The Gimp: Adding Python Support in Windows

Posted: July 9, 2010 at 2:40 am by
Filed under Computers Graphic Design

python The Gimp: Adding Python Support in Windows

Photoshop is one of the best tools around for creating high quality images. However, most cannot afford $700.00 to purchase Photoshop. With Ubuntu Linux becoming more popular, alternatives for Photoshop are becoming important. Enter The Gimp, one of the best Alternatives for Photoshop. Not only is The Gimp free, but you can install it in Windows, Linux, and Mac OS. While The Gimp is powerful, it does not contain all the tools Photoshop users are familiar with, especially Layer Effects. To gain many of the features of Photoshop, you need to install plug-ins. Many plug-ins require Python, a programming language, to be installed as well. While this is not an easy task, this guide will instruct you on how you can add Python Support into Gimp.

Download Software

The following software packages are needed to install and set-up Python. I have hosted these files on my site, making sure they all work together.

1. Python: I am currently using Python version 2.6.5. Python 2.7 is out, but it will not work yet for what we need. Make sure you use 2.6.5.

2. PyCario: I am using version 1.8.6.

3. PyGObject: I am using version 2.20.

4. PyGtk: I am using version 2.16.

5. The Gimp: I am using version 2.6.8. I do not think the version of The Gimp matters, as long as it is recent. If in doubt, install this version.


Run the Python installer and use the default settings. Once done, install PyCario, PyGObject, and PyGtk, all using default settings. If you get error messages when installing, then most likely you did not install Python first, or you installed a different version of Python. For example, if you install Python 2.7, you cannot install PyCario, PyGObject and PyGtk.

Once Python, PyCario, PyGObject, and PyGtk are installed it is time to install The Gimp. Run the installer and click the default settings until you see a customize button. Click this button, click next, and in this screen make sure GIMP Python Extension is checked. Now, click default settings and finish installing The Gimp.

If you have already installed the Gimp in the past, you do not need to uninstall it. Just run the installer again, and make sure GIMP Python Extension is checked. It will install and enable Python support.

Python Support Enabled

If everything worked, Python support should be enabled within The Gimp. Now, all you need is a nice plug-in. The best plug-in to use at this point is the Layer Effects plugin. Right click on the link, choose to save as, and save it someplace you will remember. Now it is time to find your plug-in folder for The Gimp. Open The Gimp, then navigate to Edit, then Preferences. Scroll down until you see Folders, click the small + to the left, and click on Plug-Ins. Note the directory listed, and then copy to this directory. Now, close and restart The Gimp. Look in Layers, and you should see a Menu Option called Layer Effects. If you do, congratulations, Python is working! Now you will have all those nice layer effects Photoshop users have, and all for free! If you do not see it listed, something went wrong. Check back through each step, and make sure you have the correct software files.

Powering The Gimp

With Python installed, you can install a number of tools to improve The Gimp. Visit The Gimp Plug-in Repository to check out what tools you can add. Just make sure everything you install is for Python, and has the .py extension. With plug-ins, The Gimp is a worthy alternative to Photoshop.

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One Response to “The Gimp: Adding Python Support in Windows”

  1. Joe HunterNo Gravatar says:

    Minor note……..

    I didn’t pay attention to one of the messages in the popup window during the installation of one of the extensions you listed. When everything was done, Gimp was dead after complaining about a missing dll.

    Apparently the installation was trying to install the dll to a protected folder, and couldn’t.

    So I reran everything, this time I used “Run as administrator” for the three extensions, and everything was fine, almost. There was some warning on them about not being able to run something called a “destructor”.

    But the extra privileges took care of the main problem. It might be good to add a warning about that to your excellent detailed instructions.


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