I am a firm believer of GIMP, but sometimes find it hard to do things that seem to be simple. To create a path around a figure, I'd like to sprinkle some points and then move each point to the exact location, get the handles out, and adjust the curves. My problem is that it takes a LOT of time and effort to get all those handles out.

My work around is to use Edit mode to create points with handles already out. However, creating points in Edit mode only works between two points created earlier. So I start with creating a closed path with three points in Design Mode, without handles out, then add more points with the handles out on the initial path in Edit mode by holding down the Control key.

Is this a perverted way to create a path in GIMP? Is there a better way to create points with handles out?


Learn to use the Paths Tool as it is intended to be used. Click and drag each point as you create it. This will extend the Bézier handles. Drag the handle in the direction of the next curve.

It takes some practice, but it's quicker than what you are currently doing, and will only need a little tweaking when you've finished. Here's a quick example.

enter image description here

Edit: in order to answer accusations of "unfairness" in choosing a simple image to demonstrate the Pen Tool. The same techniques can be used for more complex photographic images. The only difference really is you will need more anchors and curves for more complex images.

For example

enter image description here

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  • this seems to be a little too easy to be true. But it isn't a photo. This is a clever teaching example which shows what to try to keep the number of the nodes small. Too much nodes = a mess., difficult to get nice curves. – user287001 Jul 26 '18 at 19:39
  • @user287001 - yes, creating a path around a subject in a photo will definitely be more complex. – Billy Kerr Jul 26 '18 at 21:16
  • The method is surely better than mine and the screen capture says more than a 1000 words, but a demo on a figure that is obviously built with the same tool is unfair. – Roland Jul 28 '18 at 8:22
  • @Roland - The demo image was not built with the same tool, I did not create it. It was a simple silhouette image downloaded from the web to show clearly what the tool can do, and how to use it. The technique would be the same, no matter what the image is. – Billy Kerr Jul 28 '18 at 10:17
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    @Roland - see Edit to my question. – Billy Kerr Jul 28 '18 at 13:56

When making a new path with the path tool, do not click, but drag to the wanted tangent direction (=keep the mouse button pressed as you draw). After some training you can draw the final path on the fly or at least reduce the needed editing time more than 50%.

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  • I've been trying this for a long time (since last year), but still have problems getting things right that way. I admire those who (seem to) have no problems with it. – Rudy Velthuis Jul 26 '18 at 18:42

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