GIMP is a fantastic piece of free software that provides most users with all the image and photo manipulation tools they could need. Its functionality can be enhanced by adding plugins. There are many GIMP plugins available to download or you can create your own.
What are GIMP Plugins?
GIMP plugins (also referred to as scripts) can be created using two different programming languages. “Python-fu” and “Script-fu”. You won’t be surprised to hear that “Python-fu” plugins are based on the Python programming language and have the .py extension. For any normal user “Script-fu” is ridiculously difficult to use so I tend to prefer Python plugins but if you don’t plan to modify a plugin it doesn’t really matter.
If you have downloaded a plugin from the internet (or the GIMP Plugin Registry) it may be compressed into an archive (ZIP,RAR,GZ etc) and must be extracted first. I use the free 7Zip utility for this. Once extracted you need to copy into the appropriate GIMP folder.
GIMP Plugin File Locations
The standard locations in Windows are shown below :
Python-fu Plugins C:\Program Files\GIMP 2\lib\gimp\X.X\plug-ins
Script-fu Plugins C:\Program Files\GIMP 2\share\gimp\X.X\scripts
where X.X is a version number. At the time of writing this is currently “2.0”.
If you can’t find the directories you can search your harddrive for “*.scm” or “gimp*.py” and this will reveal the location of existing .scm and .py scripts.
Once you’ve copied the files into the correct directory you can launch GIMP.
Where is my plugin?
If everything has gone to plan the script should be referenced in the main drop down menu under “Filters”. The exact location is specified in the Plugin file and is something the author would have decided at the time the script was written. Plugins can also be placed under the other main drop down menus such as “Layers”.
So the overall process is :
- Obtain Python or Script plugin file(s)
- Copy to “\lib\gimp\X.X\plug-ins” or “\share\gimp\X.X\scripts”
- Launch GIMP
Changes to the plugin directories are only picked up when GIMP re-starts so if you have added new Plugins make sure you re-start GIMP otherwise they will not be loaded.
If you are using a flavour of Linux, such as Ubuntu, the GIMP Plugin Installation page on Wikibooks discusses the details. On my Ubuntu laptop the plugin directory is “/usr/lib/gimp/2.0/plug-ins/”.