Is there any way to adapt the levels of an image through a specific 'level' layer, like in Photoshop?

I find it very handy to have it as a layer.

See below, I haven't found a way to achieve this.

Levels and curves as layers in photoshop

4 Answers 4


Although there are no adjustment layers in GIMP as xenoid has already said, you could create a new layer from visible using Layer > New from Visible, and then apply levels to that new layer. At least that way the original layers are not altered and are still available if you need to redo the levels adjustment.


enter image description here


Need adjustment layers, but must stick with freeware? You have some luck. Krita has them. There the name is "Filter layer". In addition you can insert readjustable adjustment masks which affect only a single layer, not everything below.

Actually the system design in Krita is here and there more coherent than in Photoshop. For example you need smart objects and -filters in PS to have readjustable blur. In Krita it's a Filter layer or a mask just like levels. Unfortunately all filterings do not work as filter layers.

ADD 3 years later

In 2022 online image editor Photopea has reached so much of Photoshop's functionality that it's well worth checking. There's available adjustment layers, layer styles, smart objects and smart filters. Only RGB is supported, but the program is still remarkable.

It's still free, but shows ads. Photopea has started to want a payment if one wants to shut down ads.

  • 1
    This does not answer the question.
    – Steve
    Jul 12, 2022 at 20:12
  • 4
    @Steve The question is already answered. The answer was "no such functionality in GIMP". I guess the questioner and many others, too want still to get adjustment layers, but without getting Photoshop nor other high cost stuff. Try to write an answer which stays in truth and finds or creates that functionality in GIMP. Then we can both see that you have done something useful also today.
    – user82991
    Jul 12, 2022 at 20:35
  • 2
    Note that Krita and Photopea are quite different products. Krita is open source (source is available) and runs on your desktop (windows, mac, linux). Photopea is browser-based and ad-supported (or can pay a small fee, each month you use it - is not a subscription so you don't have to worry about forgetting to stop payment). Feb 19, 2023 at 21:33

There are no adjustment layers in Gimp.

  • 2
    I have to upvote this answer since it's an actual answer, even though I don't like it :) Dec 19, 2022 at 13:16
  • Hmm... perhaps it's time to get hacking. Because of course source is available... :) (am I up for this?? 🤔)
    – lindes
    Jul 8, 2023 at 20:00
  • IMHO adding adjustment layers in Gimp is a lot more complex than a hack. They are working on non-destructive editing for V3.
    – xenoid
    Jul 8, 2023 at 20:17

It's only implemented in a limited way in the main branch, but GIMP GEGL should fulfill your needs.

GEGL (Generic Graphics Library) is a data flow based image processing framework, providing floating point processing and non-destructive image processing capabilities to GNU Image Manipulation Program and other projects (imgflo, GNOME Photos, iconographer, …)

With GEGL you chain together processing operations to represent the desired image processing pipeline. GEGL provides operations for image loading and storing, color adjustments, GIMPs artistic filters and more forms of image processing GEGL can be used on the command-line with the same syntax that can be used for creating processing flows interactively with text from GIMP using gegl-graph.

  • I didn't find that limited-way implementation. Can you explain it? GEGL Operations are destructive processing when you apply. If you don't apply it... can you have that operation "open"?
    – Mario Mey
    Dec 3, 2023 at 15:13

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