Adjustment Layers in GIMP?

I have GIMP 2.10.6

I am learning it little by little.

Does GIMP have “adjustment layers”; and, if so, where do I find them and what are they called ?


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Brief answer: No. Non-destructive editing features is something that may come in the future[TM] but how it will be implemented and when it will be ready is afaik not decided yet.

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Doesn’t duplicate layers using various blending modes/filters/masks/opacity constitute “Adjustment Layers”? I would think so. It is also non-destructive editing…

Just my 2-cents.


No, it’s not the same thing as non-destructive editing. That’s a inefficient workaround to non-destructive editing. With non-destructive editing, I can adjust parameters, change orders of edit, and it does so automatically as the end result is always alterable by adjustable parameters. GIMP doesn’t have this yet. Krita however does.

Step for non-destructive editing equilavent for editors with no non-destructive editing for one blurring

  1. Duplicate Layer
  2. Apply Blur Filter
  3. Hate the blur amount? Delete the edited duplicated layer
  4. Duplicate Layer.
  5. Apply Blur Filter.
  6. Save

Step for non-destructive blurring

  1. Apply Blur Adjustment Mask/Layer. (Adjustment Mask are the equilavent of Smart Object in Photoshop or Filter Mask in Krita)
  2. Adjust Blur Filter if not liking the blur factor.

See how completely inefficient is the absence of non-destructive editing? Now if I have many filters, it gets really painful with destructive editing. Computers are getting more faster, and non-destructive editing gets more relevant each year.

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You can always adjust blur amount via opacity/blending mode. Your argument is quite mute at the moment.

Opacity doesn’t affect the end blur result. You need to duplicate the layer, and apply blur to get the equivalent of changing blur factor. Non-destructive editing enables quick adjustment of blur on top of a built-in mask, and global opacity change for the layer. Plus, with non-destructive editing, I can actually copy and paste picture, and adjustment will automatically apply. No need to script or anything.

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You can Right-Click and select “New from Visible” to get the same effect.

Now tell me something more useful.

Please tell me how is it the same effect at all. It’s not. Let me demonstrate with another simple example. If I use threshold filter mask, in order for me to change the end result of threshold in destructive editing, I have to apply the filter again. Applying opacity and new from visible are not equivalent as threshold would show. All opacity does is change how pixels are mixed. New from Visible copy the visible output of your edit. Non-destructive editing actually change variables of editing as it is stored on memory, and the output are generated based on existing stored information. These are not the same thing at all.

Now, if I have applied so many filters to a image and I want to change one of the parameter, I am completely screwed with destructive editing. There’s no point into trying to load into a earlier version of a file just to redo 50+ filters. That makes no sense at all. Small amount of clicks for small amount of edits are okay, but when it comes to a ton of clicks, with a lot of filters, that’s when problems will come up.

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Thanks for everyone’s input and interest.

The use of layers is non-destructive, as they have no bearing on the original.

An Adjustment Layer is also non-destructive, plus it has the ability to be infinitely re-editable.

An adjustment layer (in Photoshop or Elements) has a gear icon; clicking this gear icon will re-open the layer and you can change whatever you did; by default, adjustment layers also come pre-equipped with a layer mask.

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No. Just no. Your opacity won’t allow you to edit the blur radius afterwards. So that’s not non-destructive retouch. Your argument is mute.

Non-destructive retouch doesn’t create bitmaps layers. It creates settings that can be edited later, these are reversible.


I’m not sure, but maybe layers made by photoflow can be re-edited.

They are non-destructive, so yes, parameters can be changed.

@aurelienpierre : Thanks for a better way of explaining. On the real, people who use destructive editing could try non-destructive editors to understand how they work before sounding ignorant.

Pray tell, what is “photoflow”; is it another program entirely or a GIMP add-on/plug-in ?


Let me answer, as I am the main developer of PhotoFlow…

Photoflow is both a standalone application and a GIMP plug-in. In the second case, it allows to open an exiting GIMP layer, apply a number on non-destructive adjustments (what you call adjustment layers), and then send the result back to GIMP. The key point is that the photoflow edit gets saved as meta-data together with the GIMP layer, so if you re-run the plugin on the same layer it will restore all the adjustment layers created previously.

I suggest to read/watch the following links, then I’ll be glad to answer any question and give further explanations:

Which operating system are you using?


Thanks so much!
I am currently using Windows 7 Pro (x64) and very recent GIMP, 2.10.6

I will definitely be exploring PhotoFlow.

You can get the windows version of photoflow here:
Just look at the most recent package having -win64- in its name.

The photoflow plug-in in not currently included in the default GIMP installer for windows, so we need to see how to get it running… however, you can already start familiarising with the standalone application.

The Windows version of photoflow is portable, meaning that you simply need to extract the .zip file anywhere on your hard drive, and run the photoflow.exe executable from the bin sub-folder.

I have already just clicked the green ZIP button here; did that get me the most recent version; it says v0.2.8-2-

I also downloaded the TAR as well.
I have never had any experience with TAR downloads; are they the same end result ?
Which is the best, TAR or ZIP ?

That’s an old version… please download this package:

So if I am understanding correctly, that download is a portable standalone Windows application and the plug-in for Windows/GIMP is still in the making.

I am glad I posted my initial question, else I might not have known of PhotoFlow.

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Yes, you are correct with your reasoning. It makes sense to me. From what I’m gathering, Adobe is using scripts in the background to alter the end image. As you make changes, it alters the scripts. No changes are made until you save to a flatten’d format.

That’s all well and good, but I’m still not drinking the Adobe Kool-Aid…

Question 1: Is it faster than my method?
Answer: Yes, it is faster than my manual method.

Question 2: Does it produce better quality than my method?
Answer: No. The end quality is always the sum of Quality in + Adjustments made.

Thanks, but no thanks, I will not drink the Adobe Kool-Aid!