10. Brushes dialog

The Brushes dialog

The Brushes dialog is used to select a brush, for use with painting tools: see the Brushes section for basic informmation 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:

Grid/List modes

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.

Using the Brushes dialog (Grid mode)

At the top of the dialog appears the name of the currently selected brush, and its size in pixels.

In the center appears a grid view of all available brushes, 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.

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.

The buttons at the bottom of the dialog allow you to operate on brushes in several ways:

Edit Brush

This activates the Brush Editor. 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.

New Brush

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 brushes folder.

Duplicate Brush

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 brushes folder.

Delete Brush

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.

Refresh Brushes

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 dialog.

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..

Using the Brushes dialog (List mode)

The Brushes dialog (List view)

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 yourself.

Brush Editor

FIXME: Writing of this section is deferred until the user interface for this dialog stabilizes.