Gimp 2.9 – A sneak preview of the next major version

Improved Filters

Porting filters that already existed in Gimp 2.8 to the GEGL framework has created a series of new filters. The process of porting the existing filters is not yet complete, as a quick look at the Filters | Distorts menu shows (Figure 10). In addition to the Color Temperature described above and HDR filters (Figure 11) – which are now sufficiently fast in Gimp 2.9.1 to put to meaningful use – there are some new or extended filters as GEGL variants.

Figure 10: Gimp 2.10 cannot be released until the developers have ported all the filters to GEGL; many are still missing.
Figure 11: The new HDR filters work pretty well in the current Gimp Git versions; however, pre-gamma settings are missing.

Although the GEGL tool in Gimp 2.8 contained all the GEGL filters, Gimp 2.9 now only groups the new, previously non-existent filters on GEGL basis [13] there (Figure 12). For an overview of these tools, check out Table 1.

Figure 12: New, previously unknown filters in the Gimp 2.9.1 GEGL tool.

Table 1

New Filters in Gimp 2.9

Filter Name


Bilateral Box Filter

A blur effect keeps the edges

Bilateral Filter

A blur effect keeps the edges

Box Blur

A fast blur effect

Fractal Explorer

Computes complex fractals

High Pass Filter

Emphasizes fine details in images

Map Absolute

Transfers colors (absolute)

Map Relative

Transfers colors (relative)


Simulates painting in oil paints

Radial Gradient

Computes a color gradient between freely selectable start and end colors


Creates single color rectangles

Spatio Temporal Retinex-like Envelope with Stochastic Sampling

Simulates the retinex effect filter

Symmetric Nearest Neighbor

Noise suppression filter


As Gimp 2.9 clearly shows, the next major release of the image editing program is unmistakably heading toward professional territory. After porting all the filters to GEGL, this software will take image editing on Linux to a new level, with two effects: For users who've never immersed themselves in this topic, getting started will be more difficult. On the other hand, Gimp is moving away from its DIY status toward becoming a genuinely professional tool, which will make current users very happy.


  1. Gimp roadmap:
  2. GEGL:
  3. Malmberg, Filip. "Image Processing Using Graphs":
  4. "Fine Art HDR Processing" by Karsten Günther, Linux Pro Magazine, issue 152, July 2013, page 82,
  5. Building Gimp 2.9:
  6. Gimp 2.9 for Ubuntu:
  7. LightningIsMyName's website:
  8. Farbman, Z., Hoffer, G., Lipman, Y., Cohen-Or, D., and Lischinski, D. "Coordinates for Instant Image Cloning":
  9. Lab color space:
  10. RawTherapee:
  11. Graph-based editing (video):
  12. Chen, H.-T., L.-Y. Wei, and C.-F. Chang. "Nonlinear Revision Control for Images":
  13. GEGL filters:

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