How to Find and Use Scripts in Gimp

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When I first started using Gimp to edit my photos (because I couldn’t afford Photoshop), I remember getting jealous when Photoshop users would talk about the Actions they used to edit their photos.

While Gimp doesn’t have Actions, they do have scripts, and while there might not be as many Gimp Scripts as there are Photoshop Actions available, there are certainly enough to keep you busy for a while.

Finding Scripts

You can find the Gimp Plugin registry here.  This site contains scripts and plugins.  Plugins increase the fuctionality of Gimp somehow (like the ability to support RAW files), and scripts are like Photoshop actions – ways to manipulate the photos you are editing.  On the right hand side is a Keyword search.  Here you can search for the type of thing you’re looking for.  Want to add a watermark to all your photos?  Search for Watermark.  Want to make a vintage-looking photo? Search for vintage.

ForDPS_BrowseRegistry.jpg

If you’re not really sure what you’re looking for but just want to be inspired, instead of doing a keyword search, try scrolling down on the front page until you see the Browse the Registry options.  Sometimes I’ll take a look at the tag cloud, which shows you popular tags that people use to describe their plugins/scripts.  Note: Scripts (as opposed to plugins)

Installing Scripts

To install a script, first you need to figure out where they go on your computer.  This is going to depend on your operating system, where you have Gimp installed, and what version of Gimp you’re using.  To find out where they need to go, open up Gimp and go to Edit –> Preferences then scroll down to Folders –> Scripts, and it will show you at least one folder to put scripts in:

ForDPS_FolderLocation.jpg

Once you find the script you want to install on the registry site, after the description, there should be an Attachment section – usually this will be a .scm file.  Sometimes you’ll find scripts that have a .py extension.  These are python scripts and you need to have python configurated in Gimp, which requires some downloads.  A full tutorial on how to do that can be found here.

Once you have the script downloaded, be sure it’s in the folder location described above.  If you had gimp open when you put it there, you’ll have to refresh your scripts by going to Filters –> Script-Fu –> Refresh Scripts.  If Gimp was closed when you put the script in the folder location, it should just show up the next time you start up Gimp.

It can be hard to find out where exactly the script went, though.  Sometimes the author of the script will tell you in the description on the registry site, but not always. They will typically show up either in the Filters menu or the Script-Fu menu.

My Script Recommendations

The first script I’d suggest downloading is actually a whole pack of scripts in a zip file (so you’ll have to extract it to the folder location) and is called Fx-Foundry.  It contains a lot of scripts that are probably more appropriate for graphics design than photo editing, but they do have an entire section of Photo editing scripts including lomo, cross-processed and vintage film.  Here’s the vintage film one in action:

Vintage_Example.jpg

I also like the Urban Acid script which looks like this:

Urban_Acid_Example.jpg

Finally, I really like the split-tone script found here.  While the first step of this script converts any color image into black-and-white, I like to create a duplicate layer of my color images before running this script so that I still have the color, and then make the black-and-white layer invisible for a different effect.  Running it with the default settings, though, gives you this:

Split_Tone_Example.jpg

About the Author: Jennifer Jacobs is an amateur photographer who runs iffles.com – a site for photography beginners. She’s also addicted to flickr and you can follow her stream here.

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  • dincsi

    Check out Silicosaur PhotoFX for film simulation scripts.

  • Thanks they I am downloading some now.

  • Tanabata

    Good article, photoshop isn’t the only program editor possible, Linux Users like Gimp. THANKS

  • Thank you! GIMP had been sitting around un-used for ages because I just didn’t know what to do with it. Your tutorial on your site motivated me to download some scripts and play around. I’m having a great time. =)

  • Thank you for the post, Jennifer! Great info.

  • DM|ZE

    Thanks, I love to see Gimp get some good articles. These will come in handy!

  • Indeed we need articles like that, thanks a lot! I cannot afford Photoshop neither and finding good Gimp resources is quite hard as far as I am concerned. I suscribe to your blog right now!

  • pek

    Great article Jennifer!

    I have started following your blog in my netvibes.. Very interesting articles and detailed explanations there.. A great asset for all!

    Thanks!

  • I have used GIMP for two years now. I love this program, but I wish I could figure out some of the photoshop actions and write scripts for GIMP.

    I have the FX Foundry installed in GIMP, but I do need to update.

    Thanks for this article.

  • Hi Jennifer,

    I do like your blog, it is very interesting and well written.
    If you agree I will make some translations to French for my own blog (I am currently migrating it from Blogger “retouchelibre.blogspot.com” to a new domain name and machine)

    Hope to read for a long time,
    Fizmoo

  • Erynn

    I have loved GIMP ever since downloading it two years ago, but never really checked out any scripts other than UFRaw. Now I can’t wait to see what else is out there!

  • Thank you! I have been using GIMP for over a year now and never knew this was an option! Thanks again!

  • I absolutely love gimp, just yesterday I downloaded my first script and curve!! 🙂 So excited, I feel better about the program! It’s awesome!

  • shelby

    You never said HOW TO USE the scripts. AFter i download the scripts how am I supposed to use them?

  • shelby

    You never said HOW TO USE the scripts! After I download the scripts how am I supposed to use them?…. What do I go into HALP

Some Older Comments

  • shelby February 5, 2013 07:02 pm

    You never said HOW TO USE the scripts! After I download the scripts how am I supposed to use them?.... What do I go into HALP

  • shelby February 5, 2013 07:01 pm

    You never said HOW TO USE the scripts. AFter i download the scripts how am I supposed to use them?

  • Adrienne February 2, 2011 01:26 pm

    I absolutely love gimp, just yesterday I downloaded my first script and curve!! :) So excited, I feel better about the program! It's awesome!

  • Alicia States May 11, 2010 06:34 am

    Thank you! I have been using GIMP for over a year now and never knew this was an option! Thanks again!

  • Erynn November 6, 2009 06:30 am

    I have loved GIMP ever since downloading it two years ago, but never really checked out any scripts other than UFRaw. Now I can't wait to see what else is out there!

  • Fizmoo November 5, 2009 05:54 pm

    Hi Jennifer,

    I do like your blog, it is very interesting and well written.
    If you agree I will make some translations to French for my own blog (I am currently migrating it from Blogger "retouchelibre.blogspot.com" to a new domain name and machine)

    Hope to read for a long time,
    Fizmoo

  • Misti Kallas November 5, 2009 08:09 am

    I have used GIMP for two years now. I love this program, but I wish I could figure out some of the photoshop actions and write scripts for GIMP.

    I have the FX Foundry installed in GIMP, but I do need to update.

    Thanks for this article.

  • pek November 4, 2009 08:28 pm

    Great article Jennifer!

    I have started following your blog in my netvibes.. Very interesting articles and detailed explanations there.. A great asset for all!

    Thanks!

  • Valentin November 4, 2009 06:14 pm

    Indeed we need articles like that, thanks a lot! I cannot afford Photoshop neither and finding good Gimp resources is quite hard as far as I am concerned. I suscribe to your blog right now!

  • DM|ZE November 4, 2009 02:23 pm

    Thanks, I love to see Gimp get some good articles. These will come in handy!

  • Peter Carey November 4, 2009 08:06 am

    Thank you for the post, Jennifer! Great info.

  • Stacy November 4, 2009 04:44 am

    Thank you! GIMP had been sitting around un-used for ages because I just didn't know what to do with it. Your tutorial on your site motivated me to download some scripts and play around. I'm having a great time. =)

  • Tanabata November 4, 2009 03:06 am

    Good article, photoshop isn't the only program editor possible, Linux Users like Gimp. THANKS

  • sbunting108 November 4, 2009 12:57 am

    Thanks they I am downloading some now.

  • dincsi November 4, 2009 12:49 am

    Check out Silicosaur PhotoFX for film simulation scripts.

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