Dock->Brushes, Patterns, and Gradients.
This gives you a dock containing three dialogs, with the
Brushes dialog one of them.
From the Toolbox, by clicking on the brush symbol in the
From an image menu:
From the Tab menu in any dockable dialog:
From the Tool Options dialog for any of the paint tools, by
clicking on the Brush icon button, you get a popup with similar
functionality that permits you to quickly choose a brush from the
list; if you clic on the button present on the right botton of
the popup, you open the real brush dialog. Note that, depending
on your Preferences, a brush selected with the popup may only
apply to the currently active tool, not to other paint tools. See
Tool Option Preferences
section for more information.
Using the brush dialog
In the Tab menu, you can choose between
View as Grid and
View as List.
In Grid mode, the brush shapes are laid out in a rectangular
array, making it easy to see many at once and find the one you are
looking for. In List mode, the shapes are lined up in a list, with
the names beside them.
In the Tab menu, the option Preview Size
allows you to adapt the size of brush previews to your liking.
The Brushes dialog
The Brushes dialog (Grid mode)
The Brushes dialog (List view)
At the top of the dialog appears the name of the currently
selected brush, and its size in pixels.
In the center a grid view of all available brushes appears, with
the currently selected one outlined. If you see a little "+" to
the right of a brush, it means the brush is actually larger than
it appears. If you see a little red triangle, it means the brush
is an animated brush, also known as an "image hose". Clicking on
a brush causes it to be selected as GIMP's current brush.
Double-clicking activates the Brush Editor.
For the most part, the dialog works the same way in List mode as
in Grid mode, with one exception:
If you double-click
on the name of a brush, you will be able to edit it. Note,
however, that you are only allowed to change the names of
brushes that you have created or installed yourself, not the
ones that come pre-installed with GIMP. If you try to rename a
pre-installed brush, 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
Buttons at the bottom
At the bottom of the dialog you find a couple of buttons:
Below the grid appears a scale entry for “Spacing”,
which is the distance between consecutive brush marks when you
trace out a brushstroke with the pointer.
This activates the
Pressing the button will open the Editor for any brush. It
only works, however, for parametric brushes: for any other type,
the Editor will show you the brush but not allow you to do
anything with it.
This creates a new parametric brush, initializes it with a small
fuzzy round shape, and opens the Brush Editor so that you can
modify it. The new brush is automatically saved in your personal
This button is only enabled if the currently selected brush is a
parametric brush. If so, the brush is duplicated, and the Brush
Editor is opened so that you can modify the copy. The result is
automatically saved in your personal
This removes all traces of the brush, both from the dialog and
the folder where its file is stored, if you have permission to
do so. It asks for confirmation before doing anything.
If you add brushes to your personal brushes
folder or any other folder in your brush search path, by some
means other than the Brush Editor, this button causes the list
to be reloaded, so that the new entries will be available in the
The functions performed by these buttons can also be accessed from the
dialog pop-up menu, activated by right-clicking anywhere in the brush
grid/list, or by choosing the top item,
Brushes menu, from the dialog Tab menu.
The Brushes Editor dialog
The Brush Editor allows you either to view the brush parameters of a
brush supplied by GIMP, and you can't change them, or to create a custom
brush from a geometrical shape, a circle, a square, a diamond. This
editor has several elements:
The dialog bar:
As with all dialog windows, a click on the small triangle prompts a
menu allowing you to set the aspect of the Brush Editor.
The title bar: To give a name to your brush.
The preview area: Brush changes appear in real
time in this preview.
A circle, a square and a diamond are available. You will modify
them by using the following options:
Distance between brush center and edge, in the width direction. A
square with a 10 pixels radius will have a 20 pixels side. A
diamond with a 5 pixels radius will have a 10 pixels width.
This parameter is useful only for square and diamond. With a
square, increasing spikes results in a polygon. With a diamond,
you get a star.
This parameter controls the feathering of the brush border. Value
= 1.00 gives a brush with a sharp border (0.00-1.00).
This parameter controls the brush Width/Height ratio. A diamond
with a 5 pixels radius and an Aspect Ratio = 2, will be flattened
with a 10 pixels width and a 5 pixels height (1.0-20.0).
This angle is the angle between the brush width direction, which
is normally horizontal, and the horizontal direction,
counter-clock-wise. When this value increases, the brush width
turns counter-clock-wise (0° to 180°).
When the brush draws a line, it actually stamps the brush icon
repeatedly. If brush stamps are very close, you get the impression
of a solid line: you get that with Spacing = 1. (1.00 to 200.0).