How to use Gimp for beginners – Lesson 3 – Layers and Selections

Written by Alex on September 14, 2011

Gimp for Beginners Series

Lessons Shown in this Tutorial

  • Add Sun Rays to a Photo
    • This Gimp tutorial will teach you how to use gimp’s layer modes and layer masks to add sun rays to a photo.
  • Make an abandoned house look creepy
    • This gimp tutorial shows you how layer modes and layer masks can be used to make an abandoned house look extra creepy.
  • Make a girl look cold and scary
    • This Gimp tutorial will show you how layer modes can create cool filter effects.
  • Selective Colorization (Baseball Player)
    • This Gimp video tutorial will show you how to convert specific parts of a photo from color to black and white.

This tutorial was made using Gimp 2.6. If you are running a different version some functions and methods, although slight, may be different. I recommend using the newest version of Gimp.


About Alex

I teach people how to edit photos using Gimp. In addition, I provide photo-editing courses, as well as eBooks on how to become a better editor. I am a father, husband, blogger, designer, and beer fanatic.

Learn more about Alex

Related Tutorials:

Apple Preview Image
Layer Modes

11 thoughts on “How to use Gimp for beginners – Lesson 3 – Layers and Selections”

  1. vmars316 says:

    Ah yes, nice intro to layers.
    Maybe you could add a level of complexity,
    where the cheese is too big to rotate
    without getting truncated.
    And how to fix it.

  2. Alex says:

    Thanks for the comment, I think I am going to explain the layer boundaries in the layer mask lesson.

  3. Anonymous says:


    well done! Your style of teaching is very easy to follow, and as a new gimper, I am able to follow your instructions easily and start to see results right away. Thank you so much.


  4. Anonymous says:

    Made my first pic!! This was GREAT!! I have tried suff with “Paint” before – forget it. You are such a good teacher for one who has NO experience!! Can’t wait to learn more. Thank you so much for making this.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Great job Alex, Wish ya good luck,I have one question, everytime i start gimp i must place the 3 windows in there place is there another way to do that one time without repition ?

  6. Alex says:

    As a matter of fact there is. It’s a setting buried in the preferences window. Do this:

    click on edit>>>preferences
    under the Window management tab, check the “save window positions on exit” click on the “save window positions now” button just for good measure.

    I actually talk about the preferences window in lesson 2 which can be seen here:

    There is a lot of stuff in the preferences window that will make gimp run much faster on your computer, and I highly recommend checking out that video if you haven’t already.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Thanks i didnt know :/ the there is this videos , what i can say thank you are the best gimper 😀

  8. Alex says:

    No problem. I’m happy to help, and completely understand how easy it is to miss something like that. If you need any more help feel free to ask.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Hi Alex — great videos!! The only thing that didn’t work for me was holding control + shift to get the shapes to center on the guides — not a huge deal because I’m sure I’ll be able to eyeball it most of the time, but any ideas? Lynn

  10. Anonymous says:

    It might be me but i cannot find the tutorials for the different picutures shown in the beginning of lesson 1. Could you point me the right direction please.
    Great tutorials – simple, clear and easy to understand. You make me want to use GiMp right away;

    1. You’re right, I should have these vidoes linked underneath the video on here as well as youtube. I went ahead and added the links to each lesson shown in the beginning of each tutorial. Thanks for the tip, and I hope it helps.

      Enjoy the tutorials!

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